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5 Common Mistakes in a Personal Injury Case in South Carolina

5 Common Mistakes in a Personal Injury Case in South Carolina 1

If you’ve suffered harm from an accident or injury and somebody else may be legally responsible for that harm, you may be entitled to legal compensation. Your first step to getting that compensation is filing a personal injury claim. 

Personal injury is the legal term used to describe any case that involves injury to your body, mind, or emotions — and if you’re the plaintiff, you may be able to recover compensatory damages, either economic or non-economic, for what you’ve endured. 

However, in order to make sure you get the compensation you deserve, it’s important that you follow all the right steps and avoid making mistakes before or during the claim filing process. To cue you in on what you should be aware of, here are five common mistakes to avoid while filing your personal injury case in South Carolina. 

5 Common Mistakes in a Personal Injury Case in South Carolina

Personal injury lawsuits are meant to protect you and your future — but if you miss any key components in the process, you may risk not getting the compensation you deserve. Here’s a list of five common mistakes you should avoid during your personal injury case in South Carolina. 

1. Not Calling the Police or Obtaining a Police Report

Whether you end up in court or at a settlement table, the truth of your case only matters to the extent in which you can prove it — and obtaining a police report is the critical first step in doing so. 

People’s viewpoints on the accident can change once they’ve had time to reflect or be advised on the situation. This is why it’s important to have a police officer document the situation right away. The evidence found in that report will help you prove your case. So don’t forget to call or choose not to call the police, and don’t let the defendant talk you out of it either. 

2. Not Speaking to Witnesses

As time goes by, witnesses’ memories fade and change. In fact, the mere passage of time can be used to discredit a witness’s testimony in court, even if they can still recount it all perfectly. On top of that, sometimes witnesses will move out of town or be difficult to locate. 

The bottom line here? Speak to witnesses and get their statements as soon as possible. Their testimonies can help preserve and prove the important details of your claim, further ensuring that you receive the amount of compensation you’re entitled to. 

3. Not Going to the Doctor or Following Doctor’s Recommendations

When it comes to going to the doctor to treat your injury, there are a few mistakes that can be made. 

  1. The first, of course, is not going to the doctor at all. 
  2. The second is lying to your doctor and exaggerating symptoms to get more compensation. 
  3. And the third is failing to follow up on appointments or your doctor’s recommendations. 

In a personal injury case, your doctor’s diagnosis, treatment plan, and recommendations are just as important as the police report. You need to get an honest and professional medical evaluation, obtain documentation of what’s wrong and what it will take to heal, and follow through with it all. Otherwise, your credibility can suffer and the value of your claim can drop significantly. 

4. Posting on Social Media

While you’re in the midst of a personal injury claim, insurance companies will do everything they can to discredit your claim — even monitor your social media profiles. If you post anything that could affect the credibility of your testimony and claim, they can and will use it against you. 

Say, for instance, you were injured in a car accident, and two days later you post a photo of yourself drinking alcohol at a party. Even if the party occurred long before or long after your accident, they could find a way to use it against you and deny or discredit your claim. Therefore, it’s best to refrain from any type of posting while your case is pending. 

5. Waiting Too Long to File

If you want to file a personal injury lawsuit in South Carolina, you need to do it as quickly as possible. The sooner, the better. 

There’s a time limit in every state to file, known as the statute of limitations. In South Carolina, the statute of limitations is generally two to three years — with the clock starting on the day of your incident. And since it can take time to gather documentation and prepare your case, it’s better to start the process early. 

How a Columbia, SC Lawyer Can Help You in Your Personal Injury Case

Those five mistakes can significantly reduce your ability to get full compensation for what you’ve suffered — but perhaps the biggest mistake of all is not working with a Columbia, SC lawyer. 

While you can choose to legally represent yourself, the process will go much smoother if you have a lawyer to help you. Working with an experienced lawyer in Columbia, SC gives you a knowledgeable professional to advocate for your needs and maximize your compensation. And they’ll make sure you don’t commit any of these five common personal injury case mistakes. 
Ready to pursue your personal injury suit? Trust Bernstein & Berstein to help you get the compensation you’re entitled to. We’re experienced in claims just like yours and are ready to earn you the peace and relief you need after your experience. Contact our firm today.

Consequences of a DUI in Columbia, SC and How to Avoid Them

Consequences of a DUI in Columbia, SC and How to Avoid Them 2

Driving under the influence (DUI) can result in serious repercussions. Specifically, some common consequences of DUI charges in Columbia, South Carolina include:

  • Fines
  • Jail time
  • License suspension or revocation
  • Raised car insurance rates
  • Court-mandated community service
  • Permanent blot on legal record
  • Limited job opportunities


However, depending on a variety of factors, these consequences can vary in terms of degree, length, and dollar amount. This is why we always recommend speaking with a DUI defense attorney in Columbia, South Carolina for help. 

