Motorcycle Digest -Be sure you get the loss of use/rental value you are entitled to be paid - Peake & Fowler

Motorcycle Digest – Be sure you get the loss of use/rental value you are entitled to be paid!

We Ride……We Understand……

From Peake and Fowler Law Firm, P.A.

By Thomas K. Fowler, Jr.

Be sure you get the loss of use/rental value you are entitled to be paid!

If you’ve been in an accident on your bike in South Carolina, and the accident was not your fault, there is a good possibility that you will have to work with the at fault driver’s insurance company. Don’t let an insurance adjuster talk you into taking less for the lost use of your bike, while it is being fixed after a wreck, than South Carolina law allows.  If your bike is damaged in a wreck due someone else’s fault, their liability insurance carrier (or your own company if the at-fault driver did not have insurance) owes you for three (3) things:

  • cost of repairs;
  • loss of use; and,
  • depreciation

Loss of use under South Carolina law means that you are due the fair market rental value.  Not what the insurance company wants to pay you, but what it actually costs to rent a bike like yours, while your bike is being fixed.  Most of the time, insurance adjusters try to persuade you to accept much less than what you are actually entitled to be paid.  They do this by convincing you to compromise and take what they can get a rental car for through some rental agency with which they have some discount deal.

Usually, adjusters will offer to pay you $20 to $25 per day or rent a car for you.  Do not fall for this!

The fair market rental cost for a motorcycle is best determined by what dealers charge to rent bikes.  Based on local dealer rates that can range between $45 to $125 per day depending on make and model.  Even if you do not actually rent a bike, you are still entitled to the fair market rental value!

Contact our South Carolina Motorcycle Accident Injury Attorneys

So, don’t accept the rental car value the adjuster wants to pay you.  It is the adjuster’s job to save the insurance company money, not meet your needs or demands.  Don’t be fooled, you are most likely entitled to more, so don’t hesitate to demand what they owe you.  At Peake & Fowler we ride and we understand the needs of those who ride.  If we can be of any assistance, please call us at (803) 788-4370 or contact us through our website contact form.

Ride safe!

Tommy Fowler
Principal
Peake & Fowler

Motorcycle Digest - Who is responsible for my accident? - Peake & Fowler

Motorcycle Digest – Whose is at fault for my accident?

We Ride……We Understand……

From Peake and Fowler Law Firm, P.A.

By Thomas K. Fowler, Jr.

Whose is at fault for my motorcycle accident?

Typically, that is the first question we hear when discussing a wreck with a client.  If you were involved in an accident while riding your motorcycle and you have the same or similar questions, we hope some of the pointers in this article will help answer them to your benefit.

It is possible that you lose even though you were hit from behind! 

Believe it or not, it is possible that even though you were hit from behind, you may not win your case, because South Carolina is what is known as a “comparative negligence” state meaning that when weighing the fault of an accident, a jury is allowed to compare the fault of all parties. Unfortunately, that includes your actions if you were the driver of your bike.  Worse yet, if the jury finds you 51% or more at fault, you lose and will not be able collect any damages.

For example, suppose your rear tire goes flat and causes you to stop without much warning in your lane of travel and the car behind you cannot stop in time….crash!.  You later discover that, had you simply checked your tire before you left, you would have seen a big nail sticking out the side which resulted in your having to stop and getting hit from behind.  A jury could easily find you at fault for operating with faulty equipment more so than the driver who hit you from behind. If that happens, you recover nothing.

So, how do you avoid being held more at fault in a wreck in this scenario?  Very simple……T-CLOCK.  This is a safety check reminder published by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and means checking for any problems with your bike’s:

T – tires and wheels

C – controls

L – lights

O – oil

C – chassis

K – kickstand

(check out http://msf-usa.org)

Sounds pretty simple, right?  Recently I was in a deposition with someone who had been riding all his life and he had no idea what T-CLOCK meant.   Lesson learned – if you had done what you could to inspect for safety in our example above, the likelihood you will be held at greater fault is reduced significantly. Not to mention, of course, you would have been considerably less likely to be involved in an accident caused by equipment failure or malfunction.

Why is this important?  Simply because these are standards by which a rider’s conduct may be judged in a case to see what portion of the fault in causing the accident was his/hers.  Not using “reasonable care” could cost you dearly.

I do not like to lose the cases I take on, and I’m sure you wouldn’t want to lose your case, so pay attention and use care so you won’t be accused of being at fault.

