Preventing Falls

  • How big is the problem?
    • About 1,800 older adults living in nursing homes die each year due to fall-related injuries and those who survive frequently sustain injuries that result in permanent disability and reduced quality of life
    • Nursing home residents account for about 20% of fall related deaths of adults 65 and older
    • Each year, a typical nursing home with 100 beds reports 100-200 falls; many falls go unreported
    • About 35% of fall injuries occur among residents who cannot walk
    • Falls result in disability, functional decline, and reduced quality of life. Fear of falling can cause further loss of function, depression, feelings of helplessness, and social isolation.
  • Why do falls occur
    • Falling can be a sign of other health problems
    • People in nursing homes generally having chronic conditions and have more difficulty walking
    • Also tend to have thought or memory problems, to have difficulty with activities of daily living, and to need help getting around or taking care of themselves
    • Muscle weakness and walking or gait problems (24%)
    • Environmental hazards such as wet floors, poor lighting, incorrect bed height, and improperly fitted or maintained wheelchairs (16-27%)
    • Medications that affect the central nervous system
  • How can we prevent falls
    • Requires a combination of medical treatment, rehabilitation, and environmental changes
    • Fall prevention interventions can be implemented at organizational, staff, or patient levels
    • Fall interventions include:
      • Assessing patients after fall to identify and address risk factors and treat underlying medical conditions
      • Educating staff about fall risk factors and prevention strategies
      • Reviewing prescribed medicines to assess their potential risks and benefits to minimize use
      • Making changes in the nursing home environment to make it easier for residents to move around safely (grab bars, raised toilet seats, etc.)
      • Providing patients with hip pads that may prevent a hip fracture if fall occurs
      • Teaching residents who are not cognitively impaired behavioral strategies to avoid potentially hazardous situations
    • Physical Restraints
      • Routinely using restraints does not lower the risk of falls or fall injuries – they should not be used as a prevention strategy; they can actually increase the risk of fall-related injuries and deaths
  • http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/nursing.html

Has your loved one fallen in a nursing home and hurt themselves? Unfortunately, according to the Centers for Disease Control estimate that about 1,800 older adults die each year due to fall-related injuries, and those that survive can suffer from injuries that are debilitating and can alter their quality of life. Fear of falling can cause problems as well. When your loved one is afraid of falling they may start declining in their ability to function, as well as having feelings of depression, helplessness, and social isolation. Nursing homes can prevent this terrible accident, though, if they are vigilant in understanding each individual person’s needs and acting to keep them safe.

 

Falls can occur for many reasons. One of these reasons is that your loved one may have other health problems that can alter their ability to get around safely on their own, including chronic health conditions or thought and memory problems. These can prevent your loved one from getting around safely because they may not be aware that they have lost or are losing their ability to get around by themselves. Another very large reason that falls can occur is environmental hazards in the nursing home. Environmental hazards would include things like a wet floor, improperly fitted wheelchair, or poor lighting. This would make it easier for anyone to slip and fall, especially those who are in nursing homes for other health conditions.

 

It is the responsibility of the nursing homes to determine which individuals have a greater fall risk and minimize the risk of falling for everyone in general. After a resident falls, the nursing home should analyze their reason for falling and try to fix the problem so that it doesn’t occur again in your loved one or anyone else. The staff in the nursing home should be highly educated about falling and fall risks and know what to do in case of a fall to minimize the damage and harm to your loved one. Finally, nursing homes should make alterations in their facility to reduce the risk of falling. These alterations include things like handrails in the hallway, raised toilet seats, and lowered beds. Nursing homes should not resort to physical restraints to keep your loved one from falling for their own convenience because this can actually increase the risk of fall-related injuries and deaths.

