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Holland & Usry, P.A.

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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  • My doctor says I have a repeated motion injury from work. Can I still get workers’ comp?

    Yes, if you can present your case the right way. South Carolina workers’ compensation law calls these “repetitive trauma injuries.” Here’s a little more on them:

    • Definition. The typical on-the-job injury results from a single event, like a fall or getting yanked into a machine. But repetitive trauma injuries occur over time from the combined effects of repeated activity. Classic examples include factory or maintenance workers required to make the same repeated moves, day after day, like reaching up or lifting objects.
    • Proof. The law, insurance companies, and commissioners are skeptical of these injuries. To get benefits, you’ve got a complex legal standard to meet. Basically, you must prove by proper medical evidence that it’s likely your repeated, regular job duties caused your injury.

    Sound tough? It is. These cases are hard-fought because they’re hard to prove. If you’re a victim of a repetitive trauma injury, you owe it to yourself and your family to protect your rights to medical treatment and disability income. Hire a professional who knows how to win your case—because the insurance company already has a legion of adjusters, investigators, and lawyers who know how to win theirs. Email us or call us at (888) 230-1841 or (864) 582-0416 to set up a free meeting on how to prove your case.

     

  • Can I recover income I lost while caring for my injured spouse?

    Unfortunately not, but you can recover for other damage to your marital relationship as a result of the accident. It’s called loss of consortium, a topic we have recently discussed on this website- see the link below. If you actually witnessed the accident from a nearby view point, you might also qualify to recover for extreme emotional distress, provided you can meet the fairly tough burden of proof, which we also discuss below.

    What About Employment-Related Injuries?

    If your spouse got hurt in a workers’ compensation accident—in other words, got hurt on the job—the South Carolina workers’ compensation law unfortunately provides no recovery for you. Because these benefits are already limited, it makes it even more important to be sure your spouse has an experienced lawyer to protect his or her rights against an insurance company bent on saving money and increasing profits by shortchanging injured workers. Vital benefits are at risk, including permanent disability compensation and future medical treatment, especially if your spouse qualifies as permanently and totally disabled.

    If you’re missing time at work to care for a spouse disabled from an accident injury, your plate is way too full to solve your legal problem alone. Call us at (888) 230-1841 or (864) 582-0416 to set up a free meeting how we can protect both of your rights to compensation from the wrongdoer who hurt you.

  • Can I get a financial recovery for pain and suffering in my workers’ compensation case?

    Usually not, which makes it more important for you to have a professional on your side to maximize the limited benefits you can get from workers’ comp, and to guide you through the many options you have after an on-the-job injury. We’ll touch on those in a second.

    Even though the general rule is that you can’t collect for pain and suffering, there is one important exception. If you can prove someone besides your employer caused you to get hurt, you can sue the at-fault party in a third-party action. The classic example is a car crash when you’re driving for work.

    Workers' Compensation Excludes Pain and Suffering

    The reason you usually can’t get pain and suffering in workers’ comp is due to the nature of workers’ compensation. It’s basically an agreement between employees and employers (for all practical purposes, employer insurance companies). Employees agree not to sue employers for work injuries. In exchange, employers provide certain benefits for most job injuries, without requiring the employee to prove fault.

    Here are the basic benefits that South Carolina workers’ compensation provides. You’ll be most interested in the last one:

    Even though you can’t get money for pain and suffering, your workers’ compensation case can be complicated with all its settlement options. And you’ll likely be confronted by an insurance company seeking every chance to make things hard on you and shortchange you in the end. Don’t let that happen. No matter how seriously you are hurt, take the time to call us at (888) 230-1841 or (864) 582-0416, or start a live chat where you are. We can talk about your options and see if we can help you protect your rights to the medical care you need and the financial compensation you should get.

     

  • I had a bad driving record when I was younger and my license has been permanently revoked. Is there anything I can do to get my driver’s license back?

    Yes. In some circumstances a person whose driver’s license has been revoked permanently based on a bad driving record can get his license back. It is not easy, but it can be done.

    A big part of the puzzle is that the person who had his license revoked must correct the behavior that led to the revocation. In order to get his license reinstated, he must show the following to be true:

    1. He must not been convicted for any alcohol or drug violations during the previous seven years…and not just in South Carolina, but in any state.

    2. He must not have been convicted of or have any charges pending for a driving violation during the previous seven-year period in South Carolina or any other state.

    3. He must have successfully completed the program provided by the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services in South Carolina (ADSAP).

    4. His overall driving record, habits, character, and driving ability would make it safe for him to operate a motor vehicle.

    As you may imagine the first three are fairly easy to show. Either they have occurred or they haven’t occurred. It’s the last condition that is subjective. That is why one important part of the process is to have an attorney who knows how to present the evidence in a way that will best show that it is safe for you to have a driver’s license. This is an action that is filed in the Circuit Court, and is tried in front of a Circuit Court judge.

