Archive for the ‘blog’ Category

Risks of Agreeing Not to Exchange Insurance Information After an Auto Accident

You might be confused and unsure of what to do after an auto accident. It’s easy to skip steps and forget to get all of the information you need to file an insurance claim later. In some instances, the other driver may try to get you to agree not to exchange insurance information. They may attempt to convince you that they’ll pay for your damages out of pocket or your own insurance company will foot the bill. However, this is a mistake.

Here are some risks of agreeing not to exchange insurance information after an auto accident.

Your Insurance Company May Deny Your Claim

If someone else is at fault for your crash, they are liable for your damages. South Carolina is a “fault” car accident state. That means that they are responsible for paying for any losses you have as a result of the crash that they cause. If you don’t get car insurance information from the at-fault driver, you may not have enough information to file a claim.

Even if your insurance company covers your damages, they will want to recover their costs from the at-fault driver. Without insurance information or appropriate contact information from the other party, they may not be able to do that. As a result, they may deny your claim because you failed to obtain necessary information from the other driver to cover your damages.

The Other Driver May Give You False Contact Information

drivers exchanging information after an auto accident

If the other driver does not show you their insurance card and give you the name and policy number on their card, then they may also give you false contact information. If you don’t have any personal information about the at-fault driver, it may be impossible to track them down and recover the money you deserve for medical costs, lost wages, and other damages.

You can prevent this by taking a picture of their driver’s license, calling the police to make a police report, and taking a picture of their license plate and motor vehicle. All of this information can help you track down the driver or vehicle owner even if they refuse to exchange insurance information with you.

You Will Not Be Able to Get a Complete Accident Report

While you should always call the police so that they can complete an accident report at the scene of the accident, it is possible for the drivers to submit a report after the crash. In fact, you are required to submit a car accident report in most car wreck situations.

If you don’t have insurance information from the at-fault driver, you will not be able to complete the report with all necessary information so that the police can find the at-fault driver and hold them accountable.

Experienced Greenville Car Accident Lawyers Can Help You

Ryan Montgomery Law has compassionate car accident attorneys who can help you with an insurance claim after a wreck. Even if you failed to get all of the insurance information from the other driver, we can gather as much evidence as possible and help you get money to cover your losses. Call us today at (864) 207-4927.

South Carolina Leash Laws and Other Laws Pet Owners Should Be Aware Of

There are many laws in South Carolina and the city of Greenville that apply to dogs and other pets. These laws have been enacted to protect the public as well as guide pet owners regarding appropriate animal handling and behavior. Violation of these laws can result in fines and financial liability for any injuries or other damages that the pets cause.

Here are some of South Carolina’s most important laws that pet owners should know about.

South Carolina Leash Law

According to South Carolina Code §51-3-145(P), all dogs and other animals must be crated, caged, or on a leash not longer than six feet long while in parks and public facilities. Pets must be under physically restrictive control of some kind while in public. This applies to trained dogs, service animals, and any other pets that might be taken into public in South Carolina.

Dogs Running “At Large” in South Carolina

According to South Carolina Code §47-3-40, any dog that is found running at large may be picked up and impounded or quarantined by government animal control officers. In order to get a dog released from the pound, the dog must have a current rabies vaccine and pay an impound or quarantine fee, which is determined by each municipality individually. This law applies to cats as well.

The penalty for allowing dogs and cats to run at large is detailed in South Carolina Code §47-3-50. If a person allows their dog to run at large off their property, keeps a vicious or unruly dog unless restrained, or releases a dog or cat from impoundment without authority, they face a misdemeanor and can be fined $50 for a first offense and $100 for each offense thereafter.

South Carolina Dog Bite Laws

A dog owner may be held strictly liable for injuries caused by their pet according to South Carolina Code §47-3-110. That means that there is no “one bite rule” in South Carolina allowing a dog to bite once before the owner is responsible for financial damages. An owner is immediately liable if all of the following area true:

  1. The victim’s injuries were caused by the dog bite or attack.
  2. The victim was in a public place or lawfully in a private place.
  3. The victim did not provoke the dog.