 

The failure of a nursing home to properly train their staff in the risk of falls and to implement environmental changes to their facility to make it easier for residents to move around without fear of falling is unacceptable and can be considered abuse and neglect. No family should have to go through the trauma that is watching your loved one suffer from fractures and even death from something preventable such as a fall. If this has happened to you or someone you know, please call us today so that we can help you get justice for what happened. We would love to sit down with you and discuss how we can come alongside you and work with you to make sure the nursing home understands that what happened was not acceptable. We are experienced and willing to work with you, however you may need us. Please call our Greenville nursing home abuse attorneys The Dan Pruitt Law Firm today at (864)232-4273.

Malnutrition

  • Introduction
    • Malnutrition is a state of deficiency, imbalance or excess of energy, protein and other nutrients having adverse effects on the form or function of the body and clinical outcome
      • Elderly residents in nursing homes are at an increased risk of malnutrition due to a variety of factors including sensory loss, chewing and swallowing problems, a decrease in or loss of appetite, mobility restrictions, cognitive impairment, etc.
    • Inadequate dietary intake and malnutrition contributes not only to the progression of already existing chronic diseases, but can also predispose the subject to various acute health problems such as infection or dehydration
    • Low BMI and unintentional weight loss are risk factors for mortality and have a negative influence on the functional status and psychosocial wellbeing of the elderly population
    • Reasons
      • The lack of extended research regarding nutritional deficiencies in nursing homes
      • Malnutrition in this vulnerable population can easily be neglected by the nurses and other staff
  • Results
    • There was a study done showing that 68.8% of the residents assessed were at risk for malnourishment and 10.3% of the residents assessed were categorized as malnourished
  • Discussion
    • Malnutrition is associated with significantly increased morbidity and mortality in nursing home residents
    • Properly fitting dentures for those with teeth loss is important to make sure that they are still able to consume food without avoiding it
    • Dehydration can easily be prevented by the nurses and other staff making “fluid rounds” to make sure that patients are consistently hydrated

 

Has your loved one lost a lot of weight while a patient in a nursing home? Malnutrition, a condition where the body doesn’t get enough nutrients to properly support its’ functions, is a legitimate concern for nursing home residents. Malnutrition can be very dangerous, and it is important that you, as a family member or friend, along with the staff of the nursing home, ensure that your loved one stays as healthy as they can be during their stay.

 

Elderly residents in nursing homes are at an increased risk of malnutrition for a few reasons – sensory loss, cognitive impairment, and chewing and swallowing problems being a few of these. Malnutrition is not only a problem on its own, but it can affect the way the rest of the body functions. When people don’t eat the amount of nutrients that they need, diseases that they already have can become worse. Malnutrition can also cause a person to be more likely to have other health problems as well, including infections or dehydration. A low body mass index (BMI) caused by unwanted weight loss can be a risk factor for mortality and can effect the psychological and social health of your loved one.

 

There are several reasons for malnutrition in nursing homes. There isn’t much research that has been done about nutritional deficiencies in nursing homes, but what we do know is that the nurses and other nursing home staff can easily neglect malnutrition in the vulnerable population of the elderly in nursing homes. There was a study published in the US National Library of Medicine that showed that 68.8% of nursing home residents assessed were at risk for being malnourished and that 10.3% of the nursing home residents assessed were actually categorized as being malnourished. This is an unacceptable and shocking thought.

 

To prevent your loved one from being malnourished while in their nursing home, it is important to make sure that the nursing home has preventative measures. An example of this would be nurses or other staff doing rounds every few hours to make sure everyone has had enough fluids to keep them healthy. Another preventative measure is to make sure that if your loved one needs dentures, that they are given the proper size and that they are comfortable for them. Being able to use teeth or dentures to consume food is much more satisfying and lowers the chances of your loved one becoming malnourished.
When nursing homes do not have measures in place to make sure that your loved one is receiving enough nutrition, dehydration, illness, and even death can occur because of their neglect. We deal with cases like this everyday and would love to sit down with you and see what we can do to help your loved one get the justice that they deserve. Call our experienced Greenville, SC nursing home neglect legal team at the Dan Pruitt Law Firm today at 864-232-4273!

