Archive for the ‘blog’ Category

Summer Road Trip Safety Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Auto Accident

Summer is a great time to hit the road with your friends and family. Adults and children of all ages typically enjoy exploring new places. However, while you are seeking adventure, there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk of an auto accident.

1. Ensure Your Car Is in Good Condition

Before you set off on any road trip, you should inspect your vehicle thoroughly. It’s a good idea to have a professional mechanic perform a checkup on your tires, lights, battery, brakes, wipers, and other parts. Don’t forget to fill your fluids and get a fresh oil change, if needed. Your air filters should also be routinely replaced. You don’t want to end up without a functioning vehicle in a strange place.

2. Frequently Stop for Breaks

No matter how far you are driving, you should schedule frequent breaks to stretch your legs and stay well rested. Driving fatigue can set in when you focus on the road without any other stimulation for hours on end. This can make you less responsive to emergency situations. Stop at a rest stop, gas station, restaurant, or tourist attraction and get out of your vehicle and walk around for at least 5 to 10 minutes to relieve lower back pain, get blood flowing in your legs, and refresh your thought processes.

3. Always Wear Your Seatbelt

Nearly every state (except New Hampshire) has a law requiring all front-seat occupants of vehicle to wear seat belts. Many states also require rear-seat passengers to wear available seat belts. Not only is it required, but it will prevent some of the most severe injuries and even death if you are involved in a crash.

4. Avoid Driving in Blind Spots

Many motor vehicles like large trucks have significant blind spots where they can’t see other cars around them. IF you drive in these blind spots, then you risk a sideswipe accident or being run off the road. While the other driver is definitely negligent if they don’t carefully look around them and remain aware of their blind spots, you can take action to prevent an accident.

5. Be Aware of Rush Hour in Urban Areas

As you travel through large cities and urban areas, you should be careful to avoid rush hour. The times when people are traveling to and from work can be the most dangerous, especially for rear-end car accidents. If you want to avoid unnecessary stress and the potential for accidents, you should schedule your trip around rush hour in cities.

6. Be Familiar with Your Route

Although most people use GPS to get from one place to another on road trips, it’s best to have a general idea of the major highways you will be taking. You should also know the cities through which you will be traveling. GPS services may fail or your phone or other electronic device may shut down and you will have no way to navigate without a general knowledge of your route.

7. Keep a Car Safety Kit in Your Vehicle

You should always carry emergency supplies with you on road trips. Even if you have AAA or other roadside service, you may be sitting on the side of the road for hours if you run out of gas or break down. During the summer months, you should always carry one gallon of water per person, basic first aid supplies, and various foods that will withstand heat, such as nuts, peanut butter, and crackers. Other items you should have in your car safety kit include a flashlight with fresh batteries, road flares, jumper cables, rope, and a basic tool kit.

8. Check the Weather on Your Route

While you may be familiar with summer weather near your home, but it can be very different as you trek across the country. Make sure you look up the forecast for your road trip as well as your destination. This will allow you to pack appropriately and be prepared for any inclement weather.

9. Refill Your Gas Tank Often

When you set off on a road trip, you should have a full tank. Don’t let it get too low. You should never allow your tank to get below one-quarter tank when you’re in an unfamiliar area. It may be hard to find gas stations, or you might get stuck in traffic and have to idle using gas for a while.

10. Discuss Your Plans with Other People

Discuss your travel plans with friends and family prior to leaving. Make sure someone knows your approximate route and where you plan on stopping each night. Check in with those people at regular intervals. Have a plan for how they should proceed if they don’t hear from you within a certain amount of time.

What To Do If You’re In a Car Accident on a Road Trip

Female Driver Making Phone Call After Traffic Accident With Crash In Background.

Whether you are in a car accident in South Carolina or outside of the state on a road trip, you should call a car accident lawyer who can help you file a claim. You will have many costs associated with your crash, including property damage, medical bills, pain and suffering, and more. You have a right to get compensation from the at-fault party. Call attorney Ryan Montgomery Law today for a free car accident case review: (864) 207-4927.

