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The Art of Law

I had a mediation awhile back in a renovated garage behind Krause, Draisen, & Moorhead that involved several parties, but most importantly, my injured client -Ms. Georgia Lindsey, a 19 year old, Anderson University soccer athlete doing a job shadow-Chelsea White, and myself .  We got to spend some quality time together contemplating life, law school, fishing, and also getting down to business by negotiating the violent, rear end collision Ms. Lindsey was involved in with a representative of BMW.

I enjoy mediation’s because once each side (plaintiff and defendant) has presented their case, usually the two groups separate into different rooms. I get to spend an ample amount of time with people in a room for several hours which enables us to sit and talk about life.  The mediation process can be slow in moving but many different people with various backgrounds, interests, and reasons came together this afternoon in Anderson, South Carolina.

There were others, but they are of no consequence because they did not have the long talks and art interpretations that the three amigos did. The picture below represented 3 very distinct things to each one of us and those interpretations were not unusual given our background and circumstances.

They were as follows:

  • Chelsea –felt the picture above represented –Youth and Life.
  • Lindsey-felt it was the devil and fire.
  • Trey-thought it was a field ablaze, yet radiating beauty the whole time and the center, or background, seemed to represent the spring of life that resides in us all to quench the fires that arise.

Ironically, those interpretations of the art we stared at today for 5 hours, came out in three totally different view points. As the mediation progressed and throughout the initial spill by Steve Krause, we were reminded that every person is different and thus brings different impressions, thoughts, and ideas to the table. Just like a jury, each person is going to have a different interpretation of the same facts. However, like Ms. Lindsey said, “Thank goodness we all are different and not the same.”  Very true and very deep.  Sometimes its not about the destination but about the journey.

** Life is about making the best of a situation, even in a boring mediation. Keep living the dream!

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Dos and Don’ts of Automobile Insurance Claims Processing

We all see it every day.  Car and truck wrecks happen throughout the Upstate all the time.  For most of us, traffic delays are the main headache caused by wrecks.  But when it happens to you, it’s a whole different story.  If you’re involved in any kind of accident, we at Trammell & Mills want you to remember some basic dos and don’ts that can dramatically affect your legal and financial outcome.

If you’re in any type of traffic accident—large or small—DO stop and contact law enforcement immediately.  If there are obvious injuries, ask the 911 operator to send medical help.  DON’T ever leave the scene of any wreck, no matter how minor it may seem.  Stay and work through the proper process.

DO exchange insurance information with the other driver.  Even if you’re angry, be polite about it.  DON’T do or say anything threatening.  Trade insurance and registration details only.

DO wait for law enforcement to arrive before discussing who caused the wreck, and only talk about details with them.  Avoid the temptation to instantly replay what happened out loud with the other driver.  DON’T say anything to admit guilt or fault or liability at the scene of the accident.  Police and insurance companies will determine who’s responsible.

DO talk with anyone at the scene who witnessed the incident.  Get their story and their contact information.  Record it on your phone if they agree.  DON’T let eyewitnesses who could be helpful walk away without knowing what they saw.  This could damage or lose your case if you go to court.

DO take photos of the wreck scene from several angles.  Show any damage done to either vehicle.  You never know which photo may help win your case if legal action is necessary to settle a claim.  DON’T be left without any evidence to prove your story…or your innocence.

DO contact your insurance agent as soon as possible after the wreck.  Share your photos so they can see what damage was done.  If you have any injury, see a doctor.  The sooner you start the claim process, the quicker you can get medical bills paid or car repairs made.  DON’T wait too long to make a claim.  There is a time limit in South Carolina to make a claim and you don’t want to be denied money because you didn’t act fast enough.

DO be careful about signing any kind of insurance release or waiver. Such documents can be misleading, and you really need the advice of an attorney before putting your name on any kind of quick settlement.  DON’T be tricked into accepting less than you should from an insurance adjuster who doesn’t want to pay you a proper amount.

DO let an experienced attorney push the insurance company for fair payment.  DON’T take legal matters into your own hands and risk losing money that’s rightfully yours.  The insurance claim process after a wreck can be a nightmare.  Call the local attorneys at Trammell & Mills at (864) 485-8585 to make sure you get a fair insurance settlement

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How Powerful is the Human Mind?

