Posts tagged " Legal Advice "

Golf Cart Laws in South Carolina

February 13th, 2018 Posted by Driving Safety, Golf Carts No Comment yet

Golf carts are an enjoyable and easy means of transportation throughout neighborhoods in South Carolina. However, there are laws you must adhere to in order to drive a golf cart within legal limits.

What are the requirements to drive a golf cart?

  • South Carolina law states that in order to drive a golf cart you must be at least 16 years of age with a valid driver’s license.
  • In order to operate a golf cart off of private property, including neighborhood roads, you must register and purchase a permit from the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. The permit is only $5.00.

Where can I drive a golf cart?

  • Golf carts can be driven on secondary roads where the maximum speed limit is 35 MPH.
  • They cannot be driven on primary roads.
  • It depends on where you live. Some cities or counties allow you to go up to 4 miles outside of your house, while others local ordinances state that you must be within a two-mile radius of your house.

When can I drive a golf cart?

  • You can only drive a golf cart during the daylight hours. They are forbidden to be driven during nighttime.

Can I get a DUI on a golf cart?

  • YES. Do not operate a golf cart while driving under the influence. If pulled over, you will face the same charges as a driver of a car would.

Golf carts are intended for short trips at low speeds. When operating your golf cart on a residential road, never exceed the speed limit and stay aware of other vehicles on the road. If you or a loved one is involved in a golf cart accident or if you have any more questions about golf cart laws in South Carolina, please contact us for a free consultation at 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.

Do I Have to Wear a Helmet on My Motorcycle in South Carolina?

June 29th, 2017 Posted by Driving Safety No Comment yet
Motorcycles can be a source of fun and excitement for thrill seekers and casual cruisers alike. In South Carolina, it is important to note that you MUST wear a helmet if you are under the age of 21. For riders who are a little bit older though, it isn’t required. So, the short answer is no.

As a personal injury attorney, I have seen my fair share of injuries from motorcycles, and 9 times out of 10 the injuries are very serious.  That said, I firmly believe it’s imperative that motorcyclists of all ages wear a helmet.

The MAIDS report (2009) says in a study of motorcycle accidents “…67% of all cases, the helmet was capable of preventing or reducing the head injury sustained by the rider”

Here are some quick statistics from the CDC about wearing motorcycle helmets.
   •  Helmets saved an estimated 1,630 lives and $2.8 billion in economic costs in 2013.
   •  The United States could have saved an additional $1.1 billion in 2013 if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.1
   •  Helmets reduce the risk of death by 37%
   •  Helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 69%

Common injuries while motorcycling without a helmet include:
   •  Concussions
   •  Facial fractures
   •  Brain injuries
   •  Spinal cord damage
   •  Compound bone fractures
   •  Road rash and severe lacerations
   •  Burns
   •  Organ damage and internal bleeding
   •  Death

Please, practice safe driving on your motorcycle and by all means, WEAR A HELMET!

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.

IMO, Texting while Driving is no LOL matter!

May 5th, 2017 Posted by Driving Safety No Comment yet
Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with new laws that affect our everyday lives; that’s where lawyers can be helpful!  It’s our job to know what the current laws are to keep you safe.

Studies say distracted driving is just as dangerous a drinking four beers and driving a car. While some cities and counties realized this long ago and already had ordinances on the book, it took the State of South Carolina a bit longer to realize the need for a law specifically addressing texting while driving.

In 2014, Gov. Nikki Haley signed Senate Bill 459 dictating the penalties and definition for “Unlawful use of a wireless electronic communication device while operating a motor vehicle”.  A driver’s first offense for texting while driving is a $25 penalty and any subsequent offense is $50.  Dialing and talking on the phone are not banned under the new law.

If convicted, the law prevents the violation from being reported to the DMV, SLED, or the driver’s insurance provider.

Like all other moving violations, the officer must have “probable cause that a violation has occurred based on the officer’s clear and unobstructed view of a person who is using a wireless electronic communication device to compose, send, or read a text-based communication while operating a motor vehicle on the public streets and highways of this State” to pull your car over.  At court, the officer is required to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and the officer cannot confiscate your phone to meet this burden of proof.  Also of note, the officer cannot search your car without your consent based solely on the fact that this violation occurred.

The dangers of texting while driving can lead to a time-consuming court date, not to mention, a severe injury to yourself or others.  To legally text in your car, the vehicle must be stopped or parked.

If you have any more questions, feel free to call me at (843) 225-2520 or email 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

 

Charleston Personal Injury Attorney

An accident has intensified an existing injury. What should you do?

March 22nd, 2017 Posted by Car Accidents No Comment yet
If you’ve been injured through no fault of your own and the accident has intensified an existing injury, there are several things you should keep in mind.

First, don’t think you have less of a case just because the injury existed before the accident.  In fact, you may have more of one.

Second, you should treat this intensified injury the same way you would a new injury. Legally speaking, re-injuring yourself through the fault of someone else could be even more expensive than the first injury.

Third, after seeking necessary medical treatment, you should immediately consult with an attorney.  They will be able to tell you whether or not you pursue legal action. Many times, the attorney will refer you to a specialist who will give you the best possible medical advice on how to recoup from this incident. The specialist will work directly with the attorney to determine the cost of any treatment so the attorney can file an insurance claim against the at-fault party. The attorney will then work with you to determine whether any other claims are necessary.

Has this injury kept you out of work?  Kept you from taking that vacation you had planned?  Prevented you from exercising?  Prevented you from enjoying your daily life?  Prevented you from playing with the kids and/or grandkids?  Made you irritable and frustrated?  You should be compensated for that.

If you’ve been injured through no fault of your own, 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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