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 mediation in family court in South Carolina?
Mediation is a form of alternate dispute resolution required in most family court actions as a way to resolve disputes between the parties without the necessity of trial. If you are going through a divorce and/or custody case, your case will be mediated, if it has not been already, prior to a contested final hearing.
What to Expect From Mediation
In mediation, a neutral third party attempts to assist the parties in negotiating a settlement. Most of the time, the parties’ attorneys are present. Most mediators place the parties, with their respective attorneys, in separate rooms and move back and forth trying to narrow the disputed issues.
If an agreement can be reached on some or all of the issues, an agreement can be drafted and signed by the parties and their lawyers. Once this occurs, absent special circumstances, the agreement is enforceable and cannot be changed except by agreement of both parties.
Why You Need a Lawyer
Mediation, like all aspects of family court, should be taken very seriously. You need an advocate on your side who knows how to protect your interests. Too often, I see folks squander their opportunity at reaching an agreement and avoiding the expense and acrimony of a full-blown trial. On the other side of the coin, I often see folks enter into an agreement that is poorly worded or one-sided, which the person is likely stuck with. An experienced family court attorney can help you avoid these pitfalls.
If you are going through a divorce and/or custody case and have questions as to mediation or your case in general, it is important to have a lawyer on your side. If you would like to discuss your case with a lawyer, do not hesitate to call toll-free at 888-230-1841 and set up a consultation.
I need to hire a criminal defense attorney. Can I bring a spouse, friend, or family member to meet the attorney?
Absolutely—at my firm, anyway. We understand folks charged with crimes need all the support and help they can get. We definitely encourage that from your friends and family members, because it helps you as a person.
And make no mistake, we also understand the importance of friends and family chipping in to help you pay one of the most worthwhile expenses in your life—for an experienced criminal defense lawyer you trust. While a good lawyer isn’t cheap, it’s an investment into protecting two priceless gifts: your freedom and your future. You need the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ll be protected. Getting a discount on a cheap lawyer won’t help, and it can definitely hurt when it matters most.
You’re Always in Charge
Even when others help you pay the fee, we make it clear to them you’re still the boss. This case is about you, not anyone else. The person whose life it affects the most is you. So, we make it absolutely, positively clear to anyone who helps you out that while we are incredibly thankful for their contribution, it is you who makes the ultimate decision on how your case is handled.
We help captain your ship, of course. But you own the ship. It doesn’t matter who helps you pay for it. And we’re just the captain. We tell you where we think you should go, but in the end, you do what’s best for you and nobody else.
Schedule a Strategy Session Today
If you’ve got any questions about your criminal case, we offer a free, no-pressure strategy session where you can bring your friends and relatives to get their questions answered too. But if you want to meet alone with us in complete confidence, we respect and honor that—even if it means politely excusing everyone else from the room. Don’t worry; we won’t make you the bad guy there—we’ve done it so many times, it will make everyone feel comfortable.
If you want to know what it’s like to work with us, check out these reviews by real-life clients on a website we don’t control.
What are the major causes of fatal semi-trailer accidents?
Since truckers are professional drivers, you’re right to wonder why so many 18-wheelers cause deadly crashes. And you’re not the only one wondering—the federal government is, too. That’s why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which regulates trucking safety, commissioned a study to find out what makes truckers cause fatal crashes.
Warning: the top causes are simply appalling, as these mistakes that kill people are violations of the most basic rules of safe driving that even ordinary drivers are expected to honor.
Statistics on the 10 Major Causes of Fatal Trucking Accidents
Using fatal large truck crash data from 2017, the study concluded these are the top causes of fatal accidents by semi drivers:
- Speeding – Truckers drive 80,000-pound monster machines that are horrifyingly difficult to stop and they really do know it's critical to avoid speeding because it truly is a deadly sin for a trucker. Sadly, too many of them just get to wrapped up in making an on-time delivery, sacrificing our safety.
