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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Can I Get a Judgment Against a Driver's Assets after a Car Crash in South Carolina?
If you’re looking for the short answer: Yes, you can receive a judgment against a negligent person's assets after a car accident. However, there are usually better options that you should first explore.
1. File a claim with all the insurance companies that may cover the negligent driver.
If the at-fault driver has insurance, you should be able to collect from his/her insurance policy. In cases of serious injury, you may be able to pursue compensation from the negligent driver’s umbrella or excess liability policies. These policies are designed to help protect the insured against large claims or lawsuits when the primary layer of insurance coverage is insufficient. In addition, if the at-fault driver was borrowing someone’s car at the time of the accident, the insurance on that car should apply.
2. File a claim with your insurance provider.
If the other driver doesn’t have enough insurance to pay for all your medical bills and other losses, you can file what is known as an underinsured motorist (UIM) claim with your own insurance company. In order to do this, there must be UIM coverage on the vehicle you were in at the time of the accident, or you must have UIM coverage included on your own insurance policy.
In certain instances, you may be able to stack multiple UIM policies to cover the losses caused by the wreck. What is policy stacking? You can read this article for more information: What Does Stacking Insurance Policies Mean, And How Can It Help Car Accident Victims?
3. Determine whether there are any other potential defendants.
The negligent driver is not always the only liable party. If any other person or entity is partially responsible for the accident, then South Carolina law permits you to seek recovery against them as well. For example, if a bar overserved a drunk driver, or a defect in the roadway contributed to the crash, then you could pursue an insurance claim against those entities.
Before Filing Judgment, Contact a Car Wreck Attorney in South Carolina
If all else fails, you can file a judgment against the driver’s home, vehicles, and other assets. The problem is that most reckless drivers do not have sufficient holdings to sell off in cases of catastrophic loss. It’s also important to know that even if the court enters a judgment against the responsible party, the court is not responsible for ensuring the civil judgment is paid. This can be a long, drawn-out process, so we recommend exploring every other avenue before attempting to execute judgment.
If you were involved in a car crash in South Carolina and want to know all your rights and options, please contact our injury firm today by calling us at (803) 790-2800 or by clicking on the live chat box below. We want to bring clarity and justice to the process for you.
Do I Need A Lawyer to Settle My South Carolina Workers' Compensation Case?
How to Determine If You Need a Workers Comp Lawyer
Whether or not you need a workers' comp lawyer after being hurt at work will largely depend on the severity of the injury and how you're being treated by your employer and their insurance company. Minor work injuries that require minimal treatment, and do not prevent you from working, should not require hiring a workers' comp lawyer. Likewise, if the insurance company is paying your medical bills, authorizing necessary medical care, sending checks in a timely fashion, and offering to fairly compensate you for any impairment or effect on future earnings, a workers' comp lawyer might not be necessary.
However, when the insurance company drags its feet, refuses to send you to the proper doctor, or fights to pay you less than the law entitles you to, then you should at least consult a South Carolina workers' comp attorney to make sure your legal right to workers' compensation benefits are protected.
Call My Columbia, SC Office for Legal Guidance
I do not represent people unless I think they will benefit from my knowledge and skills. Even if I turn down your case, I will gladly take a few minutes to answer your questions at no charge. Call me today at (803) 790-2800 or request a free copy of my book, Your Guide to South Carolina Personal Injury and Workers' Compensation.
How Much is My Workers' Compensation Case in South Carolina Worth?
South Carolina workers’ compensation law provides a number of benefits, including: medical treatment; payment for time missed from work due to injury; and compensation for any permanent impairment or disability.When asked how much money someone should receive from his or her workers’ compensation case, the answer is always: it depends. The value or worth of most workers’ compensation settlements is based on:
- Impairment Rating;
- How the impairment effects the injured worker’s ability to earn a living;
- Work and educational history;
- Transferrable skills;
- How much money the injured worker was earning at the time of the accident;
- What body part or parts were injured;
- Whether future medical treatment is needed; and
- Whether the medical treatment will be left open.
Determining What Your Case Is Worth
Let’s look at these items one-by-one. First, impairment could be thought of as the permanent effect on physical health and mobility. For instance, if your shoulder was 100% before you tore your rotator cuff at work, it may only be 90% after surgery and physical therapy. You would therefore have 10% impairment to your shoulder. Impairment ratings are not issued until you have reached maximum medical improvement (“MMI”). MMI is the point at which your condition has stabilized. Your injury is not getting any worse but it will not ever get any better – it has plateaued. Thus, you have what is known as a permanent impairment.
