Categories
Product Defects

Mesothelioma Deaths Up in Women

Mesothelioma: X-ray of Lungs

Undetected Carcinogen

It is easy enough to prepare against illness by taking vitamins, sanitizing surfaces, and washing your hands. But what if there is something that is easily undetected that could be in products you use every day or in places you’re meant to feel at ease in, like your home? Though asbestos is a known carcinogen, most uses of it are not banned in the United States. In fact, only a handful of asbestos products are banned under the Toxic Substances Control Act, such as corrugate, specialty, commercial paper, rollboard, and flooring felt (EPA). Exposure to asbestos can lead to three serious diseases such as lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma, which is a “a rare form of cancer that is found in the thin lining of the lung, chest and the abdomen and heart” (EPA). While there has been some legislation put forward in recent years that strengthens the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to put restrictions in place on products that may negatively affect the public’s health, there has still been an increase in malignant mesothelioma cases among women from 1999 to 2020.

Increased Deaths in Women

According to a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the number of annual deaths of women caused by mesothelioma has increased from 489 in 1999 to 614 in 2020 (CDC). Mesothelioma is a condition that can lie dormant for decades before manifesting symptoms, with the median interval between exposure and death being 32 years. Unfortunately, once an initial diagnosis is made, most patients are expected to only live for a year more. Most cases of asbestos exposure are reported by men working in the construction industry, and though women are also at risk for asbestos exposure, “limited data exist on longer-term trends in mesothelioma deaths among women” (CDC). Of the cases analyzed for this study, there were three occupations held by these women that had a high enough number of deaths: homemakers, elementary and middle school teachers, and registered nurses.

Also see: https://hoodlawoffices.com/blog/myths-and-misconceptions-about-mesothelioma/

Second-Hand Exposure

As shown by this study, the women who are dying from mesothelioma are not working in the industries most at-risk for asbestos exposure, like shipbuilding, construction, and manufacturing, but the number of women dying from malignant mesothelioma is still rising. This is because second-hand exposure to asbestos can still lead to a development of mesothelioma. Women can be exposed to asbestos if it has been disturbed through renovations maintenance or by stirring up settled fibers by dusting, sweeping, or cleaning. There can also be exposure simply by working or living in an older building where asbestos has been used in its building materials. Another huge risk factor for exposure for women is having a family member who works in at-risk industries. The relative risk for women increases tenfold when they have a husband or father who works in an asbestos-related industry. For example, there have been two asbestos-related trials in South Carolina since the Fall of last year, with the most recent concerning a woman who had developed mesothelioma due to her husband, father, and uncle being exposed to asbestos and then spending time around her (Courtroom View Network). This trial was ruled in her favor, and she received monetary compensation for the damages.

Reducing Your Risk

Though it is difficult to know when you have been exposed to asbestos, there are ways that you can reduce exposure (Asbestos Prevention). When outside, wet the ground before gardening or playing, drive slowly down unpaved roads, use asbestos-free soil, stay on paved trails in areas that may have asbestos-containing soil, and avoid old building sites. When indoors, prevent dust and dirt from entering your home by wiping down pets, using a doormat, removing shoes before entering, and keeping windows closed on windy days or when there is construction nearby. It is also important to clean properly by using wet rags to dust, washing rugs often, using a wet mop on non-carpeted floors, and using a vacuum with a high efficiency HEPA filter. These simple changes can help reduce your risk of asbestos exposure and help put your mind at ease.

The Law Offices of David L. Hood – Representing the Injured and Mesothelioma Victims in South Carolina

The Law Offices of David L. Hood and co-counsel have been fighting for the rights of injured mesothelioma victims (and their families) in North Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Georgetown, Charleston and all across South Carolina for over 30 years. We have a dedicated team that will strive to take care of your claim professionally and treat you with respect. Over the years we’ve represented thousands of disabled & injured workers working hard to get them the medical treatment and compensation they deserve. If you or a family member has suffered from primary or secondary exposure to Mesothelioma or just have questions about a possible case, let us know. We’re here to help.

To learn more about what we can do for you and to get answers to your questions, contact our offices to set up a free initial consultation. If you choose to work with us, we will handle your case on a contingent fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless we make a recovery for you.

To get in touch with us, you can call our offices at (843) 491-6025 or email us here.

Other online resources used for this article:

https://consumer.healthday.com/number-of-mesothelioma-deaths-up-among-women-from-99-to-20-2657307793.html

Categories
Wrongful Death Attorney

Life Expectancy in the US Drops Again, SC Below Average

A field of grass with small American flags sticking up

The phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is one that everybody is familiar with. It claims that eating right will keep a person healthy for longer, but what if something happens that is outside the control of that individual? Over the past two years, the overall life expectancy in the United States has dropped by over two years, and this has been the largest decline since World War II (CNN). The obvious cause for this decline is the coronavirus pandemic that has resulted in over 998,000 deaths as of May 13th, according to the New York Times. COVID-19 “was the third leading cause of death, behind cancer and heart disease. Together, those three causes accounted for nearly half of all deaths in the U.S. in 2020,” the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports (WCBD News 2).The new life expectancy of an American citizen is 76.60 years, with the expectancy for males being 74.2 years and the expectancy for women being 79.9 years (WCBD News 2).

