A Few Legal Terms You Should Know

Legal terms are often the last thing on your mind when you’re in a car accident or dealing with a workers’ compensation issue.

But each case has a lot of legal jargon you may not be familiar with.

And that’s okay. You’re not an attorney.

Regardless, dealing with many terms, you don’t understand can leave you overwhelmed and stressed.

So, we’ve listed a few common phrases for auto accidents and workers’ compensation to help you. Then, if you’re in a situation where the terms are used, you’ll feel more confident about what’s going on.

 

Auto Accidents Terms to Know

Liability – The word liability is commonly used in auto accident injury claims when referring to the party responsible for the incident. For example, if someone runs a stop sign and hits your car, they’re typically liable for any damages and will be responsible for paying to cover those costs.

 

Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage – While auto insurance is required coverage, you may be in an accident with a driver who is underinsured or has no insurance. Underinsured coverage is something you can add to your policy, so you’re covered if the at-fault driver’s insurance cannot cover all the damages. Uninsured coverage kicks in if the driver has no coverag

 

Workers’ Compensation Words to Know

Decision and Award – In a workers’ compensation case, this is the decision made by a single commissioner, which includes, but is not limited to, any payments or medical benefits.

Compensability – A worker may only receive workers’ compensation benefits if his or her injury is deemed compensable. Generally, an injury is determined to be compensable if the worker suffers an injury by accident, which arose out of and in the course of employment.

 

We hope these terms and definitions clarify the legal process of auto accident personal injuries and workers’ compensation cases.

 

The good news is that you don’t have to be an expert or understand all the terms. We can do that for you.

If you’re dealing with a situation and don’t know where to turn, reach out to our team to see if we can help.

What to Do When You’re Hurt at Work

You’ve been hurt at work.

It’s a scary situation and you may not know what to do next.

The first thing you should always do is get medical attention. Your health is the most important thing to address.

After receiving medical care, you may ask yourself, “what do I do now?”

The worker’s compensation process is confusing and daunting. Knowing where to turn or who is on your side is difficult.

Let’s walk through the South Carolina workers’ compensation process and what you should do if you’re hurt on the job.

 

Report the Injury to Your Employer

Again, we want to reiterate the importance of receiving medical treatment immediately if your injury is an emergency.

The next step is notifying someone in management (like your supervisor or manager) about your workplace injury. This starts the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim.

According to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission, workplace injuries must be reported within 90 days of the incident, or you may not qualify for benefits.

Your employer is responsible for filing a claim with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission, but an injured worker must also file a claim within two years of the accident.

 

Getting Medical Care You Need

In South Carolina, your employer has the right to choose your medical provider for workplace injury treatment. However, if you elect to see another professional, you could be paying out of pocket for the costs.

After you’ve been injured, ask your employer for their preferred physician.

When you go to your appointment, describe the incident and all injuries in full detail to the doctor.

Give them as much information as possible. The South Carolina Worker’s Compensation commission states this is vital in the event you need to request a hearing if you don’t agree with your medical assessment or care.

The physician will determine if your injuries are work-related, recommend treatment, and may write a note for time off from work.

If your injury is a compensable, work-related incident, workers’ compensation insurance will pay for all costs associated with your care.

But sometimes, things don’t go as planned.

Your employer may not file the proper paperwork.

Or their medical provider can say the injury is not work-related.

In such situations, you must request a hearing with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.

 

And you’ll want a team with you to ensure you receive the benefits you deserve and need. Our attorneys are workers’ compensation experts and can help navigate the process.

Don’t navigate a workplace injury alone. Tell us about your case and we’ll be in touch with how we can help you.

Simple Tips to Help You Drive Safer

It only takes a split second for an accident to happen. You glance down at your phone. Or you look at your floorboard when you hear something fall out of your bag.

Even the slightest distraction can cause a collision. And even if you didn’t mean to look away, or check your phone, if you end up in a wreck, it can cost you a lot of time and money. We work hard to represent our clients involved in auto accidents, but we always advocate for safe driving practices to prevent wrecks from happening.

Use these tips the next time you get behind the wheel to practice safer driving habits.

 

Let Technology Help You

The use of cell phones is banned in most states unless you’re using Bluetooth or voice-activated technology. But if you’re driving on any road, you’ll notice how many drivers are still looking at their phones. Regardless of what state you’re in, we recommend waiting to send a text until you’re parked or pulled over, that’s always the safest for you and everyone else.

Most vehicles are now equipped with wireless technology that allows you to talk on the phone hands-free. Use these features to avoid taking your eyes off the road and hands off the wheel.

Don’t forget to check out your vehicle’s built-in safety features like blind-spot indicators, lane assist, and pre-collision assist tools.

 

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

An important part of safe driving is knowing what’s going on around you. And that means having your mirrors adjusted where you can see vehicles behind you and to your sides. Watch other drivers and be prepared to break or shift lanes if they’re unaware or driving recklessly.

If you’re driving on interstate highways, always look ahead to see if other vehicles are braking. Many accidents happen because drivers go from high speeds to complete stops quickly.

