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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Pedestrian Vs. Car: What you need to know

Close to 5,000 people are killed annually in pedestrian vs. vehicle crashes, and the laws might not be as simple as you think.  It’s important to know and understand your rights and responsibilities as both a driver and pedestrian to avoid injury and stay safe in these encounters.


Almost fifteen percent of traffic deaths occur in a pedestrian vs. vehicle encounter (http://www.ncsl.org). Unfortunately, pedestrians, whether in the right or wrong, often have a lot more to lose in these collisions.  While pedestrians are more vulnerable, both drivers and pedestrians have responsibilities to abide by and rights to protect them.  Stewart Law Offices, LLC is well versed in cases involving personal injury of both drivers and pedestrians.  Read on for more information on pedestrians vs. vehicles and what to do if you find yourself involved in an accident as a pedestrian or a driver.

Pedestrian Rights and Responsibilities

Pedestrian laws vary by state, but one myth proves false in every states: The pedestrian always has the right of way.  Pedestrians are protected when observing the traffic laws provided to them, but also hold a responsibility that could leave them not only severely injured, but liable in a collision. Pedestrians on foot aren’t the only ones who may find themselves in a dangerous collision.  Cyclists are often traveling at higher speeds and sharing the roads with drivers can put them at a greater risk than even those on foot.

The following is a chart that summarizes both North and South Carolina’s pedestrian laws.  More information can be found at http://www.ncsl.org.

North Carolina Pedestrian Laws
•    Vehicles must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk, unmarked crosswalk, or near an intersection.
•    Vehicles emerging from any alleyway, building, private road, or driveway must yield the right of way to any pedestrian or person riding a bicycle approaching on a sidewalk extending across such alleyway, building, private road, or driveway.
•    Pedestrians must yield the right-of-way to vehicles when crossing outside of a marked crosswalk or an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.
•    Where traffic control devices are in operation, pedestrians may only cross between two adjacent intersections in a marked crosswalk.

South Carolina Pedestrian Laws
•    Vehicles must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians within a crosswalk that are in the same half of the roadway as the vehicle or when a pedestrian is approaching closely enough from the opposite side of the roadway to be in danger.
•    Pedestrians may not suddenly leave the curb and enter a crosswalk into the path of a moving vehicle that is so close to constitute an immediate hazard.
•    Pedestrians must yield the right-of-way to vehicles when crossing outside of a marked crosswalk or an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.
•    Where traffic control devices are in operation, pedestrians may only cross between two adjacent intersections in a marked crosswalk and may only cross an intersection diagonally if authorized by a traffic control device.
                                                                             
http://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/pedestrian-crossing-50-state-summary.aspx

Pedestrians who are observing these laws can often avoid collision and maintain safety.  It is also important that pedestrians avoid distractions while sharing the road with drivers.  Removing head phones and keeping eyes on the road will all serve to keep pedestrians safe.  Cyclists should always air on the side of caution when sharing major roadways with vehicles.  Light colored clothing, extra bicycle lamps and reflective surfaces and ensuring distractions aren’t present can all help keep a cyclist safe.  Those on bikes should avoid using cell phones when riding.

Driver Rights and Responsibilities

As the operator of the more heavy machinery, drivers often feel a responsibility beyond what they deserve when in a collision with a pedestrian.  While the result of a pedestrian collision can be catastrophic and even fatal, the driver is not always the responsible party.  North Carolina drivers can often prevent citation and fault for an accident if they observe posted signage and remain aware of pedestrian laws and right of ways.

While a driver may not be responsible under the law if adhering to these traffic regulations, being involved in a pedestrian crash may still leave you feeling responsible.  Avoiding distractions, especially in high pedestrian areas and approaching pedestrians with caution, even when you have the right of way, may prevent a tragedy from occurring.

No one wants to find themselves in a car accident, but if you do end up in a collision, the personal injury lawyers at Stewart Law Offices, LLC are ready to help you with your needs. Serving the South Carolina cities of Rock Hill, Beaufort, Spartanburg and Columbia, as well as Charlotte, North Carolina, Stewart Law Offices can help ensure you are treated fairly and receive any compensation you deserve. Call us at 1-866-STEWART

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Injured By Medical Malpractice?

Medical negligence injuries can devastate the lives of people and their families. According to the Institute of Medicine, nearly 100,000 patients die from medical negligence every year. Our personal injury attorneys want to ensure that healthcare providers accept responsibility for these serious errors. If you believe you may have suffered due to an error committed by a medical professional, you should learn more about medical malpractice and about what you can do if it happens to you. We can provide you with free attorney advice, and we can even visit you in the hospital or your home to talk to you about your potential injury case.

WHAT IS MEDICAL MALPRACTICE?

Not every medical error constitutes medical malpractice. Doctors sometimes make mistakes, but when healthcare providers fail to provide a reasonable standard of care, medical malpractice occurs. Essentially, this involves a healthcare provider, such as a doctor or surgeon, making a negligent mistake that causes the patient to suffer an injury. While medical malpractice takes many different forms, a few common examples include:
  • A doctor unreasonably fails to diagnose, misdiagnoses or delays a diagnosis of a medical condition
  • A physician provides incorrect treatment
  • A surgeon commits and surgical error by operating on the wrong part of the body or leaving a piece of equipment inside the patient’s body
  • A doctor makes an error that causes a birth injury and potentially permanent complications for the newborn
For medical malpractice to occur, the healthcare provider’s negligence must be the cause of the error and subsequent injury. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can determine if your case constitutes medical malpractice.

WHAT CAN I DO IF I SUFFERED FROM MEDICAL MALPRACTICE?

If you believe you may have suffered from medical malpractice, talk to our attorneys. For no charge, we will evaluate your case and discuss whether your facts will allow us to seek compensation for your injury.

In some cases, your medical care provider’s insurance company may attempt to settle a medical malpractice claim with you directly to prevent you from hiring an attorney. However, you should always speak with a lawyer before accepting any settlement offer from an insurance company. Stewart Law Offices, LLC can represent your case and work to get you as much compensation as possible for your injury.

ATTORNEYS FOR MEDICAL MALPRACTICE IN ROCK HILL, COLUMBIA, BEAUFORT AND CHARLOTTE
Stewart Law Offices, LLC represents injury victims across South Carolina, along with Gastonia, Charlotte and surrounding areas in North Carolina. Assistance at our Beaufort location is by appointment only. We are always available, so contact our injury and accident attorneys Spartanburg SC today for a free consultation about medical malpractice.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Summertime Water Safety

As summertime continues on, so do long days spent by the pool or at the water park. But increased fun often means increased risk of injury. Avoid experiencing water accidents or injuries by following a few common safety tips and looking for warning signs for potential dangers. While the most severe risk involved with water play is drowning, there are many other dangers that adults and caregivers should be cognizant of when monitoring children around water activities. Slip and fall hazards, sunburn and sun poisoning, chlorine burns, and other accidents are all risks that can often be avoided by following a few simple safety practices.

