Family Law FAQ

What are the grounds for divorce in South Carolina?

  • South Carolina has four fault grounds of divorce: adultery, physical cruelty, desertion, and habitual drunkenness/drug abuse. There is a fifth no-fault ground: living separate and apart for one year without cohabitation. In order to obtain a divorce, the party who files must prove at least one of these grounds with legally sufficient evidence.

Do my spouse and I have to agree to get a divorce?

  • No. Your spouse cannot stop you from obtaining a divorce if you can prove any of the above grounds for divorce and your spouse does not have a legitimate defense to your claim.

Can my spouse and I legally separate?

  • South Carolina does not recognize legal separation. Either you are married or not married. There is, however, a similar action called “An Action for Separate Maintenance & Support.”

What is separation?

  • Separation is when the two parties live in separate locations. Living in two separate bedrooms under the same roof does not qualify as separation in South Carolina.

Do I have to live in South Carolina to be able to file for divorce here?

  • To file for divorce in South Carolina, one party has to have resided in this state for at least one year if the other spouse lives out-of-state. If both parties have lived in South Carolina for at least three months, either party can file for divorce in this State. Issues such as the division of property, alimony, visitation, and child support requiring obtaining personal jurisdiction over the nonresident spouse. Jurisdiction questions are complex, and you should hire an experienced attorney to avoid having your case dismissed due to misunderstanding the law.

In what county to I file for divorce?

  • Actions for divorce are tried in the county where the Defendant resides at the commencement of the action or the county where the parties last resided together has husband and wife. If the Defendant is not a South Carolina resident, then the action is tried in the county where the Plaintiff resides.

How will our property be divided? Will my spouse get 50% of all of our assets and debts?

  • The South Carolina Family Court has jurisdiction to equitably divide the parties’ marital property. There is no preset rule regarding the division of assets. Instead, the Courts consider variety of factors, including: the duration of the marriage; separate maintenance and/or alimony awarded; child custody arrangements; physical and emotional health of each spouse; financial/economic circumstances of each spouse; vested retirement benefits of each spouse; the need for additional training or education to achieve income potential; liens or encumbrances on property; nonmarital property of each spouse; tax aspects of the divorce; support being paid by either spouse regarding a prior marriage or child; desirability of retaining the marital home; each spouse’s contribution to the marriage; fault or misconduct of either party; and any other factors that the Court deems necessary to do equity and justice.

What is the difference between marital and nonmarital property?

  • Very generally, nonmarital property is typically considered any asset owned prior to the marriage, inherited by a party during the marriage, or given by a third party as a gift during the marriage. Marital property includes all real and personal property acquired by the parties during the marriage, gifts between spouses given during the marriage, and vested and non-vested benefits or funds accrued during the marriage such as retirement accounts, pensions, and real property. However, there are many exceptions and nuances to this list, and there are situations where non-marital property can been turned into marital property thru transmutation.

What is separate maintenance and support? What is alimony?

  • Separate maintenance and support is pre-divorce support payments made by one spouse to the other.
  • Alimony is post-divorce support payments made by one former spouse to the other. There are five types of alimony: periodic, lump sum, rehabilitative, reimbursement, and other.
  • While either party may be eligible for alimony or separate maintenance and support, if one spouse can prove that the other spouse has committed adultery, the recipient spouse can be barred from receiving any support.
  • In South Carolina, the Courts consider these factors when awarding alimony: the duration of the marriage together with the ages of the parties at the time of marriage and at the time of divorce; the physical and emotional condition of each spouse; the educational background of each spouse, including the need for additional training to reach income potential; employment history and earning potential of each spouse; custody of children; standard of living established during the marriage; tax consequences; the existence of a support obligation from a prior marriage; current and reasonably anticipated expenses of each spouse; marital misconduct or fault of either party; and any other factors that the court wishes to consider.

Is it possible for a father to get custody?

  • Yes; the paramount consideration in all child custody controversies is the best interest of the child. South Carolina abolished the Tender Years Doctrine that gave mothers preference when awarding custody of young children.

What does the Court consider when awarding custody?

  • The paramount consideration in all child custody controversies is the best interest of the child. Other factors include: who has been the child’s primary caregiver; the child’s reasonable preference, if age appropriate; the character, fitness, attitude and inclination on the part of each parent as he or she impacts the children; immoral conduct by a party that would be detrimental to the welfare of the child; the psychological, physical, environmental, educational, medical, family, emotional, and recreational aspects of the child’s life; religious faith; domestic violence issues; and any written agreement between the parties.