Common Types of Wrongful Death Cases in South Carolina

It’s understandable to be devastated after the unexpected death of a loved one, especially if it was caused by the wrongful or negligent actions of another person. You shouldn’t have to deal with all of the stress alone. A skilled wrongful death lawyer can help you understand if you have a strong case and how you should proceed.

Types of Wrongful Death Cases in Greenville, South Carolina

Attorney Ryan Montgomery has handled all types of wrongful death cases. Some of the most common our office has seen include the following:

Fatal Car Accidents

More than 1,000 people die every year in fatal car accidents in South Carolina, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Whether the crash is caused by a defective auto part or another driver, you will likely have many costs associated with the crash. A car accident wrongful death claim can help you cover those costs.

Fatal Truck Accidents

Because of the sheer size of semi-trucks, crashes involving these big rigs are often fatal. Collecting evidence in these cases can be complex and the insurance companies often have teams of lawyers on their side to protect their interests. You need someone on your side to represent you as well.

Fatal Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrians have no protection from motor vehicles that pose significant threat to them. If a driver or even bike rider negligently causes the death of a pedestrian, they can be held liable for any damages that result.

Fatal Bike Accidents

Bike riders are typically forced to ride alongside large motor vehicles, such as cars and semi-trucks. When they are hit, they have little to protect them other than a helmet. Fatal injuries are common in bike vs. car accidents.

Fatal Motorcycle Crashes

Motorcyclists are often given a bad reputation as being risk takers; however, many fatal motorcycle crashes are caused by the driver of the other motor vehicle. Drivers often fail to properly look for motorcycles, cut them off, and don’t yield proper right of way. Motorcycle wrecks can be immediately fatal or the victims may suffer injuries that lead to death soon thereafter.

Medical Malpractice

Failure to diagnose, surgery mistakes, and many other causes of medical malpractice can lead to patient deaths. When a doctor or medical facility breaches a national standard of care, they should be held accountable for the losses associated with the death of your loved one.

Fatal Work Accidents

Workplace injuries can result in death due to falls, electrocution, and other fatal accidents. In South Carolina, Workers’ Compensation benefits may cover some of the losses associated with fatal workplace accidents, but you may also be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against a third party.

Fatal Aviation Accidents

An aviation accident may involve a crash from the air, an incident on the tarmac, or even severe turbulence. Airplanes, jets, and helicopters are all at risk of causing a fatal aviation accident. When these accidents are caused by the negligence of a pilot or other airline employees, then you can get compensation for your injuries.

Defective Products that Cause Death

Manufacturers, sellers, distributors, and other companies that handle products are responsible for injuries caused by defective items they make and sell. Car parts, medical devices, food products, toys, and more must be safe when distributed to the public. Otherwise, they may cause fatal injuries.

South Carolina Wrongful Death Laws

South Carolina establishes civil remedies, or how compensation can be obtained, in wrongful death cases in the Code of Laws Title 15, Chapter 51, Article 1.

What Is a Wrongful Death?

Section 15-51-10 states that when a person causes a death by a wrongful act or neglect, the victim is entitled to recover damages from the person who is liable.

It is worth noting that a survival action is different than a wrongful death lawsuit. A survival action recovers compensation for damages that the victim could have received prior to their death for losses such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. This type of claim is also permissible in South Carolina and arises out of the same types of wrongful actions as death claims.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

According to Section 15-51-20, the executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate can file a wrongful death action for the benefit of a:

Damages for Wrongful Death Claims

Damages for wrongful death actions are detailed in Section 15-51-40. The family may recover compensatory damages, which include actual losses for funeral costs and other out of pocket expenses. You may also get exemplary damages, also called “punitive damages,” which are meant to punish or make an example of reckless, willful, and malicious actions that caused the death.

Wrongful Death Settlements

In South Carolina, only a personal representative of the victim’s estate can settle a wrongful death claim. Additionally, court approval is required for settlement of a wrongful death claim or survival action, pursuant to Section 15-51-42.

A Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help You

If your loved one was fatally injured due to the wrongful or negligent actions of another person or company, then you have a right to recover compensation. A Greenville wrongful death attorney can help.

Ryan Montgomery, Attorney at Law, LLC helps clients throughout South Carolina. He has extensive experience with all types of wrongful death claims. Our goal is to help you find peace and get what you need to move forward with life. Call us today at (864) 406-3776.

Can You Legally Use Your Own Dash Cam in South Carolina?

Many motor vehicle drivers, including semi-trucks, motorcycles, and cars, have dash cams to record events that occur while they are on the road. These mounted video cameras can provide valuable information if a car accident occurs. However, you may wonder if they are legal to use in South Carolina? The answer is yes. Read below to learn more.

South Carolina Laws About Video Recording

According to South Carolina laws, only one party must consent to a video recording. In fact, it is a criminal offense to use any device to record people without the consent of at least one person who is involved. However, as long as the owner or driver of the vehicle where the dash cam is mounted knows about and consents to its presence, then the recording is legal.

There are exceptions to these video recording laws, such as in places where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. That would include a restroom or bedroom. However, since a dash cam records incidents that occur in public, they are not prohibited.

Benefits of Using a Dash Cam

A dash cam can contribute to the investigation process after a car accident. It provides a detailed account of exactly what happened. It records all factors and parties that may have been involved.

Some of the beneficial information a dash cam can collect include:

Dash cams are primarily used to prove someone acted negligently and should be held liable for the damages they caused.

Potentially Negative Aspects of Having a Dash Cam

There is no guarantee that you will always been the non-liable party in a crash. If you do make a mistake, your dash cam is basically evidence of your negligence. Its footage can and will be requested by the other party and used against you.

In fact, dash cam footage can even be used to prove you shared some negligence in the crash. If the other party clearly caused the accident, dash cam footage may show that you were going slightly over the speed limit or failed to take last minute action to avoid the crash. Your minor mistakes will be used against you. This compares to a crash where dash cam footage was not available and the liable party had no evidence of your partial fault.

South Carolina is a modified comparative negligence state, which means that as long as you were less than 51% responsible for an accident, you are still eligible for compensation from the other party. However, your financial recovery will be reduced by the percentage of fault that you share. For example, if you were 10% at fault for the car accident and your damages totaled $100,000, then you would only be able to recover $90,000. Your dash cam may be used to positively point out your percentage of fault, where the other party may not have any such evidence otherwise.

Insurance Company Use of Dash Cams

Some insurance companies offer a discount to customers who use dash cams in their vehicles. The insurance company can use the dash cam footage to reduce investigation efforts in the event of an accident.

Insurance companies also know that many people who have dash cams, especially younger teen drivers, are more careful when they know they are being recorded and monitored. The insurance company may encourage you to utilize a dash cam to promote safe driving practices.

However, before you submit any dash cam footage to an insurance company, you should consult with a car accident lawyer. The insurance company may attempt to use the information to avoid paying for your claim. Your attorney can review the data on the dash cam and help you understand your rights.

Ryan Montgomery Law Has Answers for You

Ryan Montgomery Law has helped countless clients after car accidents in and around Greenville, South Carolina.

If you are considering a dash cam or were involved in a crash and dash cam footage is available, Ryan Montgomery Law can evaluate your specific situation and answer your questions. Call us today at (864) 207-4927 for help.

Understanding Car Seat Laws and Booster Seat Laws in South Carolina

Babies and children who are a certain age or size are required to be in safety seats when riding in cars. South Carolina laws provide detailed information about when a child should be in a car seat or booster seat. Read below to learn more.

If you were involved in a car accident and have questions about your rights, contact Ryan Montgomery Law right away. One thing we can do is help you get your car seat or booster seat replaced. Call us today at (864) 207-4927.

South Carolina Laws About Child Safety Seats

The South Carolina Code Section 56-5-6410 details requirements for child passenger restraint systems in passenger cars. It indicates that every driver of a motor vehicle, which includes cars, trucks, vans, and recreational vehicles, that is operated on highways and streets must properly secure children within the vehicle. Failure to do so can result in a $150 fine for a first offense.