Water Safety Tips:

1. Monitor young children and non-swimmers at all times. Even if a child seems safe in a water floatation apparatus, a designated adult should remain on duty at all times. Seemingly safe devices can malfunction in a split second and one shouldn’t depend on a lifeguard to be the sole responsible party.

2. Check for compliant drain covers in all pool or spas. The Pool and Spa Safety Act is named for Virginia Graeme Baker, a seven year old girl who died as a result of non-compliant drain covers. One might not realize the power behind the filtration system and an improperly covered drain could lead to serious injury or even death.

3. Abide by all posted safety signs and avoid running near wet areas. A slip and fall personal injury are more prone to occur in wet areas. While excited children might find it difficult to abide by a no running rule, broken bones, sprained ankles, and skinned knees can often be avoided by slowing down. Furthermore, investing in water shoes with traction on the bottom might also help avoid injuries.

4. Beware of hot pavement and play equipment. According to National Safety Incorporated, when the air temperature is 87 degrees Fahrenheit, the pavement can reach temperatures as high as 145 degrees Fahrenheit. While it might be easy to assume that water will cool surfaces surrounding pools and water equipment, injury can still occur when temperatures creep up. Check all surfaces before allowing children to play or walk in order to avoid burns.

5. Utilize a sunscreen or sun block to prevent sunburn. Most of us have experienced sunburn at one time or another and often it seems more of a nuisance than anything. It can become serious, however, if prolonged exposure to the sun occurs. Sun poisoning can even occur if a burn is severe and results in fever, vomiting, and purpling of the skin. Additionally, unprotected sun exposure increases the risk of skin cancer.

According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, over 80 percent of skin cancers are a result from sun exposure.  They recommend using a broad spectrum sunscreen (one that protects against both UVA and UVB rays) that is water resistant and at least an SPF 30.  Furthermore, rash guard SPF protective clothing, hats, and umbrellas can further defend against the sun.  And don’t forget to reapply as often as recommended, especially for children who are in and out of the water or doing activities that cause friction. Find a more comprehensive list of tips and warnings by visiting The Skin Cancer Foundation website: http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection/swimming

6. Know the warning signs of chlorine burns. The sun isn’t the only potential source of burning.  Chlorine is used in many pools and water parks to kill bacteria in the water.  While it presents little risk when administered properly, there are reported cases each year of people, especially children, who suffer from chlorine burns as a result from exposure to too much of the chemical and the gas it produces.  Blurred vision, nausea, difficulty breathing, and redness around the eyes and mouth are a few of the early warning signs found on the CDC website.  The risk for exposure is higher in indoor pool buildings, as ventilation can be a problem.

To lower risk, avoid swimming right after chemicals have been administered, make sure areas indoors are well ventilated, and never be afraid to ask about a pool maintenance and chemical administration before swimming in a new place. If chlorine burn is suspected, move to a ventilated area, remove effected clothing and wash with soap and water immediately. Follow up by rapidly seeking medical attention. For more detailed information about chlorine burn, visit the CDC website at the following address: https://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/chlorine/basics/facts.asp


Injury doesn’t have to be a part of your summertime fun, but if you do find yourself in a situation where you are the victim of an injury due to improperly maintained pools or parks, please don’t hesitate to contact personal injury attorneys at Stewart Law Offices, LLC to help you with your needs. Serving the South Carolina cities of Rock Hill, Beaufort, Spartanburg and Columbia, as well as Charlotte, North Carolina, Stewart Law Offices can help get the compensation you deserve. Call us at 1-866-STEWART, and we’ll help you get back out in the sun.

For more information about pool safety, visit https://www.poolsafely.gov/parents/safety-tips/

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

How Could a Tape Measure Lead to a Fatal On-the-Job Injury?

In early November of 2011, a 58-year-old man was killed at work when a tape measure fell 50 stories and hit him on the head while he was delivering sheet rock at a New Jersey construction site.

tape measure, contruction supplies, construction tools, construction site, on-the-job, at work, potential hazards, secure all objects, contructions site safety, workers comp, worker injury, injured worker, workplace death, workplace injury, deadly accident
According to the Courier-Post, the Somerdale, New Jersey man was listed on the police report as working for a Charlotte, North Carolina-based company, National Gypsum, at the time of the incident. The tape measure that hit the man weighed 1 pound, according to a spokesperson for the Jersey City Department of Public Safety.

The tape measure fell after it was knocked off the belt of a worker on the 50th floor of a building on the construction site. After leaving the worker’s belt, the tape measure hit some construction equipment around 10 to 15 feet above the ground, which caused it to ricochet and hit the Somerdale man.

The 58-year-old worker was taken to the hospital following the incident, where he died later that day. Although he was listed as working for National Gypsum on the police report, the company said he was only delivering one of its products and actually worked for an independent trucking company.


Lawyer for On-the-Job Injury in Rock Hill, South Carolina


Following an on-the-job accident, as workers comp lawyer Beau Wilder explains in the video above, there are many benefits you may be entitled to that you could be unaware of, including:
  • Being allowed to seek a second opinion if you don’t feel you’re getting the medical treatment you need
  • Being eligible for a higher average weekly wage
  • Being owed a higher recovery amount
To learn more about the workers’ compensation process and why hiring a workers’ comp lawyer can help you, contact us today. Give us a call or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation with an attorney.

 1-866-STEWART
Source: http://www.courierpostonline.com/story/news/local/south-jersey/2014/11/03/somerdale-man-killed-falling-tape-measure/18441551/

Note: This information is for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. You can only receive legal advice by meeting with an attorney.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Ten Most Commonly Reported Worker Injuries

Workplace injuries can happen in a variety of different ways and many occur without warning. There are some workplace injuries that are more common than others, many of which can be caused by another person’s negligence. In this article, we take a look at a list of the top 10 workplace injuries commonly seen by workers comp attorneys Columbia SC to Charlotte NC, which could potentially lead to a workers’ compensation claim.

Overexertion

Basically, this means a person has hit their absolute limits physically and/or mentally. This can be caused by constant and repeated physical activity which could include lifting, pushing, climbing and other activities. It can also occur when a person’s body is contorted while working or exposed to extreme temperatures. What happens is that the body starts to fatigue from so much stress that it eventually gives out. This could affect numerous parts of the body. Most common being the soft tissue, joints, and spinal discs.