How does the Court determine child support?

  • In South Carolina, child support is governed by the Child Support Guidelines promulgated by the South Carolina Department of Social Services. In rare circumstances, a Court can deviate from these guidelines. Please refer to the Child Support Calculator under our Helpful Links section to calculate your child support amount.

Criminal Law FAQ

What happens if you are charged with a crime?

  • Usually you will be taken into custody when you’re arrested. The police will photograph you and take your fingerprints. When the police begin to question you, they will read you your rights.
  • Remember that you have two important rights: the right to remain silent, and the right to a lawyer. Police may not ask you any more questions if you claim either or both these basic rights. You can claim these rights at the beginning of the questioning or at any time during the questioning.
  • To be released from custody after your arrest, you must post bail. In some cases, you can do this by a signature bond (a written promise to appear in court). In other cases, you may be required to provide either a secured surety bond (you put up property, such as a car or house), or cash (which may be posted by you or someone else).
  • If you’re charged with a misdemeanor, you may not be imprisoned for more than a year. Any “time” you serve will be in the county jail or house of correction. A felony charge is much more serious, because it can mean a year or more in prison. In either case, it is very wise to consult an attorney. If you cannot afford one, the judge will appoint an attorney for you.

What are the steps in a criminal case?

  • In either a misdemeanor or a felony case, you will have an initial appearance. At this appearance, you’ll be served with a criminal complaint that outlines the charge, the probable cause supporting the charge, and the penalty. In a misdemeanor case, you will also enter a plea “not guilty” and you will be given a trial date.
  • For a felony, the next step is the preliminary hearing. At this hearing, the prosecution must present enough evidence to convince the judge that you should stand trial for a felony offense. If it’s decided that your case will go to trial, you then attend an arraignment. At the arraignment, the district attorney will serve you with formal charges for a particular felony. At this time, you must enter a plea.
  • In both misdemeanor and felony cases, you have the right to a jury trial. The jury verdict must be unanimous.

What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?

  • Felony and misdemeanor are legal terms describing the seriousness of a crime.
  • A felony is a very serious crime. Felonies generally carry long prison sentences of a year or more. Examples of a felony are attempted murder and cocaine trafficking.
  • A misdemeanor is a less serious crime. Misdemeanors carry shorter prison sentences. Examples of misdemeanor crimes include simple possession of marijuana, simple assault and battery, and tampering with an electric meter.
  • South Carolina law classifies crimes as felonies and others as misdemeanors. Title 16 of the South Carolina Code contains a list of felonies and misdemeanors.

What is a bench warrant?

  • A Bench Warrant is an arrest warrant issued from “the bench”, in other words from a judge. It is generally issued by a magistrate or circuit court judge for failing to appear in court. It can be extremely difficult to get a loved one out of jail if they are incarcerated on a bench warrant. The government sometimes will try to ignore your case if you are incarcerated on a bench warrant because they know it is difficult to obtain your release. You need a skilled and knowledgeable attorney to make sure your loved one spends as little time as possible while incarcerated on a bench warrant. It is all too easy to spend far too much time in jail waiting for a court appearance in this situation. You need an aggressive and dedicated lawyer to make sure you or your loved one does not fall through the cracks and spend wasted time waiting for the government to deal with your case. Our lawyers know how to file the appropriate motions to move your case forward and to get your case resolved. Contact our law firm today for a consultation.

What is a bond hearing?

  • Our attorneys regularly represent people at bond hearings or preliminary hearings. A bond hearing is when a magistrate or circuit court judge sets an amount of money that the person must put up in order to be released from jail pending trial. It is important to have an attorney early in order to receive a favorable bond hearing and fight for a reasonable bond so that you or your loved one will not have to stay in jail awaiting trial. If you or a loved one is arrested, call our office as soon as possible to have representation at your bail hearing.

What is a personal recognizance bond?

  • When released on a personal recognizance bond, a defendant gives the court his word that he will show up to future court dates. The defendant also acknowledges a debt to the court equal to the total amount of the bond. If the defendant breaks the conditions of his bond, he owes the debt to the Court, and the judge may revoke his bond and return him to jail.
  • In normal circumstances, courts release defendants on personal recognizance bonds before trial. However, if the bonding court determines that the defendant might skip court appearances or cause unreasonable danger to the community, it will not release the defendant on a personal recognizance bond. Judges have a choice in making this determination.