Contact our South Carolina Motorcycle Accident Injury Attorneys

At Peake & Fowler we ride and we understand the needs of those who ride.  We are experienced and skilled South Carolina motorcycle accident attorneys. If we can be of any assistance, please call us at (803) 788-4370 or contact us through our website contact form.

Ride safe.

Tommy Fowler
Principal
Peake & Fowler

personal injury protection

Should I Have Personal Injury Protection?

In addition to the injuries and property damage that you may sustain in a car accident, another complicated element of a crash is determining who will pay for your damages. While South Carolina is an at-fault car insurance state, meaning that drivers are required to hold liability coverage that helps to pay for the accidents that they cause, recouping damages may still prove difficult, especially within a timely manner.

One way that you may be able to mitigate the hassle of determining fault, at least initially, and recovering damages for your losses as swiftly as possible, is by carrying personal injury protection coverage. Also called PIP coverage or medical payments (medpay) coverage, personal injury protection insurance can be an important part of protecting yourself should you be injured in a crash.

Understanding Personal Injury Protection Insurance

The state of South Carolina only requires its drivers to carry liability insurance. Liability insurance is broken down into three insurance types: liability insurance for bodily injury, liability insurance for property damage, and underinsured/uninsured motorists’ coverage. The first two types are designed to pay for injuries and damages to others that the policyholder causes; the second is to pay for damages in the event that the at-fault party does not have, or does not have enough, insurance. As a note, while insurance companies are required to offer drivers uninsured/underinsured coverage, drivers can reject it if they so choose.

Drivers also have the option of purchasing a variety of other insurance types, including collision coverage and comprehensive coverage, which pays for damages to one’s own vehicle. Personal injury protection coverage is also available, although as found in South Carolina’s Code of Laws, this type of insurance is not mandated.

PIP coverage helps to pay for all reasonable and necessary medical expenses that you or any of your passengers incur in an accident up to your policy limit regardless of fault. Depending upon your insurance policy, PIP coverage may also cover (in addition to reasonable medical expenses) lost wages and expenses for essential services, such as the costs of care and maintenance.

The Benefits of PIP Coverage

Because personal injury protection coverage is not required, you need to weigh the advantages and drawbacks of purchasing this coverage type and make an informed decision on your own. The biggest–and perhaps the only–drawback is that PIP coverage can be relatively expensive to maintain, adding to the costs of your monthly/yearly premiums. For this reason, many people choose to risk not carrying this insurance type in order to save money up front.

In the end, however, the benefits of PIP coverage often outweigh the risks. These benefits include:

  • Your medical expenses will be covered even if you are at fault for an accident;
  • The injuries of your passengers/family members will be covered even if you are at fault for an accident;
  • You will be able to seek benefits whether or not the other driver can be located (i.e. hit and run situation);
  • You will be able to seek benefits whether or not the other driver has insurance or enough insurance to pay for your injuries; and
  • You will not have to wait for the insurance companies to determine fault before benefits will be paid.

Your Right to Seek Your Full Damages Amount

It is important to understand that regardless of the type of insurance coverage that you carry, you have the right to seek your full damages amount. This means that if another driver caused your accident, you can seek compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, property damage, and other economic losses as well as noneconomic losses, such as the value of your pain and suffering. If a settlement cannot be reached with the insurance company, you have the right to bring forth a car accident personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party.

Contact the Law Offices of Peake & Fowler if You’re in a South Carolina Car Accident

Even if you have personal injury protection (PIP) and other coverage types, reaching a settlement with your insurance company that compensates you for the full value of your losses can be difficult. At the law offices of Peake & Fowler, our skilled South Carolina car accident attorneys have experience investigating car accidents, determining and proving fault, negotiating with insurance adjusters, and taking claims to court. For legal assistance you can count on if you are involved in a crash, please contact our law offices today at (803) 788-4370 or through our website contact form for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Motorcycle Digest - Recovering the depreciation you deserve - Peake & Fowler

Motorcycle Digest – Getting the depreciation you deserve

We Ride……We Understand……

From Peake and Fowler Law Firm, P.A.

By Thomas K. Fowler, Jr.

Be sure you get the depreciation you are entitled to be paid!

Don’t let an insurance adjuster talk you into taking less for the depreciation or loss in value your bike has suffered due to being damaged in a wreck.  Even though your bike has been fixed, the law recognizes it may not be worth as much as before the accident.  This is called depreciation.

