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Holland & Usry, P.A.

Honest Answers From Your South Carolina Personal 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 child was playing in our backyard and wandered onto our neighbor’s property where she was injured when she fell into his pool. She has a concussion, she is hurting, and medical bills are adding up. Can I hold my neighbor liable?

    Yes, if certain facts and circumstances apply. Historically, it has been recognized that the owner of property has no duty to protect trespassers from injury. However, one long-held exception is when it comes to children. In recent years South Carolina has simplified the law to a single exception to this enduring trespassers’ rule, dangerous conditions that injure children.

    The law recognizes that children have curious minds and sometimes cannot fully understand the dangers in which they put themselves. Thus, landowners should be mindful of the possibility of children coming onto their property, and should take reasonable steps to protect them from harm.

    Premise Liability for Trespassers Exception

    In South Carolina, the owner of land may be held responsible for physical harm to children trespassing on his property caused by a dangerous condition if…

    • The landowner knows, or should know, that children are likely to come onto the property. For example, the landowner lives in a suburban neighborhood but may not have a fence around his property.
    • On the property is an object or condition which the landowner knows—or should know—could cause death or serious bodily harm to children. Think: This landowner has a pool.
    • The child injured is too young or inexperienced to understand the risk involved with the condition. Think: A five-year-old would not fully grasp the risk of falling into this pool by playing near it.
    • The benefit of maintaining the condition versus the cost required to make the condition safer is minimal compared to the risk to children. Think: The cost to put a fence around the pool or a cover on the pool would be rather inexpensive, while the risk to children is serious injury or death.
    • The landowner fails to exercise reasonable care or eliminate the danger. Think: There is no fence around the yard or cover on the pool when the child is injured.

    Whether we’re talking about a swimming pool, a trampoline, or an old refrigerator tucked away in a garage, these dangerous items seem to fascinate kids—and yet they are serious hazards for children.

    As you can see, in certain cases a parent or guardian can recover on behalf of an injured child who wanders onto another’s property and is injured…but each case is different. And you should hire a professional to handle it the right way from the start, since you’ll likely end up in court to get a settlement approved.

    If your child has been injured on another’s property, please do not hesitate to contact the lawyers at Holland & Usry, P.A. at 864.582.0416 or toll-free at 888.230.1841 for a free and confidential consultation.

     

  • 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.

  • I got hurt so bad in an accident, my doctor says I’ll need treatment the rest of my life. Can I get money for medical bills I’ll get in the future?

    Yes, if you present them the right way. The law gives you the right to future medical care if you can prove it is reasonably certain to be needed. Note: future medical care in workers’ compensation (work injury) cases is covered elsewhere on this website.

    To get money for future medical care, you will need an experienced personal injury lawyer who knows how to:

    • Analyze the medical records for evidence of your future needs,
    • Meet with your doctors to develop a treatment plan for your future care,
    • Then obtain a cost estimate for your future treatment.

    For grievous injuries requiring extensive lifelong care, your lawyer may even retain an expert called a life care planner. Life care planners often have a nursing background. Their job is to develop a thorough, convincing plan proving your needs and the cost into the future.

    The amount of your future medical care must be reduced to present value. That means a discount from the total lifetime costs, because a personal injury settlement or verdict gives you all the money now—instead of paying charges as they come in—and that money can increase in value if invested conservatively. As they say, “A dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow.”

    We Make Sure Your Future Health is the First Priority

    If you’ve got an injury requiring future care, chances are you’ll need help to convince the insurance company it needs to pay for that care. That’s what accident attorneys are for, along with removing your additional strain of dealing with unreasonable, demanding adjusters and the worry you’ll mess up your claim. Rest assured we do this for a living, and we’ll protect your rights and deal with the insurance company so you can reclaim your life or adapt to a new way of living as best you can.

    Feel free to email us from right where you are. You can arrange a free, confidential meeting, where we can talk about how to protect your rights to getting future care paid and how to maximize your compensation for everything you’ve been unjustifiably put through.