It’s important to note that this law does not only apply to dog bites, but also pet attacks of any kind. That means that if a dog jumps onto someone walking on a public sidewalk and causes injuries to them, then the owner may be liable.

South Carolina Animal Cruelty Laws

Under South Carolina Code §47-1-10 – 225 and §16-15-120 animal cruelty is prohibited against all living vertebrate creatures except homo sapiens and fowl in some situations. “Animal cruelty” is defined as any time “a person knowingly or intentionally overloads, overdrives, overworks, ill-treats any animal.” It also includes depriving animals of food, water, or shelter and the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering.

This law imposes a felony crime upon a person for “torture, tormenting, needless mutilation, cruel killing, or infliction of excessive or repeated unnecessary pain.”

Ryan Montgomery Law Understands South Carolina Law

When selecting a dog bite lawyer or seeking legal advice for your situation, you should find someone who is aware of all of the laws that might apply to your case. While some of these criminal laws might not enable you to recover compensation, they can serve as evidence to support a personal injury case in the event of an animal attack. To learn more, contact Ryan Montgomery Law at (864) 207-4927.

The Importance of Obtaining Your South Carolina Car Accident Report

When you call the police after a car accident, they will arrive at the scene and complete a report. That report will contain information that can be used to support your insurance claim or car accident lawsuit. It’s important to follow up with the police department that finalized your report and obtain it as evidence in your case.

How to Get an Official Copy of Your Car Accident Report

An important step after a crash is obtaining an official copy of your car accident report. In order to get the right documents, you need to know which police department responded to the scene of your accident.

Greenville Police Department

If an officer from the Greenville Police Department wrote your police report, then you can make a request for the document by calling Public Records at (864) 467-5257. They will prepare your record and you can pick it up at the Law Enforcement Center, which is located at 4 McGee Street, Greenville, SC 29601.

Greenville County Sheriff’s Office

If the cop who arrived at your crash was from the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, then you can request a crash report by calling the office at (864) 271-5210. You may also request an accident report in person at the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, 4 McGee Street, Greenville, SC 29601.

Other Locations in South Carolina

If your crash occurred outside of Greenville County, you should contact the police department of the officer who responded to your accident. You may also search online to determine if the office has a web database for crash reports.

You may wait a few weeks until the crash report has been filed with the South Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). A report can be requested by mailing a request for collision report Form FR-50 to SCDMV, P.O. Box 1498, Blythewood, SC 29016-0050. You can also request a collision report online through the online database.

How to Read and Understand a Crash Report

The crash report used by police in South Carolina is the TR-310 form. When you receive your crash report, it will contain basic information about your accident. It will list the location, drivers involved, vehicle owners, contact and personal information for everyone, and a diagram describing what happened during the crash.

In addition to the detailed descriptions provided, there will be numbers throughout the document. It can be confusing with seemingly random codes and numbers listed. There are keys located on the form next to the boxes in which the numbers are placed that indicate what the numbers mean.

For example, under the Injury Status box, which will be completed for everyone involved in the crash, each number represents the severity of injury. A “0” indicates no injury, “1” means possible injury, “2” means non-incapacitating injury, “3” means incapacitating injury, and “4” means fatal injury.

Each box has several numbers that can be listed in it to describe the crash that occurred.

A Greenville Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You

It’s typically best to let your Greenville car accident lawyer handle obtaining your report, as this will save you time and stress that you don’t need. It’s important to get the report as soon as possible so your attorney can use it to understand who is at fault and who may be financially liable in your case. This will allow you to file an insurance claim as soon as possible and get the maximum amount of compensation possible.

The legal team at Ryan Montgomery Law is familiar with South Carolina accident reports and can easily get yours on your behalf. Call us to schedule a free consultation about your car accident.

Are Deadly Auto Accidents on the Rise in South Carolina?