My Friend Crashed My Car – Car Accidents Questions for Borrowed Vehicles

You have family in town for the weekend and you let your sister-in-law drive everyone to the restaurant in your car. The kids need to get to soccer practice so your babysitter drives them to the field. How many times do these scenarios come up for you? Most people will run into occasions when they lend out their vehicle to a friend, a family member, their kids, a roommate, a significant other, or even an employee. It’s unlikely that every time you gave someone permission to use your car that you were thinking about them getting in an accident; rather, if you were thinking about an accident occurring, you probably would not have lent the vehicle in the first place.

 

But what if they did? What happens when it’s your car that’s in an accident, but it wasn’t you behind the wheel when it happened? Many South Carolina vehicle owners aren’t sure whether it’s their insurance that pays or the insurance of the person who was driving the borrowed car that will pay for any damages.

 

Does Insurance Follows the Car or the Driver?

 

Which insurance will come into play depends on a several variables, particularly which kind of insurance coverage the vehicle owner and the driver have. Depending on the type of coverage, the insurance may follow the car or the driver. Contrary to what many drivers believe, most insurance follows the car rather than the driver. Typically this means that if the other person had permission to use your car, your insurance will serve as the primary coverage while the insurance of the person borrowing your car may come in as secondary coverage if necessary.

 

Liability Insurance

 

In South Carolina all drivers are required to obtain auto liability insurance which includes three parts: bodily injury liability, property damage liability, and uninsured motorist coverage. This type of insurance does follow the driver around and they are still covered when driving another person’s car. Even if the person who borrows your vehicle has liability insurance, as long as you gave them permission to use your car, it’s your auto insurance coverage that will be used if the accident was caused by the person driving your car. This means you’ll have to file a claim with your insurance company, pay any deductibles, and have your rate hiked. If the damages exceed your policy, the policy of the person who you lent the car to will kick in.

 

Property Damage – Comprehensive and Collision Insurance Coverage

 

Comprehensive and collision coverage follow the vehicle, not the driver. Typically these policies will cover almost everything, from vandalism to accidents, for the insured car. The charges for comprehensive and collision coverage are most often higher than standard liability coverage and carry with them additional expenses. However, it does mean that if someone else has an accident in your car, it will be taken care. Of course, there are a number of stipulations, such as who is listed as a covered driver under the policy. For most policies, this includes family members (spouse and children).

 

Permissive, Non-Permissive Use, and Excluded Drivers

 

Another very important aspect of how insurance policies work for another person driving your car is whether or not the person had permission to drive your vehicle.

 

People who have permission to drive your vehicle are considered permissive drivers. Generally you car insurance will include a provision that covers any driver, family members, dependent children away at school as long as they had your consent to use the vehicle. It’s important to note, however, certain policies are reduced when any permissive driver is operating your car.

 

There are options to exclude specific drivers from your auto insurance policy. For example, if your brother has a poor driving record, you can choose to exclude from your insurance policy. This means any damages caused by him would not be covered under the insurance and he would have to rely on his own insurance to pay for damages that occurred if he got in a crash in your vehicle.

 

The owner of the vehicle is usually not responsible for any damages if the vehicle was taken without permission. Unless the vehicle was stolen, however, it can be difficult proving you did not give your permission and you may be held liable regardless. Under circumstances where it’s obvious that you did not allow another driver the use of your vehicle, a few different scenarios might happen, including:

 

 

  • Stolen vehicle – The owner of the vehicle is not responsible for damages or injuries to another vehicle or driver if the car was stolen by the driver who caused the accident. However, if your vehicle was damaged in the accident, it would likely be covered your own policy.

 

 

 

  • Friend or family member uses car – If one of your friends or family members drives your car without your permission and you could prove it, their own coverage would become the primary coverage and yours would likely be used if the damages exceeded their policy.

 

 

 

  • Uninsured friend uses your car – If your friend, who doesn’t have auto insurance, takes your car without permission, it will fall upon you to pay any damages with your own insurance coverage.