South Carolina Life Expectancy is Below Average

However, even with the decline of the national average, South Carolina’s average life expectancy is lower. Compared to the rest of the country, South Carolina ranks 43rd overall, with men living an average of 73.9 years and women living an average of 79.7 years (US News). The leading causes of death in South Carolina are heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, and accidents (WCBD News 2). In 2019, 10,578 South Carolinians died from heart disease, and 55,853 citizens were hospitalized due to heart disease which led to 4.5 billion dollars of hospitalization charges, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC). Their studies also found that many South Carolinians fell into categories that put them more at-risk for heart disease, such as having a sedentary lifestyle, having high blood pressure or high cholesterol, or being overweight or obese. In 2019, 69.3 percent of people over 18 in South Carolina were overweight or obese, 38.3 percent suffered from high blood pressure, and 36.7 percent suffered from high cholesterol. Though heart disease is the leading cause of deaths in South Carolina, strokes have many of the same risk factors. Strokes are the leading cause of long-term disability in South Carolina, and it led to over 1.3 billion dollars in hospitalization charges in 2019. As part of the “Stroke Belt,” it is important for South Carolinians to be aware of risk factors and to avoid them whenever possible

Fatal Accidents

While the likelihood of dying from one of these causes can be reduced based on lifestyle, accidents are just that: accidents. It is difficult to be prepared against them, and it is concerning that it is one of South Carolina’s leading causes of death. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the most common fatal occupational injury in South Carolina is transportation incidents which resulted in 41 percent of all fatal occupational injuries, which is 4 percent higher than the national average (U.S. Department of Labor). When totaling the number of drunk-driving related fatalities per state during the years 2009-2018, South Carolina had the fourth highest number of fatalities in the United States, according to Forbes Magazine (Forbes). There was also a 14 percent increase in alcohol-related deaths from 2019 to 2020 despite there being a decrease in miles traveled during the pandemic (MADD).

South Carolina is a beautiful state to live in with its mountains, beaches, and plentiful wildlife. However, in order to appreciate its beauty for longer, the average citizen must be aware of the risk factors faced here that cause the population to have one of the lowest life expectancies within the United States and be willing to combat them when possible.

Contact the Law Offices of David L. Hood for a Free Wrongful Death Consultation

If someone you care about has died due to someone else’s negligence, please schedule your free consultation by calling the Law Offices of David L. Hood at (843) 491-6025 or filling out our brief online contact form.

We know how difficult it can be to deal with the immediate and long-term effects of a wrongful death. At The Law Offices of David L. Hood, we work hard to make things simple for you. After a free case evaluation, if we believe we can help you and your family, Wrongful Death Attorney David L. Hood, co-counsel, and our team of experts will vigorously pursue your case to get you the best result we can achieve. Let us put our years of experience to work for you!

*Clients are not liable for any expenses, unless there is a recovery in their case; however, if there is a recovery in their case, clients will be liable for expenses. Attorney’s fees are based on a percentage of the recovery, which will be computed before deducting expenses.

Categories
Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Rampant Medical Neglect in South Carolina Prisons

The South Carolina Constitution requires that “the state must provide for the health and welfare of all incarcerated men and women.”(Greenvilleonline.com) However, according to at least 83 medical malpractice suits pending as of December, 2018, the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) is not meeting the most basic health care needs of its inmates. There are an additional 78 wrongful death or personal injury lawsuits that cite inadequate medical care in the state’s prisons.

“Collectively, the cases – along with interviews with more than 60 former and current inmates conducted by The State – offer an alarming picture of a prison system in crisis, leaving inmates broken, discarded, and in some cases, dead, due to incompetence or negligence.”

Here are just a few examples of this negligence, which has been going on for years:

Julius Allen Munn says he became blind, because SCDC refused to buy his test strips (which cost 10 cents each) that were needed to check his blood sugar, since he is diabetic. He volunteered to buy them himself, but that wasn’t allowed either.

Because of botched dental work that was done in a SC prison, S.S., another inmate had to be shocked back to life twice in an ambulance, on the way to the hospital, after lying in his cell begging for help for five days.

C.C. says he has a severely broken jaw, and has waited over a year for prison officials to fix it.

P,H. filed a lawsuit in 2016, claiming he had cancerous growths that were pushed aside for four years.

In more severe cases, death has occurred due to SCDC’s negligence:

In 2012, 24-year-old Sinetra Johnson was serving time at Camille Griffin Graham Correctional Institute in Columbia. She was pregnant with twins. In her 26th week of pregnancy, she began having intense pain, and knew something wasn’t right. She went to the prison’s medical station to be checked.

