Posts in Legal Issues

Bullying in South Carolina

January 16th, 2018 Posted by Bullying, Legal Issues, Uncategorized No Comment yet

Has your child ever come home from school extremely upset? The cause could be bullying. Unfortunately, bullying remains a prominent and problematic issue in today’s schools. As a parent, it is your job to get involved.

First, if your child is a victim of bullying at school, it should immediately be reported to an employee of the school such as a teacher, counselor, or administrator. Also, as a parent, it is your responsibility to contact the school and request an investigation. Do not contact the parent of the bully, instead, contact the school itself.

If you feel as though the school is not responding properly and no changes are being made to the way in which your child is being treated, you should submit a written complaint to the District Superintendent’s office.

Laws are in place in South Carolina to try and prevent bullying. The Safe School Climate Act was signed into law in 2006 with intent to prevent harassment and bullying in schools. This defines harassment, intimidation, or bullying as,

“a gesture, an electronic communication, or a written, verbal, physical, or sexual act that is reasonably perceived to have the effect of: (a) harming a student physically or emotionally or damaging a student’s property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of personal harm or property damage; or (b) insulting or demeaning a student or group of students causing substantial disruption in, or substantial interference with, the orderly operation of the school.”

If you are a parent or student who is not satisfied with the way your school or district is handling your case, it is imperative to get legal help. Experience is necessary to navigate the complexity of South Carolina laws regarding bullying cases and the Peper Law Firm has that experience. Please contact us for a free consultation at 843-225-2520.

 

Hotel Injuries

June 19th, 2017 Posted by Legal Issues, Personal Injury No Comment yet

With vacation season upon, many families will be traveling out of town to see new places and spend quality time with their family.  For many travel plans, this includes staying in a hotel. Accidents do happen though, and if you’re injured in a hotel, you need someone on your side to help you take action and get the justice you deserve.

Common injuries
If you get out of your state of residence, don’t worry. You are still entitled to receive compensation. Immediately notify both your lawyer and the hotel’s insurance company that you are injured after you’ve taken the following steps:

  • Seek immediate medical attention and get proper treatment if need be.
  • Get a face to face meeting with the hotel manager so he can document the incident, including your injuries as soon as possible.
  • If you are transported to a local hospital, request a copy of the ER admittance report and discharge summary BEFORE you head back    home.
  • Take pictures of your injuries and the scene where you were injured.
  • Ask any and all witnesses for a statement in writing and have them sign and date it.  In the alternative, at least use your cell phone to    record their statement.
  • Communicate with your lawyer and ask what your options are depending on your case.

To succeed in a personal injury claim against the hotel, the law requires that you meet a burden of proof. To meet the burden of proof you must have sufficient evidence that proves:

  1. The hotel breached its duty by letting you get injured on their property.
  2. The hotel had a duty of care to protect you from harm when they invited you there.
  3. Your injury resulted in actual and consequential damages.

Unfortunately, fairly compensating you for your personal injury claim against a hotel accident can be a lengthy process, but don’t let that discourage you, let it empower you to hold them accountable for their negligence.

If you have been injured in a hotel, contact me for a free consultation and we can start working on your case immediately.

Hurt in a Lyft or Uber?

May 22nd, 2017 Posted by Car Accidents, Legal Issues, Personal Injury No Comment yet

Car accidents are inevitable with negligent drivers and increasing distractions in cars (see our post about texting and driving!). With ride-sharing apps becoming more and more popular, it is also inevitable that car accidents will happen between these drivers as well. Fortunately, Uber and Lyft have policies to protect drivers and passengers involved in automobile accidents.

What should you do if you are in a car accident while riding in an Uber or Lyft? Who is responsible?

With Uber, here are three different stages of liability coverage. If a driver is simply driving and does not have a fare or anyone they are picking up, their personal car insurance company is responsible for any damages. Once they have accepted a customer and are on the way to pick up the customer, the Uber driver is covered by their own car insurance policy AND additional contingent liability coverage provided by Uber.  The moment the Uber driver picks the customer up, Uber provides insurance coverage with limits of $1,000,000 per occurrence.

Lyft provides four coverages in their insurance policies: contingent liability, primary automobile liability, contingent comprehensive & collision, and uninsured/underinsured motorist. Like Uber, Lyft only provides coverage to its drivers once a customer has been picked up and the driver mode is on.

