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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I Got Severely Hurt in a South Carolina Car Wreck, and My Medical Bills are $50,000. I Just Found Out the Driver Who Hit Me Only Had $25,000 in Liability Insurance. Will I Be Able to Get Any More Money to Pay My Bills?
Hopefully. While South Carolina law requires drivers to carry only $25,000 liability insurance, that amount can be woefully inadequate when someone gets hurt badly; however, you may have additional insurance on your own policy that you can use. It’s called underinsurance (UIM), and it’s designed for this very purpose – to help you get compensated when the driver who hurt you does not carry enough auto insurance to cover your injuries. UIM can help get you fully compensated or at least get you more compensation than you would have been if you didn’t have it.
The best thing about UIM is, in the right situations, it can give even more coverage than you might think, through a legal tactic called "stacking."
For more information about UIM and South Carolina car accident claims in general, check out our free book I Just Got in a South Carolina Car Accident. Now What?.
If you're not convinced about how vital UIM can be to protect you and your family in a South Carolina car crash, read some of our clients' stories:
- UIM provides desperately needed financial aid to motocycle brain injury victim
- Car accident settlement involving a drunk driver
- Settlement for 2 children seriously injured in a car accident
- Car accident settlement for a child, including the child's parents' policy
UIM coverage is so important that South Carolina law requires your insurance agent to offer it in a specific way. If you're just reading this for information and wonder if you have it, consult your policy immediately, and if you don't have it, call your agent to redo your policy to get you as much as possible. It just might save you from financial ruin if you ever get hurt in a car accident.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
I’m going through a nasty divorce right now and I’m concerned about my welfare when it’s all over. Is my ex required to pay alimony? How can I get the spousal support in South Carolina that I need to live?
In South Carolina there is often confusion surrounding the terms alimony and separate support and maintenance. Some use the terms interchangeably, however there is a difference. Alimony refers to support payments made by one former spouse to another former spouse. Alimony is post-divorce. Separate support and maintenance refers to support payments made by one spouse to another spouse, for instance a support obligation required by a Decree of Separate Maintenance. This form of support is pre-divorce. Temporary support can be awarded to give a spouse sufficient means for support while a divorce action is pending.
Once your divorce is finalized, you have the opportunity to receive alimony from your former spouse to help support you. Here are three ways you can receive alimony:
- Periodic alimony. This type of alimony arrives at regular intervals, such as bi-weekly or monthly payments. This is usually paid for the rest of your life, or until you move in with or marry someone new.
- Lump-sum alimony. This is a one-time payment that is made to you after the divorce is over. This usually cannot be altered or changed.
- Rehabilitative alimony. This type of alimony is made periodically. It is intended to terminate or stop after a certain amount of time. This is really meant to help you get back on your feet after a divorce.
Requesting your alimony can be a difficult process. In South Carolina the Family Court considers many factors (13 in all) in determining alimony. You may think you need more than what your former spouse is willing to provide. With help from an alimony attorney in Spartanburg at Holland & Usry, you can get the legal support you need to ensure you receive what is fair and just in your divorce. Call us today toll free at 888-230-1841 or 864-582-0416 to get started.
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.
Do I still have a claim if the cause of my injury is partially my fault?
Possibly, based on the legal doctrine of "comparative negligence." Comparative negligence requires a jury to compare the fault of both parties involved in an accident, with the victim’s compensation reduced by the percentage of the victim’s fault.
How It Works
Your compensation can be reduced- or you can even lose.
- Reduced compensation for 50% fault or LESS: Say the jury decides you were 25% at fault. The jury decides your compensation, called damages, are $100,000. The judge will reduce your verdict by the amount of your fault- 25% of $100,000 is $25,000. You collect $100,000-$25,000= $75,000.
- No compensation for MORE than 50% fault. If you're found to be more than 50% at fault, you get nothing. And you shouldn't- the accident was mostly your fault.
When We Often See It
One case we see this defense is slip- or trip-and falls. Insurance companies and their lawyers love to crow, "You should've looked where you were going!"
It can be very important to have a skilled injury lawyer in a case where you might be at fault, to help increase your chances of recovering- and increase the amount you recover. If you've been hurt by someone else but are afraid you might be found at fault, call us now at 864.582.0416 or toll free at 877.230.1841 to discuss how we can help show it's not your fault or prove your fault was minimal.
