Honest Answers From Your South Carolina Lawyer
When you’re faced with a major life event, you’re filled with questions and uncertainty. Get the straight answers you’re looking for from a South Carolina attorney.
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What happens if I get in an auto accident with an Uber driver?
Uber and other rideshare services add tremendous comfort and convenience, and no one thinks about getting hurt using them.
But bad things happen occasionally—and unexpectedly. You can be hurt without warning by a traffic collision involving a rideshare vehicle. Even if it’s not the Uber driver’s fault, you need to know how your case works.
Here’s the most important, basic stuff about your Uber car accident case.
First Things First: Uber Insurance Coverage for Car Accidents
The most important question for injury victims or families who suffer wrongful death in a fatal accident is this one: What insurance covers an Uber accident?
Here’s how Uber covers its drivers as of March 1, 2018:
- If the driver’s Uber app is off, he’s offline. Only the driver’s personal insurance applies.
- If the driver’s Uber app is on but the driver has no passengers and is not on the way to get them, Uber’s coverage is a maximum of: $50,000 for any one victim, $100,000 for the whole crash, and $25,000 for property damage.
- If the Uber driver is carrying passengers or is on the way to get them, coverage is up to $1,000,000 for crashes caused by the Uber driver. And if the auto accident is not the Uber driver’s fault, there’s good news for victims: If the at-fault driver’s insurance isn’t enough to pay for your injuries or loss of a loved one, Uber provides a maximum of $1,000,000 extra coverage, called underinsurance.
- While riding with Uber, if you’re a victim of a hit and run or an at-fault driver with no insurance, Uber provides up to $1,000,000 uninsured coverage for injuries or wrongful death.
Your case may be further complicated by other insurance coverage from other drivers’ policies—including your own.
And That’s Only the Tip of the Iceberg
That’s only the beginning of issues you’ve got to contend with in your case. For more free info about your case, a good starting point is our car crash home page. Or you can download our FREE REPORT on South Carolina car crash cases. As always, if you’ve got specific questions, fill out our Get Help Now form on this page or just call 888-230-1841 to speak to an experienced auto accident attorney.
What’s the difference between Stand Your Ground and self-defense?
Basically, South Carolina’s Stand Your Ground law gives added protection to defend yourself in certain places. In particular, here are three factors that are always important to a criminal defense based on this law:
- Added protection. If you qualify, you are immune from prosecution, meaning your case is dismissed. You do have to prove self-defense, but you don’t have to prove the fourth factor of self-defense, the duty to retreat if possible.
- Places. Your case must involve a residence, business, or occupied vehicle.
- Proof. You have to prove self-defense by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning more likely than not.
In contrast, you can use self-defense anywhere else. It’s tougher to prove, though, because:
- Less protection. The law doesn’t allow for dismissal. It’s a trial defense used to get an acquittal. You’ve got to show all four factors of self-defense, including the attempt to retreat or the inability to do so.
- Proof. To convict you at trial, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt at least one element of self-defense doesn’t exist.
Don’t Risk Losing Your Legal Rights Without a Fight
If you’re wondering about Stand Your Ground or self-defense, you can’t afford anything but a criminal defense lawyer you trust. Your future’s on the line, and the State wants to take it. An injured victim or the victim’s family may be pushing hard for it, with the willing help of the police. Don’t let your side get drowned out. Call us at 888.230.1841 to start getting your voice heard.
How long will my driver’s license be suspended if I get convicted of a repeat offense DUI or DUAC?
First, be sure you’re even supposed to be charged with a repeat offense, because sometimes officers get it wrong.
Now to the dissatisfying answer to your question. Unfortunately, the real question here should be, “How long will I be on ignition interlock? If you’re unfamiliar with it, it’s not just a breathalyzer you’ve got to pass before your car starts- it’s mighty expensive and embarrassing.
License Suspensions and Ignition Interlock for Repeat Offenses
For repeat offenses, the law’s brutally simple: your license is suspended until you get ignition interlock. Here’s how long you have to use the interlock system:
- For a second offense, two years.