Below, we’ll take a look at how DUI consequences are determined and how to avoid getting harsher penalties. 

Tests to Determine DUI Consequences

Officials use a variety of tests to determine whether to charge you with driving under the influence, and to what degree. These tests are split into two categories: 1) Field Sobriety Tests (FST) and 2) Blood Alcohol Concentration (“BAC”) tests (breath, blood and/or urine tests)

Field Sobriety Tests.

Law enforcement officers use FST to determine if there is probable cause to charge you with a DUI. Your FST usually will include at least three standardized tests, and they must all be videotaped. In Columbia, South Carolina, you may refuse to participate in FST, but you could still be arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. 

Standard FST tests include: 

  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus (“HGN”) test – The officer moves an object in front of your face while you follow it with your eyes. The officer notes any unusual behavior.
  • Walk the line test – While counting your steps, you take 10 (or the amount the officer instructs) heel-to-toe steps, turn around, and walk back. The officer notes any unsuccessful steps. The officer also will write down anything you do outside of his specific instructions.
  • Stand on one leg – You stand on one leg and count to a certain number as instructed by the officer. The officer will note any problems you have completing the task and anything you do different from his exact instructions

The results of your FST may determine if you’ll be asked to take a Breathalyzer test. However, even if you do walk straight and stand on one leg for 30 seconds, the officer may note a failure to follow instructions or other factors in placing you under arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence 

Datamaster Test

The Datamaster is the only breath testing device that provides court-admissible evidence in South Carolina. It’s a desktop device that measures alcohol content in your breath. You must first be offered a breath test to determine your BAC. If your BAC is at or above .08%, there is an inference that you are  driving under the influence of alcohol. If you register between a .05 and .08, you still may be charged with DUI and the BAC may be considered along with other evidence of guilt or innocence. If you register below a .05, it is conclusively presumed that you are not under the influence of alcohol.

Blood Test

In some circumstances, such as if you are physically unable to provide a breath sample, you may be asked to provide a blood sample to measure your BAC.

Urine Test

When the officer has reasonable suspicion that you may be under the influence of drugs other than alcohol, or under a combination of drugs and alcohol, the officer may order that a urine sample be collected for testing.

Different DUI Consequences in Columbia, SC, Based on Circumstance

DUI consequences vary depending on a multitude of factors, including number of prior offenses, related injuries, and the BAC of the offender. Here’s a look at the differing consequences in Columbia, South Carolina:

First DUI Offense

For  a first DUI offense, you’ll face a fine of at least $400 (actual fines are much higher than listed because of court costs and other fees) or imprisonment for 48 hours – 30 days. However, if your BAC is .16 or above, you will be fined $1,000 or imprisoned 30 – 90 days. The court may also require the installation of an ignition interlock device to prevent you from operating your vehicle under the influence. The installation is at your expense. 

Second DUI Offense

For a  second DUI offense, you’ll face a fine between $2,100 and $5,100 AND imprisonment for 5 days – 1 year. However, if your BAC is between .10 and .16, the fine is $2,500 to $5,500 AND imprisonment for 30 days – 2 years. If your BAC is .16 or higher, the fine is $3,000 – $6,000 AND imprisonment for 90 days – 3 years. Your driver’s license will be suspended and .when you are eligible to get a new driver’s license, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device.. The installation is at your expense.

Third DUI Offense

For your third DUI offense, you’ll face a fine between $3,800 and $6,300 AND imprisonment for 60 days – 3 years. However, if your BAC is between .10 and .16, the fine is $5,000 to $7,500 AND imprisonment for 90 days – 4 years. If your BAC is .16 or higher, the fine is $7,500 – $10,000 AND imprisonment for 6 months – 5 years. Your driver’s license will be suspended and when you are eligible to get a new driver’s license, you will be required to install an ignition interlock   The installation is at your expense.

Fourth DUI Offense

For your fourth DUI offense, you’ll face imprisonment for 1-5 years. However, if your BAC is between .10 and .16, you must be imprisoned for 2 – 6 years. If your BAC is .16 or higher, you must be imprisoned 3 – 7 years. Your driver’s license will be suspended.  The court may also suspend your license, require you to surrender your vehicle registration and license plates, and/or require the installation of an ignition interlock device to prevent you from operating your vehicle under the influence. The installation is at your expense.