More people have died in fatal crashes in South Carolina in 2021 than in the previous two years, according to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety. South Carolina Master Trooper Brian Lee attributes this disturbing trend to more people being on the road and an increased number of individuals getting their licenses. No matter the cause, the situation is cause for concern.

South Carolina Fatal Crash Statistics

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety creates a Traffic Collision Fact Book annually. These books are available online for years 2013 through 2019. Additional year to date statistical data is also presented online for South Carolina Daily Traffic Fatality Counts for the current year. Year to date information is provided for two previous years for comparison.

The Department of Public Safety indicates that total fatal crashes in 2021 year to date are numbered at 874. That’s 52 more than at the same time in 2020 and 80 more than in 2019. So far in 2021, 946 people have been killed in these fatal accidents. That’s 29 more than in 2020 and 88 more than in 2019.

A significant cause of these deaths is lack of use of seat belts. Approximately 307 of the people who died in these fatal crashes were not wearing their seat belts. That number is actually down from 2020, when 402 people who passed away in car crashes were not wearing seat belts.

Drivers and passengers in cars are not the only ones who died. In 2021, 142 pedestrians have been killed by motor vehicles. This compares to 162 at the same time last year. Around 16 bicyclists have been killed in crashes, compared to 12 in 2020. Fatal motorcycle accidents have also increased this year, with 138 motorcyclists dying so far in 2021. At the same time least year, only 105 motorcyclists had died in fatal crashes.

Causes of Fatal Crashes in South Carolina

The majority of car crashes can be attributed to driver error, especially those that end up being fatal. Some common causes of these serious accidents in South Carolina include:

There are many other causes that can be blamed for fatal crashes. It’s important to determine exactly what happened in order to support your car accident claim.

A Greenville Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You After a Fatal Crash

If you were seriously injured in a crash or a loved one passed away in a fatal crash, you should contact a Greenville car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Attorney Ryan Montgomery has more than 10 years of experience handling wrongful death claims like fatal car accidents. We will manage the legal issues while you focus on moving forward with life. Call us for a free consultation of your specific situation.

What Is Considered Sexual Assault in South Carolina?

Sexual assault can happen to anyone. Victims can be any gender and age. It’s a devastating situation that often leaves the victim and their loved ones not knowing what to do. If you are confused, read below to learn more about what is considered sexual assault in South Carolina and who to call for help.

What Is Sexual Assault?

According to the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (SCCADVSA), sexual assault is non-consensual sexual contact that is forced or coerced. There are many different actions that can be considered sexual assault, including:

The criminals who harm others through sexual assault are seeking power and control.

What Is Consent?

When someone commits sexual assault, they lack consent to engage in sexual contact with the victim. Consent is an agreement between the people who engage in sexual activity. There should be clear communication every time people are intimate. Consent may be given or withdrawn at any time, and that should be respected. If it is not, the offender is guilty of sexual assault.

If a person does not have consent to touch another person intimately, and they do so anyway, they are forcing themselves onto the victim. Force is not always physical in nature. It may involve emotional bullying, psychological force, or manipulation. Some sexual assault offenders use threats that they will harm the victim or their family to intimidate the victim into sexual acts.

Sexual Assault Statistics in South Carolina

women who has been sexual assulted

More than 5,500 people seek help from the Rape Crisis Center in South Carolina annually, according to SCCADVSA. Nearly one in five women report being raped during their lifetime. While only one in 71 men report being raped, that number is likely much lower than the actual occurrence. Men are typically underrepresented in sexual assault statistics because of lower reporting rates.

Additionally, nearly 46% of women in South Carolina report being the victims of sexual violent or coercion other than rape. Nearly 18% of all men in the state report the same.

Who Should I Call If I Was Sexually Assaulted?

If you are the victim of a sexual assault, you should immediately call the police. Get medical treatment and discuss your situation with the authorities. Then, you should contact a sexual assault lawyer who can help you decide what to do next.

The compassionate lawyers at Ryan Montgomery Law know that it is difficult to share your story. You can trust us to be by your side throughout the legal process. We will help you decide how to handle a criminal trial and even proceed with a civil lawsuit, if possible. Through a civil lawsuit for sexual assault, you may be able to get financial compensation to help you recover and find a sense of justice.

