When other attorneys believe you are at the Top, it means something! Robert F. Goings was named in the Midlands of South Carolina as the Top Voted attorney in the field of Personal Injury in the 2019 Columbia Business Monthly’s Legal Elite of the Midlands. He was voted to this distinction by other attorneys in the Columbia and Midlands area of South Carolina. It is a great honor to be considered by other attorneys as the Top Voted Personal Injury attorney, and we believe this distinction reflects our firms strong reputation for honesty, hard-work, and dedication to our clients. Robert Goings’ reputation in the legal community as a champion for those who have suffered significant injury or a wrongful death is also reflected in being named to Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers in South Carolina by the U.S. News and World Reports. Being a highly rated and well respected law firm in the field of personal injury, wrongful death, and workers compensation takes many years of excellent results for clients. From serious motor vehicle collision caused by drunk drivers to medical malpractice and nursing home neglect, Robert Goings and his team of attorneys are highly rated by other attorneys in the legal profession. To learn more about the 2019 Columbia Business Monthly’s Legal Elite of the Midlands article can be viewed by clicking here.
5 Tips in Hiring the Best Lawyer for Your Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, or Workers’ Compensation Case
We believe that hiring an attorney for your personal injury case is a very important decision. Hiring the right attorney is critical. If you are looking to hire a personal injury attorney, here are some tips for you to consider so that you choose the best attorney for your case:
1. Be Cautious Choosing your Attorney based on a Billboard or a TV Commercial.
Be careful if you are choosing an attorney solely based on an advertisement. Many times, law firms or attorneys will plaster their names all over billboards around town or run tasteless or cheesy television commercials. Hiring an attorney should not be based on a silly commercial, gimmicky telephone numbers, or promises for a quick check. Don’t be fooled! Ask yourself, do you want an attorney that is spending time their marketing to new clients on TV with cartoon-like characters and big numbers to call, or do you want a serious lawyer that is working hard for clients in and outside of the courtroom? It is hard to be a fighter in the courtroom if your attorney is too busy filming TV commercials or picking out the next billboard to print. We have found that often times the best attorneys don’t need to advertise. And if they do advertise, the advertisement should reflect high achievements and strong ethical commitments to the representation of injured people. We recommend that you hire an attorney who will treat your case as a serious matter and provide you with the best legal representation possible. The Goings Law Firm strives to set itself apart from silly commercial, gimmicky telephone numbers, or promises for a quick check. Instead, we provide sincere, honest and aggressive representation to people and families faced with serious injury and death.
2. Read Online Reviews Before you Hire an Attorney.
Online reviews from former clients can be very helpful in choosing the best lawyer for your case. When a former client takes the time to leave a review, it helps people searching for an attorney know what law firm would be best suited for their case based on personality, success, and traits that are important to you. You can find reviews on website such as Google, Lawyers.com, and Avvo.com, and we would recommend choosing an attorney with strong recommendations and reviews of former clients. At the same time, we all know that not everybody can be made happy despite how hard you work or how great the result may be for their case. If you are interested in reading the 5 star and 10/10 reviews about the Goings Law Firm and Robert Goings, check out these links: Google Reviews, Lawyers.com Reviews, SuperLawyers Reviews, Avvo.com Reviews. The Goings Law Firm is also featured on Expertise.com as a highly rated and reviewed personal injury firm in Columbia, South Carolina, as shown here.
3. Consider if you want a “High Volume” Law Firm or an Attorney that You Will Give you One-on-One Attention.
When you are searching for an attorney, it is important to consider if you want a law firm that accepts a “high volume” of cases or claims or if you want a smaller firm that only accepts a select number of clients. Also, do you want your case or file to be a number or would you rather be represented by an attorney who knows you personally and doesn’t treat you as just another number? Because legal matters can often times be complex and time consuming, we have found that we provide the best representation to our clients when our caseload is smaller and more manageable. When a law firm is does not accept a large number of cases, it it naturally easier to develop a relationship with your attorney and for that lawyer to provide one-on-one attention to each client. At the Goings Law Firm, we strive to provide one-on-one attention to each client. You will not be a just a number at our firm. If you want a “high volume” firm, we would not be right fit for you. We don’t operate with a “settlement mill” or “ambulance chaser” mindset, but with the focus on treating you in the same manner we would expect to be treated.