- For a third offense, three years. But if the third offense occurs within five years from the date of the first offense, four years.
- For a fourth or subsequent offense, for life.
Now I’ll share a shocking truth that makes the stakes for your case even higher: you can’t get out of this by pleading to a reduced DUI offense. “Repeat offender” is based on the number of convictions you’ve had, so pleading to a DUI first offense in your DUI second offense case will probably deem you a repeat offender, subjecting you to ignition interlock.
It’s Worth It to Give Yourself a Fighting Chance, Because You Might Just Win
The long-term cost, inconvenience, and embarrassment of ignition interlock makes a repeat offense worth fighting. The truth about DUI cases is that you might have defenses you don’t even know about. In fact, that’s part of the reason I wrote the FREE report on these cases, which you can use for helpful info on your case.
And even if you have no winning defense, an experienced DUI attorney can help you reach a deal with prosecutors to minimize the consequence as much as possible.
If you want a free, no-pressure strategy session to answer your questions and start plotting your defense, call me at 888-230-1841 to schedule it.
How do you get charged with assault and battery based on the other person’s injuries?
The degree of your assault charge can be determined by the complainant’s injury severity as defined by South Carolina Code §16-3-600(A). Here are the legal definitions:
Great Bodily Injury
This can be part of an assault and battery high and aggravated (ABHAN) or assault and battery first degree charge. It means an injury causing:
- A substantial risk of death, or
- Serious permanent disfigurement, or
- Protracted loss or impairment of a body part or organ.
This type injury is often involved in shootings, stabbings, and extremely severe beatings.
Moderate Bodily Injury
This can be part of assault and battery second degree. It means an injury:
- Involving prolonged unconsciousness, or
- Causing temporary or moderate disfigurement, or
- Causing temporary loss of function of a body part or organ, or
- Requiring local or general anesthesia, or
- Resulting in a fracture or dislocation.
It specifically excludes minor injuries that don’t usually require extensive medical care, like cuts and scratches, bruises, and even burns.
Your Case Outcome Isn’t Set in Stone
These definitions don’t have to be the final word on whether you even get convicted, or whether you have to take the full rap. As regrettable as it is, how bad the complainant got hurt doesn’t legally matter if you’ve got a defense, like self-defense. Even if you have no defense, that’s all the more reason to seek a talented criminal defense attorney to help protect you from getting locked up.
And remember, you might have defenses you don’t know, as a sharp defense attorney might find loopholes in these definitions to reduce the charge, or he may just negotiate a better deal for you.
If you’ve got questions about the injuries in your assault and battery case, or any other questions, fill out our Get Help Now form to get them answered.
Should I use Medicaid or Medicare to pay medical bills for accident injuries?
Yes. Medicare and Medicaid are government benefits designed to pay for medical needs. That includes injuries that aren’t your fault, be it a wreck, fall, injury caused by a healthcare provider, and even care for fatal accidents.
These benefits are considered the same as health insurance in legal cases. We’ve already noted that using health benefits can make life easier after a personal injury.
And don’t let a provider refuse to take your Medicare or Medicaid payment. Just politely explain these benefits are to pay medical bills—even for accidents—and you insist on using them as designed.
If you’ve got other questions you need answered about your accident, fill out our Get Help Now form on this page or just call (800) 230-184 or (864) 582-0416 to schedule a free, no-pressure strategy session to start building your case and get your questions answered.
If I get hit by a car walking across the street or riding a bicycle, what rights do I have?
You have the same rights to be compensated as an innocent motorist or passenger in a typical car, truck, or motorcycle accident. Here are three important factors in your case:
If the accident is all or mostly your fault—for example, if you walked despite a “stop” signal on the crosswalk light or veered across three lanes of traffic on your bicycle—you cannot legally recover.
But even if you may have played a role in the crash, don’t be discouraged. Due to the rule of “comparative negligence,” you might still win compensation. To get your best shot at a recovery, you’ll need an experienced auto accident lawyer to convince the insurance company that its driver is most at fault.
