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Kay Werts of Fountain Inn: Killed in Fatal Collision

The Greenville News was reporting that a fatal accident occurred between Ms. Kay Werts of 738 S. Old Fairview Road and a teenage driver this morning on Fairview Road in Greenville County.

You never know when a freak accident can occur. Please make sure you have your loved ones, friends, and even your enemies taken care of in times of need. It starts with:

  1. Full Coverage Automobile Insurance;
  2. Personal Injury Protection (P.I.P)/ Medical Payments;
  3. Handling Your Property Damage Correctly; and
  4. Avoiding Allstate Insurance Company Because They Suck

If you or your loved one has been injured in an accident, or as a result of another person’s ignorance, negligence, or omission, please feel free to call upon me at 864-231-7171 or toll free at 1-800-483-0880.

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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Punitive Damages Award

Many media outlets and bloggers are reporting that punitive damages awarded in the Williams vs. Philip Morris saga will remain at their 100-1 ratio of actual, or compensatory, damages.

This is great news for:

  • plaintiffs that are brave enough to take on these huge corporations;
  • wait for their day in court, sometimes years; and
  • then have vindication from a group of their peers (jury) as to what they believe the case to be worth.

I think it is important to understand that these “Big Verdicts” or “Runaway Juries” , as described by biased media outlets, come from:

  • a group of people from the community;
  • that sit and listen to both sides for however long it takes; and
  • then make their decision based upon all the information they are presented.

This case went to the highest court in the United States, three (3) times, after already having been deemed just by the Oregon State Court.  That is what big business can buy you. However, this decision helps alleviate any concerns that justice can be bought and paid for, too.

Thanks to Eric Turkewitz of New York Personal Injury Law Blog for such an in depth analysis of punitive damages and this case.

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South Carolina Slip and Fall Law: Premises Liability

Premises liability is often times referred to as “slip and fall” law. A general overview of South Carolina premises liability indicates that:

  • To establish negligence in a premises liability action, a plaintiff must prove the following three elements:(1) a duty of care owed by defendant to plaintiff; (2) defendant’s breach of that duty by a negligent act or omission; and (3) damage proximately resulting from the breach of duty. See Hurst v. East Coast Hockey League, Inc., 371 S.C. 33, 37, 637 S.E.2d 560, 562 (2006). (emphasis added);
  • If you can’t demonstrate how the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff then the defendant can move for what is called “summary judgment”and you will not even have your case heard by a jury but thrown out of court. Singleton v. Sherer, 377 S.C. 185, 200, 659 S.E.2d 196 (Ct.App. 2008). See also Hopson v. Clary, 321 S.C. 312, 314, 468 S.E.2d 305, 307 (Ct.App. 1996);
  • The nature and scope of duty in a premises liability action, if any, is determined based upon the status or classification of the person injured at the time of his or her injury. Singleton v. Sherer, 377 S.C. 185, 200, 659 S.E.2d 196 (Ct.App. 2008). See also Sims v. Giles, 343 S.C. 708, 715, 541 S.E.2d 857, 861 (Ct.App.2001);
  • South Carolina recognizes four general classifications of persons present on the property of another: adult trespassers, invitees, licensees, and children. Different standards of care apply depending upon the classification of the person present. Singleton v. Sherer, 377 S.C. 185, 200, 659 S.E.2d 196 (Ct.App. 2008). See also Larimore v. Carolina Power & Light, 340 S.C. 438, 444, 531 S.E.2d 535, 538 (Ct.App. 2000) (“The level of care owed is dependent upon the class of the person present.”)

Understand premises liability in South Carolina now? I didn’t think so. I haven’t even had a chance to detail out the law on each one of the above mentioned categories of persons present on the property of another: (1) invitee (2) licensee (3) adult trespasser (4) child.

I didn’t have a chance to mention “Assumption of the Risk” and “Open and Obvious” defenses the defendant’s attorneys often times raise in an effort to downplay their client’s negligence.

Remember what makes these cases harder than the most common personal injury cases:

  • No highway patrolman or police officer shows up to the scene and listens to both sides and determines that one side is more at fault than the other;
  • No person usually admits guilt;
  • There are usually no witnesses to the “slip and fall”, and
  • There is usually no camera or surveillance footage available, contrary to those black bubbles you may see or thoughts that there should be a camera available.

