Archive for March, 2019

South Carolina Sexual Assault Laws

Over the past couple years it has been more clear than ever that sexual assault is not an uncommon crime, but it doesn’t mean that victims suffer any less. Part of the reason why many choose not to speak out against these crimes is because they don’t have a strong enough sense of what the laws are regarding sexual misconduct in South Carolina, or because they are afraid that they have waited too long to report what has happened to them. While some crimes do carry a statute of limitations, in South Carolina, sexual conduct crimes are not among them, At Ryan Montgomery Law we offer a safe place to come forward at start the legal process toward justice.

How Sexual Misconduct is Categorized and Defined in SC

Not all misconduct is the same, nor does is carry the same penalties. In South Carolina, these crimes are categorized as follows

Criminal sexual conduct (1st, 2nd and 3rd degree), Spousal sexual battery, and Statutory rape. In order to determine which crime(s) are applicable in your case it is important to define each of these.

Criminal Sexual Conduct

Spousal Sexual Battery

Spousal sexual battery involves sexual misconduct through aggravated force by one spouse against the other. It is the one case where prompt reporting makes a difference. the charge cannot be applied if it is not reported within 30 days of the offense.

Statutory Rape

Statutory rape is also categorized as being in first, second, or third degrees. The most serious offenses involve victims that are children under age 11, or under 16 if the accused is a known sex offender. A second degree offence is applied when victims are between 11-14, and may also include 15-year-olds when the perpetrator is a family member or in a custodial or authoritative role. It does not apply to consensual relationships if both parties are at least 14 years old.

Why a Civil Suit Helps Bring Justice

Criminal cases for sexual assault and misconduct are important to pursue because they bring justice for society and to some extent for the victim, but they don’t directly address the injuries caused by these offenses the way that civil cases do. Sexual assault can result in a host of injuries and expenses including unwanted pregnancies, PTSD, immediate and ongoing medical treatment, mental health care expenses and more.

At Ryan Montgomery Attorney at Law, LLC we recognize that sexual assault can take a toll on a person that can last a long time, if not the remainder of the victims life. That’s why we work so hard to seek justice for our clients who have suffered. If you have been violated, whether recently or many years in the past, we are here to help. These crimes have no statute of limitations in South Carolina. Contact our Greenville, SC location at 864-643-2048 to arrange a free case review.

Signs it is Time to Contact a Daycare Injury Lawyer

When you leave your children in the care of someone else, including a daycare, you need to be able to trust that they will treat your children well and that they will be safe until you come to pick them up at the end of the day. Unfortunately, this is not something that is necessarily true for every daycare provider. While you should fully vet any place that you are considering as your daycare provider, there may still be some issues that occur even after you have started using their services. If you have had incidents that don’t seem right, you may need to consider is now is the time to not only take your child out of daycare but also if now is the time to contact a daycare injury lawyer. These are some signs that you may need to do exactly that.

If you think that you should get in contact with a daycare injury lawyer, you want to find one that will fight for you and your rights. Be sure to reach out to us today to get started and schedule a meeting to determine if you have a case.

Apartment Complex Responsibility or Wrongful Death

One man died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning in the Allen Benedict Court apartments in Columbus, South Carolina, while another man required hospitalization after being exposed to the toxic gas. As a result, the Columbia Housing Authority is facing two separate lawsuits, further illustrating the depth of the public housing crisis in the state. The lawsuits are being brought by the mother of the man who died and the man who lived in the adjacent apartment and was badly injured as a result. Both lawsuits were filed at the Richland County Courthouse on February 1, 2019.

Thirty-year-old Derrick Roper was found dead in his apartment on January 17, 2019, and neighbor Robert Ballard was rushed to a nearby hospital for medical treatment. Derrick Roper’s mother has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Columbia Housing Authority, and Robert Ballard has filed a personal injury lawsuit. The lawsuits both claim that the Columbia Housing Authority should have known about the dangerous conditions in which the apartment building was kept.

Unsafe Levels of Toxins Found in Units

For instance, toxins such as cyanide, carbon monoxide, and natural gas were all found to have been leaking into the apartments, and the plaintiffs claim that the Housing Authority either knew about this and failed to correct the adverse conditions or that they should have been testing for toxic substances and weren’t doing so. On January 18, the Columbia Fire Department inspected the apartment building and found unsafe levels of carbon monoxide as well as numerous gas leaks in various parts of the building. It was determined that Robert Roper and another man residing in the building, Calvin Witherspoon Jr., 61, both died of acute carbon monoxide exposure.

The lawsuit claims that the Columbia Housing Authority failed to install and maintain proper carbon monoxide detection devises and that they failed to perform necessary inspections.

Former Mayor Speaks Out

Former mayor of Columbia, Bob Coble has issued a public statement to the effect that the Columbia Housing Authority will be reviewing the lawsuit with the South Carolina Insurance Reserve Fund and moving forward from there. Coble went on to say that the Housing Authority deeply regrets the loss of life involved in this tragedy.

If you’re experiencing a similar situation and aren’t sure how to proceed, contact wrongful death attorney, Ryan Montgomery Law,  for advice.

One Year After Deadly SC Train Derailment, Safety Upgrades Completed

Human error, government bureaucracy, and outdated technology were responsible for a deadly train crash in Lexington County, SC a year ago that took the lives of two railroad personnel and injured over 100 passengers. In the past year, new technology that could have prevented the accident, and that should have been in place when it happened, has been installed on all major railways in South Carolina.

A Preventable Accident

On the morning of February 4th, 2017, an Amtrak passenger train traveling at a high rate of speed past the town of Cayce smashed into an engine stopped on the tracks where railroad crews were at work. The impact derailed several cars and destroyed the Amtrak engine, killing the engineer and a conductor and sending 116 passengers to the hospital.

An investigation found that a switch was turned to the wrong position by the work crew which diverted the Amtrak train onto a side track where two CSX engines were parked. In addition, a signal that could have warned the Amtrak engineer that the switch was in the wrong position was disabled by the railway crew.

Ironically, the work crew was installing a system called Positive Train Control (PTC), technology designed to automatically brake or slow trains that are in an unsafe situation. The sophisticated system relies on computers, GPS, and wireless communications to monitor railroad track conditions in real-time and the location of trains. It is intended to counter human error of the kind that led to the Cayce crash.

Robert Sumwalt, of the National Transportation Safety Board, said, “A fully operational positive train control system could have avoided this accident. That is what it is designed to do.”

Improved Rail Safety In SC

In 2008, a federal law, the Rail Safety Improvement Act, was passed requiring the PTC system to be installed on railroads nationwide by 2015. But in October of that year, Congress extended the deadline to December 31st, 2018, with an extension until 2020 for rail companies that met certain requirements by the deadline date.

In South Carolina, installation of the PTC system on all railroad tracks and trains operated by Norfolk Southern and CSX, the main companies serving the state, was completed in December. The accident occurred on tracks owned by CSX. A recent company statement said, “We are beginning to see positive results from our efforts. In the fourth quarter of 2018, CSX delivered marked improvement in both the personal injury frequency index and train accident rate when compared with the same period for 2017.”

Statistics from the Federal Railroad Administration show that Amtrak has averaged two derailments a month in recent years.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a railroad-related accident in South Carolina, it’s essential to contact a qualified personal injury attorney to ensure your rights are protected.