 

Stay Secured

The first thing you should do when getting in a vehicle is buckle your seatbelt. A buckled seatbelt will keep you from being severely injured or killed. If you’re carrying any cargo or boxes, make sure they won’t slide or move while driving and cause a distraction.

 

We’re Here When You Need Us

We hope you’ll keep these tips in mind the next time you’re on the road. A few simple steps can prevent a major accident. But if you are in a wreck, reach out to our team. We’ve helped many drivers navigate the process of dealing with insurance and the legal process.

 

Why You Should Report an Accident to Your Insurance Company

It happened.

You were in a car accident.

It’s a moment every driver dreads. You want to be safe on the roads, but sometimes things happen. And you also know there are a lot of headaches involved when you wreck. Insurance claims, dealing with repairs, and possibly legal action.

Those thoughts alone may deter drivers from reporting an accident to their car insurance company. They fear a rate increase and often believe it’s best to handle damage costs with the other driver.

But there’s a problem with that decision. Here’s why it’s critical always to report an incident to your insurance company right away.

 

Your Rate May Not Increase

Reporting an accident isn’t the same as filing a claim. Your insurance company needs the other driver’s information (driver’s license, insurance coverage, license plate, etc.) if a claim needs to be filed. Take plenty of pictures at the scene to show evidence of damage. Many major carriers will let you upload this information directly on your smartphone.

 

Underinsured Drivers and Unclear Damage

The other driver may not be insured. Or damage and injuries that weren’t evident at the scene of an accident may be discovered much later after the initial wreck is cleared. Reporting the incident can prevent any problems with claims later.

 

Legal Action May Be Needed

You’ll also want to call the police and file an official report. It’s imperative to have this information if legal action is needed.

If the accident is not your fault, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will seek to pay you as little as possible.

Their goal is to keep claims costs low. But unfortunately, that means you may not have enough money to cover the damage caused by the accident.

That’s where we come in.

Our attorneys work directly with insurance companies to get you the maximum claim amount. Being in an accident is stressful enough. Let us handle getting you the payment you need. If you’ve been in an accident, reach out to our team to discuss your case.

When to Hold a Hospital Liable for Your Medical Malpractice

If you suffer medical malpractice injuries in a hospital setting, you may be able to hold the hospital or the individual who caused your injury liable for your damages – and in some cases, both groups can be liable. Here are some of the cases in which the hospital might not escape liability.

Hospital Employs Unqualified Staff

The hospital is responsible for the credentials and qualifications of the staff it hires. A hospital that hires unqualified staff is liable for the injuries the staff might cause. The liability of the hospital is even more likely if an unqualified employee causes an injury that a qualified employee might not have caused.

Consider an example where a surgeon makes a surgical mistake during a transplant operation because the surgeon is not qualified for the specific transplant surgery. If the surgeon is an employee of the hospital, then both the surgeon and the hospital may have to pay for your injuries.

Hospital Accepts Unqualified Independent Contractors

Hospitals do not always employ doctors; many hospitals have arrangements with the doctors that let the doctors operate as independent contractors. In such cases, the hospitals are not always liable for the mistakes that the independent contractors might cause. However, a hospital that lets an unqualified contractor use its facilities is liable for the injuries the doctor might cause.

For example, a hospital may fail in due diligence and allow an unlicensed doctor to work as an independent contractor. In such a case, you may hold the hospital liable for your injuries based on the hospital’s inability to vet the doctor properly.

Hospital Provides Few Nurses

Nurses provide critical services, and hospitals must ensure that they have a sufficient number of nurses at any time. Otherwise, some patients might not get the care need and incur medical complications. In such a case, the hospital’s inability to provide adequate nurses will make it liable for the medical malpractice.

Take an example where a patient fails to get the necessary drugs because a hospital doesn’t have enough nurses. If the patient suffers medical complications due to lack of drugs, the patient may have a case against the hospital for medical malpractice.

Hospital Employee Fails to Follow Orders

If a hospital’s employee fails to follow orders – and the failure leads to medical injuries – you may be able to claim damages. A good example is a nurse aid that doesn’t follow the instructions of a nurse or a nurse who doesn’t follow the instructions of an independent doctor.

For example, an independent doctor may instruct a nurse to give you certain medication, but the nurse accidentally gives you the wrong dosage. Depending on the circumstances, you may hold the doctor, hospital, or nurse liable for your injuries.

Hospital Employee Is Negligent

Lastly, the hospital should also pay for your damages if one of its employee’s negligence leads to your injuries. In this case, you can use the principle of respondeat superior to claim damages from the hospital. Respondeat superior is a legal principle that makes employers liable for the damages that their employees may cause.

Respondeat superior applies as long as:

  • The employee caused your injury while they were on the clock.
  • The negligent act is part of the employee’s duties.
  • The employer benefited from the employee’s activities at the time of the injury.

As the plaintiff, the responsibility is on you to prove the above elements and hold the hospital liable for your damages.

You have a limited amount of time to file your medical malpractice case, so you need to move fast. Contact Attorneys Lee Eadon Isgett Popwell & Owens to review your case and help you chart the way forward. We will help you get compensation – whether from the hospital or an individual medical practitioner.