Call Ryan Montgomery Law today at (864) 207-4927 or use our online contact form.

What To Do If You’re Bitten by a Dog While Flying on a Commercial Flight?

Dogs are man’s best friends; however, there are thousands of dog bite incidents every year. The dog owner is almost always the primary person responsible, but the law can get complicated if the bite occurs in an airport or while flying on a commercial flight.

Steps You Should Take If You’re Bitten by a Dog

If you are bitten by a dog, whether it’s a companion or support animal, there are certain steps you should take, including:

  1. Get away from the dog. The first thing you should do is get as far away from the dog as possible. You might put your purse or carry-on baggage between you and the dog. Move to another location on the flight.
  2. Get medical treatment. You should immediately get medical attention after a dog bite. Dogs have sharp teeth that tear flesh and cause deep internal wounds. Their mouths are also dirty. You will need to treat the wound and get antibiotics quickly.
  3. Notify a flight attendant or airport staff. If you’re on a flight, an attendant can provide minimal medical treatment with a first aid kit. Most airports also have some first aid available. The airport staff will also need to make a report of the incident.
  4. Call the police at the airport. If you’re in the air, call the police when you land. If you’re at an airport, call the police immediately. You will need them to assess the situation and file an official report about the situation. This will be used as evidence in your personal injury claim.
  5. Call a dog bite lawyer as soon as possible. You will need to provide information to many parties regarding the incident. You should talk to an attorney and allow them to communicate with everyone else. This will ensure consistent information and allow you to focus on recovering.

Who Is Responsible for a Dog Bite on a Commercial Flight?

In most situations, the owner of a dog is responsible for their actions. That means, they would have to pay for any medical costs and other losses you incur as a result of the bite their dog causes. Oftentimes, homeowners’ or renters’ insurance will cover dog bites. Some dog owners are required to have a separate policy, especially if they have a dog that is known to be vicious or some specific breeds.

If you are bitten on a commercial flight, the airline might also be responsible. The airline should have rules that are enforced to prevent dog bites, such as requirements that the animals are kept in a kennel under the seat. Another option would be that the dog remains attached to a leash or in the owner’s lap. Sometimes a muzzle is required. The airline staff should ensure that any agitated or compromised dogs are not on the flight.

How Can a Dog Bite Lawyer Help Me?

The experienced personal injury lawyers at Ryan Montgomery Law can guide you through the process of obtaining compensation for your losses after a dog bite. The law can be confusing and you may not know where to turn to get help. Our legal team is here for you. We will listen to what happened and handle the entire legal process while you focus on recovery. Call us today at (864) 207-4927 or use our online contact form to reach out.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage in South Carolina

Many people are familiar with uninsured motorist coverage.  This is a claim that would be filed on your own insurance company when the driver who causes the accident has no insurance coverage.  Some drivers may not carry uninsured motorist coverage because it may not be required in their state.  However, as an add-on or supplement to an insurance policy, it certainly makes good sense to have it and can minimize your financial risk.

What is underinsured motorist coverage?

Not everyone is as familiar with underinsured motorist coverage.  This type of coverage protects a driver involved in an accident when the negligent driver’s policy isn’t enough to cover the extent of your damages and injuries.  Some drivers only carry the minimum amount of insurance coverage required by law, which can put other drivers at financial risk following an accident.  Here is an example of how underinsured motorist coverage works.  A driver who causes an accident carries $50,000 in liability insurance.  If your damages exceed that amount, you would be responsible for making up the difference.  So, if the damages and medical bills total $100,000, then you would be looking at owing $50,000 out of pocket.  If your policy includes underinsured motorist coverage that exceeds the at fault driver’s $50,000 limit, your own insurance company would now pay the difference up to your policy limit.

How much uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage should I carry?

While uninsured motorist coverage is mandatory in South Carolina, underinsured motorist coverage is not.  However, South Carolina law requires insurance companies to offer underinsured motorist coverage to all policy holders.  The cost is small compared to the potential benefits.