What is a Surety Bond?

  • A surety is someone who guarantees the court that a defendant will appear at Court and obey bond conditions. Bail bondsmen are the most common sureties. Bail bondsmen are licensed by the state and have standing lines of credit with the courts. They charge fees for their services, generally requiring an initial payment totaling 10-15% of the overall bond amount.
  • Family members or other individuals also act as sureties. An individual can secure the release of a defendant by depositing the entire amount of the bond with the court or by pledging property to the Court as collateral.

Workers Compensation FAQ

When do I need the help of an experienced attorney?

South Carolina worker compensation lawyers can help you with any of the following situations:

  • Your injury is serious and will result in extensive or permanent disability.
  • Your workers compensation claim is rejected or denied.
  • You are denied medical care or are not satisfied with the medical treatment you receive.
  • You wish to settle your claim.
  • Your employer retaliates against you with disciplinary action or by terminating your employment.
  • Your claim is accepted but the compensation you receive is incorrect.

What types of accidents are covered under Workers’ Compensation?

In South Carolina, if you get hurt while performing work activities on the job you are entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits. Hence, injuries from falls, lifting heavy objects and work-related accidents are generally compensable. However, injuries from carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive trauma and from automobile collisions are also compensable in many situations. The lawyers at Donnie Gamache, Attorney at Law, LLC have experience in dealing with the issues that arise in workers’ compensation cases and can assist you in determining if your claim is compensable.

What should I do when I get injured on the job?

You should immediately inform your supervisor and complete an accident report with your employer. Our law requires that notice be given to your employer, therefore telling your supervisor is important in protecting your rights. After reporting the accident your employer should send you to a doctor if your injury requires further medical attention. If the employer fails to provide medical attention our firm can file a claim on your behalf requesting that this care be provided.

What am I entitled to under the Workers’ Compensation Act?

An employee is generally entitled to: a) medical treatment for his work-related injuries; b) pay for missed work and; c) a financial settlement at the conclusion of the case based on the permanent injuries sustained.

a) Medical treatment: an employee is entitled to medical treatment for his work-related injuries. The treatment is usually provided by a doctor chosen by the employer.

b) Temporary total benefits: if the employee is kept out of work by an authorized treating physician he may be entitled to receive wages during his absence from work. The benefits paid under workers’ compensation are calledtemporary total benefits and are based on a percentage of wages earned by the employee over time.

c) Permanent disability: an employee may be entitled to compensation if he has sustained permanent injuries as a result of a work-related accident. The disability is based on many factors including an impairment rating given by a doctor, the educational background of the employee, as well as his age and other vocational factors.

What should I do if my claim is denied?

Unfortunately, some insurance carriers deny legitimate claims resulting in the injured employee not receiving medical treatment or payment of benefits while being kept out of work by the doctor. The reasons for this denial can be based on many reasons requiring an immediate response by the injured employee. Our attorneys are prepared to discuss the facts of your case with you, assess the issues involved in your denial, and take action to insure that your rights are protected under the Workers’ Compensation Act.

How much time do I have to file a claim?

Generally, notice of an on-the-job accident must be given to an employer within 90 days of the accident. There are exceptions to the general rule when the Claimant has suffered harm from an occupational disease and the condition was not discovered until a later date. A claim for workers’ compensation benefits must be filed within two years of the date of accident.

What if I do not like the doctor my employer has selected?

Although the employer has the right to select the physician to treat your injuries, you can request a second opinion if you disagree with the doctor’s opinion or treatment plan. When this occurs, you can request a second opinion. If this is denied, a request for additional medical treatment can be made to the Workers’ Compensation Commission or the injured employee can obtain an independent medical examination. Obviously, selection of the right doctor is an important component in a person’s recovery. Additionally, a doctor determines the type of work the employee can do while undergoing treatment and the level of permanent impairment the employee has sustained as a result of the accident.

Personal Injury FAQ

What Exactly is a Personal Injury Case?