- Distraction/inattention – This includes the most dangerous article in any vehicle: a cell phone. But it also includes just daydreaming, being lost in thought, or even eating. I’ve written on how truckers know way more than us that they can’t afford to drive distracted.
- Failure to yield right of way – This could be turning left in front of an innocent driver who has a green light. Or blowing through an intersection while a car tries to finish going through it. The results are devastating.
- Impairment – Likely the most disturbing factor, not to mention it’s in the top 5! As you might expect, this includes impairment from drugs or alcohol, which for a trucker is a death wish for the rest of us on the roads. Interestingly, the study includes some unexpected definitions of impaired. One of them is from fatigue. Overworked truckers are such a supreme safety concern there are federal regulations limiting the amount of time they can drive. This remains a regular concern in any tractor-trailer accident and can form the basis for punitive damages against the trucker and the trucking company who allowed him to do it.
- Careless driving – This is almost a catch-all definition that could define almost any driving mistake. The fact a professional driver entrusted with the most enormous machines we let out on the highway could ever drive careless is plain astonishing.
- Vision obscured by weather, roadway design, vehicles, etc. - While it’s hard to conceive a trucker would have vision obscured by anything when he sits so high above the road with an enormous windshield, this factor just shows truckers should be expected to be more vigilant than the rest of us. As for bad weather, truckers are expected to overcome this because they are highly trained and held to a high legal standard by federal regulations.
- Failure to keep in the proper traffic lane – It’s easy for us ordinary drivers to understand how driving a 40-ton machine might be hard to maintain a lane. But we aren’t professionals, truckers are. This is unacceptable. “Stay in your lane, bro.”
- Failure to obey traffic signs, traffic lights or traffic officers and failure to obey safety zone traffic laws – There’s just no excuse for a professional trucker to ignore a stop sign, red light, or police directing traffic. Sadly, truckers ignoring construction work zone safety rules are a key cause of wrecks with injuries and deaths.
- Following improperly – We all know the term for this: tailgating. When you’re driving an 18-wheeler, it’s just menacing, and it’s no surprise this is a top cause of fatal crashes. Truckers are expected to know extensive safety guidelines to keep this from happening. Apparently, it’s not enough.
- Overcorrecting – This can happen when a trucker goes through a curve wrong, creating one of the most horrifying crashes on any road: the rollover.
What’s Really Behind These Causes and What Do We Do About It?
If your family suffered a deadly trucking accident, life is traumatized and overwhelming enough. You’ll need legal help for a lot of reasons, but for you, chief among them is the trucking company likely already has an attorney and legion of experts lined up against you- not to mention trucking cases are much more complicated than an ordinary car crash.
And there very well may be someone behind this case that wasn’t out on the road – the trucking company.
That’s why the law allows the trucking company to be held accountable for mistakes it helped create, which led to the crash. Sometimes that’s where the challenge starts—do you really even know who the trucking company is?
Don’t risk losing compensation your family might really need. Get your questions answered by an experienced fatal trucking accident attorney who’s written a book on car crash cases that includes a chapter on 18-wheeler accidents. Download the book for FREE.
To get your questions answered, call toll-free at 888-230-1841 or fill out a Get Help Now form. If you're wondering what it’s like to work with me and my team, check out these real-life reviews from actual clients on a website we don’t control.
Why is it tough to get a settlement for a slip or trip and fall in South Carolina?
Because the law can work against you, and the insurance company definitely will.
What the Law Says
First, there’s the law. You’ve got to prove it’s someone else’s fault you fell. It’s just not as simple as showing you fell on something that wasn’t supposed to be there. The law requires you to prove wrongdoing by the business or property owner caused your fall.
But the law’s on your side in two important ways: you don’t always have to prove anyone had “notice” of the danger, and you can still have a case sometimes if the danger was obvious.
