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Shelly Leeke Law Firm, LLC

Your Legal Questions Answered.

Answering Your Questions. Protecting Your Legal Rights.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, you probably have many questions. Below are the answers to many questions faced by accident victims in South Carolina. If you do not see the answer to your question, just call our office or email Shelly directly - [email protected].

Research Your Case. Expand Your Knowledge.

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  • Am I required to undergo a medical examination requested by my insurance company if I was injured in a South Carolina accident that wasn't my fault?

    After being involved in a South Carolina car accident it's highly likely that no matter your role in causing the accident you will be requested by an insurance company to submit to an independent medical exam, or IME. Unfortunately, insurance companies are usually contractually able to demand Independent Medical Exams, but there are things you can do to protect your car accident claim, even when you must undergo an IME.

    After being in a South Carolina car accident, it can be nerve racking to receive the official request for an independent medical exam. For one, despite "independent' being in the name, it's clear that the insurance company will do everything in their power to benefit from the results of the independent medical exam.

    It's reasonable to be concerned, and to see the medical examiners as agents for the insurance company that will potentially limit your reward or even completely dismiss your claim. The complexity of medical science leaves plenty of opportunities for an insurance company to limit their losses after an Independent Medical Exam.

    Since IMEs are rapidly becoming standard procedure after South Carolina car accidents, you will want to contact a qualified Charleston car accident attorney immediately after an accident to protect your rights and make sure your claim is not unfairly dismissed.

    To protect your claim, your Charleston car accident attorney may:
     

    • help you understand your policy obligations; and
    • help you prepare for your IME (you'll need to give your physician an accurate, detailed account of your injuries but you'll also need to be aware of any discrepancies for which they'll be searching).


     While an IME can be a tough experience, as long as you are prepared and working with a qualified Charleston car accident attorney, there is really very little to worry about.

    Seeking the Help of a Charleston Car Accident Attorney

    The South Carolina car accident attorney team at the Shelly Leeke Law Firm is available to help accident victims cope with the legal implications of everything an insurance company will do to try to limit your claim. Our firm's focus on personal injury cases includes injury from auto accidents including pedestrian and bicycle injuries, work-related injuries and Workers' Compensation claims, and injuries resulting from dangerous prescription drugs.

    Before you file a South Carolina personal injury claim, request a free copy of our South Carolina injury book. When you're ready to get started on settling your accident claim, contact a Charleston car accident attorney for a free information packet and consultation, 1-888-690-0211.

  • How should I deal with insurance adjusters?

    In order to recover damages after being injured in an accident in South Carolina you will have to file a South Carolina personal injury claim. As part of the South Carolina personal injury claim process, you will be contacted by insurance adjusters-this is done with every party involved in the accident.  

    Speaking with insurance adjusters can be nerve wracking. After all, they are the on-the-ground representation, or "foot-soldiers," of the insurance industry. It's their job to make sure their insurance company pays as little as possible. 

    Learning how to deal with insurance adjusters can make or break your South Carolina personal injury claim. For example, if an insurance adjuster asks you to make a recorded statement after your accident in South Carolina, do not do so without speaking to a qualified attorney first. 

    Most importantly, be organized and professional when dealing with insurance adjusters. Get their contact information, and company they work for. Find out if the insurance adjuster knows of any witnesses and do your best to describe your injuries in only general terms-let the doctors go into the details.

    It's likely that all the insurance adjusters you speak to will be very personable and chatty, in an effort to encourage you to be the same and divulge information after being in a South Carolina car accident. When they contact you after you have filed your South Carolina personal injury claim, keep the conversation friendly but stick to the facts of the case.

    If you sustained any injuries in the accident in South Carolina, even if they seemed relatively minor at the time, make sure to contact a Charleston personal injury attorney to protect yourself from being taken advantage of by insurance adjusters.

    Seeking the Help of a Charleston Personal Injury Attorney

    The South Carolina personal injury attorney team at the Shelly Leeke Law Firm is available to help accident victims cope with the legal implications of a serious injury. Our firm's focus on personal injury cases includes injury from auto accidents including pedestrian and bicycle injuries, work-related injuries and Workers' Compensation claims, and injuries resulting from dangerous prescription drugs.

