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 is a functional capacity evaluation (FCE)?
If your doctor wants guidance in assessing your accident injury for a permanent impairment rating, he might send you for an FCE.
Generally, it’s an exhaustive set of physical tests, usually given and scored by a physical therapist. Here’s what you need to know about FCEs.
Why FCEs Are Important
The doctor uses the results to give a more accurate rating, which can have a big impact on your case. We see them more often in South Carolina workers’ comp cases, where the results can help determine if you’re eligible for extra financial benefits for permanent and total disability and wage loss.
FCE Purpose From the Examiner’s Standpoint
There are generally three main purposes for the tester:
- Evaluate your ability to perform your job. The evaluator often has a copy of your job description from your employer.
- Define the physical level of work you qualify for under United States Department of Labor guidelines. Those provide 5 physical job demand categories: sitting, light, medium, heavy, and very heavy.
- Measure your loss of strength and motion from an injury.
Before moving on to the specific aspects of the test, there’s one vital thing you’ve got to remember.
Your Effort Counts—a Lot!
Exerting good effort is vital. These tests have built-in “lie detectors” that’ll expose deceptively low effort by you. Don’t try it. You’ll be smoked out, and it’ll ruin your case.
Now let’s turn to the tests and info used for the evaluation.
Physical Abilities Tests
The evaluator will test your ability to do the following, noting the maximum amount you can do:
- Lift from floor to shoulder, waist to shoulder, and a few inches off the floor to your waist.
- Push and pull.
- Basic motions including how much you can sit, stand, and walk (and whether you limp), climb stairs and ladders, reach overhead, and bend your knees to stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl.
- Hand strength and coordination—you’ll be evaluated on your ability to handle objects and grasp with each hand.
This evaluates for things like:
- Whether you limp.
- Your posture and whether you can stand upright.
- Muscle tone—the tests measure tightness, tenderness, and muscle spasm.
- Joint and muscle flexibility.
- Range of motion and whether your ability to move your joints falls within normal limits.
You might even do a treadmill test. This checks your ability to walk for time and distance. The evaluator observes your posture and ability to walk without a limp. The test measures how long you’re able to do the task before it hurts too much or you run out of breath or energy.
You Get to Provide Some Input of Your Own
The evaluator also interviews you about important points in your injury like:
- How you got hurt.
- Your treatment history including the doctors you went to, what they did for you, and any therapy you had.
- Medications you take for your symptoms and other conditions.
- Your physical limitations, such as the ones we describe in this blog post.
It’s Just Another Piece of the Puzzle
With the exception of living with a permanent injury from an accident, your FCE may be the most difficult physical part of your case. But it’s only part of the challenge you face. If you’re severely injured enough to require an FCE, there’s a lot at stake for you legally too. Just as you got doctors to protect your body medically, it’s time to ask a lawyer about protecting your rights legally. You only get one chance at your case, so don’t risk ending it with regrets.
If you’ve got questions about your case, feel free to start a live chat right where you are so an experienced attorney can respond to your concerns.
What’s the main reason for motorcycle accidents?
It’s not riders. A 1998 study by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), a federal government agency, found the top cause of motorcycle accidents:
Other drivers (i.e. cars or trucks) who violate the rider’s right of way.
So take heed, cage drivers! Look out for motorcycles! NHTSA’s comprehensive analysis of the problem gives tips to help both drivers and motorcyclists avoid tragic or even fatal accidents:
- Drivers, avoid the deadliest of sins. Don't drive distracted. Cars and trucks present way too many options to develop fatal habits that take your attention off the road. When driving, just drive. No food, no phone calls, and certainly no texts. Just the road ahead.
- Riders should follow these tips and wear bright colors.
Need More Answers?
Motorcycle accident victims have lots of questions. And maybe, more importantly, there are questions you SHOULD ask but don’t know to since you’re not a professional in handling these cases. That’s why I wrote a free book on the subject, I Just Got in a South Carolina Car Accident, Now What?
If you want personal attention to your problem from an experienced motorcycle accident attorney, feel free to start a live chat right where you are to start addressing your concerns, building your case against the motorist who ignored and hurt you—and making it right.
What is SR-22, and when do you have to get it?
If you’re charged with DUI, you quickly realize a lot of bad things can happen if you're convicted.
SR-22 auto insurance is one of them. Here’s what you need to know.
SR-22 Insurance Explained
- What SR-22 is. SR-22 is actually the name of a form your insurance company files with the DMV to prove you have auto insurance. It’s required for drivers who are deemed a high risk: the DMV needs extra assurance they’ve got insurance coverage to pay for a wreck if they cause one.
- You only get SR-22 if you’re convicted of DUI or DUAC. Until then, you’ve got nothing but the opportunity to avoid the pain of conviction. That’s why you owe it to yourself to meet with an experienced DUI defense attorney to strategize how to win your case.
- It’ll cost you more in auto insurance premiums. Costs vary. You’ll have an embarrassing talk with your insurance agent, and you may even lose your coverage if your current insurance carrier doesn’t offer SR-22. If that happens, you’ll have to shop it yourself.
- You’ve got to have it for three years. It’s the law.
- There’s no real way around it. If you’re required to have SR-22 but don’t, the law (S.C. Code § 56-5-520) forbids both a license to be issued to you and a car being registered in your name.
Like everything else associated with a DUI conviction, why suffer through it without a fight, or at least the peace of mind knowing you did all you could to prevent it? SR-22 is just one more monster from a parade of terribles that results from a conviction.
Does your insurance company really need more money? Don’t give them a handout, fight the charge.
Remember, if you have been charged with DUI, you might have defenses you don’t even know about. In fact, that’s a major part of the reason I wrote my FREE report on defending DUI cases, which you should read! And you can always call our office at 888-230-1841 for a free strategy session to start building your defense.
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.