Impairment has different effects on different people. For instance, in my job as a workers’ compensation lawyer, I could tear a ligament in my knee, sustain a 5% impairment, yet have no problem pushing papers, drafting documents, or standing up in court. Conversely, someone whose job requires heavy lifting, squatting, and carrying, could sustain the same injury and be unable to return to their former job. That is where work and educational history, along with transferrable skills. come into play. In this example, the heavy laborer would have a tougher time earning the wages after the injury as they did before. They would therefore have a great disability (i.e. inability to earn the same money as before the injury) than the lawyer whose torn ligament had no effect on earnings. Oftentimes, the greater the disability, the greater the settlement value.
The value of your workers’ compensation case is also influenced by which body parts you hurt. South Carolina workers’ compensation laws assign a specific number of weeks to most body parts. For instance, the shoulder is worth 300 weeks, the leg 195 weeks, but the thumb only 65 weeks. A 10% disability to the shoulder would be worth 30 weeks of compensation. A 10% disability to the thumb would only be worth 6.5 weeks. Thus, an injury to the shoulder is likely to result in far greater compensation than an injury to the thumb or hand.
What do I mean by 30 weeks? I mean you would multiply 30 by the compensation rate. What is the compensation rate? It is simply the amount of your weekly check. But where does that number come from? Your compensation rate (i.e. weekly check) is based on 2/3 of your average weekly wage at the time of injury. If you were making $600 before taxes prior to injury, your compensation rate would be $400 because $400 is 2/3 of $600.
Your workers’ compensation settlement is also influenced by whether you need any future treatment, and whether or not you are closing your case forever. If the insurance company wants to “clincher” your case they should pay for it. A clincher agreement takes them off the hook for any future medical treatment made necessary by a change in condition. That is valuable and should not be given to them for free. Furthermore, if the doctor has said you need additional medical treatment to remain at MMI, and the insurance company wants to clincher your case, they should pay the costs of the medical treatment you may need down the road.
Speak With A South Carolina Workers' Comp Lawyer Today
South Carolina’s workers’ compensation laws can be both confusing and frustrating. As a workers’ compensation lawyer based in Columbia, it is my privilege to help injured workers determine how much their case is worth, then fight to obtain a fair settlement for them. If you have questions or need help with your workers’ compensation case, request a free case evaluation and free copies of my books by calling 803-790-2800. You don’t have to take on the insurance company by yourself – I am here to help.
Workers' Compensation Client ReviewKenny has handled my worker's comp case with the utmost of integrity and honesty. He and his team have led me through a difficult time in my life after my work injury. They are always available to answer all my questions, and to keep me informed through the entire process. I have had complete confidence throughout my case that the Law Office of Kenneth E. Berger has had my very best interest in mind. By ensuring that I got the best medical care available, and fair treatment from the insurance company, they have made this process as least stressful as possible. Please consider Kenny for any of your personal injury needs; he has earned my highest recommendation.Written by: William ScottLaw Office of Kenneth E. BergerDate published: 12/05/20155 / 5 starsOverall rating: ★★★★★ based on 41 reviews
How can I tell if my loved one suffered a traumatic brain injury in a motorcycle accident? He doesn’t seem quite the same.
You have good reason to be concerned about your loved one right now. Even when motorcyclists wear a helmet, they are still not immune to traumatic brain injuries from a crash.
Traumatic brain injuries can range from mild to very severe, so if there's an indication someone you love may have brain damage, he needs to see a doctor right away. If the first doctor you see says that nothing is wrong, don't be afraid to get a second opinion—only you and your loved one can truly know that something doesn't seem right and needs to be fixed.
Symptoms of a Motorcycle Brain Injury
There are various symptoms that could be an indication that some sort of brain injury has occurred:
- Emotional Signs: Depression, anxiety, irritability, irrational anger, personality changes
- Physical and Behavioral Signs: Changes in sleeping (sleeping too long, not being able to sleep, not being able to wake up), dizziness, nausea or vomiting, loss of consciousness, blurred vision, ringing ears, sensitivity to light or sound, changes in appetite
- Cognitive Signs: Inability to concentration, memory loss, disorientation
This is not an exhaustive list, so even if your loved one has symptoms that are not here, you should still consider seeing a doctor. If it is determined that he does indeed have a TBI and it was caused by the negligence of another person, you are also going to want to contact a brain injury attorney in Columbia.
Speak to a Columbia Motorcycle Injury Lawyer Today
Injuries from motorcycle crashes in South Carolina are often severe and leave the injured person and their friends and family anxious about the future and adjusting to life with a brain injury. We know that the last thing you want to worry about is how you're going to cover medical bills and lost wages as you move forward with treatment and rehabilitation. That's where an injury lawyer can help: we'll worry about your case, so you can focus on healing.