    No Easy Way to Restore A Permanently Revoked License

    If your license has been permanently revoked, there is no easy path to regaining your license. If you are eligible to apply, you must show seven years of “good behavior.” That’s difficult, but it can be done.

    If you would like to discuss your driver’s license problems or traffic-related charges with the attorneys of Holland & Usry, please do not hesitate to contact us at 864.582.0416 or toll-free at 888.230.1841 for a free, confidential consultation.

     

  • What does the law say about driving 18-wheelers in bad weather?

    Federal regulations require the driver of a semi-trailer, 18-wheeler, tractor-trailer, or other large truck to use—and I quote—“extreme caution” when driving in “hazardous conditions” that reduce visibility or tire traction. You might be surprised to learn the law defines “hazardous conditions” to include:

    • Snow
    • Ice
    • Sleet
    • Fog
    • Mist
    • Rain
    • Dust
    • Smoke

    In these conditions, federal regulations require speed to be reduced. If the situation becomes sufficiently dangerous, the trucker is required to stop. We’ve already written about how commercial truckers should handle slick roads.

    Bad Weather is No Excuse for an 18-Wheeler Accident

    Few things on the interstate are more terrifying than encountering these highway mammoths in bad weather. While truckers are legally required to use extreme caution in bad weather, don’t let your guard down. Truckers sometimes are blinded to safety requirements, just as they’re blinded by blowing snow or thick fog.

    And if you get victimized by a crash as a result, don’t let a truck driver’s insurance company victimize you twice. Send us an email so we can talk about how to enforce your rights for a fair recovery without breaking the rules of the road and the laws of the land.

     

  • What is a black box, and how can it help my tractor-trailer accident case?

    A “black box” is also called an engine control module or electronic data recorder. It’s a computer measuring certain key events that can be useful in proving a tractor-trailer caused a crash and assessing whether the trucker drove recklessly, giving you the right to punitive damages.

    Shockingly, federal safety regulations do not require them. But most tractor-trailers built in the last few years should have them anyway.

    What the Black Box Measures

    Black box data depends on the year, make, and model of the engine…and sometimes owner-selected features. In a trucking accident case, the black box can show:

    • The speed at impact.
    • Hard braking—or the lack of it.
    • The last stop when the engine got turned off. This might be used to check the honesty of the trucker’s logs that show he was taking the rest breaks required to prevent fatigued driving.

    How the Black Box Is Used

    The insurance company won’t just give you the black box. And you need to get it fast. You’ll need a skilled tractor-trailer wreck attorney to find the right expert with trucking industry or accident reconstruction experience to download the data and then interpret it.

    DON’T DELAY. This data can expire or, even worse, vanish seemingly without an explanation. Preserve your rights to this data by getting the right lawyer who knows how to do everything possible to prevent this vital evidence from evaporating.

    If you’ve been involved in a crash where you’re concerned about black box evidence helping you, act fast and call us now at 888-230-1841 or 864-582-0416 to discuss how we can take steps to keep your rights from disappearing.

     

  • What does it mean when a semi-trailer “jackknifes,” and what causes it?

    Few things inject more fear in the heart of drivers than a tractor-trailer spiraling out of control in a jackknife, sweeping a path of destruction on the highway. In a jackknife accident, the two parts of a tractor-trailer fold up together at a sharp angle resembling a jackknife with a blade emerging. Typically, these crashes sweep across multiple lanes of traffic, putting all nearby vehicles at risk.

    The 2015 South Carolina Commercial Driver License Manual makes the key distinction between two types of jackknife: a tractor jackknife and a trailer jackknife. In both cases, the root cause is the same: braking too hard causes wheels to lose their grip on the road. Depending on what part of the vehicle loses its traction, however, what happens next can be very different:

    • Tractor jackknife. This involves the wheels on the truck, not the trailer. The back wheels lock, then slide sideways ,trying to “catch up” with the front ones. This causes the trailer to push the truck sideways, resulting in the jackknife.
    • Trailer jackknife. The trailer wheels lock, causing it to swing around. Surprisingly, this is more likely when the trailer is empty or lightly loaded.

    Prevention And Consequences

    Tuckers can prevent deadly jackknifes by observing a few simple rules to keep from needing to slam on brakes:

    • Look out for other drivers.
    • Don’t speed.
    • Don’t slam on brakes.
    • Don’t rev the engine.

    When a tractor trailer jackknifes, the consequences for innocent motorists can be life-changing injuries…or just plain deadly. If you’re the victim of one of these crashes, check out our site for more information on 18-wheeler accidents. Order our FREE REPORT about accident cases to learn more. You can always start a live chat right from where you sit or call us to arrange a free meeting to discuss how we can help you get properly compensated for the toll the jackknife took on your life.

     

  • Can my criminal domestic violence case go to Pre-Trial Intervention?

    Maybe, if the circumstances are exactly right.