There are exceptions to this law, which can be found at Section 56-5-6420. For example, if a vehicle lacks a rear passenger seat or all rear seats are occupied by other children under the specified age, then a child may ride in the front seat. However, they are still required to be in an appropriate restraint system or belt-positioner.

Another exception to the specifications of child restraint seats is for children who have special medical needs. A child may obtain written documentation from a physician, advanced nurse practitioner, or physician assistant indicating that a standard child restraint seat does not meet their needs. In such a case, they must have a specially developed child restraint system that still meets standards prescribed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

When Does a Child Have to Be in a Rear-Facing Car Seat?

According to South Carolina laws, all infants under the age of 2 must be in a rear-facing car seat until they exceed the height and weight limit allowed by the manufacturer of the car seat. If a child under the age of 2 has outgrown their rear-facing car seat, they may be placed in a forward-facing car seat. All children in car seats must be in the back passenger part of the vehicle.

When Can I Put My Child in a Forward-Facing Car Seat?

A child who is at least 2 years old may be secured in a forward-facing car seat in the rear seat of a vehicle. A toddler should remain in a forward-facing seat until they exceed the height and weight requirements of their forward-facing car seat.

As previously mentioned, if a child under the age of 2 exceeds the height and weight requirements of their rear-facing car seat, they may be transferred to a forward-facing car seat in the rear part of the vehicle.

Booster Seat Laws in South Carolina

Children who are at least 4 years old and have outgrown their forward-facing car seats may use a booster seat in the rear part of a vehicle. When in a booster seat, both lap and shoulder belts must be used.

When Can My Child Use a Seat Belt?

When a child meets all of the height and weight fit requirements for adult safety belts, they no longer have to use a car seat or booster seat. South Carolina law specifies that a child must be at least 8 years old and 57 inches tall in order to be restrained with a safety belt without a booster seat. However, that only applies if the safety belt fits them properly. A seat belt fits properly if:

Can My Child Ride in the Front Seat of My Car?

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety recommends that all children under the age of 13 ride in the back seat of all vehicles. They are better protected from all types of crashes in the back seat. Additionally, air bags that are in the front dashboard can seriously injure small children.

South Carolina law mandates that children who are still in car seats and booster seats ride in the back passenger area of a car. However, if all back seats are taken by other children under the age of 8 or there is no back seat (common in older model trucks), then a child may be properly restrained in the front seat.

What Should I Do If My Child is Involved in a Car Accident?

If your child is involved in a car accident, the car seat will hopefully provide protection and your child will be uninjured. However, you should always ensure your child gets emergency medication treatment after a crash. They could have injuries that are not visible or immediately identifiable.

Additionally, you should always replace any car seat or booster seat that is involved in a car crash. Even if it doesn’t appear to be damaged, the plastic could have minor cracks or weak areas. Insurance companies will typically pay for the replacement of car seats that were involved in car accidents.

Ryan Montgomery Law Is Here to Help

If you or a loved one is involved in a car accident, you should immediately reach out to a lawyer who can walk you through a personal injury claim. You will likely have many expenses that need to be covered, from medical bills to a replacement car seat. Call Ryan Montgomery Law today at (864) 207-4927.

What to Do If You Are Involved in an Out of State Auto Accident

Being in a car accident is stressful enough, but if you are on a road trip, it can be even worse. If you are involved in an out of state auto accident, you should take many of the same steps that you would close to home. However, there may be some differences in who you contact to get help.

For specific questions about your case, contact Ryan Montgomery Law in Greenville, SC. We have helped countless clients get the compensation they need to cover all of their losses. Call our experienced car accident lawyers at (864) 207-4927 or use our online contact form to schedule a free case review.

Steps to Take After an Out of State Auto Accident

The steps you take after a car accident will be similar whether you are near your home or out of state. However, you may want to take more care with some actions. Additionally, your resources and contacts may be somewhat different.