  • Personal injury cases arise from such a wide range of circumstances that it’s impossible to list them all here. Some of the most common are car accidents, slip and fall injuries, motorcycle accidents, and work injuries, but any time someone is harmed by the fault of another person or company, there might be a personal injury claim. In fact, personal injury lawyers often handle negligence claims that don’t actually involve physical injuries at all – negligent destruction of property, for instance. A personal injury lawyer will be able to tell you whether or not you might have a personal injury case.

What is Negligence?

  • The law requires us to act with “reasonable care”. The specifics of what constitutes reasonable care vary somewhat from state to state and from situation to situation. When someone fails to act with the reasonable care required by a given circumstance, that may be considered negligence. That’s important to you because in order to recover for most personal injuries, you and your personal attorney will have to prove that another person or a business was negligent, and that the negligence caused your personal injuries.

How do I Know if I have a Personal Injury Case?

  • You can find out whether or not you have a viable personal injury claim by talking to a personal injury lawyer. In general and in addition to other elements, there are a few main things a claimant must prove in order to recover in a personal injury case: that you suffered damages, that the defendant was negligent, and that the defendant’s negligence caused your damages. Even if you have a valid claim, though, your personal injury attorney will have to investigate whether or not you would be able to collect on your claim. If the other party does not have insurance and does not have other assets that could be used to compensate you, then it may be that you have a valid claim but will be unable to collect compensation for it.

How Much is my Personal Injury Case Worth?

  • A number of factors figure into the monetary value of your personal injury claim. For instance, the value of your case is impacted by the nature and extent of your personal injuries; the amount of your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and other financial losses; pain and suffering; and present and future disability. Even when those factors are considered, there are significant variations in the value of a personal injury claim based on the amount of insurance involved or the assets of the defendant, any partial fault on the part of the injured person, the victim’s willingness/ability to invest a long period of time in litigating the claim versus the need for a relatively quick settlement, and more. Assessing the value of your personal injury case isn’t an exact science, and your personal injury attorney won’t be able to give you a definite value up front. However, a personal injury lawyer can weigh the various factors to give you an overall picture of the strengths and weaknesses of your case.

What should I do after I have sustained a personal injury?

After being injured in an accident, it is very important to protect your rights to all legal remedies available to you. Following are steps that you should take following an accident:

  • Seek Immediate Medical Attention For Your Personal Injuries. If you or a loved one is injured, you should seek prompt medical help. Clearly convey all of your personal injuries to the attending physician or emergency services personnel and explain how you sustained your injuries. Reporting your injuries will be memorialized in your personal records, which will help doctors manage your treatments. However, it will also provide evidence that your injuries are connected to the accident, which is necessary in your case to establish that the accident caused the injuries.
  • You or a loved one should also: 1) take photographs of all injuries; 2) keep records of all medical appointments and treatments, medications taken, lost time from work and other activities, pain experienced, limitation of activities, and all incurred expenses; and 3) keep notes of all conversations with doctors and medical personnel.
  • Preserve Evidence. If possible, write down the names, addresses and phone numbers of all potential witnesses to the accident. If motor vehicles are involved, get all the license plate numbers and the names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information of all drivers. Take photographs of the accident scene and surrounding area from different angles, and the source of the personal injury if possible.
  • If you have been injured by a defective product do not return it to the retailer or manufacturer, and do not throw it away. Make sure that it is kept in a secure place and do not alter it in any way. Your attorney will need the product to have it examined by experts. If the product is in the possession of someone else, seek an attorney’s help. An attorney may be able to file for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to avoid destruction of the product.
  • Contact An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer. Your chances of recovering adequate compensation for your injuries in an accident could change at any moment. Not knowing important steps that should be taken early on in your case can result in irreversible damage to your case. It is essential to consult an effective personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident in order to protect your legal rights and to ensure that evidence is preserved.
  • Do Not Talk To An Insurance Company Without Consulting Your Personal Injury Attorney. Insurance companies do not make profits by paying out personal injury claims. It is in their best interest to avoid payment altogether or to settle quickly for the least amount of money possible. In the majority of personal injury cases you cannot ask for additional compensation once you have agreed to a settlement. Often, an injured person will discover as time goes by that his personal injuries were more extensive than they appeared initially.This could lead to additional unexpected medical bills and longer disability. Do not discuss anything pertaining to your personal injuries or about the accident which caused them without consulting a personal injury attorney first.

What Kind Of Compensation Can I Recover In My Personal Injury Claim?

