Posts in Personal Injury

Hurricane Season Preparation

August 28th, 2018 Posted by Driving Safety, Personal Injury, Water Safety No Comment yet

June 1 marked the official start to hurricane season in South Carolina. While the immediate impact of hurricanes are often seen along the coast, those who live inland can also experience homes wrecked by storms and debris. NOAA and the National Hurricane Center released their annual report on what to expect during the 2018 season. An article written in the Post and Courier anticipates 3 potentially catastrophic storms this hurricane season. This being said, here is some advice on how to keep your home safe and prepared during hurricane season here in Charleston, SC.

Home Preparation

Board up your windows and doors with plywood as wind can cause debris to break a window or force open a door causing even greater damage.

Trim your trees before the start of a hurricane, especially limbs that hang close to your home.

Flood Insurance

Most major insurance companies offer flood insurance programs. However, some companies make it extremely difficult to get flood insurance if a storm has already formed. If you live in an area where floods are common, this should be a priority.

Evacuation Plan

Transportation: The DOT has developed routes to aid in hurricane evacuation. All of these routes can be found on the SCDOT page. Be sure to consult this information before a hurricane strikes so you can plan in advance and be ahead of the traffic. Also, make sure you fill up your gas tank before the storm hits. A lot of times long lines develop at gas stations and fuel runs dry. It’s important to fill up your tank up as soon as possible.

Short-Term Relocation: Be sure to have a place you can go if forced to evacuate. Having a contact out of town, whether its a family member or friend, is imperative. Keep them posted when a storm is coming and when you plan to evacuate.

What to Take:  When evacuating, it is important to remember all important documents, medications, and supplies needed for you, your family, and animals.  Make sure to take all prescription medications, drivers licenses/picture ids & bank cards, clothing, and supplies for pets, including food.

If you have any issues with insurance regarding weather related accidents or home damage, you may need an experienced attorney. We are always here to help: 843-225-2520.

 

Why you should hire an experienced attorney

July 13th, 2017 Posted by Personal Injury No Comment yet
Do a simple google search for “Charleston, SC Lawyer” and you will find more than 600,000 results. While all of these attorneys are licensed by the South Carolina Bar association, you will want someone who is not only educated, but has specific experience handling your type of case.

Experienced attorneys know how to handle insurance companies. Huge corporations are looking to make the most money, and this is often at the expense of the injured party. To maximize their profit line, they are trying to pay the smallest amount of the actual damages as possible. An experienced attorney has seen his fair share of personal injury cases and knows what a fair settlement looks like. More importantly, an experience attorney knows when the client is leaving money on the table.

An experienced attorney will know how to handle all the legal proceedings. There will be an overwhelming amount of documents, medical jargon, and paperwork to file in a typical claims process. You can rest assured that your case will be in good hands with a good attorney. They can potentially expedite the claim which helps you get back to your normal life much quicker.

You will also encounter an unprecedented amount of patience and understanding from someone who has seen the suffering a personal injury can cause. You are going through an emotional time and need someone with a clear head and “know-how” to approach an insurance company. After seeing and helping clients with trauma and grief through years of work, a good lawyer will be able to take care of your case in a composed and sensible manner.

When you are suffering a life-changing injury and facing extraordinary expenses and bills, you want to put your case in the hands of someone you can trust. For your free consultation from an experienced attorney you can trust, give me a call or email info@peperlawfirm.com

Dog Bite Injuries

July 11th, 2017 Posted by Personal Injury No Comment yet
A dog can be “man’s best friend” but sometimes, things get out of hand. Getting attacked by a dog can be a physically and emotionally scarring experience. If you or your dog get attacked by another dog, make sure you get the dog owner’s contact information and seek medical attention if necessary. The owner can be legally responsible for this incident and you may want to check to make sure the dog is up-to-date on all its shots. Other parties who may be responsible if the owner is not present are dog care facilities, dog handlers, and even landlords.

Dog owners have a legal obligation or “duty of care” to the community. Dogs should be on a leash and restrained from damaging people or property. Sometimes pets become such a large part of a family that it is hard to remember that they are technically a legal property and should be treated as such. If this duty of care is neglected, the owner is responsible and liable for the victim’s injuries and damages.

Damages may include medical bills, lost wages, vet bills (in the case that another dog is injured), and even mental anguish or emotional distress.

If an incident with a dog occurs, make sure you collect witness statements, take photographic evidence of any damages, and file away your receipts for costs and damages.

As always, I promise to fight for you and your family. I will work with your doctors to fully understand the extent of your injury and aggressively explain it to an insurance company or a jury to get you the recovery you deserve.  Call me today if you have questions or would like a free consultation about a dog attack.

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

Charleston, SC

How to Access Your Medical Records in Case of an Emergency or Crisis

May 16th, 2017 Posted by Personal Injury No Comment yet
It’s important to know how to access your medical records in case of an emergency or crisis.  The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 set up a national standard for the maintenance of electronic medical records.  HIPPA was enacted to ensure that electronic medical records could not be altered by the hospital without detection at a later date to cover up incidents of medical malpractice.  Additionally, HIPPA stipulates that electronic medical records, including the audit trail, must be maintained by the health care provider for at least six year.

You have a right to your records, paper or electronic. These must be supplied to you upon request.

Most practices and facilities ask you to fill out a form to request your records. Call the provider’s office to request a copy of the form.  They should be able to deliver it to you by fax, email, or postal mail, or you may pick it up from the doctor’s office.

You will likely need:

• Your name, including your maiden name (if applicable)
• Social Security number
• Date of birth
•Address and phone number
• Email address
• Record(s) being requested
• Date(s) of service (months and years under the doctor’s care)
• Signature
•Delivery option (pick up, fax, email, etc.) – these may vary in cost.

Your medical records should always be made available to you. Section 164.524 of title 45, Code of Federal Regulations states, in part: (1) the individual shall have a right to obtain from such covered entity a copy of such information in an electronic format and, if the individual chooses, to direct the covered entity to transmit such copy directly to an entity or person designated by the individual, provided that any such choice is clear, conspicuous, and specific; and (2) notwithstanding paragraph (c)(4) of such section, any fee that the covered entity may impose for providing such individual with a copy of such information (or a summary or explanation of such information) if such copy (or summary or explanation) is in an electronic form shall not be greater than the entity’s labor costs in responding to the request for the copy (or summary or explanation).

When you hire a competent attorney, these records can be requested and obtained by the law firm.  There are times when hospitals and doctors will delay access to these records or even attempt to prohibit their release.  If the health care provider refuses to produce these documents after an attorney has been hired to represent your medical malpractice claim, the attorney can then have the Court compel the doctor or hospital to produce all of these records in their entirety.

If you have any questions about collecting your medical records, 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.

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