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Teen Texting & Driving: A Comprehensive Guide For Parents

A guest post from Becker Law Office:

We all know how dangerous it is to be distracted while driving.  Many parents may remember their mothers yelling, “Be quiet, your father is trying to drive!” to the crew of rambunctious kids in the back seat.  These days, there are many more distractions than your father’s seemingly continual inability to concentrate.  Texting is one of those distractions, and it has become an epidemic – especially for teens, whose entire lives often seem to hang in the balance of responding to a message.  Immediately.  So, what can you as a parent do to prevent this practice?  Plenty. For the full article click here

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Traffic Light Disputes in South Carolina

It’s interesting how many people trust that the opposing party in a dispute will have the same recollection of facts from that incident as they do. Traffic Signal, or traffic light, disputes are often times a prime example of polar opposite accounts of the same motor vehicle collision.  Regardless of who had the right of way, turn signal, green light, red light, yellow light, or flashing light, someone apparently failed to do something when two vehicles collide.

Sure there are very rare instances in which a glitch may exist in the actual traffic control device but let’s focus on the 95% rather than the 5% probability. One, or more, parties of the motor vehicle accident  failed to do what they were suppose to do when approaching an intersection. Unfortunately, when there has been a traumatic collision and various parties are being transported by EMS, the investigating officer is not able to properly evaluate the collision but must use their best judgment, experience, and observations of the scene, property damage, and any eye witness accounts.

Did you know that even when the investigating officer finalizes and publishes their accident report, that report can not be used as “evidence of the negligence or due care of either party at the trial of any action at law to recover damages”?

The positive thing about the above statement is that insurance companies, a/k/a evil empires, can not use those reports against you if you believe the information to be in error. However, you will have to gather as much information as you can from independent witnesses, pictures of the area, possibly employ an accident reconstructionist, and/or attorney.

It’s sad to think you must immediately begin preparing for a battle after being violently rammed by another vehicle while they were texting, drinking, and/or high on methamphetamine but if you can’t trust that the violating party will be honest or the investigating officer to be diligent, then who else are you going to trust?  Are you going to trust the at fault driver’s insurance company? BWWWWWAAAAAAAAHAAHAAA, it’s 5:00am and I just fell out of my chair laughing uncontrollably. Are you going to trust your insurance company? BWWWWWWAAAAAHHHAAHHAAA. I did it again.

Well you can always read the below definitions and try and argue that to the insurance company. Oh dont do it to me again, I am just now getting back settled in my chair. I have made this process easier by posting the definitions and rules in the state of South Carolina at the end of this article.

The most important thing to remember is to always and at all times be your own advocate in instances where you realize there is going to be conflicting stories from opposing parties with differing interests as to how one incident happened. –Trey Mills

 

SECTION 56-5-550. Traffic-control signal.

Any device, whether manually, electrically or mechanically operated, by which traffic is alternately directed to stop and to proceed is a “traffic-control signal.”

SECTION 56-5-580. Right-of-way.

“Right-of-way” is the right of one vehicle or pedestrian to proceed in a lawful manner in preference to another vehicle or pedestrian approaching under such circumstances of direction, speed and proximity as to give rise to danger of collision unless one grants precedence to the other.

SECTION 56-5-1260. Immediate report of accidents resulting in personal injury or death.

The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any person shall immediately by the quickest means of communication, whether oral or written, give notice of such accident to the local police department if such accident occurs within a municipality, otherwise to the office of the county sheriff or the nearest office of the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

SECTION 56-5-1290. Evidentiary use of reports. None of the reports required by Sections 56-5-1260 to 56-5-1280 may be evidence of the negligence or due care of either party at the trial of any action at law to recover damages. However, law enforcement officers may refer to these reports when testifying in order to refresh their recollection of events.

SECTION 56-5-2120. Required position and method of turning. The driver of a vehicle intending to turn shall do so as follows:

(a) Right turns. Both the approach for a right turn and a right turn shall be made as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.

(b) Left turns. The driver of a vehicle intending to turn left shall approach the turn in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the direction of travel of such vehicle. Whenever practicable the left turn shall be made to the left of the center of the intersection so as to leave the intersection or other location in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the same direction as the vehicle on the roadway being entered.

(c) The Department of Transportation and local authorities in their respective jurisdictions may cause official traffic-control devices to be placed and thereby require and direct that a different course from that specified in this section be traveled by turning vehicles and when such devices are so placed no driver shall turn a vehicle other than as directed and required by such devices.

