Distracted Drivers in South Carolina

Infographic provided by Louthian Law Firm, P.A.

Not Enough Brain Cells…

There are more than 300 million cellphone subscribers in the United States, and it’s not uncommon to see drivers carrying on phone conversations while they navigate city streets or speed down the interstate. The amount of brain activity devoted to driving is reduced by 37 percent when someone talks on a cell phone. Using a hands-free device isn’t much safer than talking on a hand-held cell phone, since your brain is still focused on the call instead of the road.

And, as we all know, talking isn’t the only activity people engage in with a smartphone. One out of every four Americans say they have texted while driving, and nearly half of all American adults say they have been a passenger while the driver sent or read a text. Text messaging is just one type of distracted driving, but it is the most dangerous because it involves manual, visual, and cognitive processes. Your eyes will be off the road for 4.6 seconds on average when you send or receive a text while driving. If you’re going 55 mph, you could drive the length of a football field while you are looking at your phone instead of looking at other cars on the road.

The Centers for Disease Control says that 15 people are killed and 1,200 people injured each day in distracted driving crashes. If you or a member of your family has been the victim of a car accident caused by a distracted driver, the Louthian Law Firm of Columbia, South Carolina, can help you recover compensation from the negligent driver. Call us toll free at (803) 454-1200. You can also fill out our online contact form.

Driver Diversions Are Everywhere

Texting and talking on a cell phone often get the most attention when it comes to distracted driving, but there are also other behaviors that can lead to distracted driving car accidents:

  • Eating and drinking
  • Adjusting the radio or other audio or video devices
  • Referring to a map or GPS system
  • Talking to passengers
  • Tending to children or pets
  • Putting on makeup or doing other grooming tasks
  • Sightseeing
  • Rubbernecking at the scene of an accident
  • Reading a book or writing notes.

Isn’t there a law in South Carolina?

Even though South Carolina has no specific distracted driving law (and is one of only two such states in the nation), the state does require every driver to exercise a reasonable degree of care and refrain from driving recklessly. Several counties and towns throughout South Carolina have approved local bans on distracting behaviors such as texting, including Columbia, Beaufort, Mt. Pleasant, Camden, Clemson, Sumter, West Union, and Walhalla. As with laws prohibiting drinking while driving, many drivers choose to ignore the law and engage in risky behaviors that endanger themselves and others on the road. When a distracted driving crash occurs in South Carolina, the responsible party can be held accountable for his or her actions in a personal injury lawsuit.

By the Numbers… Accident Data Doesn’t Lie.

Some of the statistics that highlight the hazards of distracted driving include the following:

  • According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 3,300 people were killed in 2011 and 387,000 were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver.
  • Drivers who use a hand-held device while driving are four times more likely to get into a serious crash than a driver who isn’t distracted.
  • 11 percent of fatal crashes involving drivers ages 20 and under were distracted driving crashes.

Infographic provided by Louthian Law Firm, P.A.

When life goes wrong . . .

We urge you not to drive while distracted. If you have been the victim of a motor vehicle collision caused by a distracted driver, we will fight for what is right, working hard to obtain justice for you and your family.

The Louthian Law Firm has been serving Columbia and all of South Carolina for over half a century, and this experience is invaluable in successfully obtaining compensation for those who have been harmed by a distracted driver.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed by a distracted driver, South Carolina law entitles you to hold that person legally responsible for your medical expenses and vehicle repair bills, as well as any lost wages and other financial losses. You may also seek compensation for pain and suffering or loss of comfort, care and companionship of a loved one.

The deadline for filing a claim is already running, so contact the experienced South Carolina distracted driving lawyers at the Louthian Law Firm today for a free evaluation of your case. Call us toll free at (803) 454-1200. You can also fill out our online contact form.

The Ultimate Guide: Whistleblower 101

Infographic provided by Louthian Law Firm, P. C.