How much will I need to pay my lawyer for my accident injury case?
Nothing- from out of your pocket, anyway.
A contingency fee is used by lawyers in most personal injury cases. The fee is a portion of your monetary recovery paid by the insurance company in settlement, usually 1/3. You'll likely be responsible for paying the costs incurred by the lawyer to help your claim, but these expenses are usually paid from the settlement, along with the fee. The fee is computed before costs are deducted.
For consumers the beauty of a contingency fee is, we don't take your case unless we're pretty sure we can help you. The benefit to society is, it discourages lawyers from filing frivolous lawsuits- if we don't think you have a meritorious case that should be paid, we can't get paid, so we decline the case.
There are other benefits of a contingency fee. It helps give more people access to justice, since hurt people typically don’t have the money to take on giant corporations or their insurance companies. And it protects you from the lawyer spending way more time on your case than you both expect– it doesn’t change the fee like it would if you paid him by the hour. So you don’t have to be scared to death checking your mailbox every first of the month for an enormous bill.
What compensation is available in a personal injury claim?
Personal injury victims who can prove another person caused their injury can recover money for losses, or damages, they sustain as a result of the injury. Personal injury victims may obtain compensation for damages they can prove, such as:
- Medical bills, including future medical bills related to the accident
- Lost wages, including overtime and vacation/sick leave and, in the most serious cases, permanent income loss or reduction
- Pain, discomfort, and suffering, plus other items listed below that we call "human loss"
- Disfigurement/Permanent scarring
- Emotional trauma
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent injury
- Physical disability
- Mental disability, especially in brain damage cases
- Property damage
- Out of pocket expenses as a result of the injury, such as transportation, house cleaning, yard work, etc.
- Punitive damages to punish the wrongdoer where the injuries are caused by reckless or intentional conduct.
Additionally, spouses of injured victims can recover damages for loss of love, affection, companionship, and comfort ordinarily provided by their injured spouse.
What is a personal injury?
A personal injury is any injury to a person’s body or mind caused by another’s carelessness or recklessness. Personal injuries can be caused in a variety of ways. Following are some of the most common causes of personal injury:
• Automobile/Truck/Motorcycle Accidents
• Railroad Crashes
• Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
• Medical Malpractice
• Failure to maintain safe property or warn others of unsafe conditions on property
• Work-related/on-the job accidents (workers compensation)
Help! I had a bad fall at work while doing my job and I broke my hip. Now I’m not able to work. The medical bills are piling up. What benefits am I entitled to receive after an on-the-job accident?
Being hurt at work is a frightening experience. You worry about your health, your family’s future, and your future employment. As the medical bills start to pour in, you may worry about how you will pay for it all and how you will continue to support your family.
The South Carolina workers’ compensation law requires most employers to provide workers’ compensation benefits for workers hurt on the job. The benefits are almost always paid by the employer’s insurance company, not the employer directly.
Workers’ compensation provides injured employees with 3 main benefits:
- Medical care for the injury at no charge to the employee.
- Disability Income. If the doctor determines you can’t work for at least 8 days as a result of the injury, or gives you work restrictions your employer can't accommodate, you should get a weekly benefit check for 2/3 of your average weekly wage. This can help keep you financially afloat while you heal.
- Money Compensation for Permanent Disability. Permanent disability can be partial or total. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help you maximize this final benefit.
The most severely hurt workers may qualify for additional benefits:
Permanent and Total Disability. If your injury was severe enough to permanently disable you from working your current job, you may be eligible to receive long-term disability benefits, including lifetime medical care for your work injuries. If so, you can be sure the employer’s insurance company will fight to pay you as little as possible- and with injuries as serious as yours, you need to focus on recovering as much of your health as possible and learning to live with your new limitations. Because total disability benefits can be complex- and hard to get- you owe it to yourself and your family to have an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer looking out for you.
Workers’ compensation is designed to provide benefits swiftly and easily to injured workers, but it doesn’t always work that way, especially when severe injuries are involved. At Holland & Usry, we vigilantly protect injured workers’ rights to the full benefits they deserve. We will thoroughly present the extent of your injuries to maximize your compensation.
If you or a loved one is hurt on the job, call the Spartanburg workers compensation lawyers at Holland & Usry at 582-0416 or toll free at 888.230.1841, or send us an email, or start a live chat to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.