A nurse checked her vital signs, and told her she was fine, and to go on to work at the facility’s clothing plant. She was not sent to an OB/GYN, and no vaginal exam was done.

After work, she again went to the nurse, with the same results.

This being her first pregnancy, Johnson wasn’t sure what to expect. She awoke in extreme pain at 11:15 p.m. She ran to the restroom, and one of the twins (Karmin) was born in the toilet, fully formed, but still in the amniotic sack.

Other inmates tried to get the attention of the guards, and were ignored; so they found a wheelchair, put Johnson in it, and rushed her off to the medical station. Some other inmates were trying to save baby Karmin, but guards ordered them to stay away. By the time the guards finally did something, it was too late. Baby Karmin was dead.

Thankfully, the nurse called an ambulance for Ms. Johnson, and the other baby was delivered in the ambulance.

An autopsy on Karmin revealed that she could have survived if someone had manually ruptured the amniotic sack.

SCDC Officials have denied many of Ms. Johnson’s allegations in response to the lawsuit.

Another wrongful death suit has been filed by the family of Alan Fields, who committed suicide by hanging at Leiber Correctional Institution in Ridgeville, SC in November, 2018. The lawsuit argues “gross negligence by his doctors and other prison staff contributed to Fields taking his own life.”(abcnews4.com)

Fields was serving a 30-year prison sentence for voluntary manslaughter. He had a long history of “hallucinations, severe delusions, and psychosis that were often worsened by manic-depressive episodes,” and had been diagnosed multiple times with schizophrenia and other psychotic and mood disorders.

In the prior year and a half, Fields had tried to commit suicide by hanging or self-injury ten times, according to the lawsuit.

Three of Fields’ five doctors while in prison felt he was malingering (exaggerating or faking symptoms). According to the National Institutes of Health, “the convergence of the multiple symptoms can make the schizoaffective disorders difficult to diagnose.” In March of 2018, one of his doctors, Dr. Judd actually said he did not have a mental illness, and reduced his schizophrenia medicine.

In October of 2018, Fields talked about suicide, including how he was going to go about doing it. “He even scored 10 out of 10 on a suicide intent scale test, attorneys say.” Once again, another doctor, Dr. Griswold accused him of malingering.

In 2017, Fields was placed on a forced medicine regimen, because he was pretending to swallow his medicine, and would later spit it out. That regimen ended as soon as Fields became more stable. In the last three months of his life, Fields took it upon himself to stop taking all his medicines. “The lawsuit slams medical staff for not doing its due diligence to ensure Fields was actually taking his medicine.”

According to the lawsuit, “Mr. Fields’ suicide on November 28, 2018 was foreseeable, preventable, and a direct result of SCDC and the above referenced medical/mental health providers’ failure to properly classify, monitor, and treat his severe mental illness while incarcerated.”

As of 2018, 58% of South Carolina’s inmates suffered from some medical condition. Only 11 physicians and 221 nurses work in the SC prison system, which houses roughly 19,000 inmates. There are 21 prisons in the SCDC system, which means there is not even a doctor for each facility. Bryan Stirling, Director of SCDC says the department contracts with temporary agencies, employing two additional doctors and 74 more nurses to help with the shortage.

Other solutions are in the works, including a partnership with the Medical University of South Carolina, which provides digital doctor visits in five prisons. The department also transports prisoners to see outside doctors.

Stirling says his top priority is to hire more staff, “but that is proving challenging.” The SC House has recently denied a budget request for additional medical staff.

CONTACT THE LAW OFFICES OF DAVID L. HOOD FOR A FREE MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CONSULTATION

If you or someone you care about has sustained a catastrophic illness, or death in a South Carolina prison because of medical negligence, please schedule your free consultation by calling the Law Offices of David L. Hood at (843) 491-6025 or filling out our brief online contact form.

We know how difficult it can be to deal with the immediate and long-term effects of a serious malpractice-related injury. At the Law Offices of David L. Hood, we work hard to make things simple for you. After a free case evaluation, if we believe we can help you and your family, Medical Malpractice Attorney David L. Hood, co-counsel, and our team of experts will vigorously pursue your case to get you the best result we can achieve. Let us put our years of experience to work for you.

Categories
Personal Injury

The “Final Offer”: A Common Insurance Company Bluff

If an insurance adjuster tells you that he or she will be unable to make any further offers, they may be bluffing, especially if it’s still early in your personal injury case. After learning a little about the way insurance companies and personal injury claims work, you’ll see that insurance companies often have very little to gain from following through on such a bluff.

Seeing Through Insurance Company Tactics

First, the value of your personal injury claim is not time-sensitive. A $30,000 case will still be worth $30,000 a week from now, a month from now, and even a year from now. Your case value is based on your total medical expenses and on the evidence you have that the insured person is liable for your injury. Both of these factors are very unlikely to diminish over time — your medical bills may increase, if anything, and properly documented and preserved evidence is not going to just disappear.