    Before you file a South Carolina personal injury claim, request a free copy of our South Carolina injury book. When you're ready to get started on settling your accident claim, contact a Charleston personal injury attorney for a free information packet and consultation, 1-888-690-0211.

  • What should I know about out-of-court settlements in relation to South Carolina personal injury claims?

    An out-of-court settlement is a legal arrangement made outside the judicial system. It is basically an agreement between all the parties involved to settle the matter outside of a trial verdict. While most out-of-court settlements are determined before a trial even begins, some are agreed upon during the court proceedings but before a jury delivers a final verdict on the matter.

    Negotiations for an out-of-court settlement are typically done with the help of an attorney who acts as a representative.
    An out-of-court settlement can save time and money, avoiding many of the hassles associated with going to court.

    In most personal injury cases, an out-of-court settlement will be reached before it becomes necessary to go to court. Insurance companies would rather settle outside of court in order to avoid the added expense of a trial. While attorneys are not a requirement for an out-of-court settlement, having legal counsel on your side can help you determine if an offered settlement is fair. In addition, your attorney can negotiate with the insurance company, if necessary.

    If you accept a settlement offer, you will more than likely be barred from ever seeking additional compensation in the future related to your accident, even if future medical concerns are discovered later on. That is why it is crucial that your out-of-court settlement will satisfy your current and future accident-related needs and that you do not accept a settlement before you understand the full scope of your injuries and the treatment they will require.  

    To better understand how an out-of-court settlement works, consulting with a Charleston personal injury attorney should be your next step.  

    Seeking the Help of a Charleston Personal Injury Attorney 

    The Charleston personal injury attorney team at the Shelly Leeke Law Firm is available to help accident victims cope with the legal implications of a serious injury. Our firm's focus on personal injury cases includes injury from auto accidents including pedestrian and bicycle injuries, work-related injuries and Workers' Compensation claims, and injuries resulting from dangerous prescription drugs.

    Before you file a South Carolina personal injury claim, request a free copy of our South Carolina injury book. When you're ready to get started on settling your accident claim, contact a Charleston personal injury attorney for a free information packet and consultation - 1-888-690-0211.

  • Do I need an attorney for my South Carolina truck accident claim?

    There are a number of factors that will determine if you need an attorney for your South Carolina truck accident claim or if you should handle it on your own. It's important to understand that while many individuals think they will save money by avoiding attorney's fees, you may actually be preventing yourself from receiving the fair compensation that you deserve.

    Benefits of an Attorney for a South Carolina Truck Accident Claim

    A North Charleston personal injury attorney has some of the following advantages when it comes to handling your truck accident claim, including:
     

    • an ability to navigate the complicated truck accident claims process, including interpretation of federal trucking company regulations, knowledge of how to establish negligence, and so on;
    • an understanding of the laws surrounding truck drivers and the companies that employ them, as well as other third-parties that may be liable for your accident injuries;
    • an ability to advise you on how to avoid common tactics employed by the insurance company to reduce or deny your truck accident claim;
    • an ability to help you determine a fair settlement based on your current and future medical needs; and
    • an ability to represent your interests while negotiating with the insurance companies on your behalf. 


    There are many intricacies to a South Carolina truck accident claim. A North Charleston personal injury attorney knows what evidence is necessary to prove that a truck driver or trucking company was negligent. Just because you have been injured in a truck accident does not necessarily mean you are entitled to receive compensation and the insurance companies are prepared to fight you every step of the way.

    Most importantly, a North Charleston personal injury attorney will work hard to help you receive the full and fair compensation to which you are entitled. Contact a North Charleston personal injury attorney today to discuss your South Carolina truck accident claim.

    Seeking the Help of a North Charleston Personal Injury Attorney

    The North Charleston personal injury attorney team at the Shelly Leeke Law Firm is available to help accident victims cope with the legal implications of a serious injury. Our firm's focus on personal injury cases includes injury from auto accidents including pedestrian and bicycle injuries, work-related injuries and Workers' Compensation claims, and injuries resulting from dangerous prescription drugs.