According to Edmunds.com, insurance experts recommend purchasing 100/300 limits of bodily injury liability coverage.  This means the policy would cover $100,000 for one person in an accident and $300,000 for all injured people in an accident.

Should you hire an attorney? 

Since these claim can become complicated, it may be wise to hire legal counsel.  Until the extent of the injuries is determined and medical treatment is completed, the value of an insurance claim will not be fully known.  As soon as it is determined that the damages will exceed the limits of the at fault driver’s liability coverage, your own insurance company would need to be notified of your intent to file an underinsured motorist claim.  When filing this type of claim, a policy holder can expect an investigation by their insurance company.  This could include witnesses being deposed.  A decision may have to be made regarding going to court or having arbitration.  An experienced attorney can advise clients on the best course of action for their case.

Ryan Montgomery Law has the expertise to help you deal with legal issues arising from your car accidentContact them today for a free consultation.

Common Causes Contributing to Big Truck Accidents

Semi-trucks and other large commercial vehicles are involved in many accidents on South Carolina roadways each year.  A fully loaded semi-truck can weigh over 80,000 pounds.  An accident caused by one of these vehicles can result in serious injury or death.  The following are some of the major causes of big truck accidents.

Fatigue

One of the leading causes of big truck accidents is driver fatigue.  Companies sometimes pressure drivers to meet deadlines, so they are on the road longer than they should be.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), has regulations restricting the number of hours per day that truckers can drive before taking a break.  They have found that driving for extended periods leads to drowsiness and driving at night increases the risk factor.  Response times, judgment, and reflexes suffer when drivers are tired.  FMCSA regulations allow commercial drivers to be on the road up to 11 hours per day and 60 hours in 7 days.  After the 11 hours, drivers must rest for 10 hours straight.  However, if drivers do not cross state lines, federal regulations do not apply.  State laws would apply, but they are often more lax.

Distracted driving

Texting and the use of electronic devices causes a driver to take their eyes off the road resulting in distracted driving.  The FMCSA has rules that prohibit texting and using a hand-held mobile device while operating a commercial motor vehicle.  Many states have similar laws, including South Carolina.  Texting while driving is illegal in South Carolina.

Impaired driving

The DOT, along with the FMCSA has regulations requiring motor vehicle operators with commercial drivers licenses to be tested for alcohol and drugs.  This includes “medical” and “recreational” marijuana use.  They maintain a Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse that gives employers and government agencies real-time access to information about commercial drivers’ drug and alcohol violations.  This helps to keep the roadways safer for all drivers.

Speeding

The FMCSA cites speeding as a major contributor to commercial trucking accidents.  Drivers will sometimes speed to maintain schedules.  Speeding increases the stopping time and speeding through curves contributes to rollover accidents.  Big trucks should slow down for bad weather conditions, low visibility, and for construction zones.

Inadequate training and poor maintenance

Inexperienced drivers with inadequate training have more driver errors including navigating turns and curves, steep hills, and maneuvering through heavy traffic.  Poorly maintained equipment also contributes to accidents.  Tire failure, brake failure, steering malfunctions, broken lights, and defective couplings are examples of poor maintenance.

Who is at fault?

The driver, trucking company, person who leases the truck, the loader or shipper of the cargo, and the manufacturer of the tires or parts that may have failed may all bear some responsibility for the accident.  If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with a commercial truck, an experienced trucking accident attorney can help you recover damages for medical bills, lost wages, property damage to your vehicle, and pain and suffering.  Contact Ryan Montgomery Law today to discuss your case.

Ryan Montgomery Selected for the 2022 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America®

Greenville, SC attorney Ryan S. Montgomery has been selected for inclusion in the 2022 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.

PRESS RELEASE

Greenville, SC

2022-Best-Lawyers-List

Greenville attorney Ryan S. Montgomery has been selected for inclusion in the 2022 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.  He was recognized in two practice categories – Personal Injury Litigation- Plaintiffs and Workers’ Compensation Law- Claimants.  This year marks the 28th edition of the publication, the oldest and most respected guide to the legal profession.