Trip and Fall

Some workplaces may have clutter and debris which cause you to take a fall, sustaining a potentially serious injury in the process. Employees are sometimes forced to navigate other hazards that may be a violation of safety regulations and considered reckless on the employer’s part.

Equipment Injury

Tools, machines and materials may be spread out all over worksites. This presents an ever-present hazard and much of that equipment is capable of inflicting severe bodily harm. Employers are required to train and equip employees to work with such equipment.

Exposure to Hazardous Materials

There needs to be proper handling and disposal of hazardous materials on a job site. If chemicals, biological or radiological hazardous materials are mishandled it could create toxic vapors, explosion, fire, or contamination. An exposure to hazardous materials could lead to serious consequences, which is why safety is stressed in these environments.


Hit by a Falling Object

Some worksites are multi-level which means that there is a constant threat of falling objects. This can affect workers on an entirely different level, as they may be unaware that they are even in danger. It maybe best to speak with a workers compensation lawyer about the circumstances surrounding your accident and injury.

Carpal Tunnel

Those who do repetitive tasks with their hands could wind up with carpal tunnel syndrome. This can even affect those who do a lot of clerical and computer work. There are a number of potential preventatives including maintaining good overall health, regular stretching, and proper posture.

Slip and Fall

Wet surfaces present a significant amount of danger while workers in all types of settings could experience a slip and fall. Wet floors should be indicated with proper signage or they should be cleaned altogether.

Workplace Violence

Some workers find it difficult to get along and that has could have the potential to escalate into a physical altercation. Sometimes, but less commonly, an individual maybe be personally disturbed and lash out at others without any known indications. Workplaces should be free of this kind of threat, although that is not always the case.

Anxiety and Stress

Some workplaces put a lot of pressure on workers and that can take a mental toll. It is just as important to provide a workplace where employees’ mental state is not impacted in a negative way.

Fall to a Lower Level


Elevated worksites, or ones that take place on multiple levels, run the risk of employees falling down a level or more. Workers could sustain serious injuries or death if this were to occur. It is important to follow safety measures and wear harnesses when necessary.

Throughout North Carolina and South Carolina, Stewart Law Offices can help workers who have been injured on the job. We can provide you with an experienced workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyer who will answer any question you may have and fight to get the benefits and compensation you rightfully deserve.

Call 1-866-STEWART

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Could Workers Comp Help Me If My Husband Died on the Job?

While it is not always the case, there are instances where the family members of an employee who was killed in a workplace incident could be eligible for workers compensation benefits. In the wake of losing a loved one, the family should be able to concentrate on the grieving process without having to worry about the financial ramifications of their loss.

By seeking workers comp, families may be able to receive the help they need to deal with mounting expenses associated with their loved one’s death, such as credit card bills and funeral expenses.
Recently, a Caldwell County, North Carolina family lost a loved one, who was a forest worker, in a fatal on-the-job construction accident.

According to WBTV-TV, the incident in which the man, who worked at the Tuttle Educational State Forest, lost his life happened while he was trying to remove a fallen tree from a roadway using a tractor. While the man was moving the tree, it snapped, causing a section of it to collide with his torso.

The forest worker, who was a husband and father, died at the scene. The North Carolina Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Division was still investigating the incident at the time of this report.

I Need a North Carolina Workers Comp Lawyer

If you have lost a family member in a work-related incident, you should speak with a workers compensation attorney as soon as possible. The workers comp process can be difficult and complicated, especially without the assistance of a qualified and experienced lawyer to help guide you through it.
Stewart Law OfficesWorkers Compensation Attorneys

Source: http://www.wbtv.com/story/26275771/officials-forest-service-officer-killed-in-construction-accident

Note: This information is for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. You can only receive legal advice by meeting with an attorney.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Boating Accident and Injury Prevention

Boating accidents and personal injuries are often caused by negligence and occur more often in the summer months. However, many of these accidents can be prevented. Here is a look some ways to help prevent boating accidents and injuries in the Carolinas.

Lake Wylie bordering North Carolina and South Carolina

Don’t Drink and Boat

One of the top ways to prevent boating accidents is to avoid drinking and driving a boat. Boaters who are found guilty of this infraction could face the same charges as people who are arrested for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence.

For example, the state of North Carolina has three varying levels associated with BUI (Boating Under the Influence). Boat checks can also done on the whim by state wildlife and game officials, who have more leeway in this area than police officers making auto related traffic stops.

Avoid Excessive Speeding

Unlike cars, boats are not equipped with brakes. Therefore, stopping suddenly is not as simple which makes speeding even more dangerous in a boat. A lack of seat belts can also cause severe injuries to passengers in the event of a collision. Boat captains should be well-trained in how to handle a boat, which becomes increasingly difficult at high speeds.

Stay Stocked and Ready

More than 80% of all boating fatalities occur when a person is not wearing a life jacket. Stocking your boat with an ample amount of life jackets is extremely important before heading out on the water. Keeping a fully-stocked emergency kit, distress signals and a working fire extinguisher can also help manage through any unforeseen trouble.

Careful Captains and Passengers

Recklessness should not only be avoided by the captain, but passengers should also be mindful of their behavior. People falling overboard is one of the most common causes of boating deaths. It is important to be mindful of that.

Maintaining what is considered to be safe speeds, limiting alcohol consumption among passengers, and constantly monitoring the weather can help safe passage in a boat.

Don’t Rely On Cell Phones

Every boat should be equipped with GPS navigation and the ability to radio into shore. That does not mean relying merely on a cell phone, since both signal and power could be lost at sea. Having working GPS instruments onboard can potentially assist in successful navigation and calls for help if needed.

Stewart Law Offices handles jet ski and boating accidents Columbia SC to Charlotte NC. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help. If you have been injured in a boating related accident in SC or NC, please give us a call at 866-STEWART.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Are Roundabouts Safe?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), converting 10 percent of the signalized intersections in the U.S. to roundabouts would have helped prevent around 46,000 motor vehicle accidents in 2012, including 184 fatal accidents and 31,000 injury accidents.

In addition to improving safety, IIHS studies have shown that in locations where roundabouts replaced traffic signals, there was, on average, an 89 percent reduction in vehicle delays and a 56 percent reduction in vehicle stops.


