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Trammell & Mills Blog – Seven Common Workers’ Compensation Claims

You’ve heard lawyer commercials that invite you to call “if you’ve been hurt at work.” But what does that mean? If you suffer certain types of injuries while you’re performing your job, you have a right to file a Workers’ Compensation claim to pay for your medical treatment, work missed due to being hurt, or long-term effects of the injury. Here are some of the most common reasons for Workers’ Comp claims:

Slipping, Tripping & Falling

Workplaces can be loaded with hazards that cause slipping or tripping and falling. There could be a water puddle, or machinery could leak fluids onto the floor. Sometimes, there are objects in a walkway that shouldn’t be there. Any of these could cause an employee to lose balance and fall, resulting in bruising, sprains, or even broken bones. However, as long as you are hurt on the job and provide notice at the time of the injury, you are covered.

Repetitive Strain Injuries

Some jobs require employees to perform the same tasks over and over. Using the same set of muscles with great frequency can lead to Repetitive Strain Injuries, or RSIs. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a hand and wrist that’s common among employees who use a computer or work on assembly lines. Any RSI can lead to pain, swelling, and reduced use of the affected area.

Overexertion

Overworking part of your body can cause a pulled muscle, a torn tendon, or dislocation of a joint. This can come from lifting too much, or from unnatural body movements while doing your job. In hot work conditions, overworking without proper breaks can cause heatstroke or dehydration.

Dog & Animal Attacks

Some jobs require workers to go where there are dogs, cats, and other animals that might have a violent side. Utility work and home delivery have risks, and bites or scratches can happen.

Traffic & Vehicle Injuries

Many of us must drive while performing our jobs, and traffic accidents are a definite threat. There are lots of careless and distracted people on the roads, and if you’re a victim in a wreck, there should be a workers’ comp claim in your future, along with a “third party claim” against the at fault driver. We can help with both claims as they have to be handled with respect to each other.

Burns & Smoke Inhalation

Mechanics, machinists, and even electricians face many job hazards. So do folks who work around fires. Hot temperatures, electrical current and open flames can lead to serious injuries.

Machinery Accidents

Any factory, plant, or construction site with heavy machinery poses a potential risk. It only takes a second for an accident to cause serious harm.

If you suffer any of these workplace injuries, notify your supervisor immediately. In South Carolina, you need to report within 90 days. Employers should file a workers’ comp claim quickly, but that’s not always the case. If you run into red tape with your employer or the insurance company, call 864-485-8585 and let the professionals at the Trammell & Mills Law Firm help you get the money you deserve.

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Personal Injury vs. Bodily Injury

Two of the terms you may hear in some legal cases are “Personal Injury” and “Bodily Injury.” While the two terms can sometimes overlap within the same case, there are important distinctions. We at Trammell & Mills have some definitions and examples that may help clear up any confusion.

Personal Injury is a legal claim of harm to any person that was caused by the negligence or misconduct of someone else. This is physical injury to a person, rather than damage to property or reputation. The cause is usually carelessness or a disregard for the safety of others, not an intentional or malicious act.

If you slip in a puddle of water at a grocery store and fall, you might injure your wrist as you hit the floor. The store had not mopped up the spill, and there were no warning signs that the floor was wet. This would be a personal injury caused by the carelessness of the store staff because they neglected to clean the spill or warn you.  If your neighbor invites you into his yard and you step into a hole he hadn’t filled in or told you to avoid, the twisted knee you got would be a personal injury.

The most common types of personal injuries include traffic accidents where the other person is at fault, injuries to pedestrians who are walking or bicycling, work injuries due to unsafe conditions or equipment, defective products that didn’t function as advertised, and bites from unsecured dogs. In some cases, the injury could also be emotional or psychological damage caused by the trauma of the event.

Legally, there are three elements necessary to establish a personal injury due to negligence. Did the other party have a duty to warn or protect you from the danger that caused the injury? Did they breach that duty by taking no action? And did their breach of duty actually cause the injury?