    Before you file a South Carolina truck accident claim, request a free copy of our South Carolina injury book. When you're ready to get started on settling your accident claim, contact a North Charleston personal injury attorney for a free information packet and consultation - 1-888-690-0211.

  • What could I do to help protect my South Carolina personal injury case?

    There are a few things you can do to help protect your South Carolina personal injury claim. One of the most important ways you can protect your claim is to have the help of a knowledgeable and experienced Summerville personal injury attorney.

    When you work with an attorney you have a greater chance at receiving a fair settlement that takes into account your current and future needs related to your accident injuries. Additionally, you can alleviate some of the many problems that arise when individuals attempt to settle a South Carolina personal injury claim on their own.

    It's important that you remain in contact with your Summerville personal injury attorney by promptly returning calls and being prepared to answer all questions with thorough, honest answers.
    Your attorney can only help protect your interests when they have all the information in front of them. Keeping important details from your attorney, even if they seem embarrassing or include some fault on your part, is never a good idea. Your lawyer can only protect your rights when they know this information and can plan a defense around it.

    You'll also greatly help your claim by staying organized. Your Summerville personal injury attorney will need a lot of documentation to defend your injury claim. That means you'll need to provide them with important documentation such as: 

    • medical records;
    • police reports;
    • medical bills and receipts;
    • bills and estimates for damaged property;
    • your insurance information;
    • photographs of the accident scene and your injuries;
    • contact information for witnesses; and
    • other evidence specific to your accident and recovery.

    It's also a great idea to keep a journal of your injuries and how they affect you in your day-to-day life. If an injury has made it difficult or impossible for you to watch your children, perform housework, or return to your job, these are all important considerations that may affect your claim. Memories fade, but writing down the details of your injury treatment and recovery can be an extremely valuable piece of evidence to have on your side.

    Additionally, you can help your claim by following the advice of your doctor.
    This includes following up with your doctor at scheduled appointments, taking recommended medication and undergoing any treatment that your doctor deems necessary. By showing that you are taking your injury seriously by committing to a treatment plan, you are also supplying important evidence to back up your South Carolina personal injury claim.

    Your Summerville personal injury attorney can also help explain your legal options and even take over communications with the insurance company on your behalf.

    Seeking the Help of a Summerville Personal Injury Attorney 

    The South Carolina personal injury attorney team at the Shelly Leeke Law Firm is available to help accident victims cope with the legal implications of a serious injury. Our firm's focus on personal injury cases includes injury from auto accidents including pedestrian and bicycle injuries, work-related injuries and Workers' Compensation claims, and injuries resulting from dangerous prescription drugs.

    Before you file a South Carolina personal injury claim, request a free copy of our South Carolina injury book. When you're ready to get started on settling your accident claim, contact a Summerville personal injury attorney for a free information packet and consultation, 1-888-690-0211.

  • Who is in charge of regulating large commercial trucks and truck companies?

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is in charge of regulating large commercial trucks and truck companies. Its mission is to ensure that commercial motor vehicles follow safety regulations to make the roads safer in South Carolina and around the country. 

    The role of the FMCSA is to:
     

    • enforce safety regulations;
    • target high-risk drivers and carriers;
    • improve information systems and technologies;
    • strengthen operating standards; and
    • increase safety awareness.  

    Responsibilities of the FMCSA 

    Some of the responsibilities of the FMCSA include:
     

    • Data and Analysis - collect and disseminate data concerning carrier safety and resources to improve safety;
    • Research and Technology - coordinate research and technological developments to improve safety;
    • Commercial Drivers' Licenses - develop standards for testing and licensing of truck drivers;
    • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement - operate safety program to improve performance and eliminate high risk carriers from the nation's roads; and
    • Safety Assistance -financially helps states with roadside inspection and other types of safety programs.  

    These are just some of the responsibilities that the FMCSA has over truck drivers and their companies.

