Archive for the ‘blog’ Category

Injured by a Hit and Run Driver in South Carolina?

Hit and run accidents occur far too frequently on South Carolina roads.  The state recorded nearly 4,000 hit and run accidents in 2018, the last year for which statistics are available.  State law defines a hit and run as leaving the scene of an accident in which you were involved.  South Carolina law requires all drivers to stop at the scene of their accident, render aid to injured parties, exchange driver contact and insurance information, and report the accident to authorities.  Hit and run accidents don’t just apply if another vehicle is involved.  The victim may also be a pedestrian or bicyclist, or the damage can be to a parked car or other structure such as a fence or mailbox.  Drivers who flee the scene of an accident can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the extent of the injuries caused.

Why do drivers flee?

There are a number of reasons why a driver would flee the scene of an accident.  They do not want to deal with the police, or they may be afraid of the consequences.  The driver may not have insurance, they may not have a valid drivers license, or their license may be suspended.  A driver may have an outstanding arrest warrant or a criminal record.  They may be driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  They may not be aware that they hit someone.  Do not attempt to pursue a hit and run driver.  That puts you and others at risk.

hit and run auto accident

What to do if the other driver leaves the scene

What recourse do you have?

The Uninsured Motorist (UM) portion of your auto insurance will help pay your damages.  Uninsured Motorist protection is mandatory in South Carolina.  Other optional insurance like Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and MedPay coverage may pay for medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of fault.  If the other driver is found, you can file a personal injury lawsuit.  If you are the surviving family member of a person killed in a hit and run accident, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit.  Compensation can be awarded for medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, vehicle repair costs, pain and suffering, and the costs to modify your home if you become disabled due to the hit and run accident.

Often, the hit and run driver is never caught.  Pursuing compensation can be complex and difficult.  At Ryan Montgomery Law, we recommend consulting an experienced wrongful death and personal injury attorney to help you navigate the process.  Our team is here to provide free case reviews.

Reckless Vehicular Homicide and Wrongful Death

The death of a loved one from an accident resulting in reckless vehicular homicide charges is a traumatic experience for loved ones of the victim.  In addition to overwhelming grief, the family may be left with medical bills, funeral expenses, loss of income, and emotional distress.  While no amount of money can make up for the suffering and loss, a wrongful death claim can help the family reach closure and move on with their lives. 

Reckless vehicular homicide cases are on the rise in South Carolina.  There were 43 cases in 2018, an increase of 65% over the previous four years.  A victim can be the driver or passenger of the vehicle that was hit by the reckless driver, a passenger in the same vehicle as the reckless driver, or a pedestrian or bicyclist. 

Penalties in South Carolina

Reckless vehicular homicide is a felony in South Carolina.  A conviction can lead to ten years in prison and/or a $1,000-$5,000 fine.  The drivers license can be revoked for five years.  There must be proof that the driver was a legal cause of the death.  The South Carolina law applies if the victim dies from injuries received within three years of the accident.

To be considered reckless, it must be determined that there was a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others.  In other words, the driver knew that the actions were dangerous, but they did something anyway.  This usually involves driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol but may also include excessive speeding or passing a vehicle on a double yellow line.

Unfortunately, a hole in South Carolina law allows for many drivers who cause fatality accidents due to negligence to be charged only with a traffic violation such as failure to yield or speeding.  Law enforcement has explained that there is just no in-between.  Some state legislators have tried for years to change or strengthen the law.  Other states have stronger laws than South Carolina.  Neighboring Georgia allows first degree homicide charges for vehicle fatality accidents.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Although criminal penalties may be lacking in South Carolina, families of victims may have some recourse through civil lawsuits.  SC Code Section 15-51-10 states “whenever the death of a person shall be caused by wrongful act, neglect, or default of another”, a civil action for wrongful death is appropriate.  Actions of the driver that may have contributed to the wrongful death may include driving under the influence, fleeing from law enforcement, reckless driving, unlawfully passing a school bus, and leaving the scene of an accident.

Surviving family members of the deceased person or the executor of the estate may file a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver.  Beneficiaries can recover damages.  Compensation may be awarded for medical bills, funeral and burial costs, loss of financial support and benefits, emotional distress, travel costs, and other out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident, as well as punitive damages.

Cases involving the wrongful death of a loved one can be complicated.  At Ryan Montgomery Law, we recommend consulting an experienced wrongful death and personal injury attorney.