 

 

Check Your Policy

 

When lending out your vehicle, it’s not as important to ask whether the insurance follows the driver or the vehicle, but rather if the person borrowing your vehicle will be covered under your vehicle insurance. Because auto policies vary to such a great degree, it is extremely important that you know and understand the specifics of your policy before lending out your vehicle. Some insurance policies only cover the driver listed on the policy. There are also policies that take into account whether the person borrowing the car resides with the owner of the policy or whether the person is specifically listed as a covered driver.

 

Questions?

 

Car accidents and figuring out insurance are never simple affairs, especially if it’s someone else driving your vehicle. If you have questions or need help with a car accident claim, contact the car accident injury lawyers at Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm firm to speak to an attorney about your concerns. With extensive experience in car accident law, we’ll help sort out the damages so you don’t have to.

Importance of Reporting Accidents For Workers’ Compensation

Imagine you are at work, lifting a heavy object and you strain your shoulder. The injury doesn’t feel horrible so you decide to give it a rest for a few days, thinking it will get better after a little bit of time. A week or two later and the pain isn’t gone; it has actually gotten worse. So you decide to tell your boss about the injury.

 

The scenario sounds harmless enough. Not reporting a workplace accident in a timely manner, however, can have negative consequences when it comes to receiving workers’ compensation. South Carolina, like all other states has strict regulations in place for both employees and employers regarding the reporting of workplace accidents. In fact, for countless workers’ compensation claims, denial is based exclusively on the failure of the worker to report the injury within the given timeframe.

 

Here’s a closer look at why reporting workplace accidents is crucial not only for the validity of your workers’ compensation claim, but also for overall workplace safety.

South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Reporting Regulations

 

The regulations for when and how an injured worker and their employer must report workplace injuries to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission is specified by Title 42 Chapter 15 of South Carolina laws.   

 

Employee Responsibilities for Reporting Accidents

 

If you are injured in a workplace accident, you need to give your employer official notice immediately after the injury occurred. Until the accident and injury have been reported to the employer, the injured worker cannot expect to receive any workers’ compensation benefits. Notice of an accident can be done  in writing, in person, or over the phone, but must be given to the employer or supervisor, not simply a co-worker. Best practices for employees is notifying the employer as soon as possible, although the law states they have up to 90 days after the injury happened to report it. For cases where the worker dies as the result of work-related injuries, their dependents, or parents if they have no dependents, can file a workers’ compensation claim up to two years after the death date to receive benefits.

 

Certain types of occupational injuries, however, are not caused by a single accident. This includes occupational illnesses from exposure or repetitive use injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. In order to receive workers’ compensation for these injuries, a worker must also report it to their employer. For these cases, a worker will have 90 days from when they were first made aware of the illness or injury to give notice. As a general guideline, a worker should give notice of such an injury within 90 days of receiving a diagnosis from a doctor or healthcare provider stating that the injury is work related.

 

Employer Responsibilities for Reporting Accidents

 

Once an injured employee has informed the employer of an accident/injury, the employer is also legally obligated to report the accident. For the injured worker to start receiving workers’ compensation, the employer must fill out the First Report of Injury or Illness form to the South Carolina State Accident Fund. Failing to report injuries in a timely manner can lead to higher costs on claims and increased premiums for the employer.

 

If an employer refuses to report your accident and injury to the Workers’ Compensation Commission, you should speak with a workers’ compensation attorney about your rights.

 

Why Workers Don’t Report Injuries

 

While some workers have no problems reporting workplace injuries to their employer, many injured workers fail to do so. In fact, some reports suggest that as many as two-thirds of work-related injuries and illnesses go unreported. There are a number of reasons why employee do not report injuries. Excuses workers have for not reporting injuries include, but are not limited to, the following:

 

  • Fear of being fired/terminated;
  • Fear of being passed up for promotions;
  • Don’t want to be harassed or punished;
  • The paperwork and process of filing a claim is too daunting;
  • They consider pain a natural part of a job; or/and
  • Don’t want to miss out on safety incentive prizes.