Do some work to assist your attorney in helping you with these cases by:

  1. taking any pictures of the area in question to better illustrate the negligent condition of the property;
  2. getting a copy of any incident report filled out by the landowner or their agents, servants, and/or employees;
  3. write down names and contact numbers for any witnesses that may have seen the slip and fall or come to your aid; and
  4. if you are aware of any negligent conditions on someone’s property notify them in writing with certified mailand share your concerns with them.
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How to Ensure Access to Your Online Accounts After Your Death

There was an interesting article put out by the Associated Press in the Sunday edition of the Greenville News, entitled “Deaths Leave Online Friends in Limbo”.

The article discussed the importance of having a contingency plan for those passwords, secrets, and other bits of extremely important information that you have stored inside your memory, or head.

As stated in the article:

 

David Eagleman, a neuroscientist at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, has had plenty of time to think about the issue.

“I work in the world’s largest medical center, and what you see here every day is people showing up in ambulances who didn’t expect that just five minutes earlier,” he said. “If you suddenly die or go into a coma, there can be a lot of things that are only in your head in terms of where things are stored, where your passwords are.”

He set up a site called Deathswitch, where people can set up e-mails that will be sent out automatically if they don’t check in at intervals they specify, like once a week. For $20 per year, members can create up to 30 e-mails with attachments like video files.

Regardless of what method you use, given this technological era the majority of us have entered into with online banking, emailing, blogging, and other types of social media, a contingency plan is needed.

Please provide your loved ones, family, and/or friends with an idea of where they might can find information that will better assist them in closing down your estate. I know it is a morbid thought but:

Nothing is certain but death and taxes.

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LET AIG DIE!

A brief introduction as previously reported by Paul Kiel for ProPublica:

As we’ve noted before [1], the main cause of AIG’s collapse was its credit-default swap portfolio. The swaps were essentially insurance contracts on securities, and for a fee, AIG guaranteed the security’s value. The problem: If the prices of the securities collapsed, AIG was on the hook. Because the portions of the securities that AIG guaranteed were judged to be almost risk free, not much thought [2] seems to have been given to that scenario.

There has been much said over our current economic recession, current administration’s handling of the previous administration’s hand, and the ever growing number of “bailout” and/or TARP money being apportioned out.

AIG has gone to the taxpayer well FOUR (4) times already for nearly $170 BILLION DOLLARS! Yet, as Brady Dennis of “The Washington Post” reports: AIG Warned of ‘Catastrophic’ Failure if they did not receive additional funding.

The collapse, for instance, would strain the global insurance industry, hurt the value of the dollar and damage money-market funds, AIG warned. The company’s failure, it added, would also erase taxpayers’ existing investment in the firm and foster “doubts about the ability of the U.S. to support its banking system.”

What the hell kind of mess do they think we are already in? Let them die. AIG mocks our government and spits in their face while we hand over more lunch money. As Josh Marshall of  Talking Points Memo reports on the more than $100 million in employee bonuses that AIG will payout:

First, lest there be any confusion, we’re not talking about bonuses for executives at the conventional insurance providing divisions of AIG. We’re talking about $100 million in bonuses for executives at the company’s Financial Products division, the shop in London that wrote almost half a trillion dollars of credit default swaps (in effect, unfunded de facto insurance policies on wildly overvalued assets) — the ones that caused the company’s death spiral and put taxpayers on the line for what will likely eventually be a quarter trillion dollar price tag.

Again, look at the numbers. ProPublica has put together a chart of previous government bailouts (“History of U.S. Gov’t Bailouts“) and then another chart indicating how the Treasury was impacted (“What Happens After a U.S. Gov’t Bailout“) by the returns of their investments or LACK THEREOF.

Stop the bleeding. Take the Economy off the resuscitator and let us conceive another beginning. Hasn’t there been enough political fighting, corporate greed, private vs public debate of superiority, and lack of consequences for poor decisions that have impacted millions of people and billions of dollars?

These corporations that are getting bailouts have not kept any type of social interest or thought twice about the overall impact their risky behaviors would have on the common person. Why then is the common person taking the beating for their arrogant follies and injustices?

Other AIG related stories and references:

  1. The New York Times: I.G., Where Taxpayers’ Dollars Go to Die
  2. Fortune: Revealed: 15 AIG Bailout Counterparties
  3. Los Angeles Times: Why the World’s Biggest Insurance Company is Still Getting Taxpayer Funds
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