Dog Bites – A Personal Injury Case

Anyone can be the victim of a dog attack.  You could be jogging in your neighborhood or walking your own dog on a leash.  Your child might be playing in your yard or at a neighbor’s house.  Dog bites and dog attacks are serious, and victims have rights under South Carolina law.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are approximately 800,000 dog bites or attacks each year in the U.S. that require medical attention.  More than 50% of victims are children, with 26% of them needing medical treatment.  Children are especially vulnerable, and their injuries are among the most dangerous.

Who is liable?

Victims in South Carolina can recover damages under SC Law 47-3-110.  Enacted in 1986, this law covers dog bites and other dog-related injuries.  The law states that when a person is bitten or attacked by a dog while in a public place or is lawfully on private property, including the property of the dog owner, the owner of the animal is liable for damages.  South Carolina is a strict liability state.  There is not a “one bite” rule as used in some other states.  In other words, the dog’s owner does not have to know in advance of the attack that the animal is dangerous or had a propensity to attack people.

Dog owners in South Carolina are expected to keep their animals on their property and restrained when they are not on their private property.  Dog owners are liable even if the dog was in the care of another person at the time of the attack.  The law is generally on the side of the victim.  The victim is not required to prove that the dog owner was negligent or somehow did not take reasonable precautions to prevent the attack.  The statute applies as long as the victim did not provoke or harass the animal.  However, the owner may escape liability if the victim was illegally trespassing.  This exception does not apply to mail carriers, utility workers, delivery persons, law enforcement, or others who are just performing their jobs or duties.

What compensation is covered?

The victim’s medical bills are covered under the law.  The statute is not limited to dog bites.  If the dog attacks and knocks the victim down, injuries sustained from the fall are also covered.  Injuries may include punctures, lacerations, fractures, infected wounds, facial injuries, disfigurement, and death.  The dog owner is liable for the victim’s general loss of income and time off from work.  The law also allows compensation for pain, suffering, and emotional distress.  Lawsuits must be filed within three years of the injury.

What to do after a dog bite

Homeowners insurance may cover dog bites under liability coverage.  However, some dog breeds may be excluded, and medical costs may exceed the policy limits.  If you or a family member have been the victim of a serious dog attack, contact the office of Ryan Montgomery Law to speak with an experienced Personal Injury attorney.  

Were You Injured by a Drunk Driver in South Carolina?

Alarming Statistics

Hundreds of South Carolina residents are injured each year by drunk drivers.  Were you one of them? 

Too many alcohol-impaired drivers take risks that endanger themselves and others.  In 2018, according to a 5-year average of crash statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Greenville County had the highest fatality rate from drunk driving in the state.  Driving under the influence of alcohol is a factor in almost one-third of South Carolina traffic deaths.  South Carolina ranked third in the country for impaired driving fatalities, with an average of 5.72 deaths per 100,000 people.

These are alarming statistics.  In addition to these sobering death rates, DUI related accidents seriously injure many more people.  Unfortunately, these numbers could be on the rise.  According to The Zebra, an auto insurance comparison site, early reporting indicates that binge drinking rates soared in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

South Carolina Law

South Carolina law prohibits a person from driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.  A driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent is considered to be impaired.  If the BAC level is between 0.05 percent and 0.08 percent, that may be considered with other evidence to infer a driver is under the influence.  A conviction for DUI can result in substantial fines, imprisonment, and suspension or revocation of the driver’s license, depending on the number of offenses.

Although injured persons may collect damages through an insurance claim, it is not unusual for medical expenses and other losses to exceed the limits of the insurance policy.  A personal injury lawsuit may enable accident victims to recover additional damages.  Those injured by drunk drivers can sue for compensation for medical expenses, property loss, lost wages, and emotional distress.  They may also request punitive damages.  The outcome of any criminal proceedings against the driver has little to do with a personal injury claim.  Punitive damages may be awarded based on the severity of the injury, the BAC level of the driver, and any previous drunk driving convictions.

Get Legal Help

Lives are forever altered by drunk drivers. It’s nearly impossible to put a monetary value on the total costs.  Don’t take on the insurance company and the legal system alone.  If you have been injured by a drunk driver, call Ryan Montgomery Law today.

Don’t Settle by Your Self

Whenever you are injured due to the negligence of another party, you can always attempt to seek compensation for your damages on your own and without an attorney. At the same time, there are just too many reasons not to hire a personal injury attorney.