 

Although underreporting of injuries is most detrimental to the workers in the short-term, it can also have negative consequences for the employer in the long-term. Not reporting injuries can lead to audits and higher insurance premiums. Furthermore, if an accident that is an OSHA reportable incident, the company can face severe fines and penalties.

 

Accident Reporting, Workers’ Compensation, and Workplace Safety

 

For injured workers, it is essential to report accidents in a timely manner if they wish to receive workers’ compensation benefits. No benefits can be paid, either for missed time from work or medical expenses, if the injury goes unreported. A delay in reporting an accident will always result in a delay in benefits. In addition, an injury may become worse if it goes unreported and untreated, especially if the worker continues to do work tasks that aggravate the injury. If a claim is filed eventually, it may still be denied, simply because the accident was not reported in a timely manner.

 

Although many employers believe reporting accidents isn’t in their own interest, it is actually one of the best ways to control workers’ compensation costs. Early reporting and intervention doesn’t just cut down on the health costs and legal fees related to workers’ compensation, it also allows employers to improve their safety programs. Any time there is an injury, a workplace has the opportunity to evaluate their current safety procedures and make the changes necessary to prevent similar accidents from happening.

 

Need Help Filing a Claim?

 

If you have been injured in a workplace accident, don’t hesitate to report the injury to your employer. There are laws in place to protect injured workers. For help filing a claim in South Carolina, contact the skilled South Carolina workers’ compensation attorneys at Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm for a free consultation. As an authority on workers’ compensation issues in Greenville, SC, we can help decide what your next action should be and how you can receive the maximum benefits for your injury.

Injured in an Accident? Follow These Steps to Recovery

Everyone has heard the old adage, “Accidents happen!” However, when they happen and someone suffers serious injury and/or excessive property damage, the victim should not be left holding the bill. Recovering from a car accident can take time and medical bills often pile up long before the victim sees relief from insurance companies. In these situations, it is important to have a knowledgeable advocate on your side to help you obtain the money you need to fully recover.  Recovery should begin at the point the accident is over, and any initial fault has been determined by an emergency responder. There are many steps included in recovery, and it is important to follow them so that the money a victim is owed can be paid.

Step One: At the Scene

The immediate scene after a major accident is often filled with chaos and it may be difficult for an injured person to focus on anything other than obtaining immediate medical assistance. If at all possible, however, once medical treatment has been administered, it is important for the injured person to take in the scene as much as possible. Cell phone cameras have proven to be a very useful modern tool in the fight to obtain justice after a car crash, as they can be used to capture critical moments after an accident that can assist investigators determine fault at a later date. Cell phones can also be used to obtain witness contact information to ensure that any witnesses to the crash may be contacted later.

Step Two: Police Report

It is very common for law enforcement to be involved after a serious crash and any investigation will typically lead to a police report. Obtaining a copy of this report may be key to successfully recovering monetary relief from the party at fault for the accident. This report may include information about who was at fault for the accident and/or if a traffic violation was involved.

Step Three: Insurance

Following an accident, it is very important for the victim to report it to both his own insurance as well as the insurance company for the other driver. Dealing with insurance companies may be one of the most frustrating aspects of recovering damages after an accident. For understandable reasons, insurance companies can be guarded when providing information as to what amount may be recoverable after a crash. Following up and ensuring the insurance company is engaging in good faith consideration of a claim may take some time, but if an insurance company is causing undue delay it may be time to seek relief via litigation.

Stepping Up and Forward

Litigation is often not a preferred way for victims to recover damages, but it is often necessary. It is typically more common in cases involving larger damages and/or injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident and are having difficulty recovering the money that you are owed to help you recover, contact the Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm today and speak to a skilled Greenville car accident attorney who can fight on your side to help you move forward after an accident.

