Articles Posted in Negligence

Pursing fair compensation for injuries suffered due to another party’s negligence can be difficult. In addition to being required to offer credible evidence on issues such as duty, breach of duty, damages, and proximate cause, the plaintiff may also face difficulties caused by the various insurance companies that are involved in the case.

If a negligent party is not covered by a liability insurance policy, a South Carolina personal injury case can be even more complicated. While insurance companies can fight tooth and nail against a finding of liability against their insured, at least they have the financial resources to pay a judgment when one is finally entered (at least in most cases). Unfortunately, this is not always true of those who do not have insurance.

Facts of the Case

In a recent unreported case, the plaintiffs were injured by the negligence of the defendant and another individual. After the Orangeburg County Circuit Court granted a default judgment to the plaintiffs, the defendant filed a motion for entry of satisfaction of judgment. The trial court denied the motion. The defendant appealed, arguing that the trial court had made a mistake in denying her motion because its action had resulted in a double recovery for the plaintiffs because it did not offset a default judgment paid by a second tortfeasor. The defendant also argued that it was an error for the lower tribunal to determine that a default damages hearing did not establish the total amount of damages arising from an indivisible injury.

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When one person sues another individual (or business, governmental entity, etc.) for an act of negligence, the burden of proof is on the party seeking legal redress for the other’s wrongful conduct. It is important for the plaintiff in such a case to be represented by an experienced, thorough, and assertive personal injury attorney so that the case may be properly investigated and prepared for trial. If successful on the merits, the plaintiff in such an action may recover compensation for lost wages, medical costs, pain and suffering, and other damages caused by the defendant’s conduct. If you are suffering due to someone else’s conduct, it is important to speak with a South Carolina injury lawyer as soon as possible.

Facts of the Case

In a recent (unreported) case, the plaintiff was a woman who sought monetary compensation for injuries she allegedly suffered during an incident with a law enforcement officer. She filed suit against the defendants, a sheriff and the county sheriff’s office, in the Richland County Circuit Court, asserting claims for negligent hiring, retention, and training of the officer (who was apparently terminated prior to the suit) and for assault and battery. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants, and the plaintiff appealed.

Decision of the Court

The South Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s decision. The plaintiff argued on appeal that summary judgment was improper because there was evidence in the record that supported her claim for negligent retention. In addition, she argued the defendants were liable for the torts committed by the former employee insomuch as he was acting within the course and scope of his employment at the time in question, and because his actions were consistent within the culture of the sheriff’s office at that time.
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When someone is hurt by the negligence act(s) of a business, government, or individual, the injured person may be able to receive compensation for his or her injuries through a personal injury lawsuit. In most such cases, the plaintiff need only prove that the defendant owned him or her a duty of care and that the breach of that duty was the proximate cause of the damages for which he or seeks compensation. In some situations, however, this general rule may be complicated by other factors including the possibility that the usual remedy is preempted under federal law. A recent South Carolina personal injury lawsuit explained the concept further.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case originating in the Circuit Court for Orangeburg County, the plaintiff was a man who was prescribed a thyroid medication by doctors at the Veterans Administration. On several past occasions, the defendant carrier had delivered the plaintiff’s prescriptions to his residence without incident. In April 2013, however, the plaintiff was deprived of his medication for almost two weeks, purportedly due to an issue with the address indicated on the package (even though previous medication had been sent to the same location without any problems).

As a result of not having his medication, the plaintiff went into a “thyroid storm,” in which he suffered seizures, congestive heart failure, and extremely high blood pressure. The plaintiff’s medical condition culminated in him having to be hospitalized, and eventually, surgical intervention was required. The plaintiff, joined in the suit by his wife (who asserted a loss of consortium claim), sought legal redress for the defendant’s negligence and negligent entrustment. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s state law claims on the basis that they were preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (FAAAA), 49 U.S.C.A. § 14501(c)(1), a federal law that prohibits states from enacting laws related to the service of motor carriers. The plaintiffs appealed.

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When filing a South Carolina premises liability claim against a store, restaurant, or other establishment, the plaintiff may have a choice of venue – that is, a choice between multiple courts in which his or her legal action can be filed. However, there may be some situations in which the plaintiff’s choice of venue may be overridden by the opposing party. One such situation is when both a federal court and a state court have jurisdiction over a case.

If the plaintiff chooses to file his or her suit in state court, the defendant can them “remove” the case to federal court. The only way to have the action moved back to state court after removal is for the plaintiff to show that the federal court is without jurisdiction.