Objectivity and Professional

Personal injuries, such as car accidents, often cause a lot of upheaval and pain. After going through any trauma, it’s always tough to be objective about the accident and your injuries. A personal injury can make objective decisions on your behalf. This professional knows how to gather evidence, evaluate evidence, review medical reports, find all parties responsible for the accident and negotiate your case. This legal professional has the experience and skill to get you the best settlement that you deserve. A personal injury attorney is always professional and objective.

A Tough Negotiator

A personal injury attorney is a tough negotiator in your corner. It’s difficult for a plaintiff to negotiate with an insurance company or their adjuster. Claims adjusters  are to be very persuasive and to negotiate a lower settlement for your claim. They can be very challenging and will always try to get you to take their first offer. This is why you need an experienced personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney knows how to deal with the insurance company.

Get the Medical Attention You Need

Having a good personal injury attorney can get you the medical attention that you need. An experienced personal injury attorney has a lot of medical knowledge about injuries and can help refer you to a good doctor. They also have experience in communicating and working with a list of very good physicians. And while you are undergoing Medical treatment, your attorney will be gathering all the medical documentation to support your claim.This way, your focus can be on recovering from your injuries.

Evaluating Your Case Properly

It’s difficult to evaluate your own case. An attorney will evaluate your case, liability and value your case. You’ll also know all of your options when you use an attorney.

Level the Playing Field

Whenever you file a personal injury claim, it is likely that the opposing party will have their own attorney. Having your own personal injury attorney levels the playing field for you. The opposing party will take your claim much more seriously when you have an attorney representing you. Having a  personal injury attorney represent you gives you support.

Faster Compensation and Peace of Mind

Having an attorney in your corner will get you faster compensation. If you do it on your own, you’ll have to wait till you recovered from your injuries to get all of that done.An attorney can gather evidence, gather medical documentation and file a claim for you with the insurance company while you are recovering. This way, there won’t be any setbacks for you. Your attorney will get the ball rolling for you.

Filing a personal claim on your own can be very stressful. An attorney will take away the stress and do everything for you. You’ll have the peace of mind that you need in order to get a speedy recovery.

The bottom line is that you should never settle on your own. You need the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.

Why You Need an Attorney for your Personal Injury Claim

When you have a personal injury claim in South Carolina, your attorney will know all of the statutes in that state that affect your claim. And with those statutes in mind, there are two basic laws when it comes to personal injury claims in South Carolina. Those two laws are about the statute of limitations and comparative negligence. The statute of limitations in the state governs the time period that you have in order to file a claim. And in South Carolina, the statute of limitations is 3 years. If you don’t file your personal injury claim within 3 years, you will lose the right to get compensation for your injury. Simply put, the court will refuse to listen to your case.

And even after you file your claim in South Carolina, you are not guaranteed an award for damages due to your injuries. In the state of South Carolina there is the law of modified comparative negligence. This means that if you contributed in any way to the accident, your award will be reduced for the percentage of your participation. For example, if you are found to be 30% responsible for the incident, your compensation will only be 70% of the damages.And if you are found to be 51% responsible for the accident, you won’t be entitled to any compensation. That’s why it is critical that you have a personal injury attorney in South Carolina. An attorney will know all about the personal injury law in the state and be able to argue against any accusations that you contributed to the accident. After all, you need compensation for your damages.Without the assistance of an attorney, it is very difficult in South Carolina to be fairly compensated for your damages due to a personal injury claim.

In the state of South Carolina, you must be able to prove that another individual or agency caused the accident which resulted in your injuries. If it cannot be proven that the other person or agency was negligent, reckless or willful in their actions, you cannot get compensation for your injuries in the state. Sometimes, negligence is not straightforward or clear. For example, I manufacturer 10 alleged that you misused the product. Or if it was a car accident, the other driver can allege that you’re the one who swerved into their lane. Expert witnesses or fact witnesses may be needed to prove negligence. A personal injury attorney can provide you with what you need to support your claim. Negligence against the other party must be clearly established in order to prove liability.

Personal injury law in the state of South Carolina is complex. If you want to file a personal injury claim in the state of South Carolina, it is always in your best interest to hire a personal injury attorney. Hiring an attorney to represent you increases your chances of the best outcome for your personal injury claim.

If you haven’t incurred a personal injury due to the negligence of another party, contact an attorney in South Carolina today. This legal professional is without a doubt your best ally.

How the Coronavirus Affects Workers Compensation Claims

The coronavirus is here and continues to spread at a rapid pace. And with this virus continually mutating, it is likely that it will be with us for some time. So, how does the coronavirus impact South Carolina’s workers compensation?