South Carolina Whistleblower Protection & Rewards

Fraud against the government costs taxpayers millions of dollars every year. A lot of greedy and unscrupulous companies, institutions and individuals use fraud or false billing to get a cut of the cash that flows out of Washington. In an effort to cut down on the amount of taxpayer dollars lost to fraud, the government has enlisted regular citizens to uncover deceptive, money-grabbing schemes. To encourage informants to come forward and reveal what they know about fraud against the government, the laws not only provide protection for whistleblowers, but they also can get a cut of the sometimes substantial penalties that the perpetrators of fraud must pay.

The False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3729 also known as the Whistleblower Act, Qui Tam Statute or Lincoln Law – gives ordinary citizens like you the power to sue companies or individuals over financial fraud committed against the government. Successful False Claims Act cases may include fraudulent payment schemes involving federal health care programs (including Medicare), government procurement contracts, grants for small businesses, federally insured mortgages and other federal programs.

South Carolina Whistleblower lawyerIf you suspect your employer is defrauding the federal government, contact a South Carolina Whistleblower lawyer at the Louthian Law Firm today Toll Free: (803) 454-1200 or online for a free evaluation of your case. We can confidentially review the facts in your case, advise you about whether your claim has merit and inform you about how the False Claims Act protects whistleblowers from retribution in the workplace – all for no charge.

About Qui Tam Whistleblower Protection Cases

The False Claims Act was first enacted during the Civil War in response to war profiteers who sold shoddy goods to the government or overbilled. The act allows whistleblowers who are unaffiliated with the government to bring an action on the government’s behalf against federal contractors who defrauded the government. This is what is known as a “qui tam” action, whose title has its origins in a Latin phrase that translates as “he who sues for the king as well as for himself.”

Whistleblowers, known as “relators” under the False Claims Act, often face considerable personal risk when reporting financial wrongdoing. To encourage whistleblowers to step forward with allegations of fraud, the government offers sizable rewards to those individuals. Whistleblowers under the False Claims Act may collect 15-30 percent of any money recovered in a successful lawsuit.

A lawsuit under the False Claims Act can result in the fraudster paying triple damages to the government, plus a penalty of $10,781 to $21,563 per claim. In some instances, a “claim” is interpreted as each individual bill or request for government payment, multiplying the size of the penalty according to the number of fraudulent bills submitted. An estimated $6 billion has been recovered for the government, resulting in nearly $1 billion in rewards for whistleblowers since the False Claims Act was revised in 1986 to make it easier for citizens to file qui tam actions.

Whistleblower Rewards

Many factors play into how much a whistleblower can recover in a qui tam suit. The False Claims Act leaves a lot of room for discretion in deciding what percentage of the recovery the whistleblower will receive. Relators who promptly report fraud and provide significant assistance to the government will generally receive a larger cut. An experienced attorney such as the ones at Louthian Law Firm can help you present your best case to the government in order to maximize your reward.

In addition to a significant reward, the False Claims Act also permits whistleblowers to recover their legal fees and costs from the party that perpetrated the fraud. The law also prevents employers from harassing or taking other adverse actions against a whistleblower.

Who Can Bring a Qui Tam Action?

Most qui tam actions are brought by current or former employees of companies or institutions that defrauded the government. They can also be brought by subcontractors, competitors, federal employees, customers, patients or virtually anyone who has information that a party has knowingly submitted fraudulent claims for payment to the government. You do not need to have suffered some sort of personal harm in order to bring a qui tam case.

In most cases, only the first relator to disclose the fraudulent activity to the government can recover under the False Claims Act. This means it is crucial that you seek legal counsel and get moving on your case as soon as possible to avoid being shut out.

You generally will not be able to recover in a qui tam action if you were responsible for the fraud. The False Claims Act also frowns on so-called “parasitic” claims, where a relator reports information about a fraud that was already generally known in the public realm.

What Can Be the Subject of a Whistleblower Lawsuit?

Under the False Claims Act, a qui tam action can be based on the actions of any party who:

  • Knowingly presents a false or fraudulent claim for payment to the government;
  • Knowingly makes a false statement or record in order to get a fraudulent claim paid;
  • Conspires to submit a fraudulent claim or make statements to get a fraudulent claim paid; or
  • Knowingly deprives the government of property or money that it is due.

