Workers’ Compensation Settlement: A proposed law may help protect injured workers

Do you need advise in negotiating your workers’ compensation settlement? Is the Insurance Company and the employer not being fair? A proposed new law in SC may help protect you!

A proposed new law introduced by S.C. House Representative Beth Bernstein has been filed to help protect injured workers when negotiating workers’ compensation settlements. S.C. House Bill 3352 is designed to prevent insurance companies or employers from demanding that injuries employee are required to release other legal claims, such as employment claims (such as ADA violations, sex, age, and gender discrimination, wage disputes) and other employment related disputes as a condition to resolving a workers’ compensation claim for a work related injury. The legislation would prohibit these tactics by employers and carrier, and any such negotiations on these terms would constitute “per se bad faith.” This would be a big win for employees because insurance companies or employers attempt to hold employees “over a barrel” when negotiating settlements, and often time conditioning any workers’ compensation settlement to a full release of any and all legal rights that the employee may have against the employer.

This bill is currently in committee and if passes committee, it may be voted on by the General Assembly this year. The language of the proposed legislation, S.C. House Bill 3352, states:

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

SECTION    1.    Chapter 17, Title 42 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

“Section 42-17-15.    (A)    A settlement agreement as to compensation between and employer and an injured employee or his dependents provided in Section 42-17-10 is void and unenforceable to the extent that the injured employee or his dependents agree to dismiss, release and forever discharge complaints, liabilities, obligations, promises, agreements, controversies, claims for attorney’s fees, damages, actions, causes of actions, suits, rights, demands, costs, losses, debts, and expenses, known or unknown, suspected or unsuspected, which the injured employee or his dependents have, own, or hold against the employer up to the date of the release including, but not limited to:

(1)    claims of unlawful employment discrimination arising under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. Section 2000 et seq., the Age Discrimination and Employment Act of 1990, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974, as amended, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA), the Equal Pay Act (EPA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), as amended, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA);

(2)    claims for disability and other forms of discrimination or harassment under applicable state or federal antidiscrimination and civil rights laws, claims for retaliation or discrimination under the workers’ compensation law, torts of any kind, including, but not limited to, misrepresentation, negligent or otherwise, fraud, defamation, liable, battery, assault, slander, claims for intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress, interference with an advantageous business relationship, negligent hiring, negligent retention, interference with contractual relations, breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing, termination of employment in violation of public policy, breach of employment contract, expressed or implied, nonpayment of wages, overtime, bonus, or other compensation or benefits, or invasion of privacy;

(3)    claims or rights under state and federal whistleblower legislation; and

(4)    other claims, losses, injuries, or damages resulting from, arising out of, or connected directly or indirectly with the employment with the employer including, but not limited to, claims for damages, salary, wages, compensation, monetary relief, employment benefits including, but not limited to, any claims for benefits under an employee benefit plan or any retirement plan, profit sharing, capital stock, bonuses, merit and longevity increases, and all other benefits of any kind, earnings, back pay, front pay, liquidated and other damages, compensatory damages, punitive damages, damages to character, damage to reputation, emotional distress, mental distress, depression, injury, impairment in locating employment, financial loss, home foreclosure, pain and suffering, being made whole, injunctive and declaratory relief, interest, or attorney’s fees and costs arising from the injured employee’s employment.

(B)    The offer of a settlement agreement as to compensation that includes any of the prohibited dismissal, release, or discharge conditions enumerated in subsection (A) constitutes bad faith per se.”

SECTION    2.    This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.

Source: https://www.scstatehouse.gov/billsearch.php?billnumbers=3352&session=123&summary=B

Do you need help negotiating a workers’ compensation settlement?  We know how to help in order to make sure you receive all the compensation that you are entitled under the law.  Don’t let the insurance company get over on you– hire an experienced lawyer who can help you today!