Step 1: Call 911

If you are involved in a car accident, you should always call 911. Regardless of what state you are in, 911 is a universal emergency phone number. They can send help for anyone who was injured as well as dispatch a police officer to create an accident report.

If you are traveling between states on an interstate highway, the nearest sheriff’s department will likely respond to your call. However, if you are within city limits, a local police department will probably respond. In some cases, state highway patrol may also show up at the scene of your accident. Whoever responds, make sure you get the name and badge number of the officer. Ask for a contact number or details for how you can obtain the accident report that the officer generates.

Step 2: Get Emergency Medical Treatment

Young woman suffering from neck whiplash, sitting in drivers seat of her car

You should always get medical treatment right away. You may be unsure of where to get help if you are out of state. If you are severely injured, tell the 911 dispatcher that you need an ambulance. If you refuse to go to an emergency department via ambulance, you should head into the nearest sizeable city. Use your GPS system to find an emergency room or trauma center where you can get treatment. You can also ask the responding officer to guide you to a hospital.

Getting immediate medical treatment is important to establish a baseline for your injuries. The insurance companies may question the severity of your injuries if you refuse treatment. Similarly, you should continue seeing your primary care physician and follow up with any specialists recommended by your doctors. If you fail to get appropriate medical attention, you will be limiting your ability to recover full compensation.

Step 3: Document the Scene of the Accident

If you are able to move around the scene of the accident, you should take pictures and video. Document damage to vehicles as well as the surrounding area. Make sure you photograph signage and road markings. Take pictures of injuries sustained in the accident as well.

Step 4: Collect Insurance Data and Contact Information

You should exchange insurance information with other drivers involved in the accident. Take pictures of the front and back of their insurance cards. Don’t forget to get contact information for other drivers, passengers, and witnesses. You should take pictures of driver’s licenses or IDs. Obtain names, phone numbers, email addresses, and home addresses for everyone available.

Step 5: Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in the State Where Your Crash Occurred

The legal system in the state where your crash occurred has jurisdiction (control) over your car accident lawsuit. The laws in the state where your accident happened rule your case. Thus, it is important to reach out to a car accident lawyer in the state where your crash occurred. They will know the local laws and court procedures in that state.

Contact Ryan Montgomery Law If Your Accident Was in South Carolina

If your car accident occurred in South Carolina, you should contact the experienced attorneys at Ryan Montgomery Law. If you are from out of state, we can handle most or all of your case without you having to travel back into South Carolina. Call us today at (864) 207-4927 to find out how we can help.

Common Causes and Injuries from Wrong-Way Car Collisions

Each year there are tens of thousands of motor vehicle crashes in South Carolina. Of those, more than 2,000 are wrong-way car collisions, according to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety Traffic Collision Fact Books. Those wrong-way collisions result in a lot of injuries and fatalities.

If you or a loved one was involved in any type of crash in South Carolina, you should immediately contact a car accident lawyer at Ryan Montgomery Law. We help clients get compensation to cover their losses and regain control of their lives. Call us today at (864) 207-4927 or use our online contact form to reach out for a free case review. 

Wrong-Way Car Accident Injuries

There are more than 800 wrong-way collisions that result in injuries each year in South Carolina. Of those, approximately 225 people are seriously injured and more than 75 people die.

Some of the most common injuries in wrong-way car accidents include the following:

Why Do Wrong-Way Collisions Often Cause Severe Injuries?

These wrecks result in so many injuries because they often cause head-on collisions, which can be some of the most serious car accidents in South Carolina. When two motor vehicles hit one another head-on, airbags almost always inflate. While airbags can protect you in a serious crash, they inflate at such a high velocity that even they cause additional injuries.

Additionally, when two cars hit one another, there is a jolt of energy that is transferred to the passengers. Your body is forced to stop suddenly, sometimes moving in the opposite direction quickly. This back and forth motion can result in damage to soft tissues and injuries like whiplash are common.