In Myrtle Beach, after years of struggling with traffic and safety issues, the city is considering implementing roundabouts. According to WPDE News Channel 15, in early July, Patrick Sadek, a city engineer, presented a plan to the Myrtle Beach City Planning Commission that involved installing roundabouts at four intersections along Robert Grissom Parkway.

Two of those four intersections have been the site of two fatal crashes within the last two years, according to News Channel 15.

“With the roundabout, you’re coming almost to a complete stop so it’s like you’re reducing the severity of the accident by almost 80, 90 percent,” Sadek pointed out.

If approved, each roundabout would cost around $500,000 to install.

How Do I Use a Roundabout Safely?

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), following these steps can help a driver use a roundabout safely:
  • Slow down as you approach the roundabout.
  • As you pull up to the entry of the roundabout, remember circulating traffic as well as pedestrians and bicyclists have the right of way.
  • If an emergency vehicle needs to pass, clear the roundabout.
  • If the roundabout has multiple lanes, do not attempt to pass large trucks within the roundabout.
  • Use your right turn signal to alert other vehicles that you are exiting the roundabout.

You can find more information about roundabout intersection safety here on the FHWA website.

Source: http://wpde.com/news/local/myrtle-beach-looks-for-way-around-a-traffic-problem
 
Stewart Law Offices, LLC – Car Accident Attorneys
Note: This information is for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. You can only receive legal advice by meeting with an attorney.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Knowing What You Are Buying With Motorcycle Insurance

While motorcycles are much smaller than most automobiles, a motorcycle accident in SC could potentially have much more severe repercussions. This is why it is important to be aware of some of the small details when deciding on a motorcycle insurance policy.  Below are some helpful tips to consider.


Not All Policies Are Created The Same

No two motorcycles are exactly the same and neither are motorcycle insurance policies. Your motorcycle insurance policy can be customized to meet the specifications and modifications made to your bike. For example, two 2006 Harley Davidson models can have different policies as dictated by a variety of upgrades and differences in those two bikes. Just as there is a wealth of options to choose from when customizing your motorcycle, there is also a wealth of options to choose from when customizing your motorcycle insurance policy.

Less Money Means Less Coverage

If a motorcycle policy is significantly cheaper than an auto insurance policy, make sure you read the fine print. Often times, these policies appear to be cheaper but in reality it is because there is significantly less coverage, including personal injury coverage. Don’t expect to pay significantly less for a motorcycle insurance policy that has proper coverage. When getting a price quote, it is important to look into what you are actually getting and go beyond the bare minimum coverage.

Valuable Additions

Because of the serious nature of motorcycle accidents, it is important to be prepared. Purchasing uninsured and underinsured coverage options can help immensely when you are in a collision with a driver who does not have insurance or has too little insurance to pay for repairs and medical treatments.

Also, for insurance companies to pay for additional damages not sustained in an auto collision, you will need comprehensive coverage. This usually includes theft and vandalism, as well as natural disaster, civil unrest, and collision with an animal.


Don’t Forget Your Gear

Motorcycle riders purchase various safety equipment to ensure their personal safety on the roadways. These kind of purchases are not cheap. This kind of gear includes gloves, eyewear, helmets and protective motorcycle clothing. In North Carolina the law calls for all motorcyclist to wear an approved helmet with a secured chin scrap while South Carolina only requires those under the age of 21 to wear an approved helmet. *See state websites for more information.

Roadside Assistance

Roadside assistance for your bike goes beyond towing. This can protect motorcyclists who are taking longer trips and that may go out of state as well as those that run out of gas on the side of the road. Trip interruption is an add-on that will serve as a form of protection when something happens to your bike out on the road. This could provide extra peace of mind on long road trips and lone adventures.

When a motorcycle accident affects you or someone you love, the injury attorneys at Stewart Law Offices LLC are ready to help. Our staff is experienced in motorcycle and auto accidents. Serving the South Carolina cities of Rock Hill, Beaufort, Spartanburg and Columbia, as well as Charlotte, North Carolina, Stewart Law Offices can help get the compensation you deserve. Call us at 1-866-STEWART.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The “100 Deadly Days” Of Summer

As much joy as the summer months often hold for the residents of South Carolina, it is unfortunately also a time of great tragedy. Typically, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day bears witness to a flood of fatal, and often alcohol-related, boat and car accidents.

The period has become so infamous that it has been dubbed the “100 Deadly Days” of summer, and judging by the numbers, it is easy to understand how it earned that nickname:
  • According to NBC 2 News in Mt. Pleasant, officers with the South Carolina Highway Patrol (SCHP) have estimated that close to 200 people are killed on South Carolina’s roads because of impaired drivers.
  • The SCHP reported that over Memorial Day weekend in 2013, there were 12 deaths involving car wrecks.
  • During last year’s “100 Deadly Days” of summer, there were 234 deaths caused by car accidents. In addition, there were 14,553 people injured in car crashes during that time.
The alcohol-related fatalities have specifically been targeted by the SCHP as a key to making the “100 Deadly Days” a thing of the past. To that end, officers are reiterating the harsh penalties drunk drivers could face.

“Normally, someone on a Friday night doesn’t ride by themselves…there [are] usually two to three people in the car,” Sr. Trooper Hannah Wimberly of the SCHP told NBC 2. “If you kill all three people, you are looking at up to 75 years in prison.”

WHAT CAN I DO IF A DRUNK DRIVER HURTS ME?

A qualified and experienced injury attorney can guide you and your family through the process of bringing a drunk driver to justice and recovering the money you need for pain and suffering, medical bills and living expenses.

Stewart Law Offices, LLC – Car Accident Attorneys

Source: http://www.counton2.com/story/25529582/south-carolina-highway-patrols-warns-of-100-deadly-days-of-summer

Note: This information is for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. You can only receive legal advice by meeting with an attorney.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Four Summertime Hazards to be Aware of While Driving

The summer season is upon us. This can mean road trip adventures and tons of fun, however getting places in the summertime comes with many more obstacles on the roadways. Here is a closer look at four summer hazards every driver should be aware of before they get behind the wheel.

Bicyclists

The summer weather means more people taking to the road on bicycles. While some roads are equipped with bike lanes, many roads are not. In addition, some drivers are not accustomed to checking for bikers before making a turn. It is a good idea to be extra careful by checking blind spots and mirrors when changing lanes or turning in order to avoid accidents. While bicyclists should be wearing bright clothing often times that isn’t the case, making it difficult to spot them on roadways. It is still up to drivers to identify them and act accordingly.