     

  • My father died from injuries in an accident after weeks in the hospital. Can anyone be held accountable for his suffering before he died?

    Yes, if someone can be proven legally liable for causing the accident leading to his death. South Carolina law allows a victim’s estate to recover for his conscious pain and suffering in a claim called a “survival action.”

    A victim need not be fully awake and alert to communicate conscious pain and suffering. But to prove the claim fully, you’ll need a sharp, experienced, and hardworking lawyer who knows how to probe medical records for clinical evidence of suffering, as well as interview witnesses who can attest to it, then present the evidence in a meaningful way to convince the insurance company or a jury to properly compensate the estate.

    As a family member, you also have rights to recover in a claim usually brought at the same time as a survival action, called a wrongful death case

    If you’re picking up the pieces from a loved one’s accidental death you think someone else is responsible for, give the burden of this claim to a professional who can ease your strain, keep you from the frustration of fighting an insurance company, and give you peace of mind your loved one’s case will be done right. Contact us to see how we can carry this burden for you. Remember, it’s your only chance to make this right.

     

  • I got hurt in an accident, and now medical bills are piling up. Can I use my health insurance to pay for accident Injuries?

    Absolutely! In fact, you should- beause that's exactly what health insurance is for. And yes, this includes Medicaid and Medicare.

    It also includes medical care related to fatal accidents.

    After a serious accident—even if it was someone else’s fault—the bills for your medical care will start to pile up.

    Whether you suffered a broken leg in a Greer car accident, injured your spine by falling in a Boiling Springs grocery store, or have been given the wrong medicine at a Greenville hospital, the other side’s insurance company won’t pay your medical bills as you get them. This is true no matter how nice the insurance company representative is, and even if you tell providers to send bills to the wrongdoer.

    Paying the bills remains your responsibility. Providers expect you to pay right now, and may send your account to bill collectors—an action that can damage your credit, despite all your honest assurances you’ll pay them once the case settles. So here’s one of the most important tips we give any injury victim: If you have health insurance, use it.

    Your Health Care Coverage Can Relieve Bill Pressure

    You’ve paid for your health insurance, and this is exactly what it’s for. Using your own health insurance will keep you from being worried about mounds of bills and the stress of being hounded by bill collectors.

    • If you did not immediately file your bills with your health insurance, it may not be too late. You should still ask providers to file it. Almost all medical bills have a section you can fill in with your insurance information.
    • Don’t let a provider strong-arm you into not filing on your health insurance: the provider agreed with your insurance company to take it.

    A Hidden Benefit of Health Insurance Might Help Your Case

    Health insurance pays your bills in full at a discount. But evidence of health insurance payments is inadmissible in court. The reason is that wrongdoers do not get credit for your good sense or good fortune in having health insurance. For purposes of your case, the value of your medical bills is the amount of the bill without any insurance discount.

    Here’s how it can help you: Say your health insurance company has negotiated a discount and pays only $500 to settle your $2,000 medical bill. The wrongdoer’s insurance should consider that a $2,000 medical bill, which ought to get you a higher settlement than a $500 medical bill.

    Your health insurance company will probably notify you of its claim to get part of your accident settlement to reimburse the medical bills it paid. This is called subrogation. In many of our cases involving subrogation, we are able to convince the health insurance company to let our client pay it back at a discount. This makes sense, as we did their work for them, keeping the health insurance company from paying someone else to recover the money owed. Our clients keep the extra amount.

    If you’ve been hurt in an accident in GreenvilleSpartanburg, Cherokee, or Union Counties and have questions about how insurance can help you, check out our free report on South Carolina car accident claims that may answer other questions you have. Feel free to start a live chat or send us email. We will be delighted to meet with you for free to discuss your options. You can always call at 864.582.0416 or toll-free at 888.230.1841.

     

  • Where does the money come from to pay an accident settlement? My daughter was bitten by a neighbor’s dog in Gaffney and the doctor says she needs plastic surgery. If I make a claim against my neighbors, will they have to pay for it out of their pocket?