Furthermore, if your claim does proceed to trial, the insurance company could lose more money than if they simply paid you a fair value for your claim since a lawsuit will require the insurance company to pay a team of lawyers. Not only that, but insurance adjusters are often weighed down by heavy caseloads, and if an insurance adjuster devotes too much time to your individual case (which they almost certainly will if it turns into litigation), this can reflect poorly on the adjuster when his or her superiors evaluate their performance.

RELATED: These 6 Tips Can Help You After a Car Accident

If an insurance company tries to use the “final offer” tactic on you, then you and your attorney should compare how much a lawsuit will cost you with how much a lawsuit will cost them. If it becomes very clear that the insurance company is bluffing, your attorney might want to remind them just how much a lawsuit will cost. Or, the personal injury attorney can counter-bluff and threaten to withdraw all demands and file suit.

Need Help Dealing with an Insurance Company After Being Injured in South Carolina? Contact David L. Hood

Don’t let unscrupulous insurance adjusters bully or intimidate you. If you’ve been injured and you want to seek compensation by filing a personal injury claim, you may benefit from having an experienced and knowledgeable advocate on your side. Call South Carolina personal injury lawyer David Hood today for a free consultation.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

Categories
Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Staff Shortages Can Lead
to Pharmacy Malpractice

Pharmacy window with sign that reads, “Pharmacy Closes at 3:00pm today due to staffing issues. Thank you, Management.” Staff Shortages Can Lead to Pharmacy Malpractice

In the last couple of years, Covid has caused the workload in pharmacies to rise dramatically, but staffing levels have actually decreased during this same time period. This combination can lead to deadly consequences of pharmacy malpractice.

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians alike have been overworked and understaffed due to the Covid pandemic. On top of their regular jobs of filling prescriptions and counseling customers, they have been forced to juggle “administering Covid-19 vaccines and tests, more phone calls and handing out masks.” (NYTimes.com)

Pharmacy customers have had longer wait-times on the phone to get their prescriptions filled. This causes customers to be angry and take it out on pharmacy staff resulting in even more stress for pharmacists and technicians.

All of this has caused pharmacy staff to have to work longer hours, and be much more stressed out in their jobs. Many pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have left their jobs because they just could not deal with it anymore. Of course, this just causes the problem to get that much worse.

“Large retail pharmacy chains have tried to respond, with some reducing store hours, increasing starting wages, offering more breaks and giving out bonuses to retain employees. But customers have felt the impact, with some experiencing disruptions in vaccine appointments, longer lines to pick up prescriptions and frustration over securing masks and at-home virus tests.” (NYTimes.com)

Pharmacists

Recently, PBS News Hour interviewed (to hear those, click here) some pharmacists on how they are struggling “to keep up with a spike in demand for their services”:

Ryan Albano (who has been a pharmacist for 17 years) said, “If you had a doctor working on a loved one or a family member performing surgery, would you want the phone ringing in the background while the doctor is providing surgery to your loved one? You want that doctor having questions thrown at them, having the drive-through being rung, having emails pop up at you, having customers waving at you?”

Jennifer Morrow (worked as a pharmacy manager up until December 2021) said, “I felt like I was an octopus pulled in eight different directions. And one of them is having to give vaccines. Now, I’m even concerned that I might give the wrong vaccine at the wrong time.” (PBSNewsHour.com

Pharmacy Technicians

“Pharmacies can’t run without technicians, who do the lion’s share of work behind the counter, from counting pills to taking phone calls and ringing patients up.” This job takes a lot of training, but does not require a college degree. Many states do require pharmacy technicians to have a certificate (which they earn after a certain amount of training).

Technicians usually get paid very meager salaries for the job they do. Some pharmacies have recently increased staring salaries for technicians, to hopefully entice more people into the field to help with the shortage. (NBCNews.com)

Heidi Strehl worked in Rite Aid as a pharmacy technician for over 16 years. She said she loved her job and her customers, and always thought she would work in that job until retirement age. In October she “abruptly quit, walking out in the middle of a shift.” She said, “…in recent years the workload and stress had increased to unsustainable levels while staffing and pay failed to keep up.”

Many other technicians have recently done the same: saying they’re having to do too much for too little pay, “increasing the possibility that they will fill prescriptions improperly.” This has caused a major staff shortage, which means the pharmacists are overloaded with more work than they can possibly handle. This has led to huge waits for prescriptions, decreased pharmacy hours “and some prescription errors and vaccination mix-ups – like children receiving an adult Covid-19 vaccine instead of a flu shot – in a business sector in which delays and mistakes can have serious health consequences.” (NBCNews.com)

How to protect yourself and your loved ones from pharmacy errors:

  • Check to be sure your name, the correct medication name and correct strength are on the bottle.
  • If you have taken the prescription before, look at the pills to be sure they look the same. If they look different, ask the pharmacist to check your prescription to be sure it is correct.
  • If you have any questions about whether your prescription has been filled correctly, or about how or when to take the medication, do not take the medication until you have talked to the pharmacist.