Often, you’ve got to prove the fall wasn’t your fault, or it wasn’t more your fault. In many cases, you’ve got to deal with the “comparative negligence” defense, which can reduce or even prevent a settlement. It usually grows out of the primary defense you might hear while you’re still laid out on the floor: Why didn’t you look where you were going?
What the Insurance Company Will Do
And then comes the insurance company, whose claims representative will do all she can to convince you the deck’s just too stacked against you.
Don’t believe it. There’s hope. If you’re seriously hurt, your case justifies the intervention of a skilled accident injury lawyer for this and other important reasons.
You need a guide to shine a light through the darkness and pilot you safely to shore. For the right case, justice can be achieved, but you’ll need help. Don’t miss your one and only chance at getting your medical bills paid and obtaining compensation for all of your harm.
How We Can Help
To get an idea of how we will treat you, read these real-life stories by clients telling what it’s like to work with us.
What are the factors the courts consider in equitable division of marital assets and debts?
South Carolina law sets forth factors for the court to consider when dividing married folks’ assets and debts. The factors the court considers are as follows:
(1) the duration of the marriage together with the ages of the parties at the time of the marriage and at the time of the divorce or separate maintenance or other marital action between the parties;
(2) marital misconduct or fault of either or both parties, whether or not used as a basis for a divorce as such, if the misconduct affects or has affected the economic circumstances of the parties, or contributed to the breakup of the marriage; provided, that no evidence of personal conduct which would otherwise be relevant and material for purposes of this subsection shall be considered with regard to this subsection if such conduct shall have taken place subsequent to the happening of the earliest of:
(a) entry of a pendente lite order in a divorce or separate maintenance action;
(b) formal signing of a written property or marital settlement agreement; or
(c) entry of a permanent order of separate maintenance and support or of a permanent order approving a property or marital settlement agreement between the parties;
(3) the value of the marital property, whether the property be within or without the State. The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition, preservation, depreciation, or appreciation in value of the marital property, including the contribution of the spouse as homemaker; provided, that the court shall consider the quality of the contribution as well as its factual existence;
(4) the income of each spouse, the earning potential of each spouse, and the opportunity for future acquisition of capital assets;
(5) the health, both physical and emotional, of each spouse;
(6) the need of each spouse or either spouse for additional training or education in order to achieve that spouses' income potential;
(7) the nonmarital property of each spouse;
(8) the existence or nonexistence of vested retirement benefits for each or either spouse;
(9) whether separate maintenance or alimony has been awarded;
(10) the desirability of awarding the family home as part of equitable distribution or the right to live therein for reasonable periods to the spouse having custody of any children;
(11) the tax consequences to each or either party as a result of any particular form of equitable apportionment;
(12) the existence and extent of any support obligations, from a prior marriage or for any other reason or reasons, of either party;
(13) liens and any other encumbrances upon the marital property, which themselves must be equitably divided, or upon the separate property of either of the parties, and any other existing debts incurred by the parties or either of them during the course of the marriage;
(14) child custody arrangements and obligations at the time of the entry of the order; and
(15) such other relevant factors as the trial court shall expressly enumerate in its order.
Why You Need to Consult an Attorney
When facing the breakdown of a marriage, many things are at stake—one of which is the apportionment of marital assets and debts. The court can make a determination as to who receives the marital home, decide whether or not retirement accounts are divided, address ownership of family businesses, and divide any other asset which is deemed marital property. Likewise, the court can require one party to be responsible for certain debts over the other, and vice versa. For this reason, when you are facing a divorce or other marital litigation where the division of assets and debts needs to be determined, you must have an attorney who can advocate for you.
Your attorney should be able to explain the factors as set forth above and how they are often considered by the courts. Additionally, your attorney needs to know how to best present evidence to the family court as to the facts in your case and how they are applied to the factors for consideration in order to obtain the best possible result for you under the circumstances.