Construction Zones

The winter months can take their toll on roads and by the time summer rolls around, construction crews are busy making necessary repairs. Some drivers do not always slow down to the posted speeds in construction zones and are often unaware of the risks. These areas have proven to be dangerous for drivers as they present many obstacles such as workers, cones as well as hanging machines. Drivers speeding through these zones are pose a threat to workers, other drivers and themselves. This behavior could easily lead to personal injury. It is a good idea to slow down and be very mindful when driving through construction zones and work areas.

Mother Nature

Sudden thunderstorms can quickly saturate roads, making hydroplaning a possibility. Flash flooding and hailstorms can also occur without warning. In areas where creeks or streams have overflowed, the roadway can be severely damaged or washed away. Additionally, these storms can affect driver visibility and cause skidding and swerving. The summertime means more sun, which also hinders visibility. The glare from the summer sun is particularly strong, forcing drivers to be prepared and extra vigilant on the roads.


A section of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

More Inexperienced Drivers

When school lets out for the summer, it means many more young drivers on the road. Less experienced drivers may be easily distracted and that may be intensified in the summer with so much going on around them. Driving and texting, taking unnecessary risks, and speeding are common among young drivers.

These are all elements that drivers need to be prepared for throughout the summer months.

If you are involved in an auto accident and are in need of an attorney, contact Stewart Law Offices. With multiple South Carolina locations and a Charlotte office, you can speak with one of our auto accident attorneys to see if we can help. Give us a call at 1-866-STEWART.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Is It Safe For My Parents In A Nursing Home?


Placing your loved one in the care of a nursing home can be a difficult decision. Often, a nursing home promises to provide your elderly relative with a better quality of life, including round the clock supervision and medical attention.

Unfortunately, nursing homes do not always fulfill the promises they make. Nursing home abuse is a very real problem and one that does not discriminate. Finding out that a staff member violated your trust can be quite devastating, especially if it results in a serious injury or death of a loved one.

With so much on the line, it is important that the families of nursing home residents know how to recognize the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect. According to U.S. News & World Report, some traits of the worst nursing homes include:
  • A history of abuse or neglect, including low star rating with Medicare.gov, which takes into account factors such as staffing, time spent with residents and state-conducted health inspections.
  • A record that includes several severe violations.
  • A consistently large amount of staff turnover.
  • Overly restrictive of residents’ independence.
  • It simply does not pass the eye test.

My Parent Was the Victim of Nursing Home Abuse. Who Can I Call?

Stewart Law Offices, LLC represents nursing home abuse victims and their families throughout South Carolina as well as Gastonia, Charlotte and surrounding areas in North Carolina. To schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced injury attorneys, call us today.
Stewart Law Offices, LLC – Injury Attorneys

Note: This information is for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. You can only receive legal advice by meeting with an attorney.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Are VA Directors Profiting from Medical Negligence?

In the healthcare industry, when mistakes are made, people can suffer catastrophic injuries and even die. Therefore, it is not a stretch to say that when we submit to the care of a medical professional, we are trusting them with our wellbeing as well as our very lives.

man carrying cardboard sign stating "Veterans Support The Good And Caring At All VA Hospitals - Clinics" while walking Memorial Day parade in Bangor, Maine
With that in mind, it is criminal that not only are our veterans being neglected and mistreated by VA hospitals, but in some cases, those in charge of the facilities are receiving bonuses despite their negligence.

According to Newsmax, on May 28, members of the House Veterans Affairs Committee discovered that VA personnel at 42 VA facilities under investigation for ignoring and abusing their patients still received bonuses for their performance, including:
    • Carl Hawkins, who as regional director of the Columbia, South Carolina VA allowed the backlog of disability claims to double, with 95 of the claims, reportedly, being improperly shredded. Despite those failings, in addition to his $165,300 salary, from 2007 to 2011, Hawkins received bonuses totaling $79,275.
    • Diana Rubens, who as supervisor of 60 VA offices allowed the disability-benefit claims backlog to grow to seven times the size it was before she took the position. Still, despite that being the case, from 2007 to 2011, she collected bonuses totaling $96,896.
      Lawyers That Handle Medical Malpractice
      No one, especially our veterans, should be subjected to this level of incompetence when it comes to his or her medical treatment. Stewart Law Offices, LLC understands what is at stake for the victims of medical malpractice and their families. We take these cases very seriously, and will fight relentlessly to ensure our clients’ needs are met and justice is served.
      Stewart Law Offices, LLC – Medical Malpractice Attorneys

      Source: http://www.newsmax.com/Murdock/VA-Bonuses-hospitals-patient/2014/05/29/id/574054/

      Note: This information is for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. You can only receive legal advice by meeting with an attorney.

      Tuesday, May 16, 2017

      Can Commercial Truckers Drive as Long as They Want?

      The human body was not meant to stay awake for 24 hours. If this basic fact is ignored, drivers and trucking companies put everyone else on the road at risk of being involved in a tractor trailer accident.

      There is a reason we have federal hours of service laws for truck drivers: truckers may only drive a maximum of 11 consecutive hours after 10 consecutive hours of rest. This is extremely important as at full capacity, these drivers are responsible for what can be 80,000 pound vehicles. When drivers ignore the federal truck regulations, people die.

      The recent auto accident involving actor and comedian Tracy Morgan shows how deadly these violations can be. Morgan, 45, was traveling in his limo when a Walmart truck slammed into it on the New Jersey Turnpike. There has been one reported death and many critical injuries. Truck driver Kevin Roper, 35, was allegedly awake for more than 24 hours when the wreck occurred.

      Who is Liable for Truck Collisions?

      Walmart has issued a statement saying that it will take full responsibility for the crash if it turns out that the truck caused the accident. The driver will face criminal charges, but we still do not know who is truly responsible for this wreck.

      Did the driver decide to violate these hour restriction laws on his own? Did his employer set unreasonable deadlines that forced him to stay awake? An investigation should look into all these questions and more.

      Victims of truck wrecks and their surviving family members must act quickly if they want to seek justice. Important evidence in truck crash cases, such as driving logs and internal communications, have a habit of disappearing after serious wrecks like this. A skilled accident attorney can preserve vital evidence before it is too late.

      Stewart Law Offices, LLC – Truck Accident Attorneys
      Note: This information is for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. You can only receive legal advice by meeting with an attorney.

      Tuesday, May 9, 2017

      Can A Drunken Boater Get Away With Hurting Me?

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      Following a June 14 recreational boating accident, the 43-year-old driver of the craft is in jail facing charges for boating under the influence, according to WLTX CBS 19.

      The accident happened around 7:30 p.m. on Lake Marion just outside of Eutawville, South Carolina when the boat struck a buoy near Red Bank Landing. The force of the collision sent three of the four people onboard the boat flying into the water, resulting in the death of one and injuries to the others.

