The Goings Law Firm, LLC is pleased to announce that Horry County Schools have agreed to pay $260,000.00 to a Horry County School Board Member who was injured in a trip and fall due to defective and unsafe steps at the district office. The steps violated several state and federal safety codes in failing to have required hand rails. Our firm was successful in proving that several prior employees of the school district had fallen due to the lack of hand rails. The victims of the prior falls and injuries had requested the administration add safety railings. The safety railings would have prevented the prior falls. Unfortunately, it only after our client fell and sustained severe injuries that the Horry County School system chose to do anything to fix this code violation. Below is a picture of the location where our client fell only after hand rails were installed:
The fall resulted in a severely broken arm and extensive reconstruction surgery. Here is an x-ray of our client’s arm after surgery showing extensive metal hardware plates and screws.
This injury was completely preventable if Horry County Schools would have installed the required handrails. The school system had prior notice of the defective condition and prior injuries in this location, but did nothing about it.
Injuries that result from preventable falls caused by trips or slips at businesses or public property give rise to civil liability, allowing for financial compensation to cover medical bills, loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, and loss wages and earnings. If you or a loved one have suffered injuries due to a property owner violating safety code requirements or failing to properly construct or maintain pedestrian traffic areas of ingress and egress, please contact us today at 803-350-9230 for a free, no obligation, consultation. We are happy to explain your legal rights and represent you if the need arises.
This settlement was featured in Horry County’s the The Sun Newspaper. Here is the article:
Horry County Schools to pay $260k settlement to board member injured on property
Horry County Schools will shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars after voting to settle a lawsuit brought by one of its own board members.
The district’s school board voted unanimously Monday to pay $260,000 to settle a 2019 lawsuit from board member Sherrie Todd, who represents district 2 covering parts of Myrtle Beach and Carolina Forest. Todd’s suit alleged she suffered a serious fracture to her arm that required three surgeries after she fell on the stairs leading to a school board meeting in 2017.
Ahead of the vote, the school board received legal guidance in executive session, where matters aren’t made public. Todd recused herself from executive session during the discussion on the lawsuit and abstained from voting.
The lawsuit alleges the spot where Todd fell should have had a railing, and there was no other entrance for Todd to access the door where she was attempting to enter. The district knew or should have known about the safety hazard, according to the lawsuit, which also says at least two other people have been seriously injured on the same stairs. The district denied these claims in its response, The Sun News reported at the time the lawsuit was filed.
Todd declined to comment on the settlement.
Todd’s injuries were a result of “her own negligence, carelessness, gross negligence, recklessness, willfulness and wantonness,” the district initially responded, arguing she failed to look where she was walking and wore inappropriate shoes. Last week, Todd had offered to accept a $300,00 settlement from the board, court records show. She also attempted to get workers’ compensation for her injuries, but the district opposed that, asserting she was a board member, which differs from a district employee. The two parties were set to go to trial last month, but the date was delayed so the two parties could attempt to settle out of court, records show.
An accident with an 18-wheeler will leave you reeling, and wondering “how did this happen?” And soon enough, that question will be relevant for your attorney, for your insurance company, and for your finances. To get the answer, you might need to request information held in the black box of a truck.
Black boxes aren’t just for planes. They are also installed in many 18-wheelers to record driving data. If you’ve been in an accident with an 18-wheeler or other commercial truck, your attorney can request data from the black box to understand who was at fault for the accident. That information can bolster your case for compensation.
What Are Black Boxes?
“Black Boxes” are more accurately called “EDRs” or Electronic Data Recorders. EDRs are designed to collect data in the brief period before, during, and after a crash. EDRs collect several different types of information, including:
- Pre-Crash Vehicle Speed and Velocity — This information indicates whether a driver was exceeding the speed limit before the crash or making urgent maneuvers.
- Driver Inputs — The EDR helps us understand what actions a driver was taking in the moments before and during an accident. This includes the use of or failure to use seatbelts, the presence or absence of steering wheel turns and acceleration or deceleration, and whether the brakes were used.