    Probably not. Personal injury cases rarely involve going after someone’s personal assets. Victims usually recover from an insurance policy held by the one who hurt them, especially in traffic wrecks, slip or trip and fall cases, nursing home injuries, and medical malpractice cases. That’s what liability insurance is for—to help protect your personal assets when you are careless and hurt someone.

    Dog bites are no exception. Many home owners, including landlords, have a homeowner’s or general liability policy to cover these injuries. Your neighbors or their landlord has probably paid thousands of dollars over the years to an insurance company, which basically got free money. Now it’s time to use the policy as intended.

    Free pointer: you may have insurance to help you pay while waiting for your claim to be settled. If you have health insurance, use it to pay for the medical care related to your accident. You’ve paid a lot of money for this policy and you should still use it for these injuries. Doing so won’t hurt your case, and it could help it. Plus the liability insurance won’t pay for your treatment as you get it.

    At Holland & Usry, we are sensitive to the fact we’ve all got to live together. But part of that is expecting neighbors to look after those who get hurt on their property. We always seek to recover first (and almost always last) from a liability insurance policy. If your neighbor is a good one, he’ll understand he is using his insurance as intended, to help an innocent child and the good family who cares for her to recover for injuries she suffered at his home. Don’t sacrifice what is right for your child in the interest of not starting trouble. You didn’t start it, and it’s never “trouble” to do right by your child.

    If you are worried how to handle an injury claim you might have, you don’t even have to call us. You can start a live chat or send us an email from this website. We will be delighted to arrange a free meeting to discuss whether you have a case and whether we can accept it. You can always feel free to call us toll free at 888-230-1841 or 864-582-0416 to arrange a free meeting to discuss your case, including how we can figure out whether insurance exists to help cover the injuries.

     

  • I feel so dumb. I was at the store and didn’t see a clear puddle on the floor so I slipped in it and broke my kneecap. The store’s insurance man says I’ll never prove it was their fault and won’t pay my medical bills. Is he right?

    Probably not. He’s hoping you’ll give up so the insurance company can save lots of money.

    First Things First

    The first thing to remember is that the colorless puddle was a hidden danger to you as your eyes focused on the shelves, exactly where the store wants your eyes to be. That’s why stores have the responsibility to keep their floors safe for customers they invite in to look at the shelves, not the floor. You have a right to trust the store to keep its floor safe.

    Don’t Beat Yourself Up

    Spartanburg slip or trip and fall victims are often their own worst enemy in choosing to not hold the store accountable. You have a right to safety, and are justified having it enforced by being compensated for your injuries. It’s not your fault you fell.

    Proving the Store’s Responsibility

    There are several basic ways a Spartanburg slip and fall lawyer can help prove the store did not keep you safe, making it responsible for your injuries:

    • The store created the danger. For example, an employee knocked the container of the liquid over, and just left the spill.
    • The store knew about the danger, but didn’t fix it. Employees or management saw the spill or took a report about it, but didn’t immediately clean it up or put any bright warning cones or “wet floor” signs nearby to warn you.
    • The store should have known about the danger. The store didn’t regularly inspect its floors to find hazards that could hurt unsuspecting customers like you.
    • Even if the spill is obvious, that’s not necessarily much of a defense. South Carolina stores can still be liable for customers who get hurt in obvious spills, for two reasons. First, our law holds stores should expect customers to encounter these dangers, so the store should fix them or at least warn customers. Second, stores expect customers to focus on the shelves, not floors. If you’re focused on the shelves, you might never see the danger on the floor. The store has the best chance to prevent your injury.

    At Holland & Usry, we know slip or trip and fall victims face an uphill battle from the challenge in showing it’s the store’s fault and the potentially life-changing injuries they suffer. If you’ve been hurt in a Spartanburg slip or trip and fall, you owe it to yourself to call us for a free meeting to see if we can help you get compensated for your injuries the store could’ve prevented. Call us at 864.582.0416 or toll-free at 877.230.1841 to schedule your free meeting to see how we can help you.

  • Is There a Way to Find Out What Evidence the Other Side Has in My South Carolina Personal Injury Case?