Passengers
Fortunately, Uber and Lyft have policy limits of $1,000,000 per occurrence. They also cover uninsured or underinsured motorists, meaning that passengers are protected when the car they are riding in is hit by another negligent driver who does not have insurance, or has too little insurance to pay your medical bills and make you whole.  Following the accident, you will need to send a report on your app, then immediately call a personal injury or auto accident attorney, since an Uber of Lyft representative will call you to discuss the details of your claim as soon as you send the accident report.  If for some reason you have not been able to talk to a personal injury or auto accident attorney before they call you, be careful NOT to give a recorded statement as they will try to use it against you later on in the claims process (see our post about giving the insurance company a recorded statement!).

Drivers
If you are involved in an accident while driving an Uber, report it on your app.  Briefly tell Uber what happened, and a representative will reach out to you and provide an Incident Report Form that you will fill out to submit a coverage claim.

Before an insurance carrier contacts you, you will need to locate your personal insurance declarations page. This page lists the specific coverages for your vehicle that you will need to tell the insurance representative about.  If physical damage coverage is available, you’ll be responsible for a $1,000 deductible.  If you’ve been injured, be sure to call a personal injury or auto accident attorney BEFORE speaking with the insurance representative.

If you are in an accident while driving a Lyft, call a representative on Lyft.com, file a claim with your personal auto insurance provider, and provide proof of personal insurance to relevant parties at the scene of an accident.  The contingent coverage plans have a $2,500 deductible and a $50,000 maximum for physical damage to your vehicle.

If you’re injured in an accident while riding in an Uber or Lyft, feel free to call us for a free case evaluation or email info@peperlawfirm.com

Injured in a Bar Fight?

May 1st, 2017 Posted by Legal Issues No Comment yet
With summer right around the corner, you may find yourself cooling off with a few drinks at one of our many local watering holes around town.  Relaxing and unwinding with friends can be enjoyable this time of year, but unfortunately, overserved patrons can be dangerous.  Avoiding the obnoxious drunk guy looking to pick a fight is often harder than it should be, especially if the bar continues to serve the drunk patron.

 

If you find yourself seeking treatment for an injury sustained at a bar or restaurant, you may be entitled to recover actual and punitive damages.  Under South Carolina dram shop law, establishments are liable for injuries caused by an overserved patron.  Prior to contacted a personal injury attorney, make sure you file an incident report with the establishment where your injury occurred, as well as a police report with the local authorities.  This will help create a clear and concise timeline of events.  Part of the attorney’s evaluation of your case will be to fully investigate the incident to learn if the establishment has a history of overserving patrons, encourages the unruly behavior that lead to your injuries, failed to provide adequate staff and security, and other details that may help you recover the costs of your medical bills, compensate you for lost wages and pain and suffering, and often times, punitive damages.
Here are some steps to take to make sure you are treated fairly and have sufficient evidence to pursue your case:

1.   Notify the establishment of your injuries.
Ideally, notify them immediately, but if you have to seek immediate treatment, make sure you follow-up with the establishment and request that they file an internal incident report.

   2.   File a police report.
If the local authorities haven’t been notified by the establishment already, make sure you contact them personally and file a formal report so they can investigate and follow-up with all parties involved.

   3.   Reduce to writing your specific memory of the event.
Note the time of your injuries and the events that led up to them.  Note who you were with and who was around you, and collect their contact information so your attorney can gather witness statements.

   4.   Take pictures of your surroundings and injuries.
To the extent possible, have a friend stay behind and take pictures of the immediate aftermath of your injuries, including where you were injured, by whom, and the atmosphere of the bar in general.  Also, have someone photo your injuries as well.

Unfortunately, bad things happen to good people in bars and nightclubs.  Follow the above steps and reach out to a personal injury attorney to seek the justice you deserve.  If you have any questions about your case and would like a free consultation, call me at (843) 225-2520 or send an email to info@peperlawfirm.com.
charleston legal, charleston fountain

The process of getting your record expunged

April 10th, 2017 Posted by Legal Issues No Comment yet
Everybody makes mistakes…it’s the comeback that counts.

If you’ve ever been charged with a crime, the arrest itself will show up on a background check even if you were found not guilty or the charge was dismissed, unless you apply to have the arrest expunged from your record.  Basically, expungement means you can erase a criminal charge from your record.  There are also some instances where the arrest can be expunged even if you were found guilty!  After you have been charged, or even convicted of a crime, you should ask an attorney for a free consultation to see if any blemishes on your rap sheet can be expunged.

An order of expungement destroys all records related to the arrest in both public and commercially filed systems, and all agencies must destroy records related to the arrest, booking report, mug shot, fingerprints, and disposition.  It’s as if it never happened.  Expunging your record will help you apply for admission into school or a job application, since once you receive an order of expungement, you can simply say “no” to the question of whether you have ever been arrested.