    While the FMCSA works to make the roads safer, the fact remains that because of the negligence of another, a truck accident in South Carolina can still happen. If you have been seriously injured in a South Carolina truck accident, a South Carolina truck accident lawyer will investigate your case to determine if the truck driver and/or the trucking company may be responsible for your injuries and will help you to fight for the damages that you may be entitled to. 

    Seeking the Help of a South Carolina Truck Accident Attorney

    The South Carolina personal injury attorney team at the Shelly Leeke Law Firm is available to help accident victims cope with the legal implications of a serious injury. Our firm's focus on personal injury cases includes injury from auto accidents including pedestrian and bicycle injuries, work-related injuries and Workers' Compensation claims, and injuries resulting from dangerous prescription drugs.

    Before you file a South Carolina personal injury claim, request a free copy of our South Carolina injury book. When you're ready to get started on settling your truck accident claim, contact a Charleston personal injury attorney for a free information packet and consultation, 1-888-690-0211.

  • Is a car making a left-hand turn always liable for a crash in South Carolina?

    In most cases when a car is making a left-hand turn they are liable in the case of a crash in South Carolina. However, there are some exceptions to this. The complexity of a traffic accident involving serious injuries is why a West Ashley car accident lawyer should be consulted. They can examine the facts of the case to help determine liability and gather evidence that will support your case.

    Determining Liability in a Left-Turn Accident

    Liability in a left-turn accident will depend on the circumstances surrounding the incident. Drivers who are making a left-hand turn are expected to do so only when it is safe. 

    However, some of the circumstances where a driver in a left-turn accident may not be held liable include:

    • other driver is going beyond the posted speed limit;
    • other driver goes through a red light; and/or
    • while safely turning left, an unexpected event occurs that causes the driver to suddenly stop or slow down.


    The third type of left-turn accident may be more difficult to prove than the first two. However, if someone else's negligence led to a left-turn accident that resulted in injuries, you should immediately consult with an experienced West Ashley car accident lawyer.

    A West Ashley car accident lawyer knows how to sift through the facts to get to the real cause of your left-turn accident. They will collect any photographs taken of the accident scene or your damaged vehicle, along with police reports and any other documentation that will help build a substantial case.

    Seeking the Help of a West Ashley Car Accident Lawyer

    The South Carolina car accident attorney team at the Shelly Leeke Law Firm is available to help accident victims cope with the legal implications of a serious injury. Our firm's focus on personal injury cases includes injury from auto accidents including pedestrian and bicycle injuries, work-related injuries and Workers' Compensation claims, and injuries resulting from dangerous prescription drugs.

    Before you file a South Carolina car accident claim, request a free copy of our South Carolina injury book. When you're ready to get started on settling your accident claim, contact a West Ashley car accident lawyer for a free information packet and consultation, 1-888-690-0211.

  • What if the truck driver who hit me was texting leading up to the South Carolina truck accident?

     

    If the truck driver who hit you was texting at the time of your South Carolina truck accident, you may have a solid South Carolina personal injury claim. This is because it is now illegal for truck drivers to text and drive.
    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration passed a law last month that prohibits truck drivers from texting while driving and prohibits carriers from allowing or requiring their drivers to text and drive.

    If a truck driver is found to be texting while driving, they could face a $2,750 fine and be disqualified from driving. Carriers face an $11,000 fine. 

    Truck Driver Negligence Related to Texting

    Truck driver negligence comes in many forms, from reckless driving to speeding. Texting is just one example of a growing problem. While any type of distracted driving is dangerous, this is especially true for truck drivers. A distracted truck driver may not be able to react in time to stop such a large vehicle.

    In 2009, a 21-year-old college student received a large settlement for severe injuries after 2 trucks collided and hit his vehicle. One of the truck drivers had been texting. The college student ended up with a $49 million settlement.

    Victims of truck accidents that involve a distracted driver are beginning to learn that they can hold others responsible for this negligent behavior.

    How a Charleston Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

    If you have been seriously injured in a South Carolina truck accident, a Charleston personal injury attorney can help you determine if it was the result of negligence, such as texting while driving.