- Vehicle Crash Data — The EDR collects detailed mathematical data on the velocity and dynamics of the vehicle during and after the crash. This includes tire pressure, oil levels, and more.
EDRs collect all of this information via sensors dispersed throughout the truck. The “brain” of the EDR, however, is typically housed in an area insulated from damage, like the driver’s seat. Though not required by law yet, black boxes are installed in most 18-wheelers nowadays.
How a Black Box Can Help You in Case of an Accident
If you’ve been in an accident with an 18-wheeler, you deserve compensation. But, to get it, you will likely be going up against a large trucking company. Naturally, trucking companies are not apt to want to disclose information about reckless drivers they employ. A black box could reveal that the truck driver was speeding, making sudden turns, or failing to brake. Therefore, they will not willingly hand over information contained in the black box. If they did, they might be on the hook for huge compensation settlements.
However, all is not lost. A skilled attorney can gain access to the data and establish a case for compensation.
An attorney will be able to assemble data from eyewitness reports, the ELD of the driver, the physical evidence remaining from the crash, and the raw data from the black box. They will then help build a case to bring before the trucking company’s insurance carrier and fight for you to get compensation for your pain and suffering. The right personal injury attorney will be accustomed to dealing with all the intimidation tactics of insurance companies. They will be able to help you get the answers you deserve and understand who is liable for the accident.
Call Goings Law Firm, LLC Today
Dealing with the aftermath of a truck accident can be nearly as nerve-wracking as the accident itself. You are likely dealing with a pile of medical bills, hordes of insurance queries, lack of communication from the trucking company, and maybe even questions from government agencies. While the black box holds the key to how the accident happened and to getting compensated for your pain, you struggle to access it. You need help. Call a Goings Law Firm, LLC attorney today.
Any sort of vehicular accident is devastating. However, truck accidents, as opposed to car accidents, often result in larger financial, physical, and legal consequences for victims. Truck accidents can wreak havoc on your life and cause issues that last for years to come.
If you’ve been in a truck accident, call the skilled lawyers at [firm name] today. We are adept at assisting with all types of personal injury cases. We will deal with the trucking company, insurance companies, and even the government on your behalf. You need a professional in your corner who can gather evidence, organize a case for compensation, and fight for you to get the money you deserve.
Don’t let a truck accident hold you back any longer. Call Goings Law Firm, LLC at (803) 350-9230 now.
If you’ve suffered an injury that was not your fault, you may be wondering how personal injury claims work. Here are the stages of a personal injury case, how settlements work, and what happens when personal injury cases go to trial.
The typical steps in a personal injury claim include:
- Seek medical attention. The first thing you should do is seek medical attention. You should do so promptly. If you don’t seek treatment right away, the insurance company may argue your injuries were not the result of the accident caused by their policyholder.
- Consult with an attorney. Seek out a qualified personal injury attorney to evaluate and investigate your case, collect evidence, help you document and calculate damages, and represent you in negotiations or at trial.
- Investigate and gather evidence. Your attorney will launch a full, independent investigation into the accident. As part of their investigation, they will gather evidence to help support your claim. Evidence may include witness statements, surveillance footage, photo evidence, the accident report, the at-fault person’s admission of guilt, and more.
- Negotiate a settlement. Your attorney will attempt to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company. Insurance companies are for-profit entities chiefly concerned with keeping their shareholders happy, so they will use various tactics to try to reduce the amount they must pay you. Your attorney will know how to subvert those tactics and will seek the compensation you actually need and deserve.
- File a personal injury lawsuit. If a settlement cannot be reached, then your attorney will file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party on your behalf.
- Attend mediation. Mediation is a last-ditch effort to reach a settlement before trial, and many claims do settle out of court at this stage. Mediation is usually conducted by a retired judge and allows both sides to try to come to an agreement.
- Go to trial. If mediation fails, then your case will proceed to trial, where your attorney will argue your case in front of a jury and a judge. The jury will then render a verdict based on the evidence presented from both sides.