In the state of South Carolina,occupational diseases qualify for workers compensation benefits. The coronavirus qualifies when it arises out of the course of employment or under the regular working conditions of the job. But, how can it be proved that you got the coronavirus from your job? It’s like getting the flu or a cold. These illnesses can easily occur outside of your employment. According to the National Law Review, the coronavirus could be compensable if a person’s job increases the risk of contracting corona. Likely, the coronavirus will be categorized as a non-occupational disease. Employers will then have to decide whether the job contributed to contracting corona or if employment aggravated this condition. First responders and other types of healthcare workers would have a much greater chance of proving this as they interact with the public on a regular basis. This would increase their exposure of contracting the coronavirus. 

According to section 42- 11-10, benefits are not allowed for a disease that results from exposure to other employees.It also bars employees from catching a disease that is due to exposure outside of their workplace.Those workers in South Carolina who have contracted the coronavirus will have an uphill battle in getting workers compensation benefits as the law is currently written. However, medical workers, first responders and prison workers all grocery store workers may be able to prove that their condition was due to their employment.

Currently, hundreds of workers in South Carolina have filed workers compensation claims due to the coronavirus. But, all of these claims have been denied by the workers compensation provider.All of these claims will have to be litigated by the Workers Compensation Commission in the state.Possibly, employees might wind up being able to get benefits due to the coronavirus.

If you’re a worker who suspects that they contracted the coronavirus at work, it is important to let your employer know as soon as possible. As a matter of fact, you have 90 days in the state to report an illness.

If you submit a claim to your employer and it’s denied, your employer must submit a form to the Workers Compensation Commission.There are benefits that are allowed for family members.

If you are an employee in South Carolina who has contracted the coronavirus due to your employment, it is in your best interest to hire a South Carolina workers compensation attorney. Not only all worker compensation laws complex, but the coronavirus is also new to workers’ compensation claims. With a workers compensation attorney in your corner, you have a much better chance of successfully getting benefits. Not only can a workers compensation attorney in South Carolina help you navigate the claim process, they can keep you updated on decisions made by the states Workers Compensation Commission regarding the coronavirus. Got a workers compensation claim due to corona? Get a South Carolina workers compensation attorney today.

Find a Personal Injury Attorney in SC to Fight for Your Rights

Ryan Montgomery Attorney at Law and his experienced personal injury legal team in Greenville SC knows how devastating an accident can be and just how serious it is when you are faced with life-changing injuries and expenses. Mounting hospital and medical bills combined with a dramatic loss of income due to the inability to work because of severe injuries can get scary…and fast. You and your family need help and you need it now.

Experienced personal injury attorney Ryan Montgomery and his staff are here to fight for the rights of personal injury victims in Greenville, SC, and surrounding counties. 

If your life or a family member’s life has been changed due to the carelessness of someone else, you have a right to fair compensation for your injuries and losses. Insurance companies and their insured are certainly not going to line up to give you money for your injuries and take responsibility for all of your job and financial losses so you need someone on your side that understands the law..

Those who suffer from long-term or lifelong injuries from an accident may be entitled to a variety of different types of damages that many people are not aware of. Some of these damages that can result in monetary gain include:

Possible Damages and Compensation from an Accident in SC

What to do When You are in an Accident in SC with Injuries

When you are in an accident due to the negligence of another party, it can be unsettling not to know exactly what you need to do to protect yourself and your rights. Not sure where to start? Call SC personal injury attorney Ryan Montgomery for a free consultation to see exactly how he can help you get the fair compensation and proper medical attention you deserve.

SC Attorney Ryan Montgomery and his legal team assist victims with cases including everything from workers’ compensation claims to car, truck and motorcycle accidents, and even wrongful deaths, medical malpractice, and slip and fall cases.

The Greenville, SC attorneys at Ryan Montgomery Law can help with almost 60 years of combined experience in personal injury cases and their commitment to serve their clients and families with professional and creative solutions to injury cases.

Personal injury attorney Ryan Montgomery fights hard for fair compensation for SC residents when there has been a serious accident that affects your family. We understand that the insurance companies can be difficult to deal with and that there is a lot of confusing information to interpret…and at an exceedingly difficult time. Having someone on your side to represent you when you need it most is crucial for taking care of your injuries and your family – physically, emotionally, and financially.

