Archive for the ‘blog’ Category

Police Chase of DUI Suspect Results in Injuries to Family

DUI Police Chase Result in Injuries to Family on Way to Church

WYFF is reporting that authorities have arrested  Devonte Williams who has been charged with felony DUI and failure to stop for blue lights when he tried to evade the police and struck a family on the way to church.  Sunday morning a driver suspected of DUI was blue lighted by local police and began to flee. As a result of the chase,  an accident occurred at Highway 253 and Cedar Lane Road in Greenville County during the attempt to get away from police.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the family that was injured. This is the most recent injury resulting from a police chase.

Should the Police Chase a DUI Suspect?

According to the State newspaper citing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, South Carolina ranks eighth in the nation for people killed as a result of police pursuits per capita. On average, one person has died every month in the past 10 years, according to records from 2006 to 2016, the most recent data available.  So what is the standard for police chase appropriateness?  The two police chase experts we use in cases state that no chase should occur unless the suspect being chased is a violent offender.  A police officer has a duty to weigh the necessity of a chase versus the crime of the person and the risk posed to our community.  Should police chase a non violent DUI driver where they know the license plate and could simply go to the home and wait?  Not according to national police chase experts.

Injuries as a Result of a Crash or Police Chase

Like the story reported by WYFF, these injuries can turn lives upside down. Medical bills pile up and as wages are lost the ability to pay decreases.  Case like this may benefit from an experienced personal injury lawyer that will look into all avenues of compensation. Some law firms will simply go after the “easy money” of the at fault driver’s insurance and not look into other sources of compensation like underinsured motorist coverage, the bar or restaurant that over-served the person or whether the police violated policy. If you have been injured as a result of a serious crash or car accident then schedule a free consultation with an experienced injury lawyer.

Free Consultation

If you need a free consultation contact us now.  If you cannot come to us then a lawyer, not an intake specialist or paralegal will come to you. Contact us now to protect you and your family.

 

 

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.

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.

Young Girl Hurt in Bounce House Accident

A 7-year-old girl was hospitalized with serious injuries after a gust of wind threw the inflatable bounce house she was in 30 feet into the air at a church carnival in Taylors County, South Carolina. The unfortunate event took place on Saturday, at Springwell Church on Wade Hampton Boulevard at 2 p.m.

Trinity Venegas suffered permanent injuries during a “tragic and avoidable incident” said attorney Ryan Montgomery.

“The family of Trinity Venegas are thankful for all of the kind and thoughtful messages and prayers they have received from family, friends and people in the community,” Montgomery said.

Four other children were inside the inflatable bounce house and also were taken to the hospital.

“At this time, they ask for privacy so they can dedicate their full attention to providing Trinity with the help and support she needs as she heals from the permanent injuries sustained in this tragic and avoidable incident,” said Montgomery.

WLTX19 and Greenville County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, Drew Pinciaro reported that security described seeing what that looked like a “mini tornado” tear through the carnival.

Pinciaro states that one of the inflatables was empty and got tangled into nearby power lines before blowing out into the roadway, while another flew about 30 feet into the air, causing several children to fall out.

According to the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, inflatables don’t require inspections and aren’t regulated by the South Carolina Office of Elevators and Amusement Rides.

The Greenville News references a recent USA TODAY investigation that found that injuries related to large inflatables like moon bounces and slides are on the rise, with more than 100,000 bounce-house injuries treated in emergency rooms from 2003 to 2013.

The Ryan Montgomery Law firm is dedicated to helping those who have been wrongfully injured due to another person’s negligence. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our firm for help.

Contact Ryan Montgomery Law in Greenville, SC.

What is a South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Informal Conference?

What is a South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Informal Conference?

As you may know from other blog entries, I was admitted to practice law in 2000.  For about the first 8-9 years I did what we call “defense work” which is where I was hired by the insurance carrier to defend workers’ compensation claims and people being sued in car accident and other personal injury cases.  In a South Carolina workers’ compensation claim an injured worker should receive medical care.  Once that doctor releases that injured worker from care saying that they are at maximum medical improvement (basically as good as they can get) then the insurance carrier may file for a South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Informal Conference to determine if the injured worker is entitled to money benefits for the injury.