  • If you have been the victim of an accident and have been injured, you have a right to be compensated for your losses. There are two main types of personal injury damages: 1) compensatory or actual damages, and 2) punitive damages.
  • Punitive damages are discretionary and are usually awarded to a victim in addition to actual damages when the defendant’s conduct has been especially malicious or egregious. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for his or her reprehensible conduct and to act as a deterrent to prevent the defendant and others from acting the same way.
  • Compensatory or actual damages are intended to cover all the expenses and aliments caused by the personal injury. Your family members may also be entitled to recover if your injuries in certain circumstances. Damage awards can include the following:
  • Medical expenses. This includes bills and expenses for services from doctors, hospitals, ambulance fees, medication, and services from nurses or other health care providers related to your injury.
  • Pain and suffering. This is an award to compensate you for past and future physical pain caused by your accident.
  • Lost wages. This award represents the amount of money you would have earned from the time of the injury to the final judgment or settlement.
  • Impairment of earning capacity. If the injuries from your accident have reduced your ability to earn money in the future, compensation can be awarded for that loss.
  • Future medical expenses. This applies to continued medical care needed as a result of your accident or injury.
  • Mental anguish. This type of damage applies to certain circumstances of mental suffering or emotional distress, including mental suffering from disfigurement, or witnessing the death or catastrophic injury of a loved one.
  • Loss of consortium. These damages apply to the deprivation of the benefits of married life after an accident or injury, including companionship, affection, comfort, or sexual relations between spouses. Usually the spouse of the injured person is the party who makes these claims.
  • Loss of society and companionship. This is a damage that may be awarded in wrongful death cases to immediate family members of the deceased for the loss of love, comfort, and companionship they would have enjoyed if the deceased had lived.
  • Property damage. An award for expenses related to property damaged in an accident, such as a wrecked vehicle.

What will this cost?

  • All motor vehicle accident cases are handled on a contingency-fee basis. We will advance all costs and expenses. You will not have to reimburse us for any costs or expenses unless we are successful. That means you will pay absolutely nothing for lawyers’ fees or costs unless we win a monetary award in your case. When we win for you—and only then—we then charge an agreed-upon portion of the amount won.

What is the Likelihood that My Case will Go to Trial?

  • Less than 25% of personal injury cases go to trial, and most of those settle before the trial ends. Whether or not your personal injury case goes to trial, though, isn’t dependent just on the odds. It is dependent on a variety of factors like the value of the claim, the insurance company involved, the certainty of the evidence, and more. Your personal injury attorney will be able to give you a better sense of whether or not yours is a case that will likely go to trial, but, just like case valuation, the analysis is not an exact science.

What Happens if I was Engaging in Dangerous Activity when I was Injured?

  • If you were engaging in a dangerous activity or were otherwise aware of a risk that you could be injured, you might be deemed to have “assumed the risk”. In many personal injury cases, “assumption of risk” is a valid defense to a plaintiff’s personal injury claim. Assumption of risk is most commonly used as a defense in products liability cases when the plaintiff failed to follow directions or warnings or to properly maintain the product.

Wrongful Death FAQ

My loved one was killed because someone was negligent. What are my rights?

  • When someone is killed due to the negligence of another, South Carolina statutes provide for what is known as a Wrongful Death action. The case must be pursued by the Personal Representative of the estate of the deceased person for the benefit of beneficiaries listed in the statute. Subject to some exceptions, the statutory beneficiaries for a married man with children, for example, would be his wife and children.
  • A wrongful death may also give rise to what in South Carolina is called a survival action. This is an action that may be brought on behalf of the estate of the deceased person, by the Personal Representative, to recover funeral and burial expenses and to recover for any conscious pain and suffering that occurred prior to death.

How can an attorney help with a wrongful death case?

  • A death in the family can leave surviving family members in a state of emotional disarray and confusion. At a time like this, an attorney’s services may be invaluable in your fight for justice if your loved one died because of someone else’s wrongdoing. It can be tough to think about the future while you’re grieving, but serious financial concerns may arise due to the unexpected death of a loved one, and an experienced attorney can help you pursue the financial compensation you need to cover your financial losses.

When should I file a wrongful death lawsuit?