Nearly Half of All Fatal Crashes in SC Result from Drunk Driving


South Carolina Ranks #2 Worst Drivers in United States as a Result of Drunk Driving Statistics

Car crashes are a leading cause of death in the US and were expected to cause around 40,000 deaths by the end of 2018.

To put it plainly, America’s roads are dangerous. Texting behind the wheel is a major reason for many traffic fatalities, and it’s only getting worse. In 2016, 3,450 people were killed by distracted driving. Plus, cheap gas and a strong economy means America’s 222 million licensed drivers are driving more than ever. More people on the road leads to more accidents and citations.

South Carolina was ranked No. 2 on QuoteWizard’s list for “Best and Worst Drivers” across the United States. Last year, the State of South Carolina came in at No. 4, but an increase in DUIs brought it up in the rankings. Nearly half of all fatal crashes in South Carolina are because of drunk driving, according to the study. Drivers can blame an increase in DUIs for the jump from last year’s rank as the fourth worst drivers to the second worst drivers this year.

However, South Carolina didn’t nab the top spot when it comes to bad drivers — that was Maine; with Nebraska, California and North Dakota rounding out the Top 5.

Rankings for this study by QuoteWizard was determined by accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs, citations and fatalities in each state throughout the year.

The Goings Law Firm is committed to fighting drunk drivers in Court for the harm their cause to innocent people on the roads.  We have been awarded large verdicts and settlements for our clients against drunk drivers, and if you or a loved one has been injured or killed by a drunk driver, you may be entitled to financial compensation.  Call us today at (803) 350-9230 for a Free Consultation to see if we can help you.


Staying Safe on the Roads in 2019

Did you know? The roadways that we drive on right here in the Midlands are some of the most dangerous roads in our state. Through the first 11 months of 2018, there were a total of 62 fatal car accidents in Lexington County alone. Only two other counties—Greenville County and Spartanburg County—recorded more fatal accidents.

Most of these fatal traffic accidents are preventable, according to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, as a majority of them either involve drivers under the influence or passengers not wearing a seatbelt.

There are simple steps that you can take to help make our roadways safer in 2019:

  • Put the phone down. There’s nothing happening on your phone that can’t wait until you are safely parked somewhere.
  • Designate a driver. If you’re planning an evening out with your girlfriends or an afternoon of brewery hopping with the guys, make sure that you have a safe ride home with someone who hasn’t been drinking.
  • Buckle up! Not only is it the law, but it can save your life in an accident.
  • Watch out at stoplights. Keep your eyes peeled for red light runners—just because your light is green, it doesn’t mean that the intersection is clear and safe for you to drive through.
  • Keep your distance. If the car in front of you has to suddenly stop, you don’t want to run into the back of them! Leave a few seconds between you and the car in front of you to give you plenty of time to stop if necessary.

Despite your best precautions to travel on the roadways safely, we know that accidents do happen. If you’re injured in an accident, give us a call! We’ll be more than happy to talk to you and see if we are able to help you navigate the insurance process if someone has injured you in an automobile accident.


Alcohol-Impaired Driving Results in Fatalities or Serious Injuries in South Carolina

South Carolina ranks as the 2nd worst in DUI related fatalities in the nation based on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) National Center for Statistics and Analysis. Drunk drivers kill innocent people, or result in serious injuries that have devastating effects on families. It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle in South Carolina with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. In fact, all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have by law set a threshold making it illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 g/dL or higher. In 2017 there were 10,874 people killed in alcohol-impaired- driving crashes, an average of 1 alcohol-impaired-driving fatality every 48 minutes. These alcohol- impaired-driving fatalities accounted for 29 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the United States in 2017. Of the 10,874 people who died in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes in 2017, there were 6,618 drivers (61%) who had BACs of .08 g/dL or higher. The remaining fatalities consisted of 3,075 motor vehicle occupants (28%) and 1,181 nonoccupants (11%).