4. Is The Attorney a Real Trial Attorney with Results in Court?
Another consideration in choosing a personal injury or wrongful death attorney is whether the attorney has a strong track record in going to court. It is important to know if your personal injury attorney has the trial experience to represent you in court. Often times attorneys have no desire or interest in trying cases even though they label themselves as “trial attorneys.” The Goings Law Firm is truly a team of trial attorney who are not scared to go to court! We refuse to take the “low-ball quick check” approach to representing victims. We go to court when necessary. We have found that if the insurance company knows your attorney is willing to take your case to trial before a judge or a jury, then the defendant or insurance company is more likely willing to resolve the case more fairly and with higher compensation. On the other hand, if the defendant or insurance company knows that the attorney has a reputation of never taking the case to trial, then the the defendant or insurance company has no real incentive to fairly compensate you. The Goings Law Firm has made its reputation in the courtroom with verdict after verdict in favor of our clients.
5. Hire an Attorney that Other Attorneys Would Hire.
Lawyers in the community typically know which lawyers are the best to hire. Asking a lawyer who they would recommend is often a good way to find a lawyer for your case. The Goings Law Firm represents many clients on the recommendation of other attorneys. In fact, attorneys often times refer clients to the Goings Law Firm in situations where a lawsuit is required to be brought in order to get fair compensation. The Goings Law Firm is a firm that other attorneys hire to assist in representing their clients in complex litigation matter involving personal injury, wrongful death, and on the job workers compensation injuries. In fact, Robert F. Goings was named in the Midlands of South Carolina as the Top Voted attorney in the field of Personal Injury in the 2019 Columbia Business Monthly’s Legal Elite of the Midlands. His honor was based on receiving the top number of votes by other attorneys in the Columbia and Midlands area of South Carolina. We believe that you should hire an attorney that other attorney would hire!
What are the Alcohol Liability and Dram Shop Laws in South Carolina?
The alcohol liability and dram shop laws in South Carolina can protect victims of alcohol related injury or death. Alcohol has proven to be a lead factor in the cause of injuries and deaths on the highways of South Carolina. South Carolina currently ranks 2nd for the most DUI fatalities per capita in the United States. In recovering for our clients, we do not stop with the drunk driver. We pursue those that cause and enable the drunk driver.
The Goings Law Firm regularly sues restaurants and bar owners, social clubs, and individuals in cases arising from accidents involving the service of alcohol to intoxicated persons and minors. Dram Shop laws are intended to prevent restaurants, bars, and clubs from serving alcohol to minors and serving alcohol to intoxicated persons. If a restaurant, bar, or club violates such Dram Shop laws and someone is injured as a result, the establishment can be held responsible for the injuries. Our attorneys are well versed in these laws and experienced in representing both injured victims involving the sale and service of alcohol.
South Carolina has specific statutory and common law that governs the liability of restaurants, bars, social clubs and even individual people (social hosts) with respect to the service of alcohol under certain situations. These laws govern what is known as dram shop liability, tavern owner liability, liquor liability and social host liability, and they may allow an injured party to hold a restaurant, bar, club, or individual responsible for injuries or death caused by the service of alcohol.
While South Carolina does not have a “Dram Shop Act,” it is illegal in South Carolina to “knowingly” serve alcohol to any person who is intoxicated. To pursue a Dram Shop action, the injured party must apply the criminal statutes governing alcohol control (S.C. Code Ann. § 61-4-580) and demonstrate that an establishment knowingly served alcohol to an intoxicated person. If the injured party can establish that a restaurant or a bar knew or should have known that it was serving an intoxicated person, whether by signs of visible intoxication or based upon the type, number and time period over which the customer consumed alcoholic drinks, that restaurant or bar is liable for the resulting injuries and damages proximately caused by the drunk driver. Additionally, if a restaurant or bar knew or should have known an alcohol purchaser is under 21 years of age, then that restaurant or bar could be liable if the purchaser’s intoxication caused an injury. Similarly, an adult social host who knowingly serves, or causes to be served, an alcoholic beverage to a person he knows or reasonably should know is between the ages of 18 and 20 is liable to the person served and to any other persons for damages proximately resulting from the host’s service of alcohol.
In a recent case, the South Carolina Supreme Court upheld a $10 million verdict against The Getaway Lounge & Grill and its owners. See Hartfield v. The Getaway Lounge & Grill, Inc., 388 S.C. 407 (2010). The case involved a customer who spent a night visiting a number of bars, including The Getaway, before getting into a motor vehicle collision, which killed the customer and seriously injured the driver of the other vehicle. One of the owners of The Getaway testified that the customer did not appear intoxicated while he was there. Fluid samples taken from the customer’s body indicated that his blood alcohol content (“BAC”) was .212. At trial, a forensic chemistry expert, using a method known as “retrograde extrapolation,” estimated that his BAC when he left The Getaway must have been between .18 and .20 and that, therefore, “he would have been grossly intoxicated and exhibiting symptoms of intoxication.” The Court stated that there was sufficient circumstantial evidence to support the forensic chemist’s expert testimony. Notably, the Court also held that a customer need not be “visibly intoxicated” for the imposition of dram shop liability; rather, “knowledge” of intoxication may be acquired through different mediums. The complexities of the Getaway case demonstrate that it is critical to retain an attorney with experience and knowledge in the area of dram shop litigation.