(d) Two-way left turn lanes. Where a special lane for making left turns by drivers proceeding in the opposite directions has been indicated by official traffic-control devices:

1. A left turn shall not be made from any other lane.

2. A vehicle shall not be driven in the lane except when preparing for or making a left turn from or into the roadway or when preparing for or making a U turn when otherwise permitted by law.

 

SECTION 56-5-2120. Required position and method of turning.

The driver of a vehicle intending to turn shall do so as follows:

(a) Right turns. Both the approach for a right turn and a right turn shall be made as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.

(b) Left turns. The driver of a vehicle intending to turn left shall approach the turn in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the direction of travel of such vehicle. Whenever practicable the left turn shall be made to the left of the center of the intersection so as to leave the intersection or other location in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the same direction as the vehicle on the roadway being entered.

(c) The Department of Transportation and local authorities in their respective jurisdictions may cause official traffic-control devices to be placed and thereby require and direct that a different course from that specified in this section be traveled by turning vehicles and when such devices are so placed no driver shall turn a vehicle other than as directed and required by such devices.

(d) Two-way left turn lanes. Where a special lane for making left turns by drivers proceeding in the opposite directions has been indicated by official traffic-control devices:

1. A left turn shall not be made from any other lane.

2. A vehicle shall not be driven in the lane except when preparing for or making a left turn from or into the roadway or when preparing for or making a U turn when otherwise permitted by law.

HISTORY: 1962 Code Section 46-402; 1952 Code Section 46-402; 1949 (46) 466; 1977 Act No. 144 Section 1; 1993 Act No. 181, Section 1412.

 

SECTION 56-5-2150. Turning movements and required signals.

(a) No person shall turn a vehicle or move right or left upon a roadway unless and until such movement can be made with reasonable safety nor without giving an appropriate signal as provided for in this section.

(b) A signal of intention to turn or move right or left when required shall be given continuously during not less than the last one hundred feet traveled by the vehicle before turning.

(c) No person shall stop or suddenly decrease the speed of a vehicle without first giving an appropriate signal in the manner provided herein to the driver of any vehicle immediately to the rear when there is opportunity to give such signal.

(d) The signals required on vehicles by subsection (b) of Section 56-5-2180 shall not be flashed on one side only on a disabled vehicle, flashed as a courtesy or “do pass” signal to operators of other vehicles approaching from the rear, nor be flashed on one side only of a parked vehicle except as may be necessary for compliance with this section.

SECTION 56-5-2310. Vehicles approaching or entering intersection.

(a) When two vehicles approach or enter an intersection from different highways at approximately the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right.

(b) The right-of-way rule in subsection (a) is modified at through highways and as otherwise provided in this chapter.

HISTORY: 1962 Code Section 46-421; 1952 Code Section 46-421; 1949 (46) 466; 1977 Act No. 144 Section 5.

SECTION 56-5-2320. Vehicle turning left.

The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection or into an alley, private road or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.

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Why I Danced on the Stage for My Law School Diploma

…and you should too. 

Let me tell you a story about a young man that grew up with everything he ever needed, not necessarily everything he ever wanted. He took advantage of all the generous teachers providing their patience, professional lives, and talents to a student population that was often times apathetic, or worse, just plain rude. He was never the caliber athlete that would have scholarships thrown upon him but he competed and played football, basketball, and ran track from midget league to varsity.

When he was provided erroneous high school curriculum direction from an inept guidance counselor he modified the change after one semester and made better grades to make up for the loss in GPA. He dealt with and experienced, the insecurity in being a young adult, young love, and down right ignorant decision making processes that were often times done multiple times before the lesson was learned. 

Life threw him curve balls, sometimes never experienced by others, although impacting way too many. He hit rock bottom several times mentally, physically, and emotionally with the roll-a-coaster ride that comes with the certainty of life and that is death. But through it all he completed the accomplishments that come through hard work, perseverance, luck, and prayer. 

Undergraduate studies were largely funded by the state of South Carolina through various scholarships and the remainder through hard working parents and summer jobs. After a little over a year in the professional setting at various non-profit entities and then a stint in Mexico teaching English as a foreign language, he sought further education through a law degree. 

He was accepted to several schools, none of them being affordable, and went head first into the abyss of student loans. He was taught how to think within legal parameters, told when to attend class, and surrounded by hundreds of strangers in which only a handful of real friends would exist. When an opportunity arose to study international law through another school’s summer program he was denied that opportunity, strictly based on financial reasons. (Money to another school for tuition meant no money for his current school). 

After facing the death of his mother at the beginning of the second year of law school he reached out to the readily available medicinal values of alcohol. Fortunately law school courses only have one exam per class, per semester so he was easily able to rise to the occasion when it mattered. The rest of the time was filled with a glass half empty perspective and cynical nomenclature of those more “enlightened” through higher education. 