 You will need to get an expert, i.e. a dealer, to give you an opinion of the value of your bike before and after the repairs.  The “before” value can come from a publication that we are all familiar with, but the “after” value is better left to an expert.

Oftentimes, adjusters want only to offer 10% of the costs of the repairs as depreciation.  This is why a dealer can help because when you go to trade your bike in and have to disclose the prior damage it is highly likely your trade value will be less due to your bike having been wrecked.

So, get an estimate of an expert in valuation of your bike.  It can make a huge difference in how much you are paid for depreciation.

 Again, you don’t have to accept the value the adjuster wants to pay you.  It is the adjuster’s job to save the insurance company money.  Don’t be fooled, you may well be entitled to more!

Contact our South Carolina Motorcycle Accident Injury Attorneys

At Peake & Fowler we ride and we understand the needs of those who ride.  If we can be of any assistance, please call us at (803) 788-4370 or contact us through our website contact form.

Ride safe!

Tommy Fowler
Principal
Peake & Fowler

Accidents and Tractor Trailers - Peake & Fowler

Dangers of Speeding Trucks on South Carolina Highways

It’s not a distinction any state wants, but a 2012 survey by Car Insurance Comparison indicated that South Carolina has the most dangerous highways in the nation. Researchers based each state’s danger rating on the following factors:

  • Fatalities attributed to interstate speeding for each mile of interstate
  • Percentage of drivers who do not use seatbelts
  • Number of highway bridges deemed deficient or obsolete
  • Highway fatalities in the state for every 1,000 highway miles traveled
  • Dollar amount of federal funding
  • Death rates posted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

To make matters worse, South Carolina ranked in the bottom half of every category in the survey. The second and third-worst states for driving safety, Florida and Alabama, were nearly 40 points ahead of South Carolina. Unfortunately, little has changed in the last five years. One reason for this is that truck drivers still tend to speed on state highways.

The Dangers of Speeding for Commercial Truck Drivers

Any driver who chooses to speed puts everyone else on the road at risk. However, a commercial truck driver who exceeds the posted speed limit can be especially dangerous. The sheer size of one of these vehicles makes it difficult to control if the driver needs to stop, swerve, or turn quickly. This can easily lead to a rollover situation, a runaway truck, a jackknife accident, or several other types of serious or potentially deadly crashes.

Many states, including South Carolina, have set separate speed limits for commercial trucks and passenger vehicles. This is to address the inherent danger in operating an 18-wheel vehicle that weighs several tons. Currently, the speed limit for commercial trucks on rural and urban interstates is 70 miles per hour and 55 miles per hour on other limited access roads. Unfortunately, some truckers choose to travel at the same speed as drivers operating a private vehicle.

Truck drivers may also drive too fast for the current conditions, even though they may not be speeding. The following are common examples of when it may be difficult for a commercial driver to control his or her vehicle even when driving at or below the posted speed limit:

  • Adverse weather conditions, including fog, heavy rain, and freezing rain
  • Congested traffic
  • Obstacles in the road
  • Sharp curves
  • Slow traffic
  • Steep hills
  • Uneven pavement
  • Other road hazards

Sadly, a passenger car is no match for an 18-wheel commercial truck and the consequences of a crash can be devastating.

Challenges of Bringing a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against a Commercial Truck Driver

Any motor vehicle accident is stressful, especially if you suffer from injuries because of it. However, it is much easier to collect damages in a timely manner when you get into an accident with another driver of a private vehicle. That is because you know who caused the accident and who is ultimately responsible for your injuries. Things aren’t as straightforward when you crash with a commercial trucker. While it might seem obvious to you that he or she should take the blame, unfortunately that isn’t always the case. Several other parties may also share responsibility, including:

  • The truck driver’s employer who required him or her to drive on little sleep or with knowledge of another condition that could negatively impact safety
  • The people responsible for the maintenance of the commercial truck who may have ignored needed repairs or acted in another negligent manner
  • The manufacturer of the vehicle
  • The loader or shipper of the truck’s cargo if faulty loading played a role in the accident

At Peake & Fowler, our experienced South Carolina personal injury attorneys will use every resource at their disposal to determine liability in your accident case. Because cases like this can become quite complex, we recommend that you engage the services of a South Carolina personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Under South Carolina Code section 15-3-530, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a claim (two years if the defendant is a government agency) for personal injury or property damage. If you’re filing a wrongful death case on behalf of a family member, the clock starts from the date of death.