(MiamiHerald.com)

Mistakes can be reported to state pharmacy boards. For South Carolina patients, that would be the South Carolina Board of Pharmacy.

Prescription monitoring is also available in SC:

https://scdhec.gov/healthcare-quality/drug-control-register-verify/prescription-monitoring

Video: What Do You Do if The Pharmacist Makes a Fatal Mistake?

THE LAW OFFICES OF DAVID L. HOOD – REPRESENTING PHARMACY MALPRACTICE VICTIMS IN SOUTH CAROLINA

Prescription malpractice can cause serious health problems and even result in death for many innocent patients. However, if the matter is handled expertly, those responsible for the damages can be held accountable. The Law Offices of David L. Hood and his co-counsel have experience in handling pharmacy malpractice cases. With an understanding of the system, they utilize their network of medical experts and pharmacists to figure out the cause of the mistake and obtain (if possible) an expert opinion so a claim can be filed against those at fault.

If you have suffered at the hand of someone else’s negligence and incompetence, let The Law Offices of David L. Hood do whatever it takes to help you and your family get justice. Let us fight until you get the compensation that you deserve.

If you or a loved-one has been a victim of pharmacy malpractice in South Carolina, contact us for a free initial consultation. If you choose us to handle your claim, we will work with you on a contingent-fee basis, meaning, you won’t owe us a fee unless we get a recovery for you! You can call us now at (843) 491-6025 or contact us at any of our offices in South Carolina here.

For more information: https://hoodlawoffices.com/blog/pharmacists-overworked-and-understaffed/

Categories
Social Security Disability Lawyer

Here’s What to Do When Your Social Security Disability Claim Is Denied

If you’ve been denied after filing a claim for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, you’re far from alone. In fact, most SSD claimants receive a notice of denial after filing a claim. Statistically speaking, the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies initial SSD claims at a rate of 65%, and reconsiderations (the initial stage of appeals) have an even higher denial rate of 85%.

Video: What if my claim is denied?

After you find out your claim has been denied, you may be feeling frustrated, stressed, and anxious — but one thing you shouldn’t feel is hopeless. Even if the statistics regarding SSD claim denials seem discouraging, it’s important to remember that you’re not a statistic. Your case is unique, and just because some appeals are denied at an 85% rate doesn’t mean that your particular case has an 85% chance of being denied.

However, if you want your Social Security Disability appeal to have the best chance of success, it’s important to understand the next steps you need to take and what you can do differently this time around.

Understanding Your Social Security Disability Denial Notice

The denial notice you received from the SSA should contain a summary of your medical condition and impediments as well as the medical and non-medical records the SSA considered in rendering its decisions. The denial notice should also contain an explanation for your denial.

Some of the most common reasons that the SSA uses to deny Social Security Disability claims include:

  • You don’t meet the basic non-medical requirements (also called a technical denial).
  • Your medical condition won’t last long enough or isn’t severe enough.
  • You failed to follow the treatment plan your doctor prescribed.
  • You refused to cooperate with the SSA, including providing your medical history and attending any exams that they requested you attend.
  • The SSA can’t find you or get in touch with you.
  • Your disability is related to substance abuse issues.
  • There’s not enough medical evidence to support your claim.

Your denial notice may also include a “technical rationale,” which is a detailed explanation of the factors that caused the SSA to deny your claim. If the denial notice you received doesn’t include a rationale, make sure to request your file from the Social Security Administration so you can find out this information. Understanding why your claim was initially denied is crucial if you want your appeal to succeed.

Why You Should Appeal Your SSD Denial

Most SSD claimants who receive a denial notice don’t pursue their claim any further. Some people simply give up on the process, but many others don’t act quickly enough after receiving a notice of denial. Once you’ve received a notice of denial, you only have 60 days (plus five for mailing) to file an appeal before you’ll lose your right to appeal. If this happens, you’ll have to start over from scratch with a new Social Security Disability application if you want to receive any benefits.

RELATED: 5 Reasons to Hire a Lawyer for Your SSD Claim

Because filing an appeal sounds like a lot of work, some people simply start over and try to file a brand-new claim; however, this wastes additional time and almost always ends with a claim being denied for the same reasons as the first attempt. The appeals process, on the other hand, typically offers your best chance of successfully proving your claim and being awarded benefits.

If you’ve received a notice of denial, it’s critical to request an appeal immediately and give yourself plenty of time rather than waiting until the end of the 60-day window. And if you want your appeal to have the best chance, you should strongly consider working with an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer who can guide you through the appeals process and make sure your claim has a fighting chance.

Do You Need a Social Security Disability Attorney?