Common Causes of Wrong-Way Car Accidents

Wrong-way car accidents are always the result of human error. In most of these cases, it is driver error; however, there may be other factors to consider.

Some common causes of wrong-way car accidents include:

Who Is At Fault for Wrong-Way Car Accidents?

In most cases, the driver of the car that is going the wrong way on the road is at fault. However, other parties may be partially or totally to blame also.

Parties who may be at fault for your crash include:

It’s important to determine exactly what happened in your crash and identify all of the potentially liable parties. If you fail to name anyone in a lawsuit, you may forfeit your right to all of the compensation that you deserve.

Contact Ryan Montgomery Law After a Car Accident

If you were involved in a wrong-way car crash or any other type of car accident, contact a lawyer right away. Your attorney will need to begin an independent investigation to collect evidence. Call our car accident lawyers at Ryan Montgomery Law at (864) 207-4927.

What to Do If You Are in a Rental Car Accident in South Carolina

You are just as likely to get into a car accident with a rental car as you are with your personal vehicle. In fact, you might even be more likely to have a crash because you are unfamiliar with the size and controls of the rental vehicle.

No matter what causes your rental car accident in South Carolina, there are some complex issues that you will need to figure out. Car accident lawyer Ryan Montgomery can help you navigate a rental car wreck insurance claim. Contact our team of legal professionals to schedule a free case review.

Steps to Take After a Rental Car Accident

The actions you should take after a car crash in a rental car are similar to those you’d take in any other accident.

  1. Call 911.

You should immediately call the police and ask for an ambulance if anyone is seriously injured. You will need to get a police report to support your future insurance claim. The police report will be used to prove fault and determine exactly what happened and who should be held financially liable for damages.

You should get the other driver’s name, contact information, and insurance information. It’s best to take a picture of their driver’s license and insurance cards with your phone. Remember to get images of the front and back. Also, take a picture of the other car’s license plate.

If you are able to move around the scene, take pictures and video. Make sure you capture damage to the vehicles, position of the vehicles, signs and traffic light positions, roadway markings, and any visible injures you have. You should also get contact information from any passengers in the vehicles and any bystanders or eyewitnesses to the wreck.

You should always get medical treatment after a car accident. Whether you go directly to the emergency room or see your primary care physician as soon as possible, you need to see a doctor. This will establish the severity of your injuries, which will be a primary basis for the compensation you can recover in your rental car accident claim.

As soon as you are able, you should contact a car accident lawyer who can handle communication with all of the insurance companies and potentially the rental car company. These companies may try to place blame on you for the accident. You may need to call and inform the rental car company of the accident within a certain period of time, so make sure you call them and let them know you will give a statement through your car accident attorney.

Who Will Pay for Damages in a Rental Car Accident?

You will have many options for compensation for your damages after a rental car accident. Your own insurance policy may cover it or an extra policy you paid for with the rental car company. If the other driver was at fault, then their insurance should cover the damages.

Before you rent a car, you should call your own insurance company and make sure your policy covers rental cars. Then, it’s always a good idea to purchase any additional insurance that the rental company offers.

Who Is Liable for the Rental Car After an Accident?

When you sign a rental car agreement, you accept liability for any damage to the vehicle while you are renting it. That means even if the other driver is 100% at fault, you will still be responsible for damages to the rental vehicle.

You may need to have your insurance cover damage to the rental vehicle initially. However, you can typically get reimbursed from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You should be prepared to pay your deductible directly to the rental car company if you are in a rental car accident. They may also charge you a “loss of use” fee, which is the amount of money the rental car company lost because they couldn’t rent the vehicle while it was being repaired.

What If Someone in a Rental Car Hit Me?

If someone who was renting a car hit you in your personal motor vehicle, then you have a valid claim against that driver. However, you cannot sue the rental car company unless they did something negligent. For example, if the rental car company did not properly maintain the vehicle and that led to an accident, then they could be responsible for your damages.

Call Ryan Montgomery After a Rental Car Accident

You likely have many questions after a rental car accident. Don’t speak with anyone before you call an attorney. Ryan Montgomery is here to help. Call today at (864) 406-3776.