Personal injury cases can result in three types of payment: Special Damages, which cover economic costs of the injury; General Damages, which compensate for noneconomic effects like pain and suffering, distress, disfigurement, or dismemberment; and Punitive Damages, which can be paid in cases of extreme recklessness like repeated negligence.

Bodily Injury is a term that covers any injury to the body, whether it’s temporary or permanent. This includes cuts, lacerations, abrasions, burns, and bruises, as well as broken bones and internal bleeding. The term also applies to concussions or whiplash from a car accident, and impairment of function to a bodily member, mental faculty, or organ. Bodily injuries are considered economic damage to the victim, and can be measured in dollar terms. Hospital and doctor visits, ambulance rides, prescription costs, and loss of future earnings are all considered in such calculations.

Bodily injuries are an important factor in personal injury cases. At Trammell & Mills, we are personal injury attorneys who stand ready to help sort out the details of any negligence incident that may have caused you physical harm. Call us at (864) 485-8585 so we can help you get the compensation you deserve.

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When You Fall Head Over Heels, Call Trammell & Mills

We can’t help you when you fall in love, or out of love, but we can help you.  What we do involves holding other individuals and companies responsible for their negligence, ignorance, or omissions that caused you harm. Yes, that really means the insurance company hiding behind the people and companies that pay for just that type of incident.  Those negligent, ignorant, or forgetful people and companies often have little to do with the decisions that make you whole again. A wide array of real world examples and some of the most common types of cases are below:

  • injured while workingand not really getting straight answers from your employer or HR person;
  • another driver not paying attention and rammed their 3,000 pound hunk of metal into your only means of transportation. Now you can’t move your neck or get to work;
  • a tractor trailer driver on interstate 85nearly kill you when they were switching lanes while texting;
  • neighbor’s dog get loose again and bite your child, leaving permanent scars and an infected wound;
  • finally realize you are in need of Social Security benefits and got denied;
  • can’t believe a manufacturer would sell a product so dangerous;
  • slip, trip, or fallon someone’s property that knew there was a problem where you fell;
  • get jumped on, beat up, called dirty names, and held without your permission until a large retailer realized you actually paid your bill.  Oops, they made a mistake;
  • something not true being written and/or said about you to others;
  • have to lay your motorcycle down because another driver didn’t see you.

Those are just the top ten or more scenarios that have come into the office in the past couple months. I am sure there are more but I think you get the point. Enjoy your Valentine’s Day and hopefully you never need us. HOWEVER, if you ever do, or know someone that does, just tell them to call us or visit our website.

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Pain & Suffering Under The Law in South Carolina

If you get hurt in a car wreck or injured in some other type of accident that isn’t your fault, you can take legal action to get fairly compensated. You may be entitled to collect damages, which is the legal term for financial payment from a lawsuit.

Whenever someone is the victim of a personal injury, the amount of money they can seek is broken down into two categories. First is Economic Damages, calculated by medical bills for treatment of your physical injuries, medications, or even an ambulance ride. This also includes lost wages, the amount of money you can’t earn from your job because you’re too hurt to work. It’s repayment for the measurable costs you experience after the accident.

The second category is Non-Economic Damages. You could be paid a separate amount for long-term physical disability or limitations caused by the injury, loss of a companion, ongoing inconvenience, or for pain and suffering.

What is “pain and suffering?” Legally, it refers to the physical and emotional injuries suffered by a victim after an accident.  This could be a combination of physical pain and mental or psychological agony.  It might be the result of ongoing impairment, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, depression, or even anger. A traumatic accident or injury can have long-lasting effects.

How much can you collect for pain and suffering?  In South Carolina, there is no statewide standard for adding up a dollar value of Non-Economic Damages. There’s not a chart that lists standard payment amounts.  Each injury case is considered separately, and Non-Economic Damages are determined individually by the court. If you ever see a commercial for another law firm suggesting that a car wreck automatically pays $100,000, that’s just not true.

To determine pain and suffering, you need to look at the long-term disadvantages your accident injuries have caused and will cause, in your lifetime. This can be extremely difficult to do on your own, and we don’t recommend trying it. You need the professional experience of a personal injury attorney to establish fair and reasonable amounts that fit your specific situation. Trammell & Mills is a personal injury law firm based here in the Upstate that handles these types of cases all the time.