While it’s possible to successfully appeal an SSD denial without help from an attorney, statistics show that a disability claimant who is represented by an attorney at the hearing level is twice as likely to be approved compared to a claimant who represents themselves.

Why do your odds improve so much when you work with an attorney? The fact is that working with the Social Security Administration’s many rules and procedures can be confusing, and most people have no idea how to navigate the process and prepare for a hearing. An experienced attorney, on the other hand, should understand every aspect of the process and be able to draw on past experiences they have had with the system. They should also have a good idea of what the judge in your case is looking for and what questions they need to ask medical experts to make sure that crucial information comes to light.

Even people who successfully appeal an SSD claim without help from an attorney may not obtain the results they could have had if they had worked with an SSD lawyer. For example, an experienced attorney can track down important medical records and test results and work with physicians to obtain and organize detailed statements about your medical conditions. They may also be able to use their knowledge of Social Security Disability law to obtain a more favorable “onset date” (the date your benefits should have begun) in your case, which could increase the overall amount of back pay you receive.

Disability lawyers also work on a contingent-fee basis, which means there’s little risk to you — if you don’t win your appeal, your lawyer doesn’t get paid. While your lawyer will receive a percentage of your back pay if your claim succeeds and the SSA approves your benefits, the law limits their fees to 25% of the past-due benefits you receive, up to a maximum of $6,000.

There’s certainly no requirement that says you must work with an attorney for your Social Security Disability appeal, and working with an attorney doesn’t guarantee a successful outcome.

However, when you consider the risk versus the potential reward, working with an experienced SSD attorney is a statistically smart decision that can pay great dividends and save you a lot of stress and frustration throughout the Social Security Disability filing and appeals process.

The Law Offices of David L. Hood: Representing Social Security Disability Applicants in Throughout Georgetown and Horry Counties

If you’ve received a notice of denial for your Social Security Disability claim, you may be feeling frustrated, but don’t count yourself out. While the process of appealing an SSD claim denial isn’t a simple one, our team at The The Law Offices of David L. Hood is here to help. With years of experience representing clients throughout the SSD filing and appeals process, we’ll fight to make sure that your claim receives full and fair consideration and work to ensure that all the appropriate evidence comes to light throughout the process.

To speak with Attorney David L. Hood at no risk to you, call the Law Offices of David L. Hood at (843) 491-6025 or fill out the online contact form on our homepage and we’ll get in touch shortly to schedule your free initial consultation.

References

U.S. Social Security Administration. (2016, October). Annual statistical report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program 2015. Washington, DC: Social Security Administration Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics (SSA Publication No. 13-11826). Retrieved from

https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/statcomps/di_asr/2015/di_asr15.pdf

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

Categories
Motor Vehicle Accidents

Hit By a Drunk Driver?

Hit by a drunk driver: Bartender pouring drinks

If you are hit by a drunk driver who only has $25,000 in insurance coverage (the minimum required in South Carolina) there may be ways you can recover more than just that $25,000 in damages.

Dram Shops

“The term dram shop is used to describe a tavern, bar, restaurant, or other commercial establishment that serves alcoholic beverages. It was used to refer to establishments where spirits were sold by the spoonful or a dram, a unit of liquid measurement.” (alcohol.org)

What are dram shop laws?

Dram shop laws originated in the United States during the 19th century.

Although there is no specific dram shop statute in the Palmetto State, the state does recognize dram shop claims. South Carolina law Section 61-4-580 states: “No holder of a permit authorizing the sale of beer or wine or a servant, agent, or employee of the permittee may knowingly commit any of the following acts upon the licensed premises covered by the holder’s permit: sell beer or wine to a person under twenty-one years of age; sell beer or wine to an intoxicated person.” (scstatehouse.gov)

A “dram shop case occurs when the intoxicated person causes injury or” death to a third party after one of the two above laws have been broken. That third party may then bring a lawsuit against not only the intoxicated person, but also against the commercial establishment that sold the alcohol to the intoxicated person or minor.

Proving a dram shop claim can be tricky. That’s why it’s important to contact a lawyer who can help. You must prove that the restaurant or bar knowingly served alcohol to a minor or someone who was already visibly intoxicated, AND that your injuries were a direct cause of that patron’s intoxication.

Statute of Limitations

As with other personal injury cases in South Carolina, the statute of limitations on a dram shop case is usually three years. This means you have up to three years from the date of the accident to file a case.

In South Carolina, businesses who sell on premises drinking alcohol are required by law to have a $1,000,000 liability policy.

Hit by a drunk driver?

Video Transcript:

What are your options if you’ve been hit by a drunk driver?

