Get Answers to These FAQs We Hear the Most
We know how many questions you must have right now about your personal injury or workers' comp case, so we compiled this list of the questions we hear the most. If you have a question that is not answered here, please call our Columbia law office to speak with Kenneth Berger.
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Should I Sign a Letter of Protection to Get Medical Treatment After an Auto Accident?
Car crashes often result in injuries, which in turn require medical treatment. But what happens if you cannot afford necessary medical care? One option may be a "letter of protection."
What is a Letter of Protection?
Many doctors and physical therapists across South Carolina will treat you at no cost on the front end in return for a letter of protection from an injury attorney that states your balance will be paid out of the settlement proceeds when the legal case concludes.
For example, you may need 6 weeks of physical therapy at a cost of $1,800.00. If the car wreck knocked you out of work or you are without health insurance, you may be unable to afford the out-of-pocket costs physical therapy poses. However, the therapist may be willing to treat you so long as you sign a letter (i.e contract) agreeing to pay him out of your settlement funds.
Use Letters of Protection with Caution After a Car Wreck
Letters of protection - also known as "lien letters" - are an important tool for uninsured accident victims in South Carolina. Nonetheless, I encourage you to approach these agreements with caution, as you do not want an unethical chiropractor, therapist, or medical doctor running up a huge bill simply because they see dollar signs.
If you have any questions related to medical treatment after an auto accident, or if you would like me to review a letter of protection for you at no charge, call my Columbia, SC today at 803-790-2800. As a car accident attorney, my job is to protect your legal and financial interests so that you can focus on getting well.
Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help with My Workers' Compensation Case?
I get frustrated when I see lawyers in South Carolina advertise for cases they do not have much experience handling. For instance, many lawyer websites make it sound like someone who devotes 95% of their practice to personal injury cases is more qualified to help with your workers' compensation case than an attorney with years of experience helping injured workers.
Attorneys Can Handle Workers' Comp and Personal Injury Claims
So, can a personal injury attorney represent you in a workers' compensation claim? Absolutely - in fact there are many practices (mine included) that actually handle both types of cases on a regular basis. The term "personal injury" includes actions arising from car wrecks, nursing home abuse, premises liability, and really any type of case involving harm caused by someone else's negligence.
However, workers' compensation is a separate area of law that is limited to on the job injuries. In some instances, an attorney may actually be able to help you with two cases arising out of the same incident. For example, if you got in a auto accident while at work, we could represent you in your workers' comp claim, and also file a personal injury claim against the driver who caused your crash.
In sum, the answer to this question is "yes," but make sure you ask the attorney how much experience they have in both areas of law. Every injured person has the right to a qualified lawyer. Therefore, ask the lawyer not only about their experience, but also results they have obtained and what former clients say about them.
Call Our South Carolina Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation
To find out more about our personal injury and workers' compensation firm, call my Columbia, SC office at 803-790-2800 for free copies of my books as well as a free consultation. We have helped many injured workers and we look forward to being able to serve you as well.
Will the Insurance Company Pay Three Times My Medical Bills After an Accident in South Carolina
Years ago, the unwritten rule in South Carolina was that an insurance company would pay three times your medical expenses. The thinking was that 1/3 would go to the doctors, 1/3 to the injury lawyer, and 1/3 to the person who was injured in the accident. That is no longer the standard, however. After years of "tort reform" and multi-million dollar insurance campaigns aimed at demonizing lawyers and the people they represent, the pre-litigation value of accident claims has decreased. In fact, many insurance carriers have begun offering unrepresented people less than 1.5 times the medical bills.
Looking Beyond Medical Bills for Case Value
So rather than focus on medical expenses alone as a measure for your case's value, I view it as just one of several variables that goes into determining how much compensation you should receive. In addition to your bills, I focus on the overall effect the accident has on your quality of life, your physical pain, and any permanent injury you have sustained. The defendant's conduct is another factor in assessing case value. For instance: Was the individual defendant texting? Did a corporate defendant put profits ahead of safety?
