A popular idiomatic phrase goes something like, “Don’t make a federal case out it!” Generally, “making a federal case” out of something means that it has been built up or exaggerated beyond what is reasonable, but, like most common phrases, there is a nugget of truth behind the words.

For instance, a lawsuit arising from a South Carolina truck accident will tend to be more expensive, more time consuming, and more difficult than a similar action filed in state court. For this reason, it is not unusual for a defendant to “remove” a state case to federal court if the federal court has concurrent jurisdiction. Under certain circumstances, the plaintiff may ask the federal court to remand the case to state court.

As one might expect, all of these legal shenanigans can add months, or even years, to the time it takes the plaintiff to recover fair compensation for personal injuries or a loved one’s wrongful death caused by the negligence of the defendant(s).

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While most people understand that they “need insurance” for certain situations, such as car accident, a house fire, or a slip and fall accident on their premises, few individuals or business owners truly understand all of the different types of insurance that are available, how they differ from one another, and what the best choice may be for a particular situation.

Accordingly, it is not unusual for those who are not insurance professionals themselves to rely heavily on their insurance agent to provide appropriate coverage. When the agent does not provide reliable advice, a South Carolina negligence lawsuit may be possible against the agent or the agency that employed him or her.

Facts of the Case

In a recent (unreported) case from the South Carolina Court of Appeals, the plaintiff was a woman who purchased a policy of commercial automobile insurance for her daycare business in April 2010. After a parent drove a car through the wall of the plaintiff’s business, causing personal injuries to the plaintiff, the plaintiff sought coverage for her injuries. According to the plaintiff, she thought that she had purchased coverage “for every person who went in and out of the building, including herself.” The defendants, the insurance agent and agency from whom the plaintiff purchased her policy, denied her claim.

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It is not unusual for one or more of the defendants in a South Carolina product liability lawsuit to seek federal bankruptcy protection. This is especially true if a particular product has been accused of causing numerous serious personal injuries or wrongful death.

The effects of the bankruptcy can vary, depending upon the particular situation at hand. In some cases, a bankruptcy can effectively terminate a pending state court lawsuit, forcing the litigant(s) to pursue their claim along with other creditors in the bankruptcy case.

Facts of the Case

In a recent South Carolina Court of Appeals case, the plaintiffs were the mother and guardian ad litem of a five-year-old child who allegedly suffered severe burn injuries during the November 2010 explosion of a portable gasoline container manufactured by one defendant and sold by the other. The plaintiffs’ filed respective lawsuits against the defendants, the maker and a retail seller of the container, in Hampton County Circuit Court in November 2013, asserting claims for product liability, strict liability, breach of warranty, and negligence. (The suits were later consolidated.)

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In a South Carolina workers’ compensation case, an injured employer has certain obligations that must be complied with before he or she can receive benefits from his or her employer or its insurance company. Among these requirements are a timely reporting of the injury and the filing of certain paperwork with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission (if the employer believes that he or she is entitled to other benefits in addition to those already paid by the employer or insurer).

If the employee is displeased with the determination of the commission in his or her case, he or she has a right to file an appeal. However, the burden of proof is on the employee to convince the reviewing tribunal that the commission’s decision was in error.

Facts of the Case

In an unpublished case recently considered on appeal, the plaintiff was a man who sought review of a decision of the Richland County Circuit Court with regard to his claim for workers’ compensation benefits he alleged were due him under South Carolina law. The trial court dismissed his suit for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and also held that the plaintiff had failed to state facts sufficient to constitute a viable cause of action against the defendant commission.

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Those who have been hurt by someone else’s negligent or reckless conduct should receive fair compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Unfortunately, not every South Carolina personal injury lawsuit arising from an act of negligence goes smoothly.

Not only is liability often denied (many defendants try to put the blame on the injured person or a third party), but insurance coverage issues can also crop up, making it harder to collect a settlement or judgment even when liability can be proven. In such situations, a bad faith claim against the insurance company is a possibility.

Facts of the Case

In a recent (unreported) appellate court case arising from the Circuit Court of Greenville County, South Carolina, the plaintiff was a limited liability company that operated a saloon. After one of its patrons filed suit against it claiming that she was injured by an unknown person playing a boxing arcade game inside the saloon, the plaintiff sought coverage from the defendant insurance company, from which the plaintiff had purchased a comprehensive general liability insurance policy. (According to the saloon patron, her injuries occurred when she was inadvertently struck and knocked unconscious by an unknown person playing the arcade came.)