Understanding Seat Belt Laws in South Carolina

Seat belt laws have been progressively developing since the 1960s as society has focused more on motor vehicle safety. Today, seat belt usage is mandated by most states with legal penalties for those who get cited for not using them.

Not only can failure to use a seat belt result in a traffic violation, but it can also impact your claim if you are involved in a car accident. To learn more, contact Ryan Montgomery Law for a free case review.

South Carolina Seat Belt Laws

South Carolina law (Section 56-5-6520) mandates that every driver and every passenger in a motor vehicle must use a seat belt when the vehicle is being operated on public streets and highways. The safety belt must be fastened and comply with provisions of federal law for its use.

Who Is Responsible for Seat Belt Usage in a Car?

The driver of a motor vehicle is responsible for requiring every person under the age of 18 to wear a seat belt while the car is in operation.

The driver is not responsible for occupants who are age 17 or younger if they have a driver’s license or beginner’s permit. If such a person is found to be without a seat belt, they can be individually fined pursuant to South Carolina laws Section 56-5-6540.

Is Failure to Wear a Seat Belt a Primary Offense?

Yes. In South Carolina, the safety belt law is a primary enforcement violation. That means that a police officer can pull over a motorist for not wearing a seat belt and only cite the for a safety belt violation. The police officer must have an unobstructed view of the driver or passenger in the motor vehicle who was not wearing a safety belt or not secured in a child restraint system.

What Is the Fine for Failure to Wear a Safety Belt?

In South Carolina, a person who fails to wear a seat belt or a driver who does not ensure a minor is properly secured is subject to a fine of not more than $25 for each offense. A person may not be fined more than $50 for any one incident of more than one violation.

Exceptions to South Carolina’s Seat Belt Law

There are some exceptions to South Carolina’s seat belt mandate. The law does not apply to:

How Can Not Wearing a Seat Belt Impact My Car Accident Claim?

In addition to receiving a traffic citation and paying a fine, there could be an additional impact failure to wear a seat belt may have if you are involved in a car accident.

If you are severely injured in a crash and you were not wearing a seat belt, the insurance company may say your injuries are more severe because of the lack of seat belt. They may try to partially blame you for the situation. This could reduce the total amount of compensation you are awarded.

South Carolina uses a comparative negligence law that states the plaintiff in a car accident lawsuit must be less than 51% responsible for damages in order to be eligible for financial recovery. The at-fault driver’s insurance company may try to claim that your injuries were primarily caused by your failure to wear a seat belt. It’s necessary to work with an experienced car accident lawyer who can refuse these claims and help you get the maximum amount of compensation you deserve.

Call Ryan Montgomery Law After a Car Crash

Whether you were wearing a seat belt or not, you should contact car accident lawyer Ryan Montgomery after a crash. He will evaluate your situation and help you file an insurance claim. He will make sure the insurance company doesn’t take advantage of you and they pay you what you deserve. Call today at (864) 406-3776.

Understanding If You Have a Case for Medical Malpractice in South Carolina

Doctors and hospitals are supposed to help, not hurt. So, when a medical mistake occurs, it can be hard to know what to do. The first thing you should do is call a South Carolina medical malpractice attorney who can walk you through the legal process.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

According to South Carolina Code of Laws Section 15-79-110, medical malpractice is action or inaction taken by medical professionals or facilities that does not match what a reasonably prudent health care provider or health care institution would do in the same or similar circumstances.

In order to prove medical malpractice in South Carolina, you must be able to prove the following:

Thus, a health care provider’s negligence is not the only element that leads to a medical malpractice claim. You must also prove that you were injured, and the negligence was the cause of that injury.

How to Prove You Have a Medical Malpractice Case

If a health care provider caused your injuries, then you might have a case for medical negligence against them. However, you must be able to prove each and every element of medical malpractice. That’s why it’s important to work with a medical negligence attorney who is familiar with the legal process and knows how to prove medical malpractice in court.