What Happens in a Personal Injury Trial?
A personal injury case will usually go to trial if settlement talks have reached a stalemate. The trial could be as short as one day and as long as a week or more, depending on the complexities of your case.
In a personal injury trial, a jury will render the final verdict. Jury selection is followed by opening statements, where your attorney will lay out the basic facts of your case before the jury before getting into the “nitty-gritty.” Your attorney may call people to testify, including witnesses who may have seen the accident occur, accident reconstruction experts, and more.
Once both sides have presented their evidence, the jury will deliberate and come to a decision.
How Do Personal Injury Settlements Work?
A majority of personal injury cases settle out of court. This happens for a variety of reasons, including time, cost, and other factors. Your attorney will initially try to settle your case with the insurance company, but if that effort fails, then your attorney will pursue a personal injury lawsuit. Between the discovery phase of a trial and the trial itself, the two sides will usually again attempt to reach a settlement through mediation.
Once you accept a settlement, you generally forfeit your right to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. That’s one reason why it is so important to have an attorney at your side during negotiations. Insurance companies often make an initial lowball settlement offer that may seem generous but, in reality, is less than you need and deserve. If you accept it without consulting an attorney, you could end up paying out of pocket for expenses the guilty party’s insurance should cover. Consulting with an attorney will improve your chances of getting the settlement you actually deserve.
The main factors that will affect the value of your settlement include the severity of your losses (called “damages”), the defendant’s financial resources, and the strength of your case against the defendant.
Contact Goings Law Firm, LLC
If you were injured in an accident caused by someone else, reach out to one of our attorneys at the Goings Law Firm, LLC at (803) 350-9230 today for a free consultation. We will discuss your case, help you determine your legal options, and aggressively pursue the compensation you deserve on your behalf.
The attorneys at the Goings Law Firm, LLC has been featured in the list of “Legal Elite” in South Carolina since 2015. Integrated Media Publishing, the publisher of Charleston Business, Columbia Business Monthly, and Greenville Business Magazine, has announced the 2021 winners of its annual Legal Elite awards in its August edition. All four attorneys at the Goings Law Firm, LLC were selected to the list of 2021 “Legal Elite” in South Carolina. 2021 Legal Elite publication honors attorneys based on peer review voting from other attorneys in the Lowcountry, Midlands, and Upstate areas of South Carolina based on attorney reputation, legal skill and experience, and quality of legal services. The “Legal Elite” list recognizes lawyers whom peers consider among the best and outstanding in their respective practice areas. We are proud to be recognized as “Legal Elite” in the fields of personal injury litigation, business litigation, and workers’ compensation law.
Our firm holds drunk drivers accountable!! On September 10, 2021, Robert F. Goings and Jessica L. Gooding of the Goings Law Firm, LLC won a jury verdict in the amount of $12,500,000.00 for a client involved a car collision in Columbia involving a drunk driver. The verdict comprised of $3,500,000.00 in actual damages and $9,000,000.00 in punitive damages, reflecting the egregious conduct of a drunk and intoxicated driver endangering the public. This verdict is considered the largest jury verdict in Richland County history in a non-fatality automobile collision. The client sustained $380,000 in medical bills for treatment to his right shoulder, neck, and low back caused in a rear end collision on I-77 in a work zone, including being out of work for approximately two years following the collision. Our firm has a reputation for getting results in the courtroom, and this verdict is another testament of our ability to hold drunk drivers accountable for their reckless and illegal conduct. If you or your loved ones have been injury or killed in a collision caused by a drunk driver, please call or text our law firm today at 803-350-9230 for a free, no obligation consultation.
This case was featured on the front page of The State Newspaper in South Carolina. Here is the article:
Richland County jury awards $12.5M to man in DUI crash
By: John Monk
COLUMBIA, SC: A Richland County jury awarded $12.5 million in damages to a highway worker who was severely injured on Interstate 77 in 2018 by a car driven by a man characterized during his trial as a “habitual drunken driver.”