Best Lawyers® is a reliable and unbiased resource to identify top legal professionals.  The 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America® recognizes the professional excellence of more than 66,000 attorneys in 147 practice areas.  Nominations are based on an exhaustive peer review survey by lawyers in the same geographic region.  The awards are published in leading local, regional, and national publications. 

Ryan Montgomery is a graduate of Clemson University and earned his juris doctor degree from the University of Baltimore.  He was admitted to the Maryland Bar Association in 2000 and the South Carolina Bar Association in 2004.  After working as an insurance company lawyer for a number of years, Montgomery switched sides to represent the injured.  He now focuses his legal practice on workers’ compensation claims, on the job injuries, Social Security disability, auto and big truck accidents, wrongful death, and complex personal injury litigation.

For more information or to book a free consultation with Ryan Montgomery Law, call (864) 881-4573 or contact https://www.ryanmontgomerylaw.com/.

###

About Ryan Montgomery Law

Ryan Montgomery Law has been serving injured South Carolina clients since 2012.  The practice offers quality legal services to those who have been injured due to the negligence of others.  Attorneys specialize in Personal Injury cases including motor vehicle accidents and slip and fall, Workers’ Compensation, Social Security disability, and Wrongful Death.  They are proud to have received 5 Star ratings from both Avvo and Lawyers.com.  Ryan Montgomery Law is located in Greenville, South Carolina.

Ryan S. Montgomery Top Rated by Super Lawyers

Greenville, SC attorney Ryan S. Montgomery named to the 2021 Top Rated list by Super Lawyers.

PRESS RELEASE

Greenville, SC

Attorney Ryan S. Montgomery, of Ryan Montgomery Law, has been selected to the 2021 Top Rated list by Super Lawyers.  Montgomery is the founder of Ryan Montgomery Law.  This is the second consecutive year he has made the prestigious list.  His firm serves clients throughout the Upstate region of South Carolina.

Ryan Montgomery earned his law degree from the University of Baltimore.  He was admitted to the Maryland Bar Association in 2000 and the South Carolina Bar Association in 2004.  The focus of Montgomery’s practice is divided between workers’ compensation cases and personal injury and wrongful death litigation.  In workers’ compensation cases, the firm represents people who have been injured at work or developed occupational disease through exposure to toxic materials.  Personal injury cases involve people who have been injured or harmed through the negligence of others.  Such cases include auto and big truck accidents, premises liability, defective products, medical malpractice, and sexual assault.  Clients of Ryan Montgomery Law have received jury awards and out-of-court settlements.

Super Lawyers is a ratings service that recognizes outstanding attorneys in more than 70 practice areas.  The selections are made using a multi-phase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, peer nominations, peer evaluations, and an independent research of candidates.  The annual Super Lawyers list recognizes no more than 5% of attorneys in each state.  The nomination process is strictly confidential.

The ratings list is published annually in Super Lawyers Magazine, in leading newspapers across the country, and at SuperLawyers.com.  Super Lawyers has an online search directory that enables people to select attorneys in their state that practice in the areas of law they need.

Ryan Montgomery ensures that his clients’ rights are protected and will work to obtain the best possible outcome.  Cases are handled on a contingency fee basis.  There is no charge unless they recover a settlement for clients.  For more information or to book a free consultation with Ryan Montgomery Law, call (864) 881-4573 or contact https://www.ryanmontgomerylaw.com/.

###

About Ryan Montgomery Law

Ryan Montgomery Law has been serving injured South Carolina clients since 2012.  The practice offers quality legal services to those who have been injured due to the negligence of others.  Attorneys specialize in Personal Injury cases including motor vehicle accidents and slip and fall, Workers’ Compensation, Social Security disability, and Wrongful Death.  They are proud to have received 5 Star ratings from both Avvo and Lawyers.com.  Ryan Montgomery Law is located in Greenville, South Carolina.