False claims for health care services under Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security have been common subjects of qui tam actions in recent years. Federal military contractors have also been targets of whistleblower lawsuits, as have universities that received federal research grants and companies that deal with federal agencies such as the Department of Labor, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, NASA and the Department of Agriculture.

It is important to remember that the False Claims Act does NOT apply to claims, records or statements made under the Internal Revenue Code, meaning it does not apply to tax fraud. There are other exceptions, including actions against the states, members of Congress, judges and senior members of the executive branch.

Another key point: qui tam actions cannot be based on government waste or ineptitude. The subject must be fraud perpetrated against the government.

How Do I File a Claim under the False Claims Act?

An experienced qui tam attorney like the ones at the Louthian Law Firm can assess your case and help you file the necessary disclosure statement with the government if you have a valid case. In some instances, the government will “intervene” or take part in your lawsuit. A qualified South Carolina whistleblower lawyer can help you structure your claims in such a way that the government will be persuaded to intervene in your case, possibly increasing the likelihood that you will recover reward money. However, even if the government doesn’t decide to intervene, it might still be advisable to pursue your case without government involvement.

For a free, confidential evaluation of your case, call the Louthian Law Firm today at (803) 454-1200 or fill out the online consultation form.

Why Are Medical Malpractice Settlements Confidential?

Infographic and copy provided by Miller-Wagner.com

A medical malpractice case occurs when a patient is injured through negligence or omission by a doctor or other healthcare provider and a claim is filed by the patient or their family. Most often, this type of lawsuit will not go to trial, in which case the plaintiff and the defendant will reach a settlement. In fact, ninety percent of medical malpractice cases will settle out of court. Medical malpractice settlement agreements will typically include a confidentiality clause in order to keep both parties and their counsels from sharing the outcome of the settlement.

Why Plaintiffs Want Confidentiality

  • Without a confidentiality clause, mediations can get drawn out for longer than they would with an agreement in place.
  • Longer mediation periods or jury trials can be costly.
  • Plaintiffs may want the details of their case to remain private for personal reasons.

Why Defendants Want Confidentiality

  • Confidential settlements may prevent others from being encouraged to file medical malpractice claims when they see that large damages amounts were awarded.
  • Settlement amounts will not be able to be used in future settlement negotiations for medical negligence cases.
  • Doctors do not want to be viewed as a target for medical malpractice claims.
  • Defendants may want the details of their case to remain private for personal reasons.

What Are the Pros of Confidential Settlements?

In most medical malpractice cases, the defendant and their insurance company will seek a confidentiality clause. Doctors who are defendants in medical negligence claims want confidentiality so that the plaintiff cannot share with the public that they paid a substantial amount to settle the case. Ultimately, defendants do not want to be viewed as a target for future medical malpractice claims. Insurance providers prefer confidentiality because it prevents the public from knowing how much was paid out for certain injuries and using those amounts as leverage in future cases.

Aside from financial purposes, plaintiffs or defendants may just want the facts of their case to remain private for variety of different reasons.

What Are the Cons of Confidential Settlements?

Plaintiffs who suffer from medical negligence damages will often pursue a claim stating that they want to prevent the criminal act from happening to anyone else. When there is a confidentiality clause set in place, the public will not know the award amounts and will not be able to make assumptions regarding future cases.

Most medical malpractice lawyers representing plaintiffs do not want a confidentiality clause because it prevents them from sharing settlement information to reference on future cases.

Let a Medical Malpractice Attorney Guide You Through Your Claim

Negotiated settlements for claims associated with medical malpractice will often involve the issue of confidentiality. Whether you are a plaintiff or a defendant in a medical malpractice case, confidentiality of settlement amounts should be discussed before settling the lawsuit. Contact a medical malpractice attorney at Miller & Wagner today to find out more about confidentiality clauses and what the pros, cons, and risks are for your case. Our experienced attorneys will help you make an informed decision before pursuing your claim.