We give each and every one of clients our firm commitment to always provide professional and personalized service. Our legal team will work closely with you to ensure that all of your concerns are addressed. We will aggressively pursue the settlement you deserve to properly recover the maximum compensation for your case. Contact us today online or at (864) 373-7333 to schedule a FREE consultation and see how our SC personal injury law firm can help you get the most compensation for your personal injury case.

Personal Injury Protection Against Covid? Call us!

COVID-19 has changed the landscape of personal injury claims. With so many people contracting this virus, ensuring your safety while doing regular things like shopping for food or going to the gas station may put you in harm’s way. If you are required to go to work, you may be wondering if you can file a personal injury claim against your employer. In most cases, no. Here’s why:

It is very hard to file and win a personal injury claim against an employer, even before COVID-19 became an issue. This difficulty plays a significant role in proving whether your employer intentionally sought to inflict harm or had a deliberate intent to give you the virus. There are instances where an employer may be liable, such as not adding safety protocols. This may be a deliberate representation of negligence of safety, which could be a basis for a claim. Another example of this would be giving out misinformation or forcing employees to work in close quarters which could spread infections. Although this sounds like the employer is deliberately putting the employee in harm’s way, it does not guarantee the likelihood of a claim.

If you are in an accident or experience some other type of injury where you are exposed to COVID and end up contracting the virus, that does not mean you are eligible to pursue a claim. Getting advice from a personal injury attorney can point you in the right direction.

Strengthen Your Claim

It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible once you are experiencing symptoms after being exposed to certain hazards in the workplace. This will help strengthen your personal injury claim. The longer you wait to seek treatment, the easier it will be for your employer to challenge your claim. Even if you do not go to an emergency room or medical facility, initially seeking help through Telemedicine will establish your symptoms and recommendations from a medical professional.

If you are being treated for COVID, it is important to go through the entire treatment plan and significantly improve or recover completely as you go through any claims or litigation. If you are seeking a claim against an employer, chances are they will want to settle for any injuries and remove themselves from liability. A personal injury attorney can advise on the best course of action.

Depending on the type of personal injury claim you are seeking, it is important to consider not only whether your claim has merit but will be able to be paid. If you are in an accident where you also contract COVID, getting the insurance company to address this may be difficult without the help of a personal injury attorney. Additionally, businesses are having their own challenges, which may make it difficult for a personal injury claim to be paid as a result of financial hardship. This could prevent you from receiving the compensation you are seeking for your injuries. A personal injury attorney can gather evidence and present the best possible scenarios that will work to your benefit.

Getting the Right Help

Staying safe should be a high priority, but getting the right treatment to support your claim is key. For more information on how we can assist with your personal injury claim as it relates to COVID in South Carolina, contact the team at Ryan Montgomery Law today.

Workers Comp Claim in a Pandemic

Worker’s compensation claims have grown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the main reasons for this is the deviation from standard rules on what is usually deemed hazardous. We are now in a very unique time, and although community-spread illnesses would not normally qualify because they are not typically  tied to the workplace, the pandemic opens a door where employees can become exposed in the workplace, essentially creating an infection-prone environment where workers are significantly affected.

There are many jobs now deemed essential, but hazardous conditions resulting in COVID does not guarantee coverage under workers’ compensation. It really depends on the state where you reside. There is some confusion on who will receive coverage and who won’t. In the state of South Carolina, most businesses that have three or more workers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This helps employees with their financial obligations and expenses after suffering an injury or illness on the job.

Although there are many instances where employees are required to come to work, that does not mean you will be covered under workers’ compensation. It may be difficult to prove you became sick in the work environment. For those who work in the medical field, it may be easier to file a claim. In the event someone else in the office has contracted COVID and then you become sick as a result, chances are you will have a stronger basis for a claim.

What is covered under a workers’ compensation claim?

If your workers’ compensation claim is approved as a result of contracting COVID, there are a few options:

In addition to meeting certain criteria, it is important to file any COVID-related workers’ compensation claims within the time specified. You should notify your employer within 30 days. If you are sick, they should be notified via email which will also serve as evidence to back your claim. If you cannot go to work due to contracting COVID and your employer has been notified, but they do not respond to your claim, you may have to take additional action. This is one of the main reasons why working with a worker’s comp attorney from the very beginning is so important.

Contracting COVID-19 does not mean you will automatically receive workers’ compensation benefits even if you feel you were exposed and are entitled to them. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney can help to determine if you have a case before you are denied.

Don’t go through the process alone! The team at Ryan Montgomery Law can provide the assistance you need with an experienced workers comp attorney. For more information on filing a claim due to COVID-19, contact us today!