Facts of the Case

In a recent federal case filed by a shopper against a supermarket and others, the plaintiff originally filed suit in the Bamberg County Court of Common Pleas, alleging that she had suffered significant injuries as a result of a trip and fall accident caused by the defendants’ negligence and seeking monetary compensation for her injuries. The defendants removed the plaintiff’s action to federal court, in response to which the plaintiff filed a motion to remand the case back to state court.

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In a South Carolina premises liability case, it is the plaintiff’s burden to prove that a dangerous condition on another’s property caused injury to him or her. The plaintiff must also prove that the defendant either directly caused the condition or that, in the exercise of due diligence, the defendant should have discovered and corrected the condition.

In many slip and fall cases, the defendant will argue that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law because the plaintiff has not met his or her initial burden of proof. In other words, the defendant asks the court to rule in its favor prior to trial because, even if everything the plaintiff has said in his or her complaint is true, the defendant cannot be held liable under the law. Talking to a lawyer early on and securing evidence such as photographs of the accident scene, video surveillance, and statements from eyewitnesses can be helpful in seeing that the plaintiff has his or her day in court.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case filed in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, Columbia Division, the plaintiff was a woman who filed suit against the defendant grocery store, seeking monetary compensation for a torn meniscus in her knee that she allegedly suffered when she slipped and fell in a “brown substance” (which looked like, and may have been, pudding) on the store’s floor while pushing her shopping cart through the dairy aisle in August 2015 . The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that it was entitled to judgment as a matter of law because there was no competent evidence proving that it placed the brown substance on the floor or that it had actual or constructive notice of the allegedly dangerous condition.

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A successful legal claim following a serious personal injury or loved one’s wrongful death requires several steps. First and foremost in any South Carolina personal injury lawsuit, the party seeking to recover money damages for another’s failure to act in a reasonably prudent manner must be able to prove that the defendant breached a duty of care owned to the plaintiff, thereby proximately causing him or her legal damages.

While the plaintiff will not be able to recover money damages without proof of the elements of negligence, it is equally true that proof of negligence will not necessarily result in a successful judgment or settlement. One reason for this is that most defendants in negligence cases do not have the independent means to compensate the negligence victim or his or her family.

Rather, most individuals (and businesses and governmental entities, as well) rely heavily on liability insurance coverage to pay out any monies that are ultimately decided (or agreed) are due the accident victim. Without insurance coverage, fair compensation is unlikely, even in an obvious case of negligence.

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In an ideal world, every consumer would have a thorough understanding of the many different types of car, truck, and motorcycle insurance that may be available to them and be able to make an informed decision about coverage.

Unfortunately, it sometimes takes a South Carolina motor vehicle accident to make people realize that they don’t know as much as they thought that they did about their insurance coverage – and that they don’t have nearly as much coverage as they thought they had.

Realizing that the “full coverage insurance” that you thought you had does not include optional coverage like uninsured motorist coverage can be a very unpleasant discovery, especially if you have been hurt by someone else’s negligence and have medical bills mounting up due to the wreck.

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In a South Carolina personal injury lawsuit, it is not unusual for several individuals, businesses, or governmental entities to be named as defendants. By the time the trial rolls around, however, there may be significantly fewer defendants – perhaps, only one.

The reasons for this are numerous. Some defendants may have been dismissed from the lawsuit by the trial court on a motion for summary judgment. Others may have been voluntarily dismissed from the case by the plaintiff(s) for strategic reasons. A settlement may have occurred that dismissed some defendants from the lawsuit while retaining others.

If the reason for the dwindling number of defendants is a settlement, a question sometimes arises as to the nature and extent of the information about that settlement to which the remaining defendants are entitled.

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In recent years, there has been a trend toward alternative dispute resolution, such as arbitration, in some kinds of cases, including South Carolina nursing home abuse cases.

It is important to note that the reason for this trend is not because injured individuals or the families of those who have suffered a wrongful death have willingly and knowingly decided that they would rather have their legal disputes resolved by an arbitrator rather than by a judge and jury. Instead, many would-be defendants have managed to sneak arbitration clauses into the mounds of documents that must be signed at certain health care facilities. Fortunately, not all such alleged “agreements” are enforceable by the courts.

Facts of the Case

Proving a case of negligence in a South Carolina car accident case is a four-step process. In order for the defendant to be held liable, the plaintiff must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, that the defendant breached that duty, that the plaintiff was harmed, and that there was a link of proximate causation between the breach of duty and the injuries.

If any of the elements is missing, the plaintiff cannot recover money damages against the defendant. Sometimes, disputes arise regarding the admissibility of evidence that the plaintiff proposes to submit on one or more of these issues. When this happens, it is up to the trial court to determine the admissibility of the evidence. If the opposing party so desires, he or she has the option of appealing the trial court’s ruling.

Facts of the Case

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