  • When a person passes away from someone else’s mistakes, his or her loved ones may be emotionally devastated. Sadly, they may also suffer financial difficulties due to the many costs associated with funeral arrangements and the possible loss of the deceased’s income. While it may be difficult to think about taking legal action to pursue compensation for these expenses, there are limits to the amount of time a deceased’s family members have to file a lawsuit. In South Carolina, this limit is set at 3 years from the date of passing.
  • While no amount of compensation can replace the person you lost, a successful lawsuit may provide you with much needed financial support. Let an attorney shoulder your wrongful death claim and help you pursue the compensation you need.

Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?

  • The individuals eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit will vary based on the deceased’s family. If the deceased was married and had children, their spouse and children have the power to file for compensation. If the individual was an adult and had no spouse or no children, the siblings and parents of the deceased may file. If the individual was a young child, the child’s parents can file a claim.
  • Working out the details of a wrongful death lawsuit can prove unfortunately complicated at an already difficult time. If your loved one has recently passed because of another party’s actions or inaction, we may be able to help you sort out the details and pursue justice.

 

 

Motorcycle Injury FAQ

How dangerous is a motorcycle accident compared to an auto accident?

  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are about 18 times as likely as passenger car occupants to die in a motorcycle accident and about three times as likely to be injured.

Does South Carolina have a helmet law?

  • Yes. South Carolina law requires persons who are under the age of 21 to wear motorcycle helmets and protective eyewear, and the helmet must have reflectors on both sides. But sadly, not everyone follows the law. Helmets are estimated to be 37-percent effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcycle riders and 41-percent for motorcycle passengers.

I was in a motorcycle accident in South Carolina and I am under 21, but I was not wearing a helmet. Can I still file a legal claim?

  • Yes. Just because you did not follow the state’s helmet law does not mean you won’t be able to recover damages for your injuries. However, not wearing the helmet may affect the amount of compensation you are eligible to receive. Speaking with Donnie Gamache, an experienced motorcycle accident attorney, can help answer your questions about potential recoveries.

What should I do after a motorcycle accident?

  • This is a crucial moment in the timeline of your case. Priority one is to seek medical care, of course, especially if your injuries might be subtle or hard to detect. If you are able, however, you also want to collect important information from the scene. This can include anything from the other drivers’ information to specific observations about time, place, road conditions, and any obstacles that may have played a role. In the days ahead, you will also want to be assiduous about assembling documentation from other sources, including police reports, medical records, and any correspondence that occurs with insurance carriers.

Should I release my medical records to the insurance adjuster?

  • Definitely not. Releases should only be signed under limited circumstances and after consulting with a qualified personal injury lawyer. If your medical information gets into the insurance adjuster’s hands, it could hurt your case.

How much money is my case worth?

  • Your case is worth either what you agree with the insurance company it’s worth or the amount of a cash award granted by a judge and jury. We examine all of the conditions surrounding your South Carolina motorcycle accident case in order to arrive at a figure that we believe the insurance company must pay for your injuries. Generally, the dollar value is dependent upon the type and extent of your injuries. Other factors influencing the dollar value of your motorcycle accident case are the amount of medical bills, length of treatment, frequency of treatment, future medical bills, permanent disabilities and any other damage that can be documented. We study every detail so that we can get you the money you deserve for your injuries.

What kind of expenses can I recover?

  • If you choose to pursue a motorcycle lawsuit, it is important to go in with your eyes open about what kind of damages you can seek. South Carolina offers a number of ways to recover what you deserve, and a well-fought lawsuit may result in damages for medical care, loss of income, and pain and suffering. One or all of these can easily stretch into six figures and beyond depending on the circumstances of that accident and the state of your injuries, but it starts by retaining an effective motorcycle accident attorney.

How much will it cost?

  • Our firm works on a contingency basis. This means we do not charge anything unless you win money for your injuries. In other words, there is literally no way to come out of that relationship having lost money – either the case does not prevail, in which case your attorney’s services are free, or you win a settlement, in which case the attorney’s fees are taken out of that settlement.

Who can be held liable for injuries or property damage resulting from a motorcycle crash?

  • Anyone operating a vehicle that was involved in the accident could possibly be held liable. In addition, insurance companies, pedestrians, or public entities responsible for maintaining roadways could also possibly be held liable.

Do I need an expert to testify in a motorcycle liability case?

  • Well, it depends. In motorcycle accident cases that are straightforward and liability is not contested, you may not need an expert. However, in more complicated cases, like those that may involve a potential manufacturing liability, you may require a forensic investigator to evaluate the evidence and provide expert testimony at the trial.