Vehicle Crashes In Texas

Infographic and copy provided by Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law.

Statistically, the average American driver will be involved in three to four vehicle crashes throughout his or her lifetime. The odds of dying in a vehicle crash are one in 606, greater than the odds of dying due to a fire, fall or drowning. Judging from these numbers, the chances are good that you have personally been involved in at least one vehicle crash and know someone who lost their life in a road accident.

Around 180 vehicle accidents occur every day Houston. While many are small fender-benders, several cause serious injury and death. Over 90 percent of vehicle crashes are caused by human error. In other words, people make mistakes that have disastrous consequences.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a vehicle crash because of a driver’s mistakes, you can take legal action to get the compensation you deserve. Injuries in vehicle accidents are costly and painful. A personal injury claim offers a tool to victims of negligence to receive payment for the costs suffered in a crash.

At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, we have helped thousands of clients file personal injury claims. Terry Bryant is a former judge and has over 30 years of experience in these types of cases. Let us put our experience to work for you. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Fast Facts on Vehicle Accidents in Texas

In 2015, the most recent year for which statistics are available:

  • There were more than 66,000 vehicle crashes in Houston.
  • Those Houston vehicle crashes caused 1,310 incapacitating injuries and 203 deaths.
  • In Texas, a person is killed every two and a half hours on our roads.
  • A person is injured every two minutes and eight seconds.
  • There has not been a deathless day on Texas roads since November of 2000.

WHY DO VEHICLE CRASHES OCCUR?

Nearly all vehicle accidents are the result of mistakes. In many cases, one single crash can be caused by several factors. For example, if a drunk driver is texting while driving and causes a serious vehicle crash, the crash is both an impaired driving accident and a distracted driving accident.

These are some of the most common causes of vehicle crashes:

  • Drunk driving
  • Drowsy or fatigued driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding or traveling too fast for conditions
  • Improper shifting of lanes or failure to signal before changing lanes
  • Failure to adhere to traffic signs or signals
  • Following another vehicle too closely
  • Failure to drive appropriately for weather conditions
  • Defective vehicle parts.

TYPES OF INJURIES IN AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENTS

Vehicle crash-related injuries can range from minor bumps and bruises to disabilities and death. Here are some of the most serious injuries a crash victim may suffer in a vehicle accident:

  • Multiple bone fractures – Crashes that cause breaks to multiple bones can lead to permanent physical impairment. Examples include wrist, ankle or hip fractures.
  • Traumatic brain injuries – Vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of traumatic brain injuries. These injuries can lead to difficulties with memory, speech, learning and other cognitive functions.
  • Spinal cord injuries – The spinal cord is a vital part of the human anatomy, carrying messages to and from the brain and dictating virtually all bodily functions. One single, serious blow can disrupt a person’s basic bodily functions and cause permanent disability.
  • Paralysis – Paralysis is often the result of a spinal cord injury. It severely limits a person’s quality of life and impacts their ability to perform basic functions and earn an income.
  • Loss of limbs or amputations – The loss of a limb is a painful, traumatic experience. It often leads to expensive ongoing medical treatment and a diminished work capacity.
  • Burns – Burns are perhaps the most painful experience a person can suffer. They are also extremely costly to treat.
  • Organ damage – Internal injuries are dangerous because they are usually difficult to detect immediately following a crash. They can lead to a complete shutdown of vital bodily functions and are often fatal
  • Wrongful death – When a negligent driver causes the death of another person, the impact on surviving family members is crippling. Families experience incredible emotional pain and suffering, in addition to dealing with the fallout of medical bills and end-of-life costs.

HOW VEHICLE INJURIES IMPACT VICTIMS

Injuries are not just painful and traumatic — they also have a very real impact on a person’s financial livelihood. Injuries lead to thousands of dollars in medical care, lost hours at work, loss of work capacity and several other economic repercussions. These expenses hit a victim when they are at their most vulnerable. Coping with the costs are even more difficult when they limit a person’s ability to earn a steady income.