Costly Lessons: Failure to Yield and Other Causes of Accidents

The rules of the road have been used for decades to teach Americans young and old alike how to lawfully operate a motor vehicle on the country’s roadways. Many student drivers pay large amounts of money to private entities who promise to take them from commuting by bus to being in the driver’s seat within a few weeks’ time. Those drivers are often more focused on doing whatever it is they need to do to pass, than actually understanding the point behind driver’s education and the rules that apply to roadway situations. Rules guiding driver behavior such as who yields when merging onto a busy highway, or who has the right-of-way at various intersection situations, were created to protect drivers by allowing them to anticipate how other drivers should behave in certain situations. Failure to abide by these rules may lead to more than a citation also, as thousands of drivers each year discover the consequences the hard way after a crash.

 

Actions and Reactions

 

The laws of physics are not only for the classroom. The laws of motion are in play every time someone enters a vehicle and begins to drive. The action of merging onto a highway causes the reaction of cars already on the highway whose drivers must now accommodate another car in the lane. While this is not exactly a true physics lesson, driving does not need to be complicated. In a similar right-of-way rule, South Carolina law states that “the driver of a vehicle intending to turn left within an intersection or into an alley, private road or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.”  Failure to obey this and other rules could lead to a traffic citation, legal costs, or liability for an accident.

 

Consequences

 

South Carolina’s traffic laws contain provisions that allow for drivers to learn and continue to drive, even if they receive a few citations. The state has a point system that attributes different point values to traffic violations, increasing in number in relation to their severity. For example, operating without proper lights would cost a driver two points, while reckless driving costs a driver six points. These points are added until they reach a certain level, at which point the driver’s license will be suspended. Points will expire also, so even if a driver obtains a few of them throughout their driving career it does not have to lead to suspension. Further, drivers who find themselves facing a high point level traffic violation may be able to argue their case in court and receive a lesser point penalty. Unfortunately for other drivers on the road, these inexperienced motorists can be a hazard if their learning process collides with your car on the roadways.

 

Have Questions?

 

If you have been injured in an accident, no matter how minor it may seem, you have options. Call the Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm and speak to an experienced Greenville auto accident attorney who knows South Carolina law and who can act as your guide through the process. Our attorneys can protect your interests and help you recover damages, especially if the driver who hit you was in violation of the law at the time of the accident.

Workers’ Compensation Matters: The Potential Dangers of Self-Insured Employers

Every state has its own workers’ compensation laws that are designed to protect the health and safety of employees while at the same time preventing employers from massive monetary losses in the event of a workplace accident. South Carolina is no different, and has laws in place to ensure that workplace injuries can be handled in a timely manner. Workers’ compensation generally is a way for an employee to recover necessary medical treatment as soon as possible after an accident.  Under the law, employers are required to carry minimum levels of insurance to cover the costs of injuries to their employees, or prove that the company has sufficient funds to pay for any costs to injured workers. Their failure to do so is a violation and punishable by fines payable to the state.  

 

Self-Insurance

 

There are some employers who choose to forego obtaining a workers’ compensation policy and instead choose to self-insure. What this means is that the employer must prove to the state that it has sufficient funds to cover any potential injury to an employee.The state must then approve the company’s application and submit annual audit statements to the Workers’ Compensation Commission for review. They are also required to pay a self-insurance tax and an annual assessment to the South Carolina Second Injury Fund. Failure to secure sufficient monies to pay any claims that may be filed against it may lead to significant fines being assessed against the employer.  If the employer’s actions are deemed to be willful, it may be found guilty of a criminal misdemeanor punishable by up to $100,000 and/or imprisonment.

 

Recovering from an Uninsured Employer

 

The workers’ compensation system was designed to protect employees, and allow them to receive necessary medical care without first proving their employer was negligent in a court of law. Society determined that a system providing immediate benefits to employees was a better way to protect workers who were injured and help employers continue day-to-day operations without being sidelined by lengthy litigation. This system has been so successful that some employees believe that they no longer need to obtain an attorney to recover the benefits to which they are entitled.  Unfortunately, too many employees discover that their employers do not have sufficient insurance to cover their medical bills and can find themselves bullied into settlement agreements that only cover a portion of their injuries.