    Let’s start off by examining whether you would want Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI), because that’s the easy part. The answer is YES. PTI is no picnic, but it’s better than the possibility of jail time and hefty fines that could result from a Criminal Domestic Violence (CDV) conviction. And here’s the best part- completing PTI gets your case dismissed and the charges removed from your criminal record.

    Unfortunately, you don’t get to decide to take PTI instead of a criminal conviction. You can request PTI, but the decision to give you a break is out of your hands.

    You Get PTI Only If a Lot of Cards Fall Your Way—But Your Attorney Can Shift The Odds in Your Favor

    Let’s say you’ve been charged with CDV, third degree. More serious levels of Criminal Domestic Violence don’t allow for Pre-Trial Intervention.

    Next, you would have to convince the State and the victim to allow it. You cannot demand PTI; rather, the State and the victim must agree.

    If you’ve been charged with third-degree Criminal Domestic Violence, PTI can be a pearl of great price, especially since it can erase the stain of a conviction and prevent the anxiety of the charge hanging over your head while the case winds its way through the courts. These cases often feature emotional victims and prosecutors who feel public pressure to obtain convictions. You’ll need an experienced lawyer who can defend your case to win it and skillfully negotiate your ability to apply for the program.

    If you hope for your CDV to end with it being wiped off your criminal record, call us at (864) 582-0416 or (888) 230-1841 to discuss building a two-part defense to win in the courtroom and at the conference room negotiating table. Let us give you the best shot at Pre-Trial Intervention.

     

  • I got charged with criminal domestic violence—but I never touched anyone! Is that legal?

    Unfortunately, yes. But just because you got charged sure doesn’t mean you can be proven guilty. To win your case, you’ll need a sharp defense attorney who knows how to calm aggressive prosecutors and soothe jury desires to “right this wrong” by convicting you…because, let’s face it, emotions almost always run high in these cases.

    The Law Determines the Charges (and the Law Isn’t Always What You Think)

    The reason you got charged is due to the definition of Criminal Domestic Violence (CDV). You commit CDV when you…

    • Hurt a household member, defined as a current or former spouse, a person you have a child with, or a member of the opposite sex you live with or used to live with.
    • Threaten or attempt to hurt a household member (with the apparent present ability to carry out the threat) and thereby create a reasonable fear of imminent peril.

    So your charge comes under the last part. The State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt you basically scared the complainant into believing he or she was about to get hurt. But that fright must be for a good reason—the State has to prove it legitimately looked as if you could carry out any threat you made. That’s why charging at your wife with a steak knife, hollering, “I’m gonna stab you right now!” is CDV. Telling her the same thing over the phone on a long-distance call doesn’t count as Criminal Domestic Violence, because your wife has no reason to expect you could stab her right now.

    But threatening your wife is never a good idea.

    While your case is weaker than one with a bruised victim in a torn-up home, it doesn’t mean you can’t be convicted. The penalties for a conviction can include heavy fines, jail time, and even loss of gun ownership. You’ve got a defensible case, but it needs to be presented the right way to be won. If you’d like more information how you can build a strong defense, please to email us right where you’re sitting to schedule a free meeting to discuss your rights and defenses.

  • I got arrested for DUI and blew .06. The officer refuses to dismiss it even though I blew under the legal limit. Can he do that?

    Surprisingly, yes. This is another reason why there really is no such thing as a “legal limit” for DUI breath tests. That’s right, you can still get stuck with a DUI if you blow under the so-called legal limit of .08.

    Here’s why: the South Carolina DUI law allows you to be convicted at levels as low as .06. The reason folks call .08 the “legal limit” is because the DUI law allows the jury to conclude you were impaired at that level. They don’t have to, of course—we’ve had clients get acquitted at twice that level.

    If you blew .06 or .07, the law allows the jury to consider your breath test along with other evidence in reaching a verdict.

    A .05 or less results in automatic dismissal, unless the officer whips out another weapon in his accusation arsenal: the claim you must have been using drugs. That’s right: the cop can tell the jury that his years of law-enforcement experience led him to conclude you were intoxicated based on your behavior, independent of any breath test.

    For any low reading, the officer’s insistence on your guilt can throw a monkey wrench into your case: a request for a urine or blood test based on his (often newfound) accusation you had to be on drugs, too, since your breath test wasn’t high enough.

    If you’ve got an officer insisting on convicting you despite a low reading, it’s time to hire a professional to take him on. The truth is, these “low blow” cases aren’t a slam dunk for either side—but there is so much at stake for you if you lose, you need an experienced DUI trial lawyer to convince the officer to reduce your charges or win your case at trial.

    Because these cases move fast, your time is running short. Feel free to start a live chat with us to schedule an appointment for a free meeting about what we can help you do to avoid the lowest blow of all—a DUI conviction that can damage your reputation, cost you thousands, and burden you with ignition interlock.

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