The jury was out less than three hours and returned a verdict late Friday, said Columbia attorney Robert Goings, who represented the injured worker, Keith Bookman before State Judge Grace Knie.The $12.5 million verdict includes $3.5 million in actual damages and $9 million in punitive damages, according to court records.
In 2018, Columbia-area attorney Jason Buffkin crashed his Honda into the rear of Bookman’s truck, which was in the northbound lane of I-77 near the Garners Ferry Road exit. At the time of the crash, Bookman, 51, was part of a road crew and the truck he was driving was traveling north on the interstate at the end of a small caravan of trucks sweeping the interstate of debris from roadside construction.
The flashing message on the back of Bookman’s truck said, “Right Lane Closed,” with an arrow pointing to the left lane, Goings said.
Evidence at the four-day trial last week showed that Bookman’s medical expenses related to the crash were approximately $380,000 for surgeries to his shoulder, neck and lower back, said Goings, who tried the case with partner Jessica Gooding.
The evidence before the jury also showed that Buffkin had a blood alcohol content of .148 some four hours after the crash, Goings said.
In his final argument to jurors, Goings said he told them, “You need to return a verdict that is big enough to make it in the newspaper, to send a message to any drunk driver that is out there that drunk driving is not tolerated in Richland County — that our lives, our families’ lives are worth more than to be endangered by a reckless, careless drunk driver.”
Buffkin could not be reached for comment.
Buffkin’s attorney, Deidre Smallwood of Columbia, told The State Monday, “I am no longer involved with that” and had no further comment.
A lawsuit in the case said that between 2001-2018, Buffkin was charged with three DUIs, twice in South Carolina and once in Virginia.
In his answer to the allegations about previous DUI arrests, Buffkin’s lawsuit argued that those DUI charges “lack relevance,” were inadmissible in the trial and “not appropriate facts to be included in” this trial.
“The jury did get to hear that evidence, which showed the duration of his conduct,” Goings said Tuesday.
Steven Burritt, executive director for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD, in South Carolina, said in his experience that size of a verdict is “unprecedented.”
“I can’t recall hearing anything that large in a DUI case,” Burritt said.
“That jury took the opportunity to express just how serious this crime is, and how frustrating it is to see this kind of behavior, which puts all of us at risk.” Burritt said. “The jurors said, ‘Here’s something we can do — we can send a message.’”
Collecting a sizable judgment is always uncertain and it remains uncertain how much of the $12.5 million verdict will be received.
But, Goings said, “We plan to exhaust all avenues to collect on the verdict.”
Columbia-based Goings Law Firm, LLC, through the work of attorneys Robert Goings and Jessica Gooding, recently obtained a large verdict against a drunk driver. Our client, a South Carolina highway worker, was seriously injured in an accident caused by a habitual drunk driver in 2018. After deliberating for just three hours, the jury returned with a verdict, awarding our client a staggering $12.5 million in damages.
The $12.5 million in damages consists of $3.5 million in actual damages and $9 million in punitive damages, which are designed to punish a defendant for excessively reckless behavior.
Back in 2018, our client was traveling northbound on Interstate 77 as part of a caravan of construction vehicles, clearing construction debris from the highway, when a Columbia-based attorney rear-ended our client’s truck. At the time of the accident, our client’s truck actually had flashing, lighted signage on the rear of his vehicle, instructing other drivers to keep left.
Our client sustained injuries to his neck, shoulders, and lower back due to the collision, ultimately costing around $380,000 in medical expenses.
We presented evidence that demonstrated the culprit’s liability. He had a staggering BAC (blood alcohol content) of .148 around four hours after the crash. The legal limit is a BAC of .08. This same man had been charged with driving under the influence a total of three times in the past, incurring two DUI’s in South Carolina and another in Virginia. While the defendant’s attorney argued that his past convictions were irrelevant to the case at hand, Goings Law Firm, LLC established that the driver had a dangerous pattern of driving while intoxicated that ultimately led him to severely injure our client.