      While the drunken boater in the reported incident referenced above is facing criminal charges, that may be of little direct benefit to his victims. The state or prosecuting attorney represents the collective interests of society, not individual victims of wrongdoing. For victims, a civil suit often represents their best chance to hold the drunken boater accountable in a way that will actually help make the victim whole again.

      Is My Family Safe on the Water?

      No matter how responsible you are behind the wheel of a boat, the reckless actions of your fellow boaters can still put your family in harm’s way. Victims of boating accidents caused by the mistakes of others need to act as soon as possible to ensure valuable evidence is not lost, and obtain the assistance they need to help secure the money they will require for hospital bills, long-term medical care and living expenses incurred during the recovery process.

      An experienced accident lawyer can guide families through the process of holding those at fault accountable for the pain and suffering they inflict on others.

      Did You Know: Alcohol use was the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents in 2012 according to US Coast Guard data, causing 17 percent of all such incidents.

      Source: http://www.wltx.com/story/news/local/2014/06/16/drunken-boating-charges/10575521/

      Note: This information is for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. You can only receive legal advice by meeting with an attorney.

      Thursday, March 30, 2017

      I’m the Victim of a Recent Hit and Run Incident. What Can I Do?


      Being the victim of a hit and run accident can leave you hurt, angry, confused, and with a mountain of bills. While you may be disoriented, it is important to be cognizant of the actions you take immediately following the accident. Taking the right steps could help you track down the responsible driver and secure the compensation you deserve.
      Here are six steps you should take following a hit and run accident, courtesy of the personal injury attorneys at Stewart Law Offices, LLC:

      • Recollect the details. Try to remember everything you can about the car that hit you, including the color, make, model, and state license plate. Write these details down so you don’t forget later.

      • Take photographs. A picture is worth a thousand words, and is usually weighted more heavily than a verbal testimony in the court of law. Take pictures from as many angles as you can, making sure not to alter any of the evidence.

      • Contact law enforcement. It’s always a good idea to contact local law enforcement after any kind of automobile accident. The police report could come in handy later if your claim goes to trial. Plus, some states legally require it.

      • Get the medical attention you need. If you have been seriously injured, get professional help as soon as possible. Make sure to keep copies of all appointments, medical bills, prescriptions, and doctor’s notes.

      • Know how to speak to insurance adjusters. If you are contacted by an insurance adjuster, stick to the facts and avoid saying things such as, “I’ll be fine,” or “I should have seen him coming.” The person on the other end of the phone may sound friendly, but they will do anything they can to minimize your payout – don’t give them any ammunition.

      • Consult a personal injury attorney. Don’t plead with your insurance company for a small settlement. An experienced personal injury attorney can review your case, assemble supporting evidence, and secure the full amount of compensation you are entitled to.

      If you have been the victim of a hit and run in North Carolina or South Carolina, the personal injury attorneys at Stewart Law Offices, LLC are here for you in your time of need. Contact us online to get started with a free case consultation, or call us anytime at 866-STEWART.

      Wednesday, March 29, 2017

      My Relative Died in the Hospital. Can I Sue for Medical Malpractice?


      When you put your health in the hands of a medical professional, a certain moral and legal standard of care must be provided. When this standard is not met, patients can get hurt – or worse.
      Medical malpractice is responsible for roughly 100,000 patient deaths each year, according to the Institute of Medicine. In the unfortunate situation of a wrongful death, the victim’s family has the legal right to be compensated for their loss.
      Read below to learn more about medical malpractice and its legal implications…

      What is Medical Malpractice?
      Medical malpractice can be defined as the negligence of a health care provider in which substandard treatment was provided that directly caused injury or death to a patient.
      Medical malpractice generally comes in one of two forms:
      • The negligence of physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals who are employed by the hospital.
      • The hospital’s own negligence in policies and procedures.

      Negligence of Employees
      Not every medical mistake qualifies as negligence or malpractice. While medical malpractice can take many different forms, some common examples include:
      • A doctor unreasonably fails to diagnose, or misdiagnoses, a medical condition.
      • A physician provides incorrect treatment.
      • A surgeon operates on the wrong part of the body, or leaves a piece of equipment inside the body.
      • A doctor makes a birthing error that causes injury and potentially permanent complications for the newborn.

      Negligence of the Hospital
      The hospital itself can also be negligent in the way it handles its patients, employees, and equipment. Some examples of hospital negligence include:
      • Failing to verify its employees are competent, safe, and properly licensed.
      • Failing to fire incompetent, unsafe, or unlicensed employees.
      • Failure to establish proper patient safety protocols
      • Failure to properly maintain or repair equipment
      • Understaffing

      Suing for Malpractice
      If you have lost a family member due to medical malpractice, you may have the legal right to compensation. Generally, the heirs to the deceased victim are the plaintiffs in a wrongful death lawsuit:
      • If the victim was a child, the heirs are the parents.
      • If the victim was married, the heirs are the spouse and any children.
      • If the victim was not married, the heirs are the children.
      • If the victim was not married and had no children, the heirs are the parents. If the parents are not alive, the heirs would be the victim’s siblings.

      As previously mentioned, medical malpractice is much more than a simple mistake. If you plan on suing for medical malpractice, four elements must be proven in the court of law:
      • the existence of a patient-doctor relationship
      • the provision of care that fell below the accepted medical standard
      • quantifiable harm to the patient
      • a connection between the provider’s negligence and the patient’s harm

      Medical malpractice laws can be complicated, and vary from state to state. It is best to consult with a licensed medical malpractice attorney to discuss your legal options.
      Stewart Law Offices, LLC offers legal representation for medical malpractice victims and their families throughout North Carolina and South Carolina. Contact us online to get started with a free consultation, or call our attorneys anytime at 866-STEWART.