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Under South Carolina workers’ compensation law, a person who is hurt while performing his or her duties at job may file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. While less generous than the personal injury damages potentially available to a person who is hurt by another’s negligence (in a car accident, for instance), these benefits can be very beneficial to the worker.

Some of the benefits that may be available in a successful workers’ compensation claim include temporary total disability benefits, permanent partial or permanent total disability benefits, and or paid medical treatment by an authorized physician.

Facts of the Case

In an (unreported) case recently considered by the South Carolina Court of Appeals, the plaintiff was a man who alleged that he was entitled to workers’ compensation benefits due to an injury he had suffered while working for the defendant employer. The Appellate Panel of the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission found in favor of the employer and denied the employee’s request for benefits. The employee appealed, seeking review from the intermediate appellate court.

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South Carolina product liability lawsuits can arise from many different types of products – automobiles, prescription medications, and household goods, just to name a few. Sometimes, manufacturers issue recalls for certain products once they have knowledge of possible defects or dangerous proclivities.

Although not every product that is the subject of litigation is recalled (and, likewise, not every recalled product ends up being the focus of mass tort litigation), it is important that individuals and families stay abreast of recall information in order to avoid as many potentially dangerous products as possible.

Where to Look for Recall Information

The federal government maintains a website with links to pages listing recalls in several different categories: consumer products; foods, medicines, and cosmetics; meat and poultry products; motor vehicles; child safety seats; tires; and boats and boating safety. This website represents the efforts of several different federal regulatory agencies, each of which has the responsibility to provide the public with the latest recall information with regard to a certain type of product.

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In a South Carolina workers’ compensation case, the burden is on the injured worker to prove that he or she was injured or became ill due to his or her employment. Once this has been accomplished, the obligation then shifts to the employer to provide the benefits to which the plaintiff is entitled under the law.

Depending upon the situation, this may include temporary partial disability benefits, temporary total disability benefits, permanent partial disability benefits, and/or permanent total disability benefits. In most cases, the employer must also provide medical care to the injured worker at its own expense (or that of its workers’ compensation insurance carrier).

When the parties cannot agree on the benefits to which a particular worker is entitled, the state workers’ compensation commission and, if necessary, the courts, will make an adjudication.

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There was a time when an employee had to make out a case of negligence if he or she sought monetary compensation following an accidental injury at work. Nowadays, however, there is a workers’ compensation program in place that does not require proof of negligence or fault against the employer. However, the benefits that the worker receives are typically less than what would have been possible in a successful negligence action.

Even in this supposedly stream-lined process, many disputes still occur, and a significant number of workers’ compensation cases find their way into the appellate courts each year.

Facts of the Case

In a recent unreported South Carolina workers’ compensation case, the plaintiff was a man who alleged that he had been hurt during the course and scope of his employment with the defendant employer. The employer and its workers’ compensation insurance carrier disputed the plaintiff’s claim. A single administrative law judge of the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission found that the plaintiff’s alleged clavicle injury was not compensable. Rather, the appellate panel found that the plaintiff’s injury was limited to his right shoulder and also ruled that he was prohibited from raising the issue of temporary partial disability on remand. The plaintiff appealed.

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In a South Carolina automobile accident case, the plaintiff has the burden of proving that the defendant was negligent – that is, that the defendant’s failure to act in a reasonably prudent manner resulted in damages to the plaintiff.

Once this has been done, the defendant may seek to reduce the jury’s verdict by pointing the finger back at the plaintiff, accusing him or her of also being negligent in causing the accident. It is ultimately up to the jury to decide which side to believe and how much money to award the plaintiff if it finds in his or her favor.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case (unreported), the plaintiff was a woman who was struck by a vehicle as she walked alongside the road. She filed suit against the defendant sheriff department and its employee (who was driving the vehicle that struck her), seeking compensation for her injuries. The Marion County Circuit Court dismissed the employee from the case after finding that he was acting within the course and scope of his official duties as a reserve officer with the defendant sheriff’s department at the time of the accident.

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