Based on national data related to alcohol impaired driving in 2017, the NHTSA has set forth the following “key findings:

Key Findings

  • In 2017 there were 10,874 fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes involving drivers with BACs of .08 g/dL or higher. This totaled 29 percent of all traffic fatalities for the year. (Note: It is illegal in every State to drive with a BAC of .08 g/dL or higher.)
  • An average of 1 alcohol-impaired-driving fatality occurred every 48 minutes in 2017.
  • The estimated economic cost of all alcohol-impaired crashes (involving alcohol-impaired drivers or alcohol- impaired nonoccupants) in the United States in 2010 (the most recent year for which cost data is available) was $44 billion.
  • Of the traffic fatalities in 2017 among chil- dren 14 and younger, 19 percent occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes.
  • The 21- to 24-year-old age group had the highest percentage (27%) of drivers with BACs of .08 g/dL or higher in fatal crashes compared to other age groups in 2017.
  • The percentage of drivers with BACs
    of .08 g/dL or higher in fatal crashes in 2017 was highest for fatalities involving motorcycle riders (27%), comparedto passenger cars (21%), light trucks (20%), and large trucks (3%).
  • The rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2017 was 3.6 times higher at night than during the day.
  • In 2017 among the 10,874 alcohol- impaired-driving fatalities, 68 percent (7,368) were in crashes in which at least one driver had a BAC of .15 g/dL or higher.

There is some good new too — Fatalities in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes decreased by 1.1 percent (10,996 to 10,874 fatalities) from 2016 to 2017. Alcohol- impaired-driving fatalities in the past 10 years have declined by 7 percent from 11,711 in 2008 to 10,874 in 2017. The national rate of alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities in motor vehicle crashes in 2017 was 0.34 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT), down from 0.35 in 2016. The alcohol-impaired-driving fatality rate in the past 10 years has declined by 13 percent, from 0.39 in 2008 to 0.34 in 2017. At the Goings Law Firm, we believe that one DUI related fatality is one too many. Drinking and driving have consequences, and it’s our mission to make sure at the drunk driver pays for the injuries and harm they inflict on the innocent. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a drunk driver related motor vehicle crash, call us today for a free, no obligation, consultation– the number is 803-350-9230.

Source: National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2018, November). Alcohol- impaired driving: 2017 data (Traffic Safety Facts. Report No. DOT HS 812 630). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812630


SC ranks second highest for DUI deaths amid New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve rings in more than the dawn of a new year—it’s also one of the deadliest nights on our nation’s roads. It’s easy to get caught up in the festivities, but one too many toasts before getting behind the wheel can turn revelry into tragedy.

South Carolina ranks second highest for DUI deaths amid New Year’s Eve based on a Study from Safewise.com. South Carolina’s statistics show that 6.22 per 100,000 people due to Impaired Driving. This is the second highest in the nation, only behind Wyoming.

Last year , nearly 22,000 people were arrested for DUI and more than 300 died in incidents involving drunk driving. In 2017, drunk driving accounted for 29% of all traffic fatalities nationwide, and nearly sixty percent (60%) of alcohol-involved fatal crashes involved drivers that registered very high blood alcohol content.

Drunk and impaired driving is a deadly problem in our state, and innocent lives are effected everyday. The Goings Law Firm fights drunk drivers in court. If you or a family member has been injured due to a drunk driver, call us today at 803-350-9230. We will get you the justice that you deserve, and we make DRUNK DRIVERS PAY!


Columbia ranks in top 10 most accident-prone cities

In a new study conducted by QuoteWizard, Columbia has been ranked among cities with the highest rate of car crashes.

This is a fact that our firm already knew to be true. In 2017,more than 40,000 people nationwide died in car crashes. And that number is on the rise, with a six percent increase in traffic deaths since 2015. No matter what part of the country you live in, being on the road is always a risk. But driving is apparently more dangerous in some places than others. QuoteWizard analyzed self-reported driving infractions data from site users, which includes accidents. These rankings account for more than one million data points on accidents from 2017.