Contact Peake & Fowler to Schedule a Free Consultation

At Peake & Fowler we are pleased to offer a free consultation for all new clients. We will review your case and recommend whether you should file a personal injury lawsuit against those responsible for your injuries. Peake & Fowler is located in Columbia, South Carolina, and we serve all surrounding communities. Our skilled South Carolina accident injury attorneys can be reached at (803) 788-4370 or online.

 

Slip and Fall Accident - Peake & Fowler

Store Liability in a Slip and Fall Accident in South Carolina

Retail stores have an obligation to their customers, vendors, and anyone else who comes on the property to maintain a safe environment. Unfortunately, store staff may get so busy that they neglect this duty or simply forget to remove potential hazards. Neither is a valid reason to put other people in harm’s way.

The following are common types of slip and fall injuries in grocery and retail stores in South Carolina:

  • Fall due to slipping on a recently mopped floor, liquids spilled by other customers, or tracked-in rain water
  • Items left in a walkway such as a pallet of food at a grocery store or tools and equipment used to set up a display in a retail store
  • Merchandise or debris falling from a shelf and striking a customer
  • Improper design, installation, and repair of elevators and escalators
  • Poor lighting in the store or its parking lot causing a fall

If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident in a South Carolina store, you may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, you must do so within the three-year statute of limitations. The clock for filing a lawsuit begins from the day of your injury.

Premises Liability and Slip and Fall Accidents in South Carolina

These types of accidents fall under the general category of premises liability, which means that the owner of the property has a legal obligation to keep it safe. Even so, proving the store owner’s liability can be much more challenging than you might think. The store owner might deny that you sustained an injury on his or her property or claim that you caused your own injuries by not paying attention to your surroundings. It can quickly become a legal game of “he said, she said”. To evaluate a slip and fall case properly, South Carolina judges consider the following two rules carefully:

  1. The obligation to keep the property safe lies with the store owner, not the visitor. That means he or she must remove or warn of potential hazards for all visitors, including customers, tenants, personal visitors, and vendors. As an example, the owner of a grocery store must instruct employees to put up a “Slippery When Wet” sign after mopping the floor and a retail manager would be negligent to use shelving known to break.
  2. The store visitor must use the property as intended or a judge could deem him or her responsible for the slip and fall accident. For example, someone visiting the store for the sole purpose of holding it up may have a difficult time finding a judge sympathetic to his or her case if injured.

An important thing to keep in mind with a slip and fall accident at a store is that tracking down the owner of the property could prove challenging. That person could live across the country or even across the world and rent out the property to a local store manager. This is when you need an experienced South Carolina injury law firm like Peake & Fowler working for you.

Potential Compensation from Your Personal Injury Case

When you retain Peake & Fowler for your personal injury case, we first determine who is liable for your injuries and then try to settle the case with that person or organization’s insurance company. Unfortunately, people often fail to take responsibility for their actions or even blame the injured person for the accident, so we are fully prepared to take your case to trial if it gets to that point. Our experienced South Carolina personal injury attorneys work hard to prove the other party’s negligence so you can obtain the financial compensation you deserve. You may receive some or all of the following types of compensation if you win the case:

  • Payment for all medical expenses associated with the accident, including future costs
  • Payment for time missed from work
  • Payment for decreased earning power or permanent disability, if applicable
  • Payment for damage to personal property, if applicable
  • Non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and mental anguish

Contact an Experienced South Carolina Attorney at Peake & Fowler

At Peake & Fowler, we don’t recover a fee unless we win a personal injury settlement or jury verdict on your behalf. We also offer all new clients a free consultation. If you’re suffering due to someone else’s negligence, we encourage you to contact us immediately for a confidential case review. Contact our compassionate South Carolina slip and fall attorneys today at (803) 788-4370 or online.

Time Limits on Filing a Law Suit for an Injury - Peake & Fowler

Time Limit in South Carolina on Filing an Injury Claim

If you have been injured in an accident or have an insurance claim in South Carolina, there are some state laws that could impact the outcome of your case. One of the most important laws relates to how long you have to file an injury claim after an accident. This could depend on the circumstances of your accident and the type of injury claim that you have.

What is a Statute of Limitations?

A time limit to file an injury claim is often referred to in legal terms as the “statute of limitations.” This is a legal rule that defines the amount of time that you have to file a lawsuit. If you try to file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has run, your claim will be barred, and the defendant will automatically win the case. The purpose of the state’s statute of limitations is to limit the number of cases brought before the courts and help defendants with potentially frivolous lawsuits.