It could be the sound of a familiar song, the deja vu experience of having been there, or the intuition with having made a last minute adjustment that completely altered your life.  Well as I sit and write this article, I do so after having been awakened from a dead sleep to memories of my mother, Patricia Y. Mills, taking her last breathes as our family stood at her bedside on the early morning of September 1, 2003. I am awaken by memories I knew I would never be able to rid myself of but was not expecting the reminder to be so poignant.

In the past six years I have done some amazing things and I have done some amazingly stupid things.  The old adage “two steps forward, three steps back” come to mind.  I often wonder with the guidance and advice of my mother if any steps in my life would have changed or been altered for better or for worse. I don’t think I would have the drive that catapults me to the forefront of living my life in such a manner that I try not to look back, enjoy those moments with friends and family,  and interact more with real people not engaging in fake, superficial relationships.

There are many things my mother taught me but my fondest quote was given to me when I was distraught over a 11th grade relationship with what I thought was the love of my life. My mom was quite the looker, yet could tear you apart with her eyes and cutting glances. Twenty years as an Emergency Room nurse on the 3rd shift can teach you those innate qualities of dealing with all walks of life. My mother said this:
Do you want to ride the merry-go-around all your life, where nothing really changes and life is always the same OR do you want the roller coaster, where you have your ups and downs but it’s always exciting?—- Patricia Y. Mills

I always chose the roller coaster.  It was her way of reminding me to always go for the best life has to offer because most people are too scared, too insecure, or too worried about what others think to take chances. You may not succeed every time but if you are going down, eventually things will go up and always be prepared for the downward ride when things are really high.  This week is another reminder that the roller coaster has its ups and downs but it is always exciting.

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If You Can’t Drive in the South, Don’t Leave the State

I have vacationed in New York City and Rio de Janeiro. As far as my experiences that relate to this blog, I was amazed at how aggressive, reckless, and yet effective the drivers of any form of transportation drove in those areas without colliding with ANYTHING.

I have traveled by taxi in NYC before but Rio made NYC look like a kiddy ride. Three lanes of traffic, meant 5 wide and motorcycles racing in between. This included the mass transit buses that weaved in and out of traffic better than the motorcycles. We took the subway, taxis, buses, and walked throughout each city and I could not help but thinking about all the wreck cases I get in a small, rural community in the Golden Corner of South Carolina.

However, in these huge metropolitan cities I never saw an incident. I am sure other bloggers in those areas could fill me in with statistics but from a brief observational standpoint, you would think incidents would be higher. Yet, considering the majority of the drivers are professional, ie taxi cab drivers, mass transit, and other courier services, that could be the reason.

Regardless, I encourage all my past, present, and future clients to take advanced driving courses before they head out of the state or out of country with the intentions on driving;

  • The 80 year old, driving the Cadillac in the left lane may be pummeled;
  • I can’t even think about the young, teenager that just got his license- ouch; or
  • The texting driver not really paying attention.

Happy Trails to you.

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Single Car Accidents Leave Drivers and Passengers with Few Options

I often consult with clients that have been in a single car accident and want to utilize the insurance coverage they have paid on for years because they have “full coverage”. Well, liability insurance is just that, it goes in effect when you are at fault for causing someone or something injury and/or damages. Not when you cause yourself injury or damages. People would be running their cars into trees on purpose to get insurance coverage if that were the case.

Accidents happen and those in the “driver’s seat”, literally and figuratively, have a duty to the passengers in the car.  Passengers traveling in the car during a single car accident often times have claims against the insurance company of the driver.  “Fault”, or liability, is a legal term here used to proceed against the insurance company of the driver. Sometimes that driver is your friend, family member, and/or loved one.  However, their insurance premium is going to go up regardless of what you do because they are going to have a “claim” for property damage or simply for the accident.  Thus, you are causing no more trouble and are actually using resources that your friend, family member, and/or loved one has provided for people like yourself. Medical Payments/Personal Injury Protection is additional coverage everyone should have because it benefits every occupant in a car that has been injured, regardless of who is at fault.

Unfortunately there were more than a few single car accidents in Upstate South Carolina this past week as reported by The Greenville News and Anderson Independent:

Be careful out there on the roadways. Regardless of whether you are the driver or a passenger.

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