What to Expect at an Informal Conference?

The injured workers (if not represented by a lawyer) will have to go this conference and meet with a lawyer for the insurance company or meet with an actual insurance adjuster.  At that point that insurance adjuster or insurance lawyer will make an offer to settle. In my past experience as an insurance lawyer I was often instructed to settle as cheap as a could or don’t go over a certain figure.  I always looked better with my client (the insurance company) the less I paid.   This is part of the reason I switched sides and now help the injured worker!

Once an offer is made by the insurance lawyer then the injured worker accepts the offer or doesn’t. If accepted then there is a deputy Commissioner there to make sure it is not too low.  That does not mean it is the highest you could get just that it is not too low.

What to Do Before an Informal Conference

Most Greenville, Anderson, Spartanburg workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation.  I tell my friends and family to at least take a advantage of free consultation.   We offer free consultations. In that consultation you actually meet with a lawyer not a paralegal or “intake specialist”.  If you would like to meet to discuss your options, contact me nowThere is no charge for the meeting and if you hire us there is no fee until we recover money for you.

 

South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Weekly Check Mistakes

South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Weekly Check Mistakes

One of the most common mistakes (assuming the employer or insurance adjuster didn’t do it intentionally) is that the injured workers’ weekly wage is wrong.  Out of the times this figure is incorrect, I would estimate that 99% of the time it is incorrect to the benefit of the insurance carrier. This means that the worker is getting less money per week than they should be.

How to Calculate a Workman Comp Weekly Wage

When you are injured on the job and taken out of work or on work restrictions that your employer cannot accommodate, then you may be entitled to a weekly check while you are out.   If you become entitled to such a check it is import to know how to calculate these wages.   Your workers comp weekly compensation rate is calculated at the rate of 66 2/3 percent of your average weekly wage based on the four quarters prior to your injury, not including the quarter in which you were injured.  There is a maximum figure for each for each year.  So by way of example, if your injury date was April 5, 2018 then the wages used would be the first quarter in 2018 and the 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarters in 2017 divided by the actual number of weeks worked.

Common Errors or Tactics to Lower your Weekly Wage

Sometimes we see errors and/or tactics used to lower the injured workers weekly wage. The first error we see is when your wages are divided by a full year or 52 weeks.  The law is that your wages should be divided by the actual weeks worked so if you didn’t work 52 weeks then they shouldn’t divide it by 52 weeks.  If they do, it lowers your weekly wage.

The second common thing we see is that the employer uses wages AFTER taxes. That is not the law. The law is that it is your gross wages BEFORE taxes. If they use after tax figures then your weekly wage will be lower and wrong.

The third common mistake we see is not adding in overtime, bonuses, and other wages. When calculating your weekly wage tall of your wages should be used.

The fourth most common mistake we use is when the injured worker worked two jobs at the time of the injury. If that is the case then BOTH jobs wages should be used.

Why Your Work Comp Check Wage is Important

Other than the obvious you want the highest out of work check you can get, this number also is one of the main figures that goes into the value of your claim or settlement. The higher the wage, the higher your settlement will be generally.

Free Consultation With a Greenville, Anderson, Spartanburg Workers Compensation Lawyer

If you have been injured or have concerns about your weekly check, Ryan Montgomery Attorney at Law, LLC offers FREE consultations to discuss your claim.  In addition to that if you hire the law firm, there is NO ATTORNEY FEE if there is no recovery on your case. For your free meeting contact us now!

Questions to Ask Yourself If you Were Injured in an Accident

Ryan Montgomery Attorney at Law provides the highest quality legal services to those who were wrongfully injured in an accident. The infographic below answers questions you should ask yourself if you were injured in an accident. This will help you decide if you need to contact our firm. For more details or questions, you can reach out to us and we will get back in touch with you as soon as possible.

do i need a personal injury attorney infographic

Drunk Driver Car Accidents

Drunk Driver Car Accidents

Many clients come to our firm after having been hit by a drunk driver.  They may have met with other lawyers or done some online research.  Those potential clients are often under the impression that their financial recovery is limited to the at fault driver.  This isn’t always the case and some lawyers are willing to go the extra mile to find out of there are other sources of recovery like from a bar, restaurant, country club, or night club.