Even if the driver’s fault is clear, it’s smart to consult an attorney to strategize the best way to maximize your financial recovery. Legal compensation is built from many details that have to be fully developed before the insurance company will part with its beloved cash to pay you.
Traffic accidents involving pedestrians or bicyclists often result in severe injuries or even death, especially if it involves a child. The worse the injuries, the greater potential to collect more compensation. As the value of your claim rises, it becomes more important to protect your rights to a fair recovery; at the same time, it becomes much harder for an untrained person to win the best available outcome.
Seriously hurt or grieving people have too much to worry about already. They can be overwhelmed by dealing with insurance company demands and by the insurance adjuster, who’s evaluated on how much he doesn’t pay out in claims. Insurance companies take advantage of amateur claimants, getting out cheap by forcing an unjustifiably low settlement when you’re just exhausted or don’t know any better.
It’s easy to overlook your rights in this situation, including the availability of all potential sources of financial recovery. Keep reading.
The primary source of recovery is auto insurance. Victims get paid first from the at-fault driver’s policy. You’ll need to be sure you know the maximum amount that policy will pay. An experienced auto accident attorney can help.
Finally, some good news. If needed, and if you bought the right coverage, you can use your OWN auto policy. If your case is that serious, you need a skilled attorney to review your coverage, then prove your rights to get as much as possible.
The Tip of the Iceberg
Remember, these are just three factors in your case; there are usually a lot more moving parts to manage than that. Don’t risk adding insult to injury by getting shortchanged by an insurance company or overlooking your coverage. Fill out our Get Help Now form to get your questions answered and start building your case today.
Will I have to pay health insurance- including Medicare or Medicaid- back for my accident?
It's likely, but it probably won’t be as bad as you think. It’s much, much better than expecting whoever hurt you to pay bills as they come in—because he won’t. It’s also better than telling your doctors you’ll pay them from your settlement—because you’ll get stuck with the whole bill, and possibly sent to collections, which can hurt your credit.
As for paying it back, here’s why it’s a pretty good deal for you.
First, health insurance pays your medical bills at a discount. INSIDER TIP: This is inadmissible in court, so your case is valued on the full amount of the bill, as if insurance never paid. Read the reason behind this unique law called the collateral source rule.
The right of the health insurance company to be repaid from your settlement is called subrogation. But it doesn’t exist in every case, and a sharp injury attorney can help you figure out whether you even have to worry about it.
In our cases where health insurance does get the right to be paid back, we’re often able to negotiate a discount on the repayment. So our clients benefit from a discount off a discount—giving you more money from your settlement to catch up your bills and regain financial stability after a severe injury that may have devastating economic effects for you and your family.
If you need help figuring out whether your health insurance must be repaid from an accident—or if you have any other questions about your case—feel free to send us a live chat message right where you are to get your questions answered by an experienced accident injury lawyer.
If I file for workers’ comp, won’t my employer have to pay my medical bills?
Almost certainly not. We get this question more often than you might think. The majority of injured workers are loyal employees who might worry their employer will have to pay their medical bills. It discourages some employees from seeking vital benefits they need when they get seriously hurt on the job.
But before you forfeit important rights to income or to necessary medical care while you’re out of work, you should know this: In almost every case, your comp benefits get paid by an insurance company. That’s right! Your employer has paid thousands—maybe even millions—of dollars in premiums for years to provide coverage for people like you who get hurt on the job.
So if you’re worried your employer will personally pay your medical bills if you’re out, stop. It’s almost certainly an insurance company paying, and that insurer has plenty of money lying around to handle your claim.
You Can Collect on Your Claim Without Hurting Anyone
Many of our clients are relieved to know that their claim for a job-related injury is not going to put their employer out of business. Even so, filing a claim can be uncomfortable for some workers who don’t want to deal with confrontation by co-workers or the sense from management they did something wrong by protecting their rights. And if you’re seriously hurt, the complexities and frustration of dealing with the insurance company can be overwhelming. Plus you’ve got important rights you need to protect, like future medical care. Just figuring out the right settlement can be complex.