If you have questions about divorce or would like to discuss the division of assets and debts, please call toll-free 888-230-1841 to set up a consultation.
Will my accident injury settlement affect my Social Security Disability benefits?
It depends. Folks who receive Social Security Disability need those monthly benefits—it might be the only income you can get due to a disabling health condition or prior injury. The law doesn’t discourage Social Security Disability recipients from seeking justice, but you’ve got to protect your rights—or your settlement could create a financial strain you can’t afford.
Here’s How a Settlement Could Affect Your Social Security Disability Benefits
If you’re hurt on the job, monthly Social Security benefits can be reduced by your workers’ compensation settlement, even if you don’t get Social Security until after your workers’ compensation case is over. But there’s good news! An experienced workers’ compensation attorney will know how to minimize that reduction with an important legal maneuver. The resulting money put back in your pocket makes the workers’ compensation case well worth pursuing.
Any other accident settlement may impact you, depending on the type of benefits you're getting.
- If you receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), the settlement has NO effect on your benefits. Whether it’s a car or motorcycle accident, an 18-wheeler or commercial truck crash, a slip or trip and fall, medical malpractice, or any other type of injury, your settlement won’t reduce your benefits at all.
- If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your benefits could be impacted. You must report the settlement to Social Security. You'll need to take that into consideration and get professional legal advice on the best way to minimize the effect.
One important thing to remember if you’re on disability—don’t forget Medicare or Medicaid, because they won’t forget you. You’ve got a looming disaster hanging over your case if you don’t properly protect Medicare or Medicaid’s rights. And if you’re on Medicare, your case may require a complicated negotiation with Medicare about future medical treatment related to your injury, called a Medicare Set-Aside.
The takeaway here is, Social Security Disability recipients are just as worthy of compensation for your medical bills and injuries as anyone else, but your case has an extra wrinkle for those disability benefits.
Ready to talk to a lawyer about SSD benefits? Call us at 864-582-0416 or fill out a contact form with your information.
If You’re Seriously Hurt, Don’t Risk It Going Alone
Though you have the right to pursue your case, you’ve still got to make sure you do it right—and be certain you protect your Social Security Disability rights at the same time. Here are the best reasons to hire an injury attorney or car accident attorney.
If you’re on Social Security Disability and get seriously hurt, your case has a lot of moving parts. Get started now on free advice from a professional who’s experienced at solving problems like yours. It will only cost you a little time to get your questions answered—call us toll-free at 888-230-1841 or fill out a Get Help Now form for a free strategy session about your case.
You can also scout us out with real client reviews on an attorney review service we don’t own.
What are the factors in determining child custody in South Carolina?
South Carolina law requires that family court judges consider the best interest of a child or children in making a custody determination. The courts are provided 17 factors that they may consider in making such a determination. A family court judge is not precluded from considering other factors if he/she believes they are relevant in considering the child’s best interest.
Factors Used to Determine Child Custody in South Carolina
Factors set forth by South Carolina law to consider in a child custody case are:
- the temperament and developmental needs of the child;
- the capacity and the disposition of the parents to understand and meet the needs of the child;
- the preferences of each child;
- the wishes of the parents as to custody;
- the past and current interaction and relationship of the child with each parent, the child's siblings, and any other person, including a grandparent, who may significantly affect the best interest of the child;
- the actions of each parent to encourage the continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent, as is appropriate, including compliance with court orders;
- the manipulation by or coercive behavior of the parents in an effort to involve the child in the parents' dispute;
- any effort by one parent to disparage the other parent in front of the child;
- the ability of each parent to be actively involved in the life of the child;
- the child's adjustment to his or her home, school, and community environments;
- the stability of the child's existing and proposed residences;
- the mental and physical health of all individuals involved, except that a disability of a proposed custodial parent or other party, in and of itself, must not be determinative of custody unless the proposed custodial arrangement is not in the best interest of the child;
- the child's cultural and spiritual background;
- whether the child or a sibling of the child has been abused or neglected;
- whether one parent has perpetrated domestic violence or child abuse or the effect on the child of the actions of an abuser if any domestic violence has occurred between the parents or between a parent and another individual or between the parent and the child;
- whether one parent has relocated more than one hundred miles from the child's primary residence in the past year, unless the parent relocated for safety reasons; and
- other factors as the court considers necessary.