As part of his closing argument before the jury, Robert Goings stated, “You need to return a verdict that is big enough to make it in the newspaper, to send a message to any drunk driver that is out there that drunk driving is not tolerated in Richland County — that our lives, our families’ lives are worth more than to be endangered by a reckless, careless drunk driver.”
The size of the verdict that Goings Law Firm, LLC was able to obtain for our client was called “unprecedented” by Steven Burrit, the executive director for the South Carolina branch of MADD (Mothers Against Drinking in Driving). Of the verdict, Burrit added, “I can’t recall hearing anything that large in a DUI case. That jury took the opportunity to express just how serious this crime is, and how frustrating it is to see this kind of behavior, which puts all of us at risk.”
Robert Goings indicated that the firm would do everything in its power to ensure that their client was able to collect on the verdict.
Contact Goings Law Firm, LLC Today
If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by a drunk driver in South Carolina, contact Goings Law Firm, LLC today. We have the experience and skills to independently investigate your claim, gather evidence to support it, and aggressively seek the compensation you deserve. With our proven track record of success, you know your case is in good hands when you hire us. Contact us today at (803) 350-9230 for a free case evaluation.
Any type of auto accident is devastating. However, accidents with large commercial trucks can be permanently life-altering and challenging to recover from. Eighteen-wheelers are heavy and usually weigh about 80,000 pounds when they’re fully loaded. That’s 20 times heavier than a standard car. When accidents happen with an 18-wheeler, the consequences can be lethal.
To avoid accidents and to ensure road safety, truck drivers not only have to pass rigorous driving tests to receive their license, but they also have to maintain detailed accounts of their driving and resting time. Every driver of a commercial vehicle has a travel log. If an accident happens with an 18-wheeler, one of the first things that will be examined is the driver’s log.
The Law for Truck Drivers
Have you ever heard that pilots have to take rest days after flying for a few days? The same principle applies to truck drivers. The rules and regulations set out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are designed to ensure drivers are well-rested and alert while on the road. These rules include
- 11-Hour Driving Limit — Drivers are allowed to operate for a maximum of 11 hours after ten consecutive hours off duty.
- 14-Hour Limit — After ten consecutive hours off duty, drivers are not allowed to drive past the 14th consecutive hour.
- 30-Minute Breaks — After eight consecutive hours of driving, truck drivers are required to take a 30-minute break.
- 60/70-Hour Limit — When on duty for seven/eight days, drivers may not operate more than 60/70 of those hours.
As you can see, these rules encourage rest, alertness, and safe driving habits on the part of truck drivers. If found to be in violation of these rules, drivers will be fined. If you are in an accident with a truck driver who is in violation of the hours of service rules, they may be liable for the accident.
Why Is Drive Time Regulated?
When you learn to drive, you hear it all the time: “don’t drive when you’re tired.” Obviously, if you fall asleep at the wheel, you are likely to veer out of your lane and cause an accident. But, even if you drive tired but don’t fall asleep, you still pose a significant risk to other vehicles. When drivers are drowsy, their reaction times are slow, their judgment is impeded, and they are unable to make snap decisions that can often save lives.
The FMCSA strictly regulates the operational hours of truck drivers to ensure that they are well-rested and able to make rapid decisions when on the road. Rested drivers are less likely to cause accidents.
How Do Truck Drivers Log Their Time?
In the past, drivers would log their hours of service (HOS) on paper. These paper logs would include the location, date, and time of all points on a route. They were filled out by the driver and mailed in for verification. These days, all truck drivers have ELDs, or Electronic Logging Devices. These devices enable trucking companies, the Department of Transportation, and drivers themselves to keep a close eye on driving metrics.
ELDs connect to the engine of the truck, and track speed, stops, starts, and location. Most drivers have an app on their phone that enables them to monitor their drive time and log appropriate breaks and rest hours. ELDs can even detect that an accident has happened and alert the trucking company.