Each state has its own statute of limitations for various types of lawsuits, including different types of personal injury cases. A statute of limitations doesn’t necessarily start to run at the moment an accident or injury takes place. Instead, the statute of limitations will begin at the time a person knows or should have known that they suffered from harm as well as the nature of that harm.

Some circumstances may also allow for the statute of limitations to be extended. This is particularly true in accidents involving minors. For example, an injured minor will typically not have their statute of limitations clock begin until they reach the age of 18. Also, if someone was incapacitated or suffered from a severe mental illness, their statute of limitations might be extended due to disability.

How Long You Have to File an Injury Claim in South Carolina

In South Carolina, the statute of limitations for filing any type of personal injury claim is three years, unless the defendant is a government entity, then it is two years, unless a “statement of claim” has been filed within the first year. This time limit is set in the South Carolina Code of Laws, Title 15 Chapter 3. For cases that allege false arrest, slander, libel, false imprisonment, and defamation, the time limit is two years. The statute of limitations is fairly clear cut in most personal injury cases, such as car and truck accidents.

In many cases, South Carolina uses the “discovery rule,” which could extend the time period allowed to file an injury claim. Under the discovery rule, the statute doesn’t begin until the date that an injury party both knows of an injury and that there is the existence of a cause of action against another party.

Time Limits for South Carolina Work-Related Accident Claims

The time limits to report and file suit on a work-related injury are different than those for a personal injury case. These are governed by the state’s workers’ compensation code. For example, employees have just 90 days to report a work-related accident or injury. In the case of an occupational disease, the “accident” date is the time that the employee either becomes aware of the condition or becomes disabled.

There is another time limit for work-related injuries that applies to the formal filing of a workers’ compensation claim. An injured worker has just two years from the date of injury to file a worker’s compensation claim with the state Commission.

South Carolina Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim in South Carolina is the same as that of a personal injury claim. That means that if you have lost a loved one in a car accident, truck accident, pedestrian accident, products liability or premises liability case, you only have three years to file a lawsuit (two years if the Defendant is a government entity). The discovery date rule also applies here, which means that the statute of limitations won’t begin to run until the date that you were aware that negligence was the cause of a loved one’s death.

Get Help With Your South Carolina Injury Case

Letting your case go past the legal time limits to file an injury claim is one sure way to ensure that your case is dismissed. This is why it’s a good idea to speak with an experienced South Carolina accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident. Giving yourself plenty of time to heal, gather evidence, and build your case is the best way to work towards collecting the compensation you deserve. Contact the personal injury attorneys at Peake & Fowler at (803) 788-4370 now to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

Car Accidents - Deer vs. Car - Peake & Fowler

South Carolina Car Accidents – Car vs. Deer

Living in a state like South Carolina that is rich in wildlife has its benefits as well as its risks. According to the latest figures from State Farm, South Carolina ranks No. 12 nationally in the number of deer-related motor vehicle collisions.

When a car crash is caused by a deer, you will probably need to make a claim with your own auto insurance company to cover the damage. There are cases, however, when multi-vehicle crashes involve animals and other complications might shift negligence.

Car vs. Deer Accident Statistics

The frequency of car vs. deer accidents has risen so much in recent years that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a study on these dangerous crashes. They determined that there are approximately 1.5 million deer-related accidents annually in the U.S., resulting in as many as 200 fatalities and 10,000 injuries. The property damage cost alone from these accidents tops $1 billion each year.

A rise in urbanization has led to many deer-related accidents, where urban sprawl continues to encroach on the deer’s natural habitat. The risk of hitting a deer in South Carolina is about one in 93. The chances increase significantly during the months of October through December because of mating and hunting season.

Preventing Deer-Related Crashes

Deer-related crashes have become so prevalent in the U.S. that scientists at the University of Washington have suggested releasing cougars into the wild to cull deer populations. Whether South Carolina decides to increase its cougar population or not, there are several ways that drivers can exercise more caution and prevent deer-related crashes.

Deer are the most active in the morning between 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. and the evening between 6:00 – 10:00 p.m.  There is often little to no warning that a deer is getting ready to cross a road, so it is important that drivers are alert during these times and also understand their surroundings.