    Yes, if a lawsuit is filed in South Carolina state or federal court. Read more about the lawsuit process here.

    We find out the other side's evidence in a process called discovery. It generally has 2 parts:

    1. Written discovery consists of written questions called interrogatories. The other side answers them in writing. It also consists of requests to reproduce documents and other items. These requests ask the other side to send copies of documents like medical records or pictures.
    2. Depositions are out-of-court sworn testimony. We question the opponent and maybe their witness under oath, just like in court, but in our or their lawyer's office. A court reporter takes down the testimony just like in court. That way, the parties have a really good idea of what everyone will testify to at trial.

    The other side has a right to request the same discovery from us.

    Discovery helps us evaluate your Spartanburg County personal injury case better, as we find out what the other side will put in evidence and what their witnesses will testify to. Best of all, it helps us get your case ready for trial by developing plans to strengthen your case and defeat defenses.

  • How long will it take to settle my claim?

    It can be as swift as 3 months or as long as over a year, depending on the circumstances of your claim. Three factors that increase the length of time involved in settlement are the complexity of the case, the severity of the injuries, and whether a lawsuit is filed. Complex cases, such as defective products, may require research into the mechanics and science of what caused your injury, which often requires hiring experts to assist in the research and investigation of your claim. At Holland & Usry, we generally do not present your injury claim until we are reasonably certain of the full extent of your injury so we can maximize your recovery. Thus, severe injuries requiring ongoing medical treatment may take a little more time. If a lawsuit is filed, time is added because the parties must work their way through the discovery process, a system by which both sides obtain information and evidence about the case to prepare it for trial. Of course, the case may have to go to trial, which requires some patience as the case climbs its way up the list of cases to be tried. At Holland & Usry, if your case goes to trial, we will be prepared, and so will you.

  • How long do I have to make a personal injury claim?

    It depends. But one thing's for sure: if you miss the deadline, you lose your rights, period. It doesn't matter how bad you're hurt or how wrongly you got treated, you won't be compensated for it.

    The Threat To The Inexperienced 

    Just figuring out the deadline can be a complicated process, depending on the type of case you've got, and who it was that hurt you. In some cases, it can be hard to figure out exactly when the accident happened, so you can't pinpoint when your time started to run. This is  especially true in medical malpractice cases, when victims often don't realize the medical mistake until long after it occurred.

    It's all the more reason to immediately ask an experienced personal injury lawyer some basic questions about your case when you’ve been seriously injured by someone else's carelessness.

    These are the very basics about your legal deadline. WARNING: NEVER, EVER ASSUME A DEADLINE APPLIES TO YOUR CASE. Verify how long you've got by asking an injury lawyer you trust- and don't be surprised if the answer requires some legal research first.

    The Threat Named, And How To Defeat It

    • The official name of the deadline [in case you want to impress your friends at parties]: It's a law called the “Statute of Limitations.”
    • What you've got to do to beat the deadline. You've got to file a  lawsuit against the parties that hurt you. And if more than one party could be legally responsible for your injury, you usually can't add a party after the deadline. That's why it's important to get your ducks in a row early on.

    Different Parties, Different Deadlines

    The length of the statute of limitations varies according to how the law defines a wrongdoer:

    • Private [non-government-affiliated] parties- usually three years from the accident. This includes most people driving their own cars in car accident cases. It also includes private companies- but an important trick is determining whether a company's private or government-affiliated, since that dramatically reduces the deadline. Keep reading.
    • Government-affiliated parties- usually two years from the accident. This includes state, county, and local agencies like police, or the Department of Transportation. But many seemingly private entities are actually legally government-affiliated. A key example is hospitals- many county hospitals are exactly that, legally affiliated with the government.

    It's Pretty Easy To Put Your Fears To Bed

    If you're wondering what your injury case deadline is, you don't even have to call. You can start a live chat right where you are to get your question answered by an experienced personal injury attorney. We're here to give you peace of mind, and make it as easy as possible for you to get justice.

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