Cities ranked ‘most accident-prone’ have the highest rate of accidents per driver. “Car crashes are, sadly, all too common across the country. But crash rates vary quite a bit from city to city. Whether it’s distracted driving, lousy roads, bad drivers, or a combination of all three, drivers in some cities seem to crash more often than others,” says Adam Johnson, QuoteWizard content manager. “QuoteWizard analyzed over a million datapoints on drivers in America to find out where people are getting into accidents at the highest rates.”

From the most accidents to the least, these are the 25 most car accident-prone cities in the US:

  1. Columbus, OH
  2. St. Louis, MO
  3. Los Angeles, CA
  4. Sacramento, CA
  5. New Orleans, LA
  6. Charlotte, SC
  7. Columbia, SC
  8. Washington DC
  9. Baltimore, MD
  10. Greenville, SC

The study reveals that Charlotte, NC, Columbia, SC, and Greenville, SC all rank in the top 10 most car accident prone cities in the country. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car collision, please contact our firm immediately. We have the ability to ensure that you receive all the compensation that you are entitled under the law. We hold reckless drivers, and their insurance companies accountable. For a free consultation, call us today at (803) 350-9230.


Thanksgiving Gratefulness

This Thanksgiving, our team is reminded of all of the wonderful blessings and people in our lives that we’re thankful for each and every day. We’re all exceptionally thankful to be able to do the work that we love in a community that we love. Our clients are a constant reminder of why we do what we do, and we’re grateful to be able to serve them.

What else are we thankful for this Thanksgiving?

“I’m thankful for my family because without them, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do each day at Goings Law Firm. I’m also thankful that I get to work with my friends everyday at the office.” – Robert Goings


“I really am thankful for family and friends. I’m blessed with friends that I practice with, and family that I love and that loves to spend time together. I’m thankful for my new practice and the clients that I get to represent. They are good people who just find themselves in really bad predicaments, and it makes me want to work even harder for them.” – Christian Boesl


“This Thanksgiving, I’m very thankful for community. This time last year, I had just become a mother, which is a wonderful but overwhelming experience. I am so thankful for the community of people who have stepped in and supported me through all the adjustments that come with becoming a parent, especially my Goings Law Firm family and other members of the bar. The grace and encouragement I’ve received from people in my professional world has made all the difference, and I’m thankful to be able to practice among such caring and heartening people.” – Jessica Gooding


“I’m thankful for my family, friends, and a career that I love. As a recent cancer survivor, I’m especially grateful for my health, and a new perspective on just how many wonderful blessings exist in my life.” – Catherine


“I’m extremely thankful for a job that allows me to truly help people in their time of need—I have the opportunity to interact with and get to know so many wonderful people on a daily basis. I’m thankful for my Goings Law Firm family that has made me feel so welcome in my move back to Columbia, and for the support of my family and friends.” – Mallory

From our team to yours, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!


Workers Comp: What if I can’t return to work?

A common question we get is “What happens if I cannot return to work due to my work injury.”  The fear of not being able to return to work is a real concern if you have been involved in a work related injury.  Often we counsel with people who have given their best years to an employer only to end up with a debilitating injury caused by their work.  Like any hard working individual, they are concerned with their ability to recover and get back to work as quickly as possible.  Unfortunately, many individuals suffer injuries so bad that they are no longer able to meet the work requirements of their job.  Sometimes these injured workers are ill informed that their injury is limited to a recovery solely based on the injured body part.  The insurance company, or its attorney, will try to hurriedly rush an injured worker into a settlement that neither represents the fully injured body part or takes into account their inability to return back to work.  Many injured workers will reluctantly accept a quick settlement only to find out they don’t have a job to be able to return to and can’t support their family.