Instead of allowing an insurance company or non-lawyer to convince you that your case's value is tied almost exclusively to the medical bills, call my Columbia, SC office today for a free case evaluation at 803-790-2800. I will provide candid, factual, experience-based answers to your questions and help ensure you are treated fairly.
Will Medicaid Pay for My Child's Injuries in South Carolina?
File Your Child's Hospital Bills with Medicaid
Medicaid is meant to protect South Carolina's children and ensure they get the medical treatment they need. Medicaid applies whether your child was injured in a car wreck, at daycare, school, a friend’s house, or anywhere else. Even though the negligent party may be responsible for compensating your family at the end of a legal case, Medicaid still pays the bills along the way. Do not hesitate to file your hospital bills with Medicaid if your child got hurt as a result of negligence.
At the end of the case, we may have to reimburse Medicaid a portion of what they paid out, but it is much easier to pay them a couple thousand dollars than to be stuck with tens of thousands in unpaid medical bills.
A Child Injury Lawyer Can Answer Your Questions
If your child was seriously injured in South Carolina, and you have questions about any aspect of the case, including Medicaid, call me today at (803) 790-2800 or you can reach us 24/7 using our live chat feature. We are sorry for what you are going through and are looking forward to speaking with you to see how we can help.
Who Pays for the Rental Car after a Crash in South Carolina?
After an auto accident, one of your first concerns will be getting a rental car so you can get back and forth from work or take care of other responsibilities. In most instances, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will pay for your rental car. The problem in South Carolina is that they often provide a rental for only 5 to 10 days. As you probably know by now, it may take more time than that to fix the property damage or to purchase a new vehicle after an accident.
Options to Get a Rental Car After a Car Wreck in South Carolina
When delays occur you have a couple of options. First, you can ask the Defendant's insurance company to extend your rental. Second, you may contact your own insurance carrier and ask if your rental coverage applies in this situation. Either way, there may be a small rental fee for items such as insurance on the rental car, but the amount you pay is greatly offset by the money you save from going to work or taking care of other duties.
South Carolina Car Accident Laws Are Designed to Protect You
South Carolina auto accident law is designed to protect you if you were in a car wreck that wasn't your fault. Ensuring you have a rental vehicle is just one of those protections. If you have questions about any aspect of your case, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help guide you to justice. Call me today at (803) 790-2800, or you can reach out to my firm by using the live chat box below.
Do I Have to Pay Medicaid Back in South Carolina After a Car Crash?
First, if you have Medicaid in South Carolina, you should use it to pay for all medical bills related to your car crash. Second, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) - which runs our state's Medicaid program - will seek to be reimbursed for the money it spent on your medical treatment. With that said, I would much rather you owe Medicaid $3,000.00 than a hospital $30,000.00. In addition, DHHS will reduce the amount of money you have to repay them out of your settlement by at least 25% if you have a car accident attorney.
So in sum, the answer is "Yes." If you currently receive Medicaid benefits, and got in an auto accident in South Carolina, you should be able to receive the medical treatment you need, but not at a cost that will swallow your entire settlement. I have represented a number of Medicaid recipients in personal injury cases, and would be glad to answer any questions you have. For a free consultation, call me today at (803) 790-2800 or contact us by using the live chat box below.
What is My Impairment Rating Based On?
In South Carolina, the treating doctor will issue an impairment rating when you reach what is known as maximum medical improvement (MMI). Under our state's workers' compensation laws, the impairment rating is critical in determining the value of your case.
4 Factors Affecting Your Impairment Rating
Your rating is based on factors such as:
- Whether you underwent surgery;
- Loss of strength;
- Decreased range of motion; and
- Pain levels.
