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South Carolina Personal Injury Law Blog

13 injured when South Carolina school bus goes down embankment

A field trip ended in multiple injuries on Oct. 19 when a school bus went off the road as it was headed southbound on U.S. 25, about 4 miles from Ware Shoals. The bus reportedly struck a fence and utility pole and then fell down an embankment.

Twenty-nine children were on the bus, along with five adults who were chaperoning the trip. The kids are students at Westwood Elementary School, which is located in Abbeville County.

Changes in reporting shed light on nursing home staffing issues

All of us who have loved ones in nursing homes are concerned about the staffing levels. We know that patients in an understaffed facility are more likely to suffer injuries because someone isn't always available to help them when they want or need to move. There are more likely to be errors in dispensing medication. Patients are more likely to get bedsores because they aren't turned or allowed to get up regularly.

It wasn't until recently, thanks to the 2010 Affordable Care Act and the requirements for Medicare and Medicaid funding, that we got an accurate picture of nursing home staffing levels. The law mandates that information about the patient-staff ratio of facilities be obtained directly from payroll records. In the past, the information had been self-reported by the facilities, and numbers could easily be inflated. That and other helpful information is available on the Nursing Home Compare section of the Medicare.gov website.

How social media can derail your workers' compensation claim

Workers' compensation is a crucial benefit for workers who are injured or sickened on the job and for their families. Workers' comp provides income while they are getting medical treatment, recovering and unable to work. Obviously, employers and insurers have a vested interest in making sure that people receiving this compensation are doing so legitimately and that their illness or injury is indeed as bad as they say it is.

Claims fraud investigators have always investigated people receiving workers' comp. This might have included going to a person's home or following them and conducting physical surveillance in an attempt to catch them doing maintenance around the house, shooting hoops with their kids, helping a friend move or spending a day on the golf course with their buddies.

Nursing home evacuations during storms -- stressful but necessary

If you have a loved one in a nursing home in the path of a storm, you want assurance that they'll be safely evacuated if necessary. However, those evacuations can be highly stressful and frightening to elderly people. Further, the accommodations in the facilities to which they're moved are often inferior to what they're used to.

Recently, as Hurricane Florence hovered off the East Coast, more than 2,200 residents of some 113 South Carolina facilities were evacuated to inland locations on orders from the governor. One man felt that his wife, who's in her 80s and paralyzed, shouldn't have been required to move. He said she went from having a private room in her Summerville nursing home to a bed in a common room. He said that some evacuees had only mattresses on the floor. He doesn't fault the nursing home staff, whom he calls "a bunch of heroes," but the mandatory evacuation order from the governor.

Tips for driving in a school zone

Drivers always need to be cautious in school zones. However, now that the school year has started again, it's particularly crucial not just to obey all posted signs and crossing guards, but to keep your eye out for kids who might run into the street unexpectedly.

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, about 100 children lose their lives every year in this country while walking to school or walking home after school. Another 25,000 are injured by drivers in school zones.

Things you can do to avoid becoming a pedestrian statistic

Pedestrians rarely come out on the winning end of a pedestrian-versus-vehicle encounter. As pedestrians, we can't control drivers who are reckless or negligent. You may have been taught that pedestrians always have the right of way. However, don't count on drivers always giving you that.

Nonetheless, there are a number of things that pedestrians can do to minimize their chances of being struck by a vehicle. Let's look at some crucial steps recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that you can take to protect yourself when you're getting around on foot.

What should you look for when choosing a nursing home?

Choosing a nursing home for a loved one is one of the most important decisions you'll ever make. Unfortunately, some people don't take the time to adequately research their options. A hospital may inform you of the imminent discharge of an elderly family member who will need care you can't provide. That can pressure you into finding a facility right away.

One attorney who works in nursing home reform advocacy says families can ask hospitals to keep the patient until they've found a facility with which they're comfortable. He says, "You have more time than you think . . . don't feel pressure to go to a place that you haven't vetted."

How parents can reduce distracted driving among teens

All new teen drivers know that using their phones to text, talk, check social media or post photos or videos is dangerous. They need to keep their attention on their driving and their eyes on the road.

However, many of them use their phones while driving anyway. In fact, in one survey, over three-quarters of teens (78 percent) reported that they checked their phones at least once every hour. Some 72 percent said they felt that they had to immediately respond to texts and other messages and notifications, even when they're driving. Half admitted that they were addicted to their devices.

Report: Nursing home staffing levels have been overstated

If you have a family member in a South Carolina nursing home, you've likely been concerned at times about whether there were enough qualified staff members available to provide the level of care and personal attention your loved one needs and deserves. A recent study by The New York Times and Kaiser Health News confirmed what many people already knew: Staffing levels at many facilities are too low.

One reason for the low numbers, according to the report, may be a change in how facilities report staffing data to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). At one time, nursing homes self-reported their staffing numbers. When an inspection from the federal agency was anticipated, they could staff up temporarily or "game the system," in the words of the report.

Family sues nursing home for death of elderly man after fall

The family of a World War II veteran is suing the Cherryville, North Carolina, nursing home for his death in January 2017, a week after suffering a fall in which he broke his leg. The 98-year-old grandfather, who had once been a Teamsters union leader, had been living in Carolina Care Center for over six years.

The lawsuit for pain and suffering and wrongful death was filed last month on behalf of the man's estate by a South Carolina attorney. According to the suit, when the man moved into the facility, he had mobility issues. By the time he died, he was also suffering from cognitive deficiencies including memory loss and disorientation and was blind in one eye. He had difficulty communicating verbally as well.

LITCHFIELD OFFICE
90 Wall Street
Pawleys Island, SC 29585

Toll Free: 866-586-0116
Phone: 843-235-6747
Fax: 843-235-6650
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GEORGETOWN OFFICE
235 Church Street
Georgetown, SC 29442

Toll Free: 866-586-0116
Phone: 843-527-8020
Fax: 843-485-4121
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Columbia Office
1116 Henderson St.
Suite 200
Columbia, SC 29201

Phone: 803-254-5551
Fax: 803-252-2462
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