All these are reasons why you should seek the advice of a professional who handles these cases for a living. If you’re worried about anything related to your work injury, fill out our Get Help Now section at the top of this page so you can get your questions answered.
When do I get paid for my accident settlement?
Let me first assure you that you’re not being rude. This is an answer you need to know.
And here’s the answer: at our firm, we get your check to you ASAP, but ethical regulations and finalizing the settlement takes a little time.
Here’s basically how it works with our firm:
- We reach a settlement agreement with the other side.
- If a case involves an injured child or death, a judge likely has to approve the settlement. We get a hearing scheduled ASAP. For more, here's how the court process works for fatality settlement proceedings and children's settlement proceedings.
- We get the settlement documents to end the case. We review them closely to protect your rights. If the documents don’t fully protect your rights or don’t reflect the agreement, we make changes.
- The check usually comes with the documents. We deposit that in our trust account, a special bank account safeguarding your money until we can pay you. Ethical regulations require us to wait a few days to be sure it clears before paying you.
- Once the documents are ready for you to sign, you sign. Before you sign, we explain them to you, since they’re often written in incredibly complex “legalese”—which can be just plain ridiculous. We return them for you.
- You usually get your check around the same time you sign the settlement documents.
You get copies of all the documents, and we prove where all the money goes. Because this is an important moment in your life with serious financial consequences, we want to make sure you have all the information related to the settlement. We give you a packet with all the important settlement documents in it. On top is a sheet showing who gets paid from the settlement—and how much—so you can account for every penny of it, including our fees and costs paid from the check.
The packet includes proof we repaid anyone you’re required to repay from the settlement, like your health insurance company that may have covered your medical bills.
It Doesn’t Take That Long, But It’s Mighty Important
While it sounds like a lot, the settlement process doesn’t take that long. Once we agree to settle, you will typically get your check within a month—sometimes less. Cases requiring court approval can take longer due to scheduling conflicts, but we always aim to achieve our driving goal: getting you compensated as soon as possible.
If you’ve got any questions about a potential settlement or your case, start a live chat right where you are to get those questions answered. We know it’s important to you, and we’re here to help.
After I settle my workers’ comp case, when do I get my check?
If you feel guilty about asking, stop. You’ve lost work and income. You may need the money to catch up on some bills. It’s the responsible thing to make plans and budget carefully when you receive money, and that includes a settlement.
That’s why we work to get you the money as quickly as we can.
But here’s the answer: it does take a little time to get your check, but it’s because workers’ compensation law imposes some requirements to protect you. Settlements must be filed with the Workers’ Compensation Commission and attorney fees and costs must be approved by the Commission.
Here’s how it works ordinarily:
- We agree to settle the case with the workers’ compensation insurance company that handles your benefits.
- We get settlement documents laying out the agreement. We review them closely to protect your rights, especially since they can impact your ability to get free future medical care for your injuries, depending which settlement option you chose. If you’ve been declared permanently and totally disabled, you can bet we’ll be extra careful about preserving your rights to the most extensive benefits known in workers’ comp. If the documents aren’t right, we make changes to protect you.
- The check usually comes with the settlement documents. We deposit that in our trust account, a special account safeguarding your money.
- Once the documents are ready for you to sign, you sign. Naturally, we explain them to you beforehand, since they’re often incredibly complex “legalese”—which can be just plain ridiculous. We return them to opposing counsel to file with the Commission, or we file them ourselves.
- You also sign a Form 61. It’s an official form from the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. It details who gets paid from the settlement, including our fees and costs paid from the settlement check. We send that to a Commissioner with an order approving the fees and costs.
When we get the filed copies of the settlement documents, the form 61, and the order approving our fees and costs, it’s official! You get your check.
It’s Worth A Little Wait
While the process takes longer than we want—usually a few weeks—it’s to be sure no injured worker gets taken for a ride by an insurance company—or even a dishonest lawyer.
Naturally, if you’ve hired us, you’re not worried about that.
If you have questions about your potential comp settlement or any aspects of your comp case, feel free to email us right where you are to get them answered. We’re here to give you peace of mind and help you find your way in what’s often a hard, confusing time.