Birth Injuries And Your Baby

Infographic provided by WapnerNewman Attorneys as Law

Pennsylvania Birth Injury Lawyer

When a birth injury causes a child to be born with a lifetime disability, many families face not only the emotional devastation of their child’s suffering, but the overwhelming medical and therapeutic expenses required just to provide their child with a future.

BIRTH INJURIES IN PENNSYLVANIA

While not all birth injuries are the result of medical malpractice, errors during the pregnancy and delivery process occur more often than many people realize. If a newborn child has been injured because of a medical professional’s mistake or negligence, there is no reason the child should be denied the financial help and medical resources they deserve.

Protecting the Rights and Futures of Injured Children in Pennsylvania

A Pennsylvania birth injury lawyer at Wapner, Newman, Wigrizer, Brecher & Miller will be experienced in handling a wide variety of birth injury claims, including cases relating to:

Many times, grieving parents are simply told that there was a “complication” during their child’s birth. While this is sometimes true, doctors can also use this as an excuse to conceal negligence. If your doctor is unable or reluctant to answer certain questions about your child’s birth injury, our Philadelphia personal injury lawyers can investigate the circumstances of the birth to determine whether or not medical negligence occurred. Your family deserves to know the truth, and a Pennsylvania birth injury lawyer at Wapner, Newman, Wigrizer, Brecher & Miller will not stop until you get the answers and compensation you deserve.

When Birth Injury is Caused by Negligence in Pennsylvania

The natural contortions and contractions involved in childbirth can be hard on an infant, making birth injury an unfortunate possibility at all times. However, many factors that contribute to birth injuries can and should be avoided by an attentive physician.

Some examples of negligence that often lead to birth injury include:

  • Oxygen deprivation during labor and delivery
  • Prescription drugs (such as SSRIs) taken by the mother before or during pregnancy
  • Failure to use proper delivery techniques
  • Failure to perform a C-section in a timely manner
  • Improper use of delivery instruments (such as forceps and vacuum)

If you believe your child’s birth injury was the result of medical malpractice or medical negligence in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, please contact Wapner, Newman, Wigrizer, Brecher & Miller today to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced Pennsylvania birth injury lawyer. Our medical malpractice attorneys in Pennsylvania can help you uncover the truth about how and why your child’s birth injury occurred.

The Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys at Wapner, Newman, Wigrizer, Brecher & Miller serve birth injury victims throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, with offices in Philadelphia, West Conshohocken, Allentown, and Marlton.

How Shock Subs Innovate Modern Drilling

Infographic and information provided by UTEX.

King Cobra Shock Sub

Drilling into solid rock formations produces incredible high-frequency vibrations. The resulting load on the drill string not only causes premature equipment failure, but it can damage the borehole—both of which inflate the drilling cost per foot. Download our checklist as a quick reference.

Shock subs are blast hole drilling tools engineered to absorb the vibrational impact of surface mining. By protecting the drive heads and mast from the damage caused by axial and torsional shock vibration, the shock sub prolongs the life of drill components, improving run length and keeping downtime to a minimum. It also holds the drill bit in place, allowing a better penetration rate while protecting the expensive motor from bounce-out damage. All of this translates into a lower drilling cost per foot and a more productive operation.

Past dampening methods offered only minor vertical cushioning, prompting Utex engineers to develop a more effective shock sub. Impact and vibration reduction sub technology has been reengineered to provide radial stress relief as well as a better vertical cushion. This allows the shock absorbers to reduce accelerations induced at the drill head by as much as 65%, according to an independent field study. The result: a boost in productivity throughout the entire drilling process.

How Shock Subs Innovate Modern Drilling

Our latest infographic takes an in-depth look at shock subs and their importance to modern drilling.

It shares information on how shock subs reduce severe vibrations that are otherwise transmitted into the rotary head, drill tower and related components.

Learn more about how shock subs minimize wear and tear on drill rigs without sacrificing drilling performance.