      Tuesday, March 28, 2017

      Routine Car Maintenance Schedule


      As a licensed driver, it is your responsibility to ensure your car is running smoothly and, more importantly, safely. Too many car owners neglect the maintenance of their vehicles, and it costs them big time.
      By sticking to a routine maintenance schedule, you can prevent breakdowns, extend the life of your automobile, maximize fuel efficiency, and improve safety. Your owner’s manual will list out maintenance requirements specific for your make and model, but here is a general guideline to get you started:
      Every 1 Month or 1,000 Miles
      • Monitor dashboard indicator lights.
      • Inspect tires for damage and check pressure.
      • Check windshield wiper fluid.
      Every 3 Months or 3,000 Miles
      • Change oil and oil filter.
      • Check belts for looseness or signs of damage. Replace as necessary.
      • Make sure battery is securely mounted, and clean any corrosion.
      • Inspect exhaust for leaks or broken supports.
      • Check transmission and power steering fluids.
      Every 6 Months or 6,000 Miles
      • Chassis lubrication (if required, check owner’s manual).
      • Replace wiper blades.
      • Examine spark plugs, replace if damaged.
      Every 12 Months or 12,000 Miles
      • Replace engine air filter.
      • Replace cabin air filter.
      • Examine brakes and replace as necessary.
      • Change engine coolant.
      • Inspect steering and suspension systems.
      • Have your tires rotated, balanced, and aligned.
      This basic maintenance schedule is a good starting point for most cars. For instructions specific to your make and model, refer to your owner’s manual or the Firestone Complete Auto Care Maintenance Schedule.
      Stewart Law Offices, LLC offers legal representation for personal injury victims in North Carolina and South Carolina. If you have been injured in an automobile collision, contact us online for a free consultation, or call anytime at 866-STEWART.

      Monday, March 13, 2017

      3 Things Your Personal Injury Lawyer Wishes You Knew


      The attorneys at Stewart Law Offices, LLC have more than 25 years of experience representing personal injury victims throughout North Carolina and South Carolina. Throughout our years, we have seen clients make simple mistakes that cost them a lot of money, all because they weren’t properly informed.

      With that said, here are three things your personal injury lawyer wishes you knew…

      #1. Insurance adjusters are not your friend.
      When you get into an accident, you can expect a phone call from the at-fault party’s insurance company almost immediately. The person on the other end of the phone will seem warm, friendly, and caring, and may even ask about your injuries. Hang up the phone. While it seems like the insurance adjuster has your best interest at heart, it is his job to minimize your payout. Anything you say can and will be recorded and used against you in court if necessary.

      #2. Social media can make or break your case.
      Nothing on the internet can ever truly be deleted, so it is important to be mindful of what you post on social media. The insurance company is looking for whatever they can find to prove your injury is not as serious as you claim, which includes monitoring your social media profiles. Don’t give them ammo by posting anything about how well your recovery is going, or sharing pictures of your snowboarding trip from last weekend.

      #3. You can lose (a lot of) money by forgoing an attorney.
      Many people choose to represent themselves because they think they can’t afford to pay an attorney, or simply don’t want to. What they don’t know is research shows that personal injury victims who are represented by a lawyer consistently settle for more money than their self-represented counterparts – even after accounting for lawyer fees. In fact, many personal injury lawyers operate on a contingency fee agreement, meaning your fees are paid from your settlement, not out of your own pocket.

      If you are looking for legal representation for your personal injury case, look no further than the attorneys at Stewart Law Offices, LLC. We have more than 25 years of experience representing personal injury victims throughout North Carolina and South Carolina. Contact us online to get started with a free consultation, or call (888) 286-5600.

      Friday, March 3, 2017

      Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents


      Slip and fall accidents account for roughly 1 million visits to the emergency room every year, and are the leading cause of workers compensation claims. The medical costs associated with slip and falls is approximately $70 billion per year.
      In order to prevent slip and fall accidents, it is important to know why (and where) they occur. Read below to learn more about slip and fall accidents and how you can prevent them, courtesy of the personal injury lawyers at Stewart Law Offices, LLC.

      Common causes of slip and fall accidents
      • Wet or uneven surfaces: it is estimated that more than half of all slip and fall accidents are caused by hazardous walking surfaces.
      • Weather conditions: rain, ice, and snow can instantly transform any surface into a slippery and dangerous one.
      • Improper training: on-the-job slip and falls often occur because the victim was not adequately trained.
      • Unsuitable footwear: about one out of every four slip and fall accidents can be prevented with proper footwear.
      • Nursing home neglect: our sense of balance deteriorates as we age, which leaves seniors more prone to falling. If they are not closely monitored, accidents are more likely to happen.
      • Fraud: it is important to note that not every slip and fall claim stems from an actual injury. Some of them are just people looking for a quick payday.

      Where do slip and fall accidents most frequently occur?
      Where the slip and fall accident takes place is important in terms of liability due to factors such as maintenance expectations, control over conditions, and individuals involved. While slip and falls can occur virtually anywhere, they are most common in:
      • Big box and grocery stores
      • Hotels and resorts
      • Small businesses
      • Private homes
      • Apartments
      • Public spaces
      • At work

      How to prevent slip and fall accidents
      Whether you are the property owner, host, employer, visitor, guest, or employee, there are safety measures you can take in order to reduce the chances of a slip and fall accident.
      • Reduce slippery surfaces. Mop up all water spills immediately, place sand on icy surfaces, and use anti-slip mats wherever possible.
      • Create a good maintenance schedule. Assign basic housekeeping responsibilities and hold everyone accountable for their job.
      • Do not obstruct walkways. Keep all walking paths and aisles clear of tripping hazards.
      • Ensure lighting is sufficient. Poor lighting can increase the risk of slip and falls.
      • Wear proper footwear. Proper footwear provides good traction and can prevent you from slipping.
      • Be mindful of your surroundings. Paying attention to where you are walking can go a long way.

      What to do if you are involved in a slip and fall
      If you are hurt in a slip and fall accident, you may have the right to receive compensation for your injuries. Liability can vary based on what state you are in, the location of your accident, and other circumstances surrounding the fall. It is advised that you speak with a personal injury lawyer immediately following the accident to determine if you have legal rights to recovery.
      Stewart Law Offices, LLC offers professional legal representation to personal injury victims in North Carolina and South Carolina. Our attorneys are experienced in slip and fall accidents, car crashes, workers comp claims, and all other types of personal injury lawsuits. Contact us online to get started with a free evaluation, or call (888) 286-5600.

      Monday, February 27, 2017

      Workers’ Compensation vs. Third-Party Claim vs. Employer Lawsuits


      Nearly three million Americans are hurt on the job each year, racking up hundreds of millions of dollars in medical bills and lost wages. Luckily for these injured employees, laws are in place to help them receive compensation for their damages. The three primary ways of doing this are workers’ compensation, third-party claims, and lawsuits against the employer.
      In this article, the personal injury attorneys at Stewart Law Offices, LLC will break down each type of claim, helping you determine which option is best for your individual situation…

      Workers’ Compensation

      The vast majority of employees injured on the job are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. These state-regulated laws may require the employer to reimburse the injured worker for medical expenses, and supplement their lost wages. Since filing a claim can be tricky, and just one mistake could cost you thousands of dollars, it is recommended to seek assistance from a professional workers’ compensation attorney.