One of the most important issues a family court attorney deals with is the issue of custody. The development of children into healthy and prosperous adults is all any parent can ask for.
How We Can Help
If you are facing a custody dispute, it is important to have an attorney who will advocate for you. Your attorney should be able to explain the factors as set forth above and how they are often considered by the courts. You need an attorney who knows how to present evidence to the family court as to these factors to present the best case possible for you under the circumstances in your custody case.
If you have questions about custody, please do not hesitate to call toll-free 888-230-1841 to set up a consultation to discuss your legal rights with an attorney.
What are the grounds for divorce in South Carolina?
South Carolina law recognizes five grounds for divorce. Four of these are fault ground and one is a no-fault ground. The grounds are as follows:
- One-year continuous separation (no-fault ground)
- Desertion for a period of one year (rarely used because of the availability of the no-fault divorce)
- Physical cruelty
- Habitual drunkenness which also includes the use of narcotic drugs
All five of the grounds above require corroboration although, generally speaking, it requires stronger evidence to prove the four fault grounds. The one-year continuous separation divorce cannot be filed until after the parties have been apart for one year. Adultery, drunkenness, and physical cruelty can be filed while the parties are residing together.
How the Grounds for Divorce Affect Your Case
The obtaining of a fault ground divorce may have an impact on equitable division, alimony, custody, and other issues. Certain defenses may be available to the spouse alleged to have committed behavior entitling the other to a fault ground divorce. If grounds are unavailable to a spouse who wishes to institute an action in the family court, they may file a Decree of Separate Maintenance action to address things such as child and financial related matters, however, they must be separated from their spouse.
If you have questions about the various grounds for divorce, please do not hesitate to call toll-free at 888-230-1841 to set up a consultation to discuss your legal rights with an attorney.
Can I sue a drunk driver for a car accident?
Yes. Your case will be complicated because it involves both aspects of the American justice system: criminal and civil. Worse, it’ll also involve an insurance company with no desire to do right by you.
- The criminal case is brought by the State to convict and punish the DUI driver. If convicted, the defendant faces fines or even prison if someone got seriously hurt. But this aspect of the law won’t require the defendant to compensate you for all your losses and harm.
- The civil case fills that gap by giving you the right to compensation for your injuries, like property damage to your car, medical bills, lost wages, damage to your marriage, human loss, and potentially the biggest factor in your case, punitive damages. Unlike most South Carolina cases, your case won't face legal limits on punitive damages.
Why DUI Wreck Victims Should Hire An Experienced Lawyer
In the criminal case, the State has a lawyer called a solicitor or prosecutor, to help convict the driver. While that lawyer is on your side, she isn’t your personal lawyer. She can’t bring a civil case to compensate you.
There’s a lot of reasons you need an attorney of your own, but here are six major ones:
- The key reason is the DUI driver has a major advantage over you: he’s backed by a multi-billion dollar monster—his auto insurance company. It’s got one goal in your case: stonewall you and beat you down into a cheap settlement. Their claims representatives prey on folks who don’t know their rights or are just too hurt to fight. (Read about the tricks up their sleeves.) To avoid cheating yourself out of the money you and your family deserve and likely need, hire a professional of your own to level the playing field and go on the offensive. If the adjuster finds out, he'll fight to prevent it- find out why, and how to handle these tactics.