All charges that have been dismissed, noll prossed, or the defendant found not guilty can be expunged.  While some courts are required to automatically start the expungement, others are not, so you should always be pro-active.  Plus, South Carolina Law also allows a person to have his arrest expunged even if convicted of any of the below:

1. First offense fraudulent check and no other convictions within a year
2. Successful completion of a conditional discharge sentence, PTI program or AEP program
3. The conviction carried a penalty of not more than 30 days and no other convictions within 3 years
4. First offense Failure to Stop for Blue Light and no other convictions for 3 years
5. CDV conviction and no other convictions within 5 years
6. Successful completion of a Youthful Offender Act sentence and no other convictions for 5 years

Most motor vehicle violations and hunting/fishing charges are not crimes, so they don’t go on your criminal record, thus there is nothing to expunge.  Convictions for DUI, felonies, and violent crimes cannot be expunged, unless they meet one of the above criteria, but you should always check with your attorney after the case has ended to see if you should apply for an expungement order.  Keep in mind, each arrest and/or conviction has to meet certain requirements to be expunged, and each come with different filing fees and court costs, so consult with your attorney or use this guide to see if you qualify to have your arrest or conviction expunged from your criminal history.

If you would like to start the expungement process, below are the general steps you need to follow:

1. Get a copy of your criminal history report to see if any arrests or convictions can be expunged by going to www.sled.sc.gov and click on SLED Catch
2. Obtain a certified copy of your disposition sheets from the court that handled the arrest or conviction
3. Obtain and complete the application for expungement from the solicitor’s office for the county where the arrest occurred
4. Submit the completed application and any required filing fees and court costs to the solicitor’s office

Traditionally, the expungement process takes 6-8 weeks from the time you file the application, and you should follow-up to ensure the Order of Destruction was properly filed.  The best way is to order another copy of your criminal history report.  Go to www.sled.sc.gov and click SLED Catch.  Also, make sure it has been erased from the public index and the commercial databases.

If you have any questions about the expungement process, or would like a free consultation to see if you qualify for an expungement, call me at (843) 225-2520 or send an email to info@peperlawfirm.com.

Helpful links regarding expungements:
http://www.clearupmyrecord.com/s-carolina-expungement-law.php
https://www.charlestonlaw.net/expunge-criminal-record-in-south-carolina/
http://www.dmv.org/criminal-record/record-expungement.php
http://www.scfathersandfamilies.com/resources/criminal_records_expungement_and_pardon_guides/
http://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/topics/expungement-sealing-criminal-records
http://www.lowcountrycog.org/full-expungement-guide.pdf

 

The Process of Hiring a Lawyer

March 27th, 2017 Posted by Legal Issues No Comment yet
When injured in a car accident or been the victim of assault or another’s negligence, the idea of hiring a lawyer can be intimidating and uncomfortable.  Most people assume lawyers are expensive, so they try to fix their problems on their own in order to save money.  In actuality, though, retaining an attorney can often increase the value of the case.   Plus, in most cases, the attorney works on a contingency fee – which means they don’t get pain unless the client does.
 
It’s my sincere hope that most of you won’t have to seek an attorney any time soon, but it’s important to understand what to expect if and when that time comes.
 
All law firms are different in the way they approach signing a new client, so I’ll focus on our approach here at the Peper Law Firm.
 
The first thing we do is fully evaluate the case.  When a client reaches out to us, we get some basic information and immediately schedule a face-to-face meeting with one of our attorneys.  At the intake meeting, we’ll gather as much information as you have at the time, explain your options and scenarios, and tell you exactly what you can expect from our legal representation.  We will go over the Legal Services Agreement in detail, and answer each question in full.
 
Once you retain our services, we immediately go to work on your case.  Our team of investigators will quickly obtain any incident reports or medical records we will need, as well as personally interview any witnesses or emergency responders. Our lawyers and paralegals will begin communicating with any relevant insurance companies, medical providers, courts, law enforcement, or opposing counsel.
 
We will update you on your case on a regular basis, and you’re always free to call our office if you have any questions.  Our job is to do the worrying and the work, so you don’t have to.  In short, we focus on your case so you can focus on your health.  We want you to get back to your normal life as quickly as possible, so we efficiently and effectively resolve your case.
 
If you’ve been injured in a car accident or been the victim of an assault or another’s negligence, our job is to put you in a position to make a full comeback and come out stronger on the other side.  That’s what we do for our clients.
Call us at 843-225-2520 or email us at info@peperlawfirm.com for a free consultation.

 

 

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