      Third-Party Claim

      What is an injured worker to do if they were hurt on the job, but to no fault of the employer? If a third party – such as an independent contractor, non-employee, or defective product – is to blame for your injuries, you may have the right to file a claim against said party. Third party claims often provide compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.

      Lawsuit Against Employer

      This is the least common type of claim, since workers’ compensation laws generally protect employers against lawsuits from injured employees. However, in extreme cases involving severe negligence, recklessness, or even intentional harm, employees may have the option to bypass workers’ compensation laws and sue their employer directly.
      Were you hurt on the job in North Carolina or South Carolina? The steps you take immediately following the accident are crucial to securing compensation for your injuries. Trust the workers’ compensation attorneys at Stewart Law Offices, LLC to assist you in your time of need – we will even visit you at home or in the hospital while you recover.
      To schedule a free consultation with one of our professional lawyers, please call (888) 286-5600 or contact us online.

      Friday, February 24, 2017

      5 Most Common Injuries Sustained in Car Collisions


      According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 6,500 people are injured every day in car accidents. While injuries can occur to virtually any part of your body, these five types are among the most common:
      1. Whiplash. Whiplash is the most common injury suffered in car accidents. It occurs when the impact from the collision causes the back or neck to stretch beyond its normal limit, then quickly snap back into place. Whiplash can affect your vertebrae, discs, ligaments, or even the spinal cord itself. In severe cases, whiplash can lead to chronic pain and even paralysis.
      2. Concussions. Significant impact to the head (or even just the body) can cause your brain to violently shake inside of your skull, which is known as a concussion. Concussions range in severity, with some taking just hours to heal and others taking weeks. Your brain is more sensitive after sustaining a concussion, so it is important to avoid activities that put you at risk while you recover.
      3. Other head injuries. It is common for drivers and passengers involved in a car accident to strike their heads against the steering wheel or dashboard. This can lead to a variety of injuries, such as a broken nose, dislocated jaw, loss of teeth, or damage to the eyes and ears.
      4. Chest injuries. The placement of seatbelts, air bags, and steering wheels all make the chest a vulnerable body part in car collisions. Chest injuries can range from minor bruises and contusions to broken ribs, fractured sternums, or damage to internal organs.
      5. Leg injuries. When seated in a car, your legs have little room for movement. When a collision occurs, it is very likely that your legs will be thrown against the side door or dashboard. If you are hit from the side, your legs could even take the brunt of the collision.
      Keep in mind that not all injuries are readily apparent after a car accident. Some may take several hours, or even days, to appear. If you are involved in a car accident, seek medical treatment if you experience any pain or discomfort.
      The personal injury attorneys at Stewart Law Offices, LLC represent car accident victims across North and South Carolina. If you have been injured at the hands of someone else, let us help you seek the compensation you are entitled to. Contact us online to get started with a free consultation, or call (888) 286-5600.

      Wednesday, February 22, 2017

      Common Forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution for Personal Injury Claims


      Not all personal injury claims make it to court. In fact, most them don’t. The litigation process is stressful, time-consuming, and expensive for claimants and defendants alike, which is why both parties usually opt for alternative dispute resolution.
      Alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, is the procedure for settling disputes outside of the court system. The three most common types of ADR are negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. In this article, the personal injury attorneys at Stewart Law Offices, LLC will tell you everything you need to know about these three forms of alternative dispute resolution.

      Negotiation

      Negotiation is the most informal type of alternative dispute resolution, and is almost always attempted first. Negotiation involves the two sides meeting together and trying to reach a settlement without the help of a third party. This allows the parties themselves to control the process and reach a solution.

      Mediation

      During mediation, both parties agree to meet with a mediator, who has no interest in the outcome of the case. The mediator’s job is simple: to act as a mutual third party and attempt to bring both sides together in order to reach an agreement. Many times, the mediator is another lawyer who can look at the facts and shed light on the strengths and weaknesses of both cases. Mediation is usually non-binding, meaning it is up to the two parties to reach a compromise.

      Arbitration

      Like mediation, arbitration involves both sides meeting with a neutral third party. Unlike a mediator, the arbitrator does have the power to render a judgement. Arbitrations can be held before a single arbitrator, or a panel of three. The arbitrator(s) will listen to both parties present their evidence and testimonies before making a decision that both parties must adhere to, whether they like it or not. In this sense, arbitration can best be described as an “informal” trial.
      Even though alternative dispute resolution doesn’t involve the motions of a court trial, it is still a good idea to seek professional legal representation. If you live in North Carolina or South Carolina, trust the attorneys at Stewart Law Offices, LLC to handle your personal injury claim. Whether through litigation, mediation, arbitration, or negotiation, we will help you secure the compensation you are entitled to.
      Ready to speak with one of our personal injury lawyers? Contact us online to get started with a free case evaluation, or call (888) 286-5600.

      Friday, February 17, 2017

      Medical Malpractice By The Numbers


      All medical professionals have a moral and legal responsibility to provide an acceptable level of care to their patients. When this duty is not upheld, people can get hurt – or worse.
      Failure to meet these standards is known as medical malpractice, and is a serious problem in the United States. Just take a look at some of these shocking statistics:
      • Nearly 100,000 patients die from medical negligence every single year.
      • Roughly 12,000 medical malpractice claims were filed in 2014.
      • Nearly 50% of victims in medical malpractice suffered a permanent injury. 31% died.
      • Treatment errors and other mistakes are only reported by hospitals 14% of the time.
      • Surgery errors accounted for 34% of all inpatient medical malpractice lawsuits. On the outpatient side, errors in diagnosis made up 46% of claims.
      • OBGYNs were the most common type of health care provider charged with medical malpractice, followed by general surgeons and primary care physicians.
      • The average patient waits 16.5 months before filing a claim, and another 27.5 months to reach a resolution.
      • The average compensation awarded for medical malpractice is around $485,000.
      • Total payouts in 2014 were $3.89 billion dollars.
      In order to establish medical malpractice in a court of law, four elements must be proven true:
      1. the existence of a patient-doctor relationship
      2. the provision of care that fell below the accepted medical standard
      3. quantifiable harm to the patient
      4. a connection between the provider’s negligence and the patient’s harm
      A qualified medical malpractice lawyer can help you make your case and recover compensation for your damages.
      Do you think you or someone you love has suffered from medical malpractice? If you live in North Carolina or South Carolina, the medical malpractice attorneys at Stewart Law Offices, LLC are available for consultation. Contact us online, or call (888) 286-5600 to get started.