- You’ll especially benefit from a drunk driving accident attorney who can find and develop the evidence supporting punitive damages to increase your settlement, even if you’re not hurt in the crash- you can discover how we've done that in a real case. An experienced car crash lawyer can get evidence from the criminal case to potentially enhance your settlement. You need an attorney who knows what to look for and how to use it. The key is knowing how to present it to the insurance company in a convincing way to compel a good settlement.
- An experienced DUI car accident attorney can give you the most vital guidance on a solid settlement value. Valuing a case is an art and a science. To gain the peace of mind it’s done right, you need a professional.
- A skilled car accident attorney can help find all aspects of auto insurance coverage available to pay your settlement. If the at-fault driver doesn’t have enough insurance, hopefully you’ve got coverage on your own policy called underinsurance. While the available underinsurance may bring initial relief, I’ll spare you the shock on how this turns out—your own insurance company turns against you to contest your claim as if they were the insurance company for the at-fault driver.
- To add insult to injury, some DUI victims are shocked to learn the at-fault driver didn’t even have insurance. In that situation, you can use your own policy, with a coverage called uninsurance. Again, just because it’s your own insurance company, they are not your friend anymore.
- You also need an investigation into where the defendant drank alcohol. If he got drunk at a bar that let him drive away, you might have a case against the bar. An experienced attorney can help you find this needle in the haystack.
There’s a Lot More to Your Case
I’ve written a book answering many questions car crash victims ask—and need to ask, but don’t know to. Download the book I’ve written as service to folks like you.
The truth is, without professional help, you’re just not much of a threat to an insurance company. Why play around? Call me toll-free at 888-230-1841 to schedule a free strategy session to start building your case or fill out a Get Help Now form to get your questions answered.
If you’re wondering what it is like to work with me, check out these reviews from folks I’ve worked with on a website I don’t own.
Can I make a claim or sue for a hit-and-run accident in South Carolina?
Yes, but South Carolina law contains some harsh requirements you need to know, or you will lose your rights:
- Report the accident to the police immediately. It’s best to notify the law enforcement agency that would ordinarily investigate the crash at its location. It could be local police, the sheriff’s department, or the highway patrol.
- If you suspect you know who hit you, or you know someone else like a witness who might know, report it. You can’t be careless in helping police determine the identity of the other car or the identity of the other driver.
- Here’s a shocking inside tip: if your crash wasn’t caused by physical contact with the unknown vehicle, you need an independent witness to the crash. What kinds of crashes are we talking about here? The classic example is getting run off the road into a tree by a driver who just keeps going. No, he never hit you, but he ran you into the tree. That witness must sign an affidavit—a sworn statement—describing the facts of the hit-and-run accident. The affidavit must contain a specific disclaimer: “A false statement concerning the facts contained in this affidavit may subject the person making the false statement to criminal penalties as provided by law.”
A Real Spoiler Alert: Where the Money Comes From
This is the first shock many victims get. The compensation for your injuries comes from your own policy. It’s good that the law provides the right to recover from a policy you paid for when you get victimized by an unknown driver. But, it soon becomes stunning for many victims when their own insurance company turns on them. That’s when many realize while the agent is their friend when she sells them the policy, the insurance company becomes an enemy when they try to use it.
These cases are like any other case. You’ve got to fight for yourself and make sure all your evidence is properly presented to give yourself the best shot at proper compensation. That’s why it's always a good idea to contact an experienced auto accident attorney before you consider dealing with the insurance claims rep, called an adjuster.
Going It Alone Can Get You Nothing, or Close to It
While the law seems to further victimize the victim, it’s got to be followed, or you could lose your right to compensation you might desperately need to repay medical bills and make up for lost income, not to mention what I call human loss and, potentially, what could be a huge issue in your case the insurance company will fight hard against—punitive damages.
If you’ve got questions about your auto accident case, download our FREE BOOK on crash cases.
Don’t risk losing your rights or cheating yourself from inexperience. Enlist a professional whose job it is to protect you by calling toll-free at 888-230-1841 or by filling out a Get Help Now form.