First, you must prove there was a doctor-patient relationship. This can often be easily established with medical records that show your health care provider treated you for medical conditions. Your medical malpractice attorney can request all of your medical records to ensure you have them as evidence of a doctor-patient relationship.

Then, you must present the recognized and accepted standards that the medical professional should have followed and establish that they did not adhere to these standards. This is accomplished with a qualified medical expert witness who will describe the medically negligent actions or inactions taken by the health care provider. Ryan Montgomery Law, has a network of medical experts who he can draw from to support your case.

Finally, you must be able to prove that the negligence of the medical provider was the cause of your injuries. This will require support from eyewitnesses (potentially other health care providers who were present), medical records, outside medical opinions, and medical experts.

How Long Do I Have to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, you only have three years from the date on which you were harmed by the medical provider or from when you could reasonably be expected to know you were harmed. However, if you exceed six years, you no longer have a right to file a medical malpractice claim even if you weren’t aware of the harm within that time.

There are a few exceptions. For example, if your injury involves “the placement and inadvertent, accidental, or unintentional leaving of a foreign object in the body,” you have two years from the date when the presence of the foreign object was discovered. The larger six-year deadline does not apply.

How Much Money Can I Get in a Medical Malpractice Claim in South Carolina?

You can get 100% of the damages you have incurred for economic damages like medical bills, lost wages, etc. However, South Carolina puts a damages cap on how much money you can recover for non-economic damages like pain and suffering in a medical malpractice claim. The most you can get for non-economic damages against a single care provider or institution is $350,000. If your case involves more than one defendant, then you cannot get more than $1.05 million, but each defendant cannot be ordered to pay more than $350,000 for non-economic damages.

Contact Ryan Montgomery Law for Help

The medical malpractice lawyers at Ryan Montgomery Law understand South Carolina laws and can help you navigate a claim. They have helped countless victims recover the compensation they need to get their lives back to normal after an injury by a medical provider. Contact us today for a free consultation of your case.

What To Do If Your Insurance Claim for Personal Injury Is Denied in South Carolina

If you are involved in a personal injury accident, one of the steps you will need to take to get compensation is to file an insurance claim. Whether you were involved in a car accident, slip and fall, or work injury, there should be an insurance company who can be held financially liable for your damages.

Common Reasons a Personal Injury Insurance Claim May Be Denied

A common tactic of insurance companies to save money is to deny claims, even when they are valid. When this happens, you should immediately contact a personal injury attorney who is not afraid to go up against the big insurance companies.

Some common reasons insurance companies deny claims include:

The only way to combat these denials is to gather evidence that supports your claim. That might include expert opinions, police reports, eyewitness statements, and evidence from the scene. You will also need medical records and bills to prove your injuries.

South Carolina Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

In South Carolina, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit. If you don’t meet that deadline, your claim will likely be denied no matter how strong it is.

Improper Claims Practices by Insurance Companies

Insurance companies that operate in South Carolina are required to comply with the South Carolina Code of Laws. According to Section 38-59-20, any insurance company that engages in the following activities has improper claim practices:

Additionally, any other practice which constitutes unreasonable delay in paying a claim or failure to pay a claim or settle claims in full constitutes improper claims practices.

These activities apply to first party claims of the insured as well as third party claims of people who have been injured by the insured.

Steps to Take After an Insurance Claim Denial

If the insurance company does immediately deny your personal injury claim, you still have options. Take the following steps to protect yourself:

  1. Call a personal injury attorney.
  2. Keep all of your correspondence with the insurance company.
  3. Maintain a record of all medical treatment, lost wages, and other damages.
  4. Collect information to support your claim.

Insurance claims are not always easy to navigate. If the insurance company disputes your claim, you should immediately contact a personal injury attorney at Ryan Montgomery Law. We have helped countless victims like you recover the money you deserve.

When you call a personal injury attorney at Ryan Montgomery Law, you will speak directly with someone who is familiar with insurance denials. We understand how these companies operate and we are here to protect your rights.