What are your options if you’ve been hit by a drunk driver who only has $25,000 in coverage? South Carolina’s criminal laws and common law may be able to help. These laws are aimed at stopping restaurants, bars & clubs from serving alcohol to minors or to people that are already drunk. Basically, it’s illegal in South Carolina to “knowingly” serve alcohol to any person who is hammered. So, if you can show that the restaurant or bar knew that it was serving booze to someone who was already lit, they can then be on the hook for any injuries or deaths caused by the DUI driver. In fact, South Carolina requires businesses who sell on premises alcohol for drinking to have a $1,000,000 liability policy. Don’t forget, this can also come into play if someone was boating under the influence (BUI) or was a minor who picked up their alcohol at a convenience store.

Some ask, “Why?” We ask, “Why not?”

The Law Office of David L. Hood: Fighting for Victims of Drunk Driving and Negligence in South Carolina

If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a serious drunk driving crash or other type of auto accident in South Carolina, contact the Law Office of David L. Hood for help right away. We have served South Carolina accident victims for over 30 years by standing up to insurance companies, demanding fair compensation, and helping our clients rebuild their lives. Contact us online or call us at (843) 491-6025 to schedule your free, no-risk initial consultation with David L. Hood today.

For more information:

https://hoodlawoffices.com/practice-areas/motor-vehicle-accident/car-accident-lawyer/

Other online resources used for this article:

https://blog.myfoodandbevtraining.com/dramshoplaw

Categories
Wrongful Death Attorney

South Carolina Motocross Facilities Unregulated

Thirteen-year-old Patrick Terry was killed in December of 2014 in a horrible accident that never should have happened. Patrick’s father, Ed Terry has sued Club MX in Chesterfield, SC for the wrongful death of his son.

Patrick had begged his dad to take him to the motocross track in NC where they lived. His dad thought that track was for more experiences riders. Patrick was a beginner and had only ridden on flat trails in their back yard. So his dad refused to take him.

Knowing that Club MX in Chesterfield “offered on-site training and tracks for all levels, Terry gave in and agreed to take Patrick there to ride a motocross track for the first time.” (Post and Courier)

On December 21, 2014, Patrick and his dad unloaded his bike and headed toward the practice track; an employee pointed them in that direction after Terry explained this was his son’s first time riding on a motocross track. Patrick had on all his safety equipment: helmet, riding gloves, boots, neck brace, and chest protector. He decided to try a jump called the catapult first. Only a beginner, Patrick just rolled slowly over it, instead of launching into the air. An experienced biker made his way to the same catapult jump, not knowing that Patrick was still on the track at the end of the jump.

The motocross “rider soared into the air…and there was nothing – no caution flagger on the track, no clear line of sight for the airborne rider, and no sudden change in physics – that could stop him from landing directly on to Patrick’s back,” according to a lawsuit filed by Patrick’s father in 2016. Patrick died before reaching the hospital.

Terry’s legal fight has uncovered a huge problem: “There are no laws or regulations regarding motocross tracks and facilities in South Carolina.” No regulations means there are no legal requirements for safety standards, how they operate, or how much insurance they must carry.

Other states also lack safety regulations. Only a few states have any laws regulating motocross tracks, according to the American Motorcyclist Association. “AMA-sanctioned race events, however, do have standards. The 2018 AMA Racing Rulebook notes riders are separated based on their experience and flaggers must be on the track to warn riders of conditions should they need to proceed cautiously.” However, this is not the case for recreational use. It is left up to the business owner to make decisions regarding safety. Terry said his son had signed a waiver, but that he, the parent did not sign anything.

Terry explained, the AMA regulations don’t do any good if there is no legislation to enforce them for recreational use.

Terry has contacted several lawmakers trying to get regulations in place for motocross facilities. He’s basically been told that riders participate in this dangerous sport at their own risk. “…there’s a speed limit on the highways that I have to comply with, so why can’t there be something for these places?” Terry has said he will take this fight to the national level if that’s what it takes for change to happen.

Also see: https://hoodlawoffices.com/blog/west-columbia-drug-clinic-at-fault-in-fatal-crash/

Contact the Law Offices of David L. Hood for a Free Wrongful Death Consultation

If someone you care about has died due to someone else’s negligence, please schedule your free consultation by calling the Law Offices of David L. Hood at (843) 491-6025 or filling out our brief online contact form.

We know how difficult it can be to deal with the immediate and long-term effects of a wrongful death. At The Law Offices of David L. Hood, we work hard to make things simple for you. After a free case evaluation, if we believe we can help you and your family, Wrongful Death Attorney David L. Hood, co-counsel, and our team of experts will vigorously pursue your case to get you the best result we can achieve. Let us put our years of experience to work for you!

*Clients are not liable for any expenses, unless there is a recovery in their case; however, if there is a recovery in their case, clients will be liable for expenses. Attorney’s fees are based on a percentage of the recovery, which will be computed before deducting expenses.

Categories
Motor Vehicle Accidents

Uninsured Motorist Accidents
in South Carolina

Uninsured Motorist Accidents

Did you know that in South Carolina one out of every thirteen people on our roads is driving without insurance? Those who do have insurance are only required to carry $25,000 of liability coverage. This means if you are in a car accident by no fault of your own, the at-fault driver’s insurance may only cover $25,000 of your losses. Therefore, it’s important for you to know all your insurance coverage options to make sure you are well-covered in the unfortunate event of an accident.