If a car, truck, or other motorcycle drives my bike off the road and then flees, can I file a personal injury claim?

  • Yes, this would be considered a hit and run accident. In such cases, you have to file a claim through your motorcycle insurance company in order to receive compensation for medical care and related accident expenses. In some cases, you can even file a motorcycle accident claim if a family member has the right coverage or even with your car insurance policy company.

Do I need an expert to testify in a motorcycle liability case?

  • Well, it depends. In motorcycle accident cases that are straightforward and liability is not contested, you may not need an expert. However, in more complicated cases, like those that may involve a potential manufacturing liability, you may require a forensic investigator to evaluate the evidence and provide expert testimony at the trial.

If I don’t have motorcycle insurance, can I still make a personal injury claim?

  • Yes. Even if you don’t have insurance, that doesn’t mean you lose your right to hold a negligent party accountable for injuries you suffered.

What if I was partially at fault for causing the accident?

  • If you were at fault to some extent in causing an accident, the amount of money you recover will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you were 20% at fault and your damages were $100,000, you would receive only $80,000.

Is it important to retain an attorney for my motorcycle accident case?

  • It is important to have an attorney in a motorcycle injury case in order to make sure that you are treated fairly by the insurance company. An attorney can take responsibility for a complete investigation of the crash and also can make sure that the injuries you suffer are adequately documented so as to insure that you will receive adequate compensation.

I was in a traffic accident when a car turned left in front of me while I was riding my motorcycle. Who is at fault?

  • Typically a left-hand turning vehicle is found to be at fault since the law requires that a motorist planning on making a left hand turn must yield to all oncoming traffic. In some cases a motorcyclist could be found partially at fault even though he has the right of way if he was speeding or not maintaining an adequate look out.

Who will pay the doctor bills and fix my motorcycle if the other person has no insurance?

  • Even if the other driver doesn’t have any insurance, you may still be covered. Check with our office. We can look at your policy and tell you if you have uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage covers you if you’re in a motorcycle accident with someone who has no insurance.

Dog Bites FAQ

What should I do if I’m attacked by a dog in South Carolina?

  • Seek immediate medical assistance. If you are bitten by a dog in South Carolina, you should, as with any personal injury, seek immediate medical assistance. Dog bites pose a serious risk for infection and scarring, and a physician should be contacted immediately for treatment.  If the bite from a dog attack is serious and you or a loved one are in immediate medical distress, call an ambulance or go to an emergency room as quickly as possible.
  • Identify the Dog that bit you. You should try to write down all of the contact information of the dog owner, including their name, address, and telephone number. It might also be helpful to find out the name of their insurance company, as well as contact information for any witnesses to the dog bite incident. Also, be sure to take note of exactly where the dog bite occurred.
  • Have photos taken of the dog bit injuries. As soon as practical, take photographs of all visible injuries and any torn or bloody clothing. Additionally, if possible, take pictures of the dog itself and the location of the incident.
  • Any and all information that you collect can be helpful for your dog bite case. Your South Carolina dog bite attorney will then be able to evaluate the evidence and help you receive compensation for your injuries.

 

What should I NOT do if I am attacked by a dog in South Carolina?

Do not give the insurance company information about your dog bite or your dog bite injuries.  Do not give any statements to an insurance adjuster or insurance agent.  Do not sign any document without discussing it with your legal team first!  Insurance companies’ first interest is protecting themselves from expensive claims.  The information you give them can and will be used against you to defeat or minimize your claim.  Also, do not attempt to settle the case yourself.  You have a right to certain types of compensation for damages you may not know exist.  It costs nothing to talk to us first to help guide you.  Dog bite injuries in particular often result in scars requiring surgical procedures.  It is important to contact an experienced dog bite lawyer as soon as possible after the dog attack.  Effective dog bite lawyers can seek full compensation for all of the damages you are entitled to recover.

What kinds of dogs have a tendency to bite people?

Although in their minds, most people associate certain dogs with aggressive behavior and biting, but the fact is that all dogs could potentially bite someone. While it is true that some breeds of dogs are more likely to bite, there are situations in which any type of dog would likely bite a person. These instances where a dog might be more likely to bite are when they are startled, provoked, feel threatened, guarding something that they believe to be theirs, protecting their owners, or are in heat. If it appears a dog is displaying one of these characteristics, you should back away from the dog and try not to provoke it in any way.