According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, motorists that drive in rural areas should pay special attention to habitats along the roadways. For example, changes in habitats such as a creek bed to a field or a woodland area are prime areas for deer to cross a roadway. Other ways to prevent deer-related crashes include:

  • Watch for Deer Crossing Signs. These signs aren’t just placed in random locations. They mark areas of the road that deer are known to cross.
  • Slow Down. Drive at slower speeds during dawn and dusk hours when deer are known to be more active. Also, remember that deer often travel in packs so if you see one animal there may be others in the vicinity.
  • Use High Beams. Your vehicle’s high beams can help you spot deer more quickly, which can give you the best opportunity to slow down as you approach.
  • Don’t Swerve! It’s an automatic response to swerve out of the pathway of an animal that darts out into the path of your vehicle. Experience proves that the property damage and injuries caused by car vs. deer accidents are more severe when the driver swerves to avoid hitting the animal. When you swerve to avoid a head-on collision, you could put yourself and your passengers in even greater peril. You could end up in the other lane and hit another car head-on, potentially injuring or killing yourself and other passengers. You could also run off the road and hit an object such as a tree or trigger a rollover accident by swerving. The best thing to do when a deer runs into the road is to slow down as much as possible and then allow your car to hit the deer.

What to Do if You Hit a Deer

Even when you are as careful as possible, you may find yourself in an unavoidable car vs. deer accident. If that happens, pull over to the side of the road if you can. Stay away from the injured deer and call the police to let them know about the accident. Take photos of the damage and document any injuries. Contact your insurance provider and consult with an experienced car accident attorney.

Options for South Carolina Residents Injured in Car vs. Deer Collisions

A majority of car vs. deer collisions are clear cut cases regarding property damage. Most insurance companies will pay for damage under the driver’s comprehensive coverage, although injuries to passengers are another story. If anyone was injured in the accident or if there were multiple vehicles involves in the crash, there might be issues with proving negligence or getting an insurance company to pay what is owed. Because of these facts it is important to have an experienced South Carolina auto accident and personal injury attorney in your corner. If you’ve been injured in a deer-related car crash, contact Peake & Fowler at (803) 788-4370 today to discuss the details of your accident.

 

Injury on a South Carolina Playground - Contact Peake & Fowler

Safety Issues Are Causing These Common Playground Injuries in South Carolina

When we take our children to a public park or drop them off at school, we expect them to be safe. Unfortunately, not all facilities can guarantee that your child will come away free from harm. In fact, playground injuries are on the rise and recreation safety has become a hot-button issue over the past few years.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 200,000 children under the age of 15 receive treatment in this country’s emergency rooms annually for playground-related injuries. Between 2001 and 2008, there were more than 40 deaths associated with playground equipment, with the average age of children in these cases being six years old. Of the children who lost their lives, 68% were due to strangulation, and 15% died from falls.

The Most Common Playground Injuries

When a child is injured on a playground, the injuries can range from the mild to the severe. A recent study found that there is a serious risk of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in children from playground accidents and that the risk has increased. Between 2001 and 2013, the risk of a TBI in playground accidents went from 23 per 100,000 to 48 per 100,000 children. These concussion injuries are most often caused by falls from monkey bars (34%) and swings (24%).

One possibility for the spike in numbers is the heightened awareness about TBIs among parents and school administrators. This concern isn’t without merit. While many children with a minor TBI are treated at the emergency room or a physician’s office and released, there could be long-term effects from the injury. Even a mild TBI could have lasting consequences for a child’s physical, behavioral, and cognitive health.

Other common playground injuries include:

  • Fractures and broken bones
  • Contusions and abrasions
  • Lacerations
  • Sprains and strains
  • Internal organ injuries

Children ages 5-9 are the most likely to be injured on a playground, followed by their younger counterparts ages 0-4. Boys are slightly more likely than girls to be injured on playgrounds in all age classes.

What Causes These Dangerous Playground Injuries?

Most (75%) playground injuries and deaths occur on public playgrounds, which could be one that is located in a park or at a public school. The overriding cause of playground injuries is the lack of supervision, which accounts for 40% of all cases. Even in schools, it is estimated that children are left unsupervised on playgrounds more than one-third of the time and over one-fifth of the time in public parks.

When children fall from a height off playground equipment, one factor that contributes to injuries is the absence of an impact-absorbing surface. Only about 25% of all public playgrounds have the proper surfacing around stationary objects to absorb the impacts of falls.

Who is Liable for Playground Injuries?