Felony DUI Offense

If you are driving under the influence and you cause great bodily injury or death to another person, you can be charged with Felony DUI

If you’re convicted of a Felony DUI that results in great bodily injury in Columbia, SC, the consequences are:

  • Fine between $5,100 and $10,100
  • Imprisonment for 30 days – 15 years
  • Driver’s license suspension during the term of imprisonment plus three years
  • Interlock device for 3 years

If you’re convicted of a Felony DUI that results in death in Columbia, SC , the consequences are:

  • Fine between $10,1000 and $25,100
  • Imprisonment for 1 – 25 years
  • Driver’s license suspension during term of imprisonment plus five years
  • Interlock device for 5 years

Underage DUI Offense

South Carolina has a Zero Tolerance Policy for underage drinking and driving, which means minors can be charged with an Underage DUI after just one drink. 

If you’re under 21 and have a BAC of .02-.08%, the consequences are:

First Underage DUI Offense in South Carolina

  • Driver’s license suspension for three months
  • Driver’s license suspension for six months if you refuse a chemical test

Second Underage DUI Offense in South Carolina

  • Driver’s license suspension for six months
  • Driver’s license suspension for one year if you refuse a chemical test

If you’re under 21 and have a BAC of .08% or higher, the consequences are:

First Offense

  • Driver’s license suspension for six months
  • $400 fine
  • 48 hours – 30 days of jail time
  • 48 hours of public service

These consequences get harsher with more charges. 

How to Avoid Harsh Consequences of DUIs

The best way to avoid harsh DUI consequences is to hire a local Columbia DUI defense attorney. Once hired, they’ll examine the handling of your arrest, results of chemical tests, and accuracy of officer recollections in order to help the court and/or jury understand all evidence. 

In many cases, Columbia DUI defense attorneys can help you reduce your drunk driving charge.

If you’ve been charged with a DUI, contact Bernstein & Bernstein via phone call or our website contact page. As experienced defense attorneys, we can help you navigate the process of court appearances and defending your case.

Why You Should Work with a Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

A Columbia, SC workers’ compensation lawyer can make sure you and/or your dependents receive what you’re entitled to if you get sick or injured on the job. Let’s look at how workers’ compensation works and when a Columbia lawyer can help you receive the benefits you deserve.

How Does Workers’ Compensation Work?

The Workers’ Compensation Act in South Carolina allows an employee who suffers an injury or illness by accident arising out of and in the course of employment to receive benefits. The injured worker must provide notice of the injury to the employer and file the claim. Benefits include medical expenses, compensation for lost time or diminished income, and disability benefits if he/she suffered a permanent injury. You may forego these benefits if you fail to file a claim or if the claim is denied. We can help you through the claim procedures, including a complicated appeals process. 

Insurance companies are rarely motivated to look out for workers’ interests, and they will often do whatever they can to disprove claims and refuse to give out funds, even if the claims are legitimate. One reason the insurance company may deny your claim is if the cause of the injury is unclear. They may argue that the injury was sustained outside of the workplace, or was a pre-existing condition. A workers’ compensation lawyer can gather evidence to support your claim and protect your rights. 

Do I Need a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?

A lawyer isn’t always necessary when you want to claim a workplace injury to receive benefits. If the injury is minor and heals completely, is clearly related to your work, and/or doesn’t require you to miss a long period of work, your claim is likely to be smaller and unlikely to be disputed.

More complex cases, however, can be more difficult to navigate, for both workers and insurance companies. These might include your case if:

  • You have a pre-existing condition
  • You have an injury that is difficult to define
  • You are being accused of fraud
  • You are unable to work for the long term or indefinitely
  • You receive Social Security disability or other government benefits
  • You have not yet received benefits after submitting your claim
  • You are unable to receive the medical care you need without workers’ compensation benefits
  • You have an repetitive motion injury
  • You have an occupational illness or disease
  • You have a serious brain injury
  • You have a mental injury

Or, if you’re currently disputing or appealing your claim, a lawyer may be necessary to expedite the process.

Why Work with a Columbia, SC Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

A workers’ compensation lawyer can offer you a better chance of receiving the benefits you deserve, even if your claim is denied. They will help gather documentation and evidence, recommend experienced and qualified doctors and medical personnel, represent you at your hearing, and negotiate on your behalf to earn the best possible outcome. 

Here are three reasons why you should work with a Columbia, SC workers’ compensation lawyer:

There’s a Time Limit to Make Your Claim

In South Carolina, if you are a victim of a workplace accident and suffer an injury, you have up to 90 days to report the incident, and up to two years to file a claim. This may sound like a long time, but if you’re unsure if your injury qualifies you for workers’ compensation or are facing other pressures, the clock can run out surprisingly quickly. It’s best to contact a Columbia, SC workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case, collect evidence, and make your claim.