Who can sue for dog bite injuries and who will be liable?

The injured victim can bring a claim or a lawsuit. When a minor child has been bitten by a dog the claim needs to be brought on behalf of the parents and by the parents on behalf of the minor child. A claim or lawsuit would be against the owner of the dog, or the person who is in control of the dog at the time of the bite.

What should I do if my child is bitten by a dog?

The first thing you should do if your child is attacked is call the police and seek medical treatment for the child. It is important to report the attack so that the police may report the incident. You should immediately seek medical attention for your child to ensure that he/she has not suffered a severe injury and that the dog was not rabid or infectious.

After your child receives treatment for their injuries, if you would like to pursue a personal injury claim against the dog owner, you should contact a South Carolina dog bite attorney. An attorney can help you to determine whether or not you have a case and what steps to take next in order to seek justice.

Is the dog owner covered by insurance?

Yes, generally under their homeowner’s insurance policy. Almost all homeowner’s policies cover for attacks and bites by pets. It is important that you review your Home Owner’s Insurance Policy when deciding whether or not to purchase a dog.

If I am bitten by a dog or other animal, who is my case against?

A lawsuit may be brought against the dog’s owner or keeper, or even against the homeowner of the dog if the dog’s owner did not own his or her property. The ultimate recovery usually comes from an insurance policy that covers injuries, such as the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy or renter’s insurance policy. An experienced dog bite attorney will be able to examine the insurance coverage available for the dog bite victim.

If I have a dog bite case, what am I entitled to recover for my injury?

If you are attacked by a dog, you are entitled to recover for the damages sustained, which includes medical bills, pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost wages, future medical bills, surgery costs, and possibly psychological damages resulting from the dog bite attack.

What should I do if my dog bites someone?

  • If your dog bites someone, act responsibly by taking the following steps:
  • Confine your dog immediately.
  • Check on the victim’s condition. Call for emergency medical help if necessary.
  • Provide the victim with necessary information, including the date of your dog’s last rabies vaccination and whether your dog has had any serious illnesses.
  • Cooperate with the animal control officials. Obey their directions about quarantining your dog in your home, a veterinary hospital, or an animal control facility.
  • Seek professional help to prevent your dog from biting again. Get a referral from a veterinarian, animal control agency, or humane society for a dog trainer or an animal behavior specialist in your area.
  • If you cannot control your dog’s dangerous behavior and decide to sell it or give it away, be careful about selecting a new owner. Tell that person about the past dog attacks and ask whether the individual is willing and able to prevent the dog from causing further harm.

How long does a dog bite case typically take to be resolved?

Not all dog bite claims are the same and therefore take different amounts of time to be settled. The more severe the injuries are, along with other aspects of the dog bite case, the more likely it will take longer to resolve. It is possible for some dog bite claims to be settled in as little as a few weeks; on the other hand, it could also last more than a year, depending on the circumstances. That is why it is important to contact an attorney immediately so that you can begin your dog bite claim while receiving treatment for your dog bit injuries.

Who’s responsible for the injuries of an owner when separating fighting dogs?

If a person intervenes to protect a pet or someone else from injury and the rescuer is injured, the owner of the dog may be held responsible for the injury.

Can posting a “Beware of Dog” sign help to offset any liability if the dog bites?

Possibly. The sign can help to alert others of the presence of the dog. But if an attack occurs, the specific facts will determine whether there’s any liability.

What do leash laws cover?

Most communities have local leash laws that require dogs to be on a leash unless confined to a house or fenced yard, even on your own property. Failing to follow the leash laws combined with the dog biting someone can greatly increase the potential penalties.

Is an owner responsible for injuries to a trespasser?

While you’ll want to discuss the specifics of the situation with a local lawyer, if an individual is trespassing when bitten, dog owners are often protected from being sued.

What does “strict liability” mean?

Many states have moved away from the “one free bite rule” and hold owners responsible for any injury, regardless of whether the animal has previously shown aggressive tendencies. This is referred to as “strict liability.”

Do state or local laws cover dog bites?

Both. In addition to the state laws, local communities often have animal laws covering bites, leash laws and vaccinations. Some local laws may ban ownership of a certain breed altogether.