 

This does not mean that employees who discover that their employer was uninsured (or underinsured) are left without recourse. It does mean that at this point it may be necessary for an employee to report their employer and fight to obtain the benefits they need to make a full recovery. Luckily, workers in South Carolina may be able to recover through the Uninsured Employers Fund. This fund was created by South Carolina legislators to protect employees, but still requires the employee to seek an order from the Commission before it will pay out any benefits.

 

A Workers’ Compensation Attorney You Can Trust

 

If you or a loved one has been injured at work and have questions about workers’ compensation coverage, call a Greenville workers’ compensation attorney at the Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm today. We are ready to advocate for you to help you recover the compensation that you deserve.

Explaining Workers’ Compensation: Average Weekly Wage

Obtaining workers’ compensation benefits is not always as easy as it is meant to be for the average worker. There are many legal terms that have meanings more complex than they sound at first.  One of these workers’ compensation ‘terms of art’ is the average weekly wage. School children are taught what the word average means, and as those children grow older and join the workforce, they learn what wages are. It would seem then, that calculating someone’s average weekly wage could be done by the most inexperienced of us. That is not the case in many situations and unfortunately, an injured worker does not find out the true meaning of a word until it is too late in the process.  Understanding these terms at the outset of the process is key to full recovery.

 

Maximum Average

 

What many injured workers do not realize is that while they are entitled to immediate wages after an injury in the workplace, the law limits the amount that they can receive. Workers’ compensation laws limit the wages payable to an employee to 66 ⅔ percent of their average weekly wage.  Further, South Carolina limits the maximum amount a person can receive in weekly benefits to $784.03. This means that even if the calculated percentage of an individual’s weekly wage average is greater than this amount, that person cannot receive the higher amount. While this may seem unfair, the good news is that this amount is not subject to taxes, which means that the entire amount is payed to the employee. Further, the workers’ compensation system also makes employers (or their insurers) pay for the medical care required by the employee to help him/her recover from the workplace injury. In some instances, incidental costs may also be recoverable, such as mileage to and from a doctor’s appointment.

 

Settlement

 

The system is designed to protect both employers and employees in the event of an accident in the workplace. The employer is protected against protracted and expensive litigation, as well as a potential finding of negligence. The argument for this protection is to allow employers the freedom to make repairs or change policies to ensure others are not injured in the same way. One way that an injured employee can obtain alternative coverage than the state maximum is through a negotiated lump-sum settlement. The law allows settlement negotiations to occur at any point during the process. Depending on the severity of the injury and whether the worker is ready and able to return to work, settlement is often a good solution for both sides. A worker who settles his case for a lump sum payment can often return to work and is no longer forced to participate in the legal process. The employee should be cautious whenever engaging in settlement discussions, as medical benefits cease once a settlement is entered into by the parties. If a worker may need additional care in the future, the settlement amount should reflect a sum that takes the cost of that care into consideration.

 

Questions?

 

If you or someone you love has been injured in a workplace accident, call the Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm and get real answers to your questions about recovery. Our experienced Greenville, SC workers’ compensation attorneys can help you understand the process and help you obtain the relief you are entitled to recover from your employer.

Car Accidents May be the Fault of Negligent Bicyclists

Whenever bicycles and cars are in close proximity to one other, accidents are bound to happen. When most people think of these kinds of accidents, they tend to imagine a situation in which a motorist failed to see a bicycle or otherwise was at fault for an accident resulting in serious injury to the bicyclist. While this scenario does occur on a regular basis, the reverse scenario can also occur. When people driving or riding motor vehicles are involved in accidents caused by the negligence of a bicyclist, they can often sustain significant injuries and property damage. When this occurs, motorists should be certain to speak to an experienced attorney to ensure that their legal rights are protected.

Bicyclists Are Required to Follow Traffic Laws

 

Most of us who regularly drive have seen bicyclists roll through stop signs, weave through traffic, or even ride on the right side of the road. While this kind of conduct may regularly occur among many bicyclists, it does not make it legal. If a bicyclist violates a traffic law and his or her violation causes an accident, victims may be able to recover for their injuries. The kinds of violations that could potentially cause serious injuries include the following:

  • Failure to yield the right of way;
  • Improper lane usage;
  • Speeding;
  • Failure to stop at a stop sign; and
  • Failure to observe traffic signals.