     

     

    In addition, a Charleston personal injury attorney can gather the evidence necessary to prove negligence and help you get the compensation to which you may be entitled. With the help of an attorney, you are also more likely to get a larger settlement if it is found that the truck driver was negligent in your South Carolina truck accident.

    Contacting a Charleston Personal Injury Attorney

    Before you file a South Carolina personal injury claim, request a copy of our free consumer guide, The South Carolina Accident Book for Personal Injury Victims. When you're ready to get started on settling your truck accident claim, contact a Charleston personal injury attorney for a free information packet and consultation - 1-888-690-0211.

  • What should I do if I'm involved in a South Carolina traffic accident?

    If you are involved in a South Carolina traffic accident, there are certain things you should and shouldn't do. Your immediate actions could greatly impact the outcome of your South Carolina personal injury claim.

    After a South Carolina Traffic Accident

    If you're able, follow these steps after a South Carolina traffic accident, including:
     

    • leave your vehicle where it is unless it is in an unsafe spot;
    • contact the police department;
    • call 911 if there are any serious injuries;
    • move to a safe spot;
    • look over the police report for accuracy;
    • document the details of your accident;
    • get contact information from any witnesses;
    • take pictures of the damage to all involved vehicles;
    • get contact information of the towing company if your vehicle is being towed;
    • seek immediate medical attention, even if your injuries appear to be minor;
    • don't discuss the accident with anyone;
    • don't provide a recorded statement to others; and
    • seek legal counsel. 

    It is always a good idea to speak with a Charleston car accident lawyer to determine whether you have a valid South Carolina personal injury claim. Sometimes injuries that appear to be minor at the onset will turn into something more serious. You want to make sure that you are protected in the event this happens.

    A Charleston car accident lawyer can work with you to collect all of the necessary evidence to build a solid South Carolina personal injury claim. In addition, a Charleston car accident lawyer can help you to receive compensation to which you may be entitled in order to cover your medical expenses and lost wages.

    Contacting a Charleston Car Accident Lawyer Today

    Before you file a South Carolina personal injury claim, request a copy of our complimentary consumer guide, The South Carolina Accident Book for Personal Injury Victims. When you're ready to get started on settling your car accident claim, contact a Charleston car accident lawyer for a complimentary information packet and consultation - 888-690-0211.

  • Police say the truck driver involved in my South Carolina accident fell asleep right before the crash. Does the law limit how many hours a truck driver can driver per day?

    If you were involved in a South Carolina truck accident and the police indicate that the truck driver fell asleep right before the crash, you should know that the law does limit the number of hours a truck driver can drive per day.

    Fatigue is a common form of negligence that can cause a truck accident. It is vital that truck drivers get adequate rest before hauling loads with such a large vehicle. The hours of service regulations stipulate how long a truck driver can drive and how much rest is necessary between trips.

    Hours of Service for Truck Drivers Carrying Property

    Truck drivers who carry property are subject to the following hours of service: 
     

    • 11 hour driving limit - maximum of 11 hours driving after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
    • 14 hour driving limit - may not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty.
    • 60/70 hour on-duty limit - cannot drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. Driver can restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.  


    Hours of Service for Truck Drivers Carrying Passengers

    Truck drivers who carry passengers are subject to the following hours of service: 
     

    • 10 hour driving limit - maximum of 10 hours driving after 8 consecutive hours off duty.
    • 15 hour on-duty limit - may not drive after being on duty for 15 hours, following 8 consecutive hours off duty.
    • 60/70 hour on-duty limit - cannot drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days.  


    Contact a Charleston personal injury attorney immediately if you have been seriously injured in a South Carolina truck accident. An attorney can help you determine if you have a valid South Carolina personal injury claim.

    Contacting a Charleston Personal Injury Attorney Today

    Before you file a South Carolina personal injury claim, request a copy of our complimentary consumer guide, The South Carolina Accident Book for Personal Injury Victims. When you're ready to get started on settling your truck accident claim, contact a Charleston personal injury attorney for a complimentary information packet and consultation - 888-690-0211.

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