Fortunately, the South Carolina Workers Compensation Laws provide a mechanism where injured workers can receive an award to address their inability to return to their job instead of just the injured body part.  To be eligible for wage loss the worker must be able to demonstrate they meet the necessary elements of a wage loss claim.  If left to handle these complicated issues by themselves, injured workers may end up without the benefit of the law, or worse miss the requirements to be eligible for wage loss recovery.  At the Goings Law Firm we routinely assist injured workers to determine if they may be eligible for a wage loss recovery.   To determine if you need help with a workers’ compensation injury contact Attorney and Workers’ Compensation Managing Partner Christian E. Boesl with the Goings Law Firm.  Let us help you get the medical treatment you deserve to back to work, or get the money you are entitled to receive if you are unable to return to your job.


What are the 10 most dangerous intersections in Columbia?

Many of Our Clients Are Injured in the Worst Intersections in Columbia and Richland County by Reckless Drivers

The Most Dangerous Intersection in the entire State of South Carolina is located in Columbia.  A study performed by The State Newspaper in Columbia determined that the most intersection collisions in the entire state of South Carolina occurred in Columbia a I-20 and U.S. 176 (Columbia), with a total of 669 collision from 2011-2015.

In this study, the State Newspaper also analyzed the most dangerous intersections based on reports of collisions that occurred in Columbia and Richland County during 2016.  The data was obtained from incident investigated by the Columbia Police Department and S.C. Highway Patrol.

The State compiled the following list of intersections in Columbia and Richland County with the highest number of crashes:

INSIDE COLUMBIA CITY LIMITS

  1. Assembly Street and Elmwood Avenue: 50 collisions, 10 with injuries
  2. Taylor Street and Huger Street: 49 collisions, nine with injuries
  3. Devine Street/Garners Ferry Road and Rosewood Drive: 45 collisions, 10 with injuries
  4. Main Street and Elmwood Avenue: 38 collisions, four with injuries, one fatal
  5. Gervais Street and Huger Street: 37 collisions, nine with injuries
  6. Investigated by Columbia Police Department

JUST OUTSIDE COLUMBIA IN RICHLAND COUNTY

  1. I-20 and Broad River Road: 142 collisions, 26 with injuries
  2. I-20 and I-26: 84 collisions, 15 with injuries
  3. I-26 and Broad River Road: 78 collisions, nine with injuries
  4. Killian Road and I-77: 75 collisions, 10 with injuries
  5. Two Notch Road and Sparkleberry Lane: 64 collisions, eight with injuries

Read more here: https://www.thestate.com/news/local/article153453474

Please contact us today if you were injured in a collision in Columbia or its surrounding counties in South Carolina.  Many of the cases that we handle have involved collisions in the dangerous intersections that are listed in this study.  We offer compassion, aggressive, and experienced representation to victims of car and truck accidents — call us at 803-350-9230 today for a free consultation.


South Carolina Ranked 3rd Worst State for Dangerous Roads

The Highways in South Carolina are Among the Most Dangerous in the Nation

Wall Street 24/7 has released its latest study of United States Roadways, ranking the safest and most unsafe by state.   In ranking the safest and most dangerous states to drive in the United States, data of roadway fatalities from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Federal Highway Administration was reviewed.  The state with the safest roads was Rhode Island.  The state with the most unsafe road was Mississippi.  Surprisingly, 9 of the 10 safest states were in the Northeast.  Six of the top ten worst regionally fall in the Southeast with South Carolina coming in this year’s survey as the 3rd worst state for roadway safety.  As the number 3 dangerous state, South Carolina has the following statistics:

South Carolina  (#3 most dangerous roads in America)

Road deaths per 100,000: 20.5

2016 roadway fatalities: 1,015 (13th most)

Seat belt use: 94%

Deadliest holiday in 2016: Martin Luther King’s Birthday (16 fatal crashes)

Fatal crashes on rural roads: 60%

If you or a loved one have been injured or suffered death as as result of a collision in South Carolina, you need to hire an honest, aggressive, and experienced attorney that can help you get the compensation that you deserve.  You need a Real Lawyer, with Real Results. Contact the Goings Law Firm today at 803-350-9230 to see how we can help you.


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