Here at the Law Office of Kenneth Berger, our experienced accident attorneys can help answer questions, deal with the insurance companies, negotiate reduced medical liens, and guide you toward justice. Contact us today for a free consultation at 803-790-2800 or by using the live chat feature below.
How do health professionals determine the severity of a burn injury in South Carolina?
When you suffer a burn injury, the doctor is not going to treat your wound in the same manner as he would someone else's. Each burn is cared for depending on its severity. The medical field classifies burns under six broad categories, though fourth, fifth, and sixth degree burns are mentioned less often because of their infrequency.
Below we've included descriptions of each burn classification, but if you are not sure what type of burn you have, don't be afraid to seek a medical professional's opinion. It’s much better to be safe than sorry when it comes to burn injuries.
Types of Burn Injuries
First Degree Burns
A first degree burn is the least serious type of burn. It is known as a superficial burn, in which only the outer layer of skin has been affected. Your skin will usually be red and possibly swollen, and the burn itself may be slightly painful. It may appear to be sunburn-like. In most cases, you can treat first degree burns on your own. However, if the burn is especially large or covers a portion of your face, hands, feet, buttocks, groin, or a major joint, you may want to visit your medical provider for an evaluation.
Second Degree Burns
A second degree burn is also known as a partial thickness burn, but with this classification, both the first and second layers of skin have been damaged. Second degree burns differs from a first degree burn because blisters containing clear fluids could develop, the skin may become very red and splotchy, and it will likely be very swollen and painful. However, like first degree burns, if it is not too large—three inches or less—you can probably treat it on your own at home. If your wound covers any areas we described under the first degree burn, consider heading to the emergency room for a medical opinion.
Third Degree Burns
Third degree burns are known as full thickness burns, involving all layers of the skin, and can cause permanent tissue damage. The burn area could look charred black or dry and white. This classification require medical attention. Because muscle and bone can be affected, an immediate emergency response is needed to assess the damage and take urgent action. Improperly treated third degree burns can lead to loss of a limb or death.
Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Degree Burns
Fourth, fifth, and sixth degree burns are the most serious classification of burn injuries and require immediate medical attention. They are also full thickness burns, but they extend beyond the layers of skin and can damage underlying tissue, including fat (fourth degree), muscle (fifth degree) and bone (sixth degree). The affected skin may be charred black or white and hard to the touch, and because all nerve endings are destroyed, the injured person may not feel pain. These burns are very serious injuries that can even lead to death.
Contact a Columbia Burn Injury Attorney Today
If your burn injury was the result of another person's negligence, contact a Columbia burn injury lawyer at the Law Office of Kenneth Berger. Burn injury cases are complex. There are often questions about liability and what medical treatment is necessary for the injured person. Before speaking with the insurance company, please consider speaking with an injury attorney first. You can call 803-790-2800 today to schedule your free consultation, or you can start a live chat to speak to a team member at any time.
How Can I figure Out if My Employer Has South Carolina Workers' Compensation Insurance?
The South Carolina workers' compensation system is complicated enough, but some employers make it even harder by ignoring the law. Some companies can be outwardly hostile, while others choose the passive route and attempt to avoid reporting your injury. This can be a sign that an employer who should be carrying workers' comp is not.
Does your employer have 4 or more employees?
First, figure out if your employer is required to carry workers' compensation insurance. Under South Carolina law, an employer who regularly employs four or more people is required to have coverage. That does not mean it has to be the same four people all the time, but rather that the company generally has four or more individuals who could call themselves employees. Exceptions to this rule may include the agricultural, railroad, and real estate industries.
Verify Coverage on the SC Workers' Comp Commission Website
If you believe that your employer is obligated to carry a workers' compensation policy, and are afraid the company might not have it, you can check the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission's website. This site allows you to determine whether the business has coverage by clicking on the "Verify Coverage" link at the top of the website's page. If you have any trouble navigating that site, call my office and we will help you over the phone.
Use a Workers' Comp Attorney to Protect Your Rights
Likewise, many employees who are hurt on the job benefit from having a lawyer guide them through their claim. When you hire a workers' comp attorney, much of your stress and uncertainty should be removed, as you now have someone to protect your rights. Rather than having to worry over legal issues, you are allowed to focus on getting well and moving forward. For answers and guidance, contact my Columbia office at (803) 790-2800 or use the live chat box below. We are here to help and look forward to hearing from you.