Uninsured Motorist Accidents: Blue car with blue umbrella, with text “Auto Insurance”

What vehicle insurance is required in South Carolina?

According to the South Carolina Department of Insurance (DOI), “Drivers are required to carry liability and uninsured motorist coverage with the following limits:  $25,000 Bodily Injury Per Person / $50,000 Bodily Injury Per Accident / $25,000 Property Damage Per Accident.”(DOI.SC.gov)

Underinsurance is not required in South Carolina; however, insurance companies are required to offer underinsurance for you to purchase.

Uninsured Motorist Accident Insurance versus Underinsured Motorist Accident Insurance?


Uninsured motorist insurance covers your losses when the at-fault party has no insurance or leaves the scene without providing you with any information.

Underinsured motorist insurance covers your losses when the at-fault party has insurance, but not enough to cover all of your damages.

“The at-fault driver’s insurance will typically pay for all damages up to his or her auto insurance policy limits, then your underinsured motorist coverage may cover the excess amount up to the limits you select.”(AllState.com)

Dangers of Driving Uninsured

Video Transcript:

We have a big problem in South Carolina. That problem is that you only have to have $25,000 in insurance if you’re at fault and hit someone. On top of that, about 8% of people driving around South Carolina have no insurance at all! It may not seem like a lot, but that’s one out of every thirteen people on the roads that are driving around with no insurance at all!

So, what happens when, say a DUI driver has no insurance and crashes into you? Well, your $25,000 underinsurance should kick in. But, if you’re laid up in the hospital, that may not even touch your medical bills. So, what can you do about it? You can buy more uninsurance and also underinsurance for times like these when a DUI driver is driving without insurance or doesn’t have enough to cover your medical bills. It costs extra to add it to your policy but can be a lifesaver if you’re faced with hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid medical bills.

Some say, “Why?” We say, “Why not?”

THE LAW OFFICES OF DAVID L. HOOD – SERVING CAR ACCIDENT VICTIMS IN SOUTH CAROLINA

If you have suffered a collision in South Carolina, the legal team at The Law Offices of David L. Hood will help you navigate the situation professionally. We have years of experience in helping people involved in serious accidents figure out the legal requirements and details needed to move forward after an accident. After gathering all the necessary information, we will pour our efforts into building your case to get a fair settlement or take it to court if the need arises.

Our entire team has years of experience representing various clients and car accident victims in South Carolina. Having a passion to help, we offer a free initial consultation where we provide candid legal advice on what options you may have. If you choose to work with us, we promise a contingent-fee based case, where you don’t pay unless we get a recovery in your case.

You can find our contact information on the page here and schedule your free consultation session.

For more information on how we can help with motor vehicle accidents, please click here.

Categories
Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Video: Workers’ Compensation
The Basics Part 2

Workers’ Compensation: The Basics Part 2

Video Transcript

I’m Attorney David Hood, and we’re continuing with part 2, with my able assistant Tracey, on questions, problems and solutions you may have for your workers’ compensation case in South Carolina. I think there are a couple more things we wanted to alert people who get injured on the job in South Carolina to, Tracey.

How do I go about starting a workers’ comp. claim?

There’s a right way and a wrong way. Let’s just talk about the right way.

You need to report the claim to your employer. Then they should contact the workers’ comp insurance company. We are in a ‘right to work’ state, so sometimes if it’s a minor injury, you might not want to do that, because you can be fired for any reason, you can quit for any reason. There’s a little bit of protection under the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act, but it’s not much. So, sometimes we urge people to be careful, particularly if they’re a long-time employee with a good job they want to hang on to. But, if your employer ignores you, you want to be sure (within 90 days, because after 90 days that’s it, you’re done) you want to make sure that claim gets filed with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission in Columbia by filing a form 50. They can help you with that at the judicial department at the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission or your attorney (for instance, if we represented you, we would do that for you) to perfect your claim.

What if I haven’t heard back from the insurance company?

What if you’ve had a workers’ comp claim and you’re back to work and you haven’t heard anything from the insurance company?

What happens is, after a two-year period, your case is done. If you’ve had a serious on-the-job injury, you should be compensated at the end. There’s no pain and suffering under workers’ comp, but you’re supposed to get compensated for the loss of use of your body part(s). So, if you have a leg injury, a back injury, a shoulder injury, a head injury, you should be compensated for those at the end. But if you don’t have representation, the insurance company’s not going to tell you about that. If they can let the statute expire after a couple of years, they don’t have to pay you.

So, make sure you get something at the end. If we can help you, we’d be glad to. There’s no charge for an initial consultation. You can contact us by email or call us and we’d be happy to answer your questions.