Dram shop liability is a specialized area of law, both from a practical and a legal perspective. Dram shop cases are often fact-intensive and require extensive resources and experts to prove the elements of the case. Dram shop cases often turn on the issue of liability, making the timely collection and analysis of police reports, receipts, video, social media, and eye witness statements crucial. Dram shop claims involve unique aspects of the law as well. For example, South Carolina’s modified joint and several liability system does not apply to conduct involving the use, sale, or possession of alcohol. This has significant consequences in multi-defendant litigation, resulting in the ability to collect 100% of the damages awarded from a restaurant or bar that is found just 1% liable. Also, there is no cap on punitive damages under for negligence based on alcohol liability. Thus, having an attorney experienced in dram shop litigation is crucial to both bringing and defending these claims.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed by a drunk driver and you believe a bar or restaurant may be responsible, call us today at 803-350-9230 or contact us online for a free consultation today,
If you are involved in a car and truck accident in South Carolina in which alcohol was involved, multiple parties may be held liable for the damages and injuries that were caused in the alcohol related collision. The obvious liable party is the intoxicated driver, as the at-fault for the accident. In South Carolina however, the injured party may also have a claim against the establishment (bar, restaurant, tavern, convenience store, etc.) that served the driver alcohol prior to the accident under a theory called “dram shop” law.
Although not recognized by statute in South Carolina, dram shop claims have evolved throughout the years by South Carolina Supreme Court decisions. In particular, the Supreme Court of South Carolina ruled in, that a bar can be held liable for injuries an intoxicated patron causes if the bar violated South Carolina state law by over serving alcohol to a visibly intoxicated customer . A “visibly intoxicated” adult is one who a reasonable person knew or should have known the adult was intoxicated, often in light of the person’s behaviors or a blood-alcohol test.
While South Carolina courts recognize the liability of establishments who over-serve their patrons, there previously had been no requirement for establishments to insure themselves for alcohol-related incidents. Due to this lack of mandated risk mitigation, injured persons were often left without proper means to recover expenses incurred from injuries caused by intoxicated individuals, such as medical bills or lost wages. Essentially, bars and restaurants were allowed to over-serve patrons without adequately insuring themselves in the event any of their intoxicated patrons drove drunk or assaulted someone.
One of the problems is purusing a lawsuit against a bar has been the lack of ability to meaningfully recover against the establishment. However, in 2017, the South Carolina General Assembly passed a new law requiring establishments licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption after 5:00 P.M. to maintain liquor liability insurance of at least $1 million. The law, which takes effect on July 1, 2017, applies to both new applicants for liquor permits and licenses, as well as those renewing permits or licenses. This law creates an avenue for an injured person to recover from a bar or restaurant that allows a patron to get drunk or overly intoxicated.
The Goings Law Firm has many years of experience holding these alcohol permit holders legally responsible when allow a patron to get drunk and then drive on our roads endangering innocent lives. We are Real Lawyers who know how to get Real Results for DUI related injuries and deaths. Contact an experienced dram shop and alcohol liability attorney at the Goings Law Firm today at 803-350-9230.
South Carolina is the third deadliest state in the nation when it comes to drunk driving deaths, according to a study by 24-7 Wall Street. The study shows that nearly 360 people were killed by drunk drivers in the state in 2012. South Carolina also ranked 20th in the country for DUI arrests, at 17,906 in 2012. Many of the intoxicated drivers were minors, with 2.8 underage deaths related to DUI accidents per 100,000. This ratio makes South Carolina rank the 6th highest in minor related drunk driving fatalities.
Fortunately, there was a declined in the number of car accident related fatalities in South Carolina in 2013. The South Carolina Department of Public Safety noted 229 fatal car accidents in 2013. To date in 2014, there as been already 217 fatal auto accidents, and if this trend continues this year the number of fatal accident may exceed 2012. However, this year, the State of South Carolina recently enacted a law, called “Emma’s Law“, designed to toughen DUI punishment. Emma’s Law establishes the use of an interlock device for convictions of certain DUI related offenses.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident with someone that was driving under the influence you may be entitled to significant compensation, including an award of punitive damages against the at-fault driver to help punish for the reckless nature of driving while intoxicated. Contact the Car Accident Attorneys at the Goings Law Firm, LLC at (803) 350-9230 today to see if we can help you.