If an accident happens with a truck, the ELD is key to understanding how it all happened. ELDs will tell how fast the truck was going at impact, how long the driver had been operating before the incident, and importantly, whether the driver was in violation of the FMCSA’s rules and regulations.
What to Do if You’ve Been in a Truck Accident
For truck drivers, the slightest mistake or moment of distraction can mean disaster — for themselves and for those they share the road with. The travel logs of truck drivers are an absolutely critical resource if you’ve been in an accident with an 18-wheeler. An attorney will be able to assist you in contacting a trucking company for a driver’s HOS log, establishing liability for the accident, and getting you the compensation you need.
If you or someone you love has recently been in an accident with an 18-wheeler, call Goings Law Firm, LLC at (803) 350-9230 today. Our personal injury attorneys have years of experience helping people in the Columbia area receive compensation. Don’t let an accident set you back any longer — call us today.
This year, Robert F. Goings of the Goings Law Firm, LLC was named to the 2021 South Carolina Top 25 of all attorney in South Carolina by Super Lawyers. This list includes the best attorneys in South Carolina. Robert F. Goings is the only attorney that practices in the area of personal injury law from Columbia or the Midlands area of South Carolina named to this highly selective and exclusive list of attorneys.
In order to be selected this list of top 25 attorneys, other attorneys that have been invited to Super Lawyer in South Carolina rank the best attorneys statewide for all practice areas. Robert was selected to the Super Lawyer Top 25 best attorney list based on nominations from other lawyers, peer review and result research, and Blue Ribbon review process. This includes peer recognition and professional achievements based on his verdicts and settlements, experience, and honors and awards within the legal profession. For Robert to be the only personal injury attorney from Columbia or the Midlands area of South Carolina is a true testament to the level of quality and skill that you receive when you hire the Goings Law Firm, LLC. It is important to hire the best and most experienced personal injury attorney if you have been involved in a serious personal injury or if a family member or loved one has died due to the negligence of others. It is important to hire a top rated personal injury attorney that is respected both in and outside the courtroom. He has been selected to Super Lawyers continuously from 2017 – 2021, and before that he was named a Rising Stars from 2013 – 2016. Click here to view Robert’s profile on Super Lawyers.
When considering an attorney for your legal needs, we believe it is important to review the Top 25 list complied by Super Lawyers. Click here to view the complete list of Top 25 Super Lawyers in South Carolina for 2021: https://www.superlawyers.com/south-carolina/toplists/top-25-2021-south-carolina-super-lawyers/eb1daa7f2b5068f7127382b1eae924b7
Our amazing workers’ compensation paralegal, Catherine Ashbridge, is a competitive cyclist. After working hard throughout the day protecting the rights of injured workers, she typically spends her evenings and weekends with friends cycling. In fact each month, she logs hundreds of miles on the roads or trails of South Carolina. Many people just like Catherine enjoy biking for pleasure but also a growing number of people commute to work or school on their bikes. More people own bicycles now than ever before, and during the current pandemic, bicycle shops even have a hard time keeping them in stock.
We want to bring greater awareness to bicycle safety. As motorists, we all should do a better job sharing the roadway with cyclists. The safety and well-being of cyclists require motorists to drive with greater care and to keep a proper outlook. Some of the leading causes of fatalities towards cyclists are involved driving distracted, looking at your phone while driving, or driving too fast in residential neighborhoods. In the last 8 years, crashes on South Carolina’s roads and highways have claimed the lives of more than 1100 pedestrians and bicyclists, making our state’s roads among the nation’s deadliest. South Carolina significantly out paces other states for bicycle related deaths per capita.
Our firm has handled many unfortunate cases involving severe and catastrophic injuries, and many times death, as a result of being struck while on a bicycle by a motorist on the roadway. We are proud to advocate for bicycle safety and protect the rights of cyclists in South Carolina. Call us today at 803-350-9230 if we can help you. 🚴🏼♀️🚵🏻♂️🥇🚨🚲🛴🚓🚧⚠️🚦🚐