For instance, a shoulder surgery may leave you unable to lift, carry, or pull as much weight as before your injury. Likewise, you may not be able to extend your arms above your head due to the operation. Thus, even though the surgery may have been a success, you are still "impaired" with regard to the use and function of a specific body part.
Questions About Your Impairment Rating? A Workers' Comp Lawyer Can Help
Doctors should issue impairment ratings in accordance with guidelines handed down by the American Medical Association. Your doctor should also put you through a series of strength and flexibility tests before issuing a rating. If you have questions about the accuracy of your impairment rating or some aspect of workers' compensation in South Carolina, learn your rights. For a free case evaluation, call me today at (803) 790-2800 or reach out to us by using the live chat box below.
Should I Sign the Lien Letter from Lexington Medical Center?
What is a Lien Letter?
Lexington Medical Center ("LMC") is aggressive in its billing practices. The hospital often mails auto accident victims, and other injured people, what are known as "lien letters" or "letters of protection." LMC wants you sign these letters, promising to pay the hospital bill out of your settlement, possibly even before they file your bill with health insurance. They use a collections company called Medical Reimbursements of America to persuade - and sometimes frighten - injured people into signing away their rights.
So should you sign the lien letter from LMC or Medical Reimbursements of America? Probably not - at least not until all health insurance benefits have been exhausted. Do not let anyone tell you that you cannot put your health insurance benefits to use simply because you were involved in an accident. Request that LMC files your bill with health insurance before you sign any letter of protection. Likewise, if you want us to provide a free review of any documents the hospital or its collection agent has sent you, call us today at (803) 790-2800, or you can start a live chat to speak with a member of our team at any time. We are here to make sure no one adds insult to your injury.
Who Pays the Cost of a Personal Injury Lawsuit in South Carolina?
How Much Does an Injury Lawsuit Cost?
The cost of a personal injury lawsuit often ranges from $1,000 - $5,000. However, a complex case such as a medical malpractice or products liability suit might cost upwards of $100,000. So who pays these expenses? In South Carolina, the injured person’s lawyer usually advances the “litigation costs.” At the end of the case, those costs are subtracted from the client’s recovery. The only other options are for the client to pay along the way, or for the court to order the at-fault party to pay court expenses.
Most clients cannot afford to pay for experts, videotaped depositions, and other litigation costs – especially in light of the medical bills and lost wages they may be facing from the accident. For those reasons, I cover litigation expenses. I do not charge clients for postage, copies, mileage, or hourly work. At the end of the case, I am simply reimbursed for the checks I wrote to third parties on my client’s behalf. Additionally, if my firm doesn’t recover compensation on a client’s behalf, the client owes us nothing in fees or expenses.
You Shouldn't Worry About Litigation Costs
If you are concerned about how much your personal injury lawsuit will cost you, don’t be. Call us today for a free consultation at (803) 790-2800. You can also start a live chat using the box below to speak with a team member at any time. While my office is located in Columbia, we help people across South Carolina, and we would be honored to help you as well.
Can I Get Punitive Damages Under SC Law If I Was Injured By a Driver Who Was Texting?
Texting and Driving Qualifies as Reckless Driving in South Carolina
In South Carolina, punitive damages may be awarded if the at-fault driver was reckless or in violation of a statute. Texting and driving may not be prohibited by statute, but it certainly qualifies as reckless. I have represented a number of people - including soldiers, mothers, and children - who were injured in rear-end collisions because someone else chose to text and drive. We sought punitive damages in all those cases, and will continue to do so anytime someone decides to drive while texting.
Common sense, as well as the law of negligence, requires a driver to watch the road and see what is there to be seen. When someone chooses to look down at their phone rather than watching the road in front of them, they are making a conscious choice to endanger whoever is in their path. These choices are nothing if not reckless.
If you want help seeking punitive damages because you were hurt by a driver who chose to text and drive in South Carolina, call me today at (803) 790-2800 or contact us by using the live chat box below. We look forward to speaking with you and helping you seek justice.