Economic and Non-Economic Damages apply to cases where you are less than 50% responsible for the accident or personal injury. There are statutes of limitations on recovering some damages, so taking legal action in a timely manner is important. And there are maximum dollar limit caps on some Non-Economic Damages, such as malpractice or claims made against the government.

If you’re the victim of a car wreck, if you get hurt because of negligence at someone’s home or business, or if you get an injury because of a defective product, don’t try to settle the matter yourself.  And never assume that insurance will cover all your costs. Trust the experienced attorneys at Trammell & Mills to help you recover your Economic Damages, as well as fair payment for any pain and suffering you may experience.

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Why Your Medical Records Matter in Personal Injury Cases

The subject has come up too many times in the past couple weeks where clients are disputing what is documented in their medical records that were written by their own treating physicians. I will admit, prior to becoming an attorney in South Carolina, I would trust what the doctor told me in the private setting of the examination room. As Lee Corso says, “Not so fast my friend.”

It does not matter if you are being assisted by Medshore EMS at the scene of a motor vehicle collision or talking to your long time AnMed Family Medicine physician, those medical providers are documenting everything you tell them. As a matter of fact, the Federal Government has mandated all records be made digitally so you can even read the physician’s handwriting. Well that wasn’t their main reason for doing it but it sure has helped in reading Dr. Wadee’s records.

You have the right to request your medical records and you should do that on a quarterly to annual basis depending upon your frequency in medical treatment. (No, the discharge or checkout paper you get does not count as a medical record that is important.) It will help you see what information is documented from your visit with medical providers and also help ensure that your medical concerns and complaints are actually being addressed. Let me provide a news flash when that may become relevant…IN A PERSONAL INJURYCASE! 

If you are involved in some kind of traumatic incident (workers’ compensation claim, car wreck, dog bite, slip & fall, product liability claim, nursing home negligence, or medical malpractice case) and claim the injuries you sustained from that incident are all because of that traumatic incident, you have to prove it to be reimbursed by the evil insurance companies. Your back may be hurting but if just the week before you were complaining of back pains, the question becomes how much more, if any, is your back hurting from the traumatic incident. Don’t come in telling me your life is changed forever for the worst because of this traumatic incident but have no medical documentation to prove that claim.

As an attorney, I can not tell the evil insurance company that your doctor told you it was all because of the traumatic incident. Shockingly, the evil empire would not believe me or you. However, the evil tryanny sometimes believes what is in the medical records. Not all the time but let’s not get caught up in the fact that the evil empire will have a 22 year old college, educated adjuster make medical diagnosis and decisions. We will save that subject for another article.

Today, your take away is this:

  • You are legally entitled to a copy of your medical records,regardless if you owe a balance to the medical provider. Now there may be a copying charge or retrieval fee but you are still entitled to those printed and detailed records, along with your itemized bills. Click here to print off this page, if the gate keeper at your medical facility doesn’t believe you.
  • Do you really know what your doctor has documented? What do you think your doctor will depend on as the truth a year from their visit with you if asked by a lawyer? That exact conversation or their medical records?
  • What is documented in your medical records will help your recovery from a traumatic incident or help the evil empire against your recovery. So, if you are experience back pain, emotional trauma, sleepless nights, relationship troubles, and so forth, I better read it in the medical records or it is not happening!

***When I Googled “evil insurance companies” there was a link with a discussion of whether insurance companies were evil or stupid.  Although it was about health care, the liability insurance carriers are designed the same way, maximize return to their shareholders while minimizing the payout of claims (YOUR CLAIM). I thought this was a very interesting response:

Doug Dingus, Everybody pays, everybody covered

622 Views

Insurance companies have a basic conflict with us in that their goal is to maximize for the shareholders, and that happens best when they deliver the least health care access for the most dollars.

So, the answer is by design, but said design is an artifact of our health care policy, meaning they are neither stupid or evil.

We can remedy this with regulation, or public primary care insurance, or competition, depending on how said competition is structured

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