You Can Recover More with a Columbia, SC Lawyer

People who are represented by a workers’ compensation lawyer are likely to recover more than those who approach the process alone. Insurance companies are working to save their own money and may try to talk you out of pursuing your claim, try to discredit your case, or dispute minor inconsistencies to convince you to settle for less than you deserve. 

When you work with an experienced attorney in Columbia, SC, you’ve got a local professional in your corner to advocate for your best interests. They can help you present a solid case and receive the benefits for which you’re entitled.

You Don’t Owe Anything Up Front

Many workers’ compensation lawyers work on a contingency basis, so you don’t owe anything upfront. Their fee will come out of what you are awarded for your permanent disability, either in a settlement or as determined by the Workers’ Compensation Commission. This means you won’t ever have to worry about paying out of pocket for an attorney. By law, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits in the case of a legitimate workplace injury, and a Columbia, SC lawyer will make sure the law is upheld.

Workers’ Compensation Lawyers in Columbia, SC

Looking for help with your worker’s compensation claim? The workers’ compensation attorneys at Bernstein & Bernstein are your source for thorough and responsive legal action. We handle each case personally to ensure that you’re taken care of — throughout the legal process and after. Give us a call to get started.

5 Things to Know Before You File a Personal Injury Case in Columbia SC

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If you’re recovering from an injury, trying to afford medical bills, or dealing with the stress of your situation, pursuing a personal injury case in Columbia, SC may seem like an impossible task. You may not be sure how long it will take, how much it will cost, how much you can earn, or even if you have a case. Let’s talk about 5 things you should know before you file a personal injury case in Columbia, SC.

#1 Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit is Your Right

Personal injury lawsuits are meant to protect you and your future. If your injury was caused by another party’s negligence — a lack of care for your safety that would have prevented the injury — you may be entitled to damages. Damages can provide relief from medical expenses, compensation for pain and suffering, or reimburse lost wages from a short-term disability or long-term diminished earnings.

A Columbia lawyer can help make sure you receive what you’re entitled to, either through a trial or settlement out of court.

#2 A Columbia Lawyer Can Help You Recover More

People who work with a personal injury lawyer are likely to recover more than someone who goes through the process alone. It pays to work with a professional who understands personal injury cases. They know what you need to support your claim, how to present your case in court, how to negotiate in your best interests, and what qualifies as an adequate settlement. 

Trying to go through the process alone can be intimidating, especially if you’re still recovering from an injury. Insurance companies will be out to save money for the companies they represent and not looking out for you. A dedicated personal injury lawyer, on the other hand, will always be on your side. They will take the time to hear and understand your side of the story, and advocate for you to the court.

#3 Don’t Wait to File Your Personal Injury Suit in Columbia, SC

If you’re thinking about filing a personal injury lawsuit in Columbia, SC, the sooner you file, the better. There is a time limit in every state to file, known as a statute of limitations. In South Carolina, you generally have two or three years before you can no longer bring your claim. The clock starts on the day of your incident. Since it can take time to gather documentation and prepare your case, it’s better to start as soon as you can by working with a local Columbia, SC lawyer.

Also, the sooner you begin the process, the more likely you are to remember key information about the injury and the conditions that caused it, such as names, dates, witnesses, weather, or other details. Over time, memories can become muddled and it can be difficult to pursue a claim, even with an excellent lawyer representing you.

#4 It Won’t Cost You Anything Up Front

Most personal injury lawyers in Columbia, SC work on a contingency basis. Their fee is contingent on the outcome of the claim or lawsuit. This means that you don’t have to pay to work with an attorney upfront. Their earnings will come out of what you settle for or are awarded in the case. Contingency also works in your favor because you can trust that your lawyer is motivated to earn you top dollar. If you hire our firm, you will not pay anything unless we recover money for you.

#5 Personal Injury Cases in Columbia, SC Can Take Time

Personal injury cases are rarely a quick process, but it is worth it if compensation for your injury is justified. Before you file your claim, expect the process to take at least several months, but maybe even one or more years to complete, depending on the complexity of the case and severity of your injuries. 

It’s not uncommon for insurance companies to extend the case just to see if you will get impatient. You and your attorney share the same goal, so you can trust they are working to conclude the case as quickly and efficiently as possible, but they won’t encourage you to settle for less than your claim is worth.

Ready to pursue your personal injury suit? Trust Bernstein & Bernstein to help you get what you deserve. Your local Columbia, SC lawyers, we’re experienced in claims just like yours and are ready to earn you the peace and relief you need after your traumatic experience. Give us a call or reach out to our team online today.