If your child has been injured in a playground injury, there are several parties that could be held responsible. If the playground is at a public school or park, the city or municipality that is tasked with the playground’s maintenance could be found negligent. Playground equipment must be checked on a routine basis for the replacement of worn out surfaces, loose bolts, and brittle parts that are exposed to the elements.

Playground injuries could also be the result of poor design and construction. In these cases, the company that designed or constructed the playground might be at fault for defects that led to serious injuries. The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) and some states now have standards for the safe design and construction of playgrounds and their equipment.

As a parent, you want to know that every playground your child sets foot on is safe. Unfortunately, there are some subtle dangers that that are difficult to detect and parents aren’t always in control of what happens inside a school or daycare facility. If your child has been injured in a playground accident in South Carolina, a personal injury lawyer can help you determine if you have a products liability or premises liability case. Our experienced South Carolina personal injury attorneys will also help you gather evidence to prove a case for the award of the compensation you deserve. Contact Peake & Fowler at (803) 788-4370 to schedule an appointment for a free consultation at your convenience.

When Should You Hire A South Carolina Injury Attorney - Peake & Fowler

When Should I Hire a South Carolina Personal Injury Attorney?

A personal injury case could cover a wide variety of situations. For example, you might have been injured in a car accident, become hurt from using a company’s products, or been bitten by someone’s dog. All of these are considered personal injury, and you might be tempted to handle your own case depending on the circumstances and severity of the damages. In some cases, however, it makes more sense to hire a South Carolina personal injury attorney to protect your rights and pursue compensation. If you are undecided about what direction to take, consider these questions and your answers before you make your final choice.

How Serious Were Your Injuries?

If you only suffered minor scrapes from your accident, had no property damage, and didn’t miss any time from work, there’s a good chance that you won’t need a personal injury attorney. However, anything more severe and you will probably benefit from legal representation. If you were forced to seek medical treatment, there is a chance that you could have unpaid medical bills and the need for future care. Some injuries even result in long periods of lost wages and permanent impairment, which can signify substantial damages in a personal injury case. When these factors are present, you should seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney.

Was Your Injury Caused by Someone Else?

If your injury was caused or even potentially caused by the negligence of another party, it’s important that you consult with a South Carolina personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Few parties admit fault in the case of a serious accident, and you may be entitled to legal remedies and damages that aren’t immediately obvious. If your case isn’t strong from the start, you want a skilled South Carolina personal injury attorney in your corner that can immediately begin working to investigate your accident and gather evidence to prove your case.

Are Insurance Company Representatives Calling You?

Most accidents of any type are going to involve insurance companies. Those companies have adjusters or claims representatives on staff that investigate claims and work to reduce the company’s loss payouts. While some of the adjusters may seem nice, they aren’t working in your best interests. If these adjusters are contacting you, asking for a recorded statement about the accident, or requesting that you sign a medical records release, you should consider consulting with a personal injury attorney about your case.

When an insurance company takes your recorded statement or asks you for a blanket medical release, they are looking for several things. First, they are attempting to get you to admit some level of fault in the accident. Second, they will look through your past medical records with the goal of blaming your current injuries on a pre-existing condition. Your best strategy is to speak with a South Carolina personal injury attorney before dealing with insurance company representatives.

Has Your Claim Been Denied or Have You Been Given a Low Settlement Offer?

Even if you believe that the issue of fault is clear in your case, don’t be surprised if an insurance company finds a reason to deny your claim. These companies are in the business of making money, so they try to avoid paying out large claims and settlements whenever possible. If you have a legitimate case, but the company sees that you aren’t represented by counsel, they might try to issue a denial and hope that you’ll give up.

Let’s assume that your claim is accepted because there was just no way for the insurance company to issue a denial. In this case, you might find that the insurance company is eager to settle your case for much less than it is worth. This is another red flag that should send you directly to the office of a South Carolina personal injury lawyer, who will make sure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

Do You Understand South Carolina Laws and the Settlement Process?

Personal injury cases can be complicated and confusing matters. Not only will you need to understand your state’s laws, but you’ll also require a good grasp of the settlement process as well as some strong negotiation skills to achieve a fair settlement. If you aren’t confident in your abilities in these areas, it’s best to consult with an expert in personal injury cases.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact our experienced South Carolina personal injury attorneys at the offices of Peake & Fowler to discuss your case. Call our office today at (803) 788-4370 to schedule a free consultation to learn more about our services and how we can help you seek recovery.