By the time graduation rolled around he was beginning to see the dense clouds and fog clear on the horizon and thought the worse may actually be close to over. That was until graduation gowns and “caps” were selected, boldly reflecting the pious and pretentious enigma of a law school graduate. This was the last straw and a purging of the experience could only have been done by pulling this scholarly hood ornament down far upon his face like a toboggan. Then when it was his turn to politely, professionally, and with the honor of a highly educated individual walk across the stage to receive his diploma…he danced. 

 After Incurring over $150,000.00 in student loans only to receive a degree that merely allowed him to take a three day exam before he could call himself a professional he studied three years to become; after inquiring with administrators why attendance had to be kept since he was paying them a handsome yearly sum to teach him;  after being denied international educational experiences for which he qualified; after loving to write but not being a good legal writer, and after some tumultuous ups and downs through those three years, he entered the stage in a city that bore the “Allman Brothers” feeling the need to let his soulshine so he danced, jumped, and gave shout outs to his family.

You, high school, technical school, college, graduate school, and/or doctorate degree graduates should dance upon the stage, too. Remember the past remains behind you unless you allow it to overcome you in the present.  The present is all you have to enjoy for today but use it wisely as it determines your future. Always remember to dance regardless of your stage. 

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Training Pit Bulls to Avoid Dog Bites

Guest post contributed by Carlos Santiago*

 

Depending on the source, statistics regarding the likelihood of a pit bull attack vary widely. For example, the website DogsBite.org released a 2009 report claiming pit bulls were responsible for 59% of all dog attack deaths, equal to killing a U.S. citizen every 21 days over a three year period. On the other hand, a study from the American Veterinary Medical Association looked at dog bites statistics over the past 20 years and found that no breed is more likely to attack humans than others.

For many years, pit bulls, Dobermans, and other large dogs have been accused of being overly aggressive and more likely to attack and bite humans. Although some people and communities respond to dog attacks by enacting breed-specific legislation to prohibit ownership of pit bulls and other dog breeds, many experts claim you can reduce dog bite cases through owner education and dog training.

The Case for Dog Training

There are a number of ways people can take action to reduce the risk of a pit bull attack. Along with parents educating their children on how to act around dogs, dog owners can also take steps to train their pit bulls and other dogs to not bite humans.

Pit bull owners need to make sure to expose pit bull puppies to a number of different people and other dogs while they are eight to sixteen weeks old. This kind of exposure will help dogs to be more comfortable in a variety of situations.

Another example of effective pit bull training that could reduce the risk of a pit bull attack is avoiding confrontation that could promote your dog to act aggressively. When the dog is constantly put in a position where he or she feels the need to defend himself or herself, it may learn to be combative.

Additionally, if your dog has a tendency to guard his or her food or toys, it is important to not allow this behavior to persist. If you back down, your dog may learn that aggression is effective. Instead, simply move the rawhide or chew toy so your dog understands that aggression does not work.

Training a pit bull can be a great way to show that these strong, intelligent animals are not dangerous to humans. This can help you avoid the need for a dog bite lawyer in the future.

 

 

*Carlos Santiago is a legal blogger with experience writing about various personal injury topics including car accidents and premises liability. He is currently interested in sharing information about how a dog bite lawyer can help you. Mr. Santiago’s work is currently being featured on www.petbite.com.

 

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Do You Know What Your Doctor Said?: Medical Records & Treatment

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal entitled, “Access to Doctor’s Notes Aids Patients’ Treatment“, highlights an interesting topic of patients actually reading, or requesting,  their medical records from visits with their primary care physician.

The study was entitled “OpenNotes” and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Ultimately the study concluded that an overwhelming 77% to 87% of patients felt more in control of their medical care and were more compliant with their prescription medication.  Initially, there were concerns from  physicians that their notes may offend or scare off patients but 105 primary care physicians participated in the study. Interestingly, the article points out that only about 34% of doctors nationwide have adopted electronic medical records.

From the perspective of this plaintiff’s attorney, when you think about the other audiences reviewing your records:

  1. referring physicians to further your care; (Good)
  2. insurance companies and adjusters to deny your medical benefits to save them money; (Bad) and
  3. both plaintiff and defense attorneys for disputes in personal injuriesworkers’ compensation claims, and/or social security disability claims(Good & Bad)

The only logical step is to ensure you as a patient are just as knowledgeable of your own records as the jack legged insurance adjuster combing through your file to find anything to deny you benefits you deserve, while falsely acting as if they have medical degrees.

In the end you know, it is your body and your life. Yes, you are legally entitled to those records, too.

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