After an accident, it is important for victims to describe any observed traffic violations to any law enforcement personnel that responds to the scene. In addition, it is a good idea to obtain contact information from anyone who may have seen the accident occur.

Negligence Can Occur without a Traffic Violation

 

It is a general legal rule that individuals who are using the roadways are required to act in a way that does not pose an unreasonable risk of injury to others. Negligence occurs when a person fails to conduct himself or herself with the degree of care that would ordinarily be exercised by a person in the same or similar circumstances. When a bicyclist acts negligently and causes an accident, victims can generally recover for their losses by filing a personal injury claim. While traffic violations are often considered negligence as a matter of law, negligence can also occur in the absence of a violation. The issue of whether or not negligence occurred usually turns on the question of whether a “reasonable” bicyclist would have acted similarly. Some examples of bicyclist negligence that may not involve a traffic violation include the following:

  • Distracted riding;
  • Riding in unsafe weather conditions;
  • Failure to properly maintain a bicycle; and
  • Riding with headphones in.

Contact a Greenville Auto Accident Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case

 

Car accidents that are caused by the negligence of a bicyclist can leave motorists with significant injuries and other losses. In the event that you have been hurt in an accident that you believe was caused by a bicyclist or other non-motorist on the road, you should contact a Greenville, South Carolina car accident attorney immediately. To schedule a free consultation with attorney Dan Pruitt Injury Law, contact our office today.

Protecting Your Legal Rights after a Greenville Car Accident

Car accidents injure people on a daily basis, sometimes with extremely serious consequences. In fact, statistics published by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicate there were more than six million police-report accidents in the United States during 2014. In many of these cases, victims were legally entitled to compensation for the losses they sustained as a result of their accident, including their medical expenses, property damage, lost income, and physical and emotional pain and suffering. Importantly for victims, there are certain steps that can be taken in the hours and days following an accident that can maximize their chances of recovering compensation, the most important of which are detailed below. For advice regarding a specific incident, call our office today.

Call 911

The first thing you should do after involvement in a motor vehicle accident is call 911. Doing so will alert authorities to the crash and ensure that both emergency medical personnel and law enforcement arrive at the scene.

Gather Information

If you are physically able, you should collect as much information about the way in which they accident occurred as possible. If feasible, take photographs of the scene of the accident and any hazards or conditions that you believe may have caused or contributed to your accident. Some examples of the kinds of facts of which to make note include the following:

  • The names of the other drivers involved;
  • The weather conditions at the time of the accident;
  • The license plate numbers of the vehicles involved;
  • Insurance information from the other drivers; and
  • Contact information from anyone that may have witnessed the accident.

Undergo a Thorough Medical Evaluation

If you are involved in an accident, it is important to undergo a thorough medical evaluation, even if you do not believe that you have been seriously hurt. There are many types of injuries, such as whiplash, that may not become symptomatic for a significant amount of time after an accident occurs. In addition, the severity of injuries may not become clear for weeks after an accident occurs, and it is important to have them properly diagnosed immediately after the accident in order to be able to establish that they were caused by the accident.

Call a Lawyer

Many car accident victims wonder whether they need to hire a lawyer, particularly when an insurance company makes a settlement offer with the first few days or weeks after an accident. By retaining an attorney, you can ensure that you will not say or do anything that may jeopardize your ability to recover compensation and that you receive the full value of your claim. For this reason, it is highly advisable for anyone hurt in car crash to call a lawyer as soon as he or she can.

Contact Greenville, South Carolina Car Accident Attorney Today to Retain Legal Representation

If you have been hurt in an auto accident that you believe was the result of someone else’s negligence should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Greenville car accident lawyer Dan Pruitt has been practicing law for more than 20 years and is committed to obtaining the largest possible settlement or award for each client he takes. To schedule a free consultation with Dan Pruitt Injury Law call our office today.