**You MUST move quickly and act now!  See below.

Greenville Dram Shop and Alcohol Liability Lawyer

Restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and other establishments have a legal responsibility not to serve alcohol to patrons who may be intoxicated.  South Carolina has dram shop and/or social host liability laws that allow victims of a drunk driving accident to bring a claim against the bar or restaurant for recovery of damage. New Law in South Carolina mandates that every bar or restaurant carry at least $1 Million in liability insurance to cover these type of claims.  South Carolina does not want innocent people who have been bit by a drunk driver to suffer more than they have to by only being able to recover money from the driver. The law allows us to go after the source if the drunk driver was over-served.

**However you must move quickly and act now.  Much of the evidence in these cases can disappear after 60 or even 30 days.  We go after surveillance video, credit card receipts, witness statements, etc. The things can be deleted, disappear or memories fade. Act sooner rather than later.

At Ryan Montgomery Attorney at Law, LLC our Greenville, SC based legal team have handled these type of cases successfully recovering Millions of dollars for those effected in a drunk driving accident. Examples:  Dram Shop $1.05 Million Settlement; $750,000 Dram Shop Settlement *

South Carolina Drunk Driver Dram Shop Cases

Bars, clubs, restaurants, and individuals who serve alcohol at parties that do not take public safety into account and over-serve their customers they should be held accountable. Innocent  people are often the ones who have to pay the price for these avoidable incidents. Dram shop liability includes a wide range of different types of establishments, and may include bars, restaurants, music clubs, country clubs, dance clubs, night clubs, adult clubs, etc.

In certain circumstances if a Social Host or parent serves alcohol to someone under the age of 21 and that person then causes a drunk driving accident you may be able to hold the social host accountable.

Greenville, Anderson and Spartanburg Dram Shop Drunk Driver Accident Lawyer

If you have been the victim of a drunk driver who may have become overly intoxicated at a bar, restaurant, or other establishment, we can help.  We have the experience of having handled these cases before.  The drunk driver accident lawyers at Ryan Montgomery Attorney at Law handle Dram Shop cases statewide in South Carolina.   Schedule your free consultation with a dram shop liability lawyer now.  Sooner the better so we can get the evidence necessary.

*Please note that past results do not guarantee future results. Cases are handled on a case by case basis.

​Be Careful During Snow Conditions to Avoid Auto Accidents

Snow and icy conditions may occur this winter in upstate South Carolina, closer to the mountain region of the Palmetto State. We aim to educate drivers so they are not ill-prepared for nasty traffic conditions. In addition to snowy weather, South Carolina drivers often face slushy or icy conditions, including black ice, which can quickly cause dangerous accidents.

Snow-Related Accidents in SC

In 2017, there were 499 collisions in the state with snowy, icy or slushy road conditions, including 113 with injuries involving 125 people.

The numbers were far worse in 2016, when there were a staggering 911 accidents with those same road conditions. Those collisions included 202 with injuries that resulted in 278 hurt people, including 8 fatalities.

That adds up to a lot of pain and suffering, lost wages, costly medical expenses and rehabilitation.

Safe Driving Tips

The state Department of Public Safety recommends that drivers think slow when there’s snow, ice, sleet or slush — slower speeds, slower steering, slower braking and slower acceleration. The state department offers some other helpful tips:

What Should I Do If My Car Starts to Skid?

A skidding car can be a terrifying experience, but it’s important to stay calm and focus on a few important tasks:

Car Accident Legal Advice

If you do find yourself injured in a winter car accident, you need an advocate like Ryan Montgomery on your side. His expertise in car accident law can help you recover lost wages and income, medical expenses, vehicle repair costs, and gain damages for pain and suffering. Contact one of the lawyers at Ryan Montgomery Attorney At Law, LLC, for an initial consultation. Call (864) 362-3183.