Personal Injury

Driving while Intexicated

ImageMany people today use text messaging over phone calls to communicate with one another. While texting can save you from small talk, awkward pauses in conversation and has the capability of getting straight to the point, texting can also cost you your life or the life of another. According to textinganddrivingsafety.com, in 2011, at least 23% of auto collisions involved cell phones. It is estimated that texting while driving makes an accident 23 more times likely! Due to the rising number of accidents resulting in part from texting and driving, many states have made it illegal to text and drive. Washington was the first state to pass a law banning texting and driving. Today, the majority of states have laws banning texting and driving.

Much of the media has put out the message that a text can wait and I can totally agree with that. Texting and driving is most common amongst young adults. Just recently, Socastee High School students took a pledge not to text and drive. You hear the stories and you may even witness an accident that resulted from texting and driving but can you imagine your child being the cause of the accident or the victim of the accident?

Texting is not the only distraction that a phone brings, many people surf the web while they are driving or post to their social media sites. The bottom line is, every driver owes a duty of care to act as a prudent careful driver. The law states you must use reasonable care in operating a motor vehicle. If you or your loved one was injured due to the carelessness of another driver, then contact Daniel Selwa today. Act quickly by contacting your local attorney so that the careless driver does not make the same mistake of texting and driving twice.

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Categories: Civil Litigation, Driver License, Personal Injury | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Traffic Citations in Myrtle Beach

Make no mistake about it; police presence is still rampant along the Grand Strand area. The media along with police forces made their presence known during the recent bike week events. But, police vehicles can still be found every single day patrolling Myrtle Beach and the surrounding areas.

Most traffic citations are infraction level offenses, which means they are less severe than misdemeanor or felony crimes. Traffic citations include: speeding, failing to use a blinker, following too closely, and driving without a valid license among others. But even though the penalties are often not as great, many people become distressed by receiving one of these traffic citations because it can affect their car insurance rates as well as their driving privileges.

Typically, a traffic citation requires that you pay a fine. But, some traffic citations can carry more severe penalties. For example, if you receive a traffic citation for driving on a suspended license, you can lose your license on a permanent basis. If your traffic citation involves injury to person or property, the penalties can become more severe as well.

Upon receiving your traffic citation, the officer will inform you about the specifics of the citation itself. You will be given the amount of the fee to be paid as well as a court date. You can choose to either send in a payment to the address indicated on the citation or you can choose to go to traffic court. If you choose to appear in traffic court, the judge will ask you whether you plead guilty or not guilty to the charges. An experienced attorney can help you determine whether it is worth fighting the charges given your particular circumstances. Often times, by just appearing before the judge, he will reduce the fine. However, it is harder to get the points reduced or removed completely from your record without an attorney.

Surely, the best advice Daniel Selwa can give you to avoid traffic citations is to drive safely and follow all traffic laws. But, sometimes it happens, after a long day at work or when you’re in a rush to make it to work, so the next best advice Daniel Selwa can give you is to consult an attorney regarding your traffic offense. Attorney Daniel Selwa has been to traffic court many times on behalf of his clients. He knows how to fight your traffic offense charges and will do everything in his power to help you with your traffic ticket.

Categories: Attorneys, Civil Litigation, Constitutional Rights, Personal Injury, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Automobile Accidents: How you can be compensated for your losses

ImageEvery ten seconds someone in the United States is involved in a car accident. Today, cars are made to crumble upon impact. Cars are designed this way so that the driver and passengers are better protected from personal injury. While cars have come a long way in safety, unfortunately, many car accidents still result in death and serious injury. In fact, automobile accidents give rise to the majority of personal injury claims in the United States.

The law of negligence typically governs the legal claims arising from automobile accidents. Negligence consists of: duty, causation (legal and proximate), breach and damages. In the automobile context, automobile drivers owe a duty to exercise reasonable care in operating their vehicle. The failure to exercise reasonable care results in a breach and thus, raises an inference of negligence. The Plaintiff bears the burden of proof in a negligence action which means he must prove the Defendant breached his duty of care and that his breach was the proximate cause of the accident and the actual cause of the Plaintiff’s injuries.

Courts look at several factors to determine whether a driver was acting negligently in the operation of their vehicle. Failure to exercise reasonable care may be found where the driver: disobeyed traffic laws or signals, failed to signal while turning, drove above the posted speed limit, and drove under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Negligence is not the only legal theory of recovery for your personal injuries resulting from an automobile accident but it is the typical avenue to pursue when trying to recover for your personal injury damages. Call Daniel Selwa today to discuss your case.  Attorney Selwa offers free consultations to determine if the other driver’s negligence will allow you to recover monetary damages. Don’t let your medical bills and property damage bills overwhelm you, instead pursue your case with Daniel Selwa so that the at fault driver has to compensate you for your damages.

Categories: Insurance Companies, Personal Injury, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What to do if you are involved in an automobile accident

One week before the South Carolina Bar Exam, my friend was struck by another car driven by a drunk driver. At the time of the accident, the roads were very wet due to the steady flow of rain. She told me how the impact of the hit and the slippery roads caused her car to slide several feet. A sense of panic and fear overwhelmed her as her car slid closer and closer to oncoming traffic. The sense of relief was even greater when finally; her car came to a halt. Soon after, she pulled over and so did the other car that struck her. The woman driving the car that hit my friend stumbled out of her vehicle.  Unsteady and shaky, my friend went on to tell me that she dialed the police immediately. The woman proceeded to plead with her to let her pay and leave. Quickly, my friend became aware that there was a strong possibility the woman might flee the scene of the accident. As she was talking to the police on the phone, she had the forsight to take down her tag number and noted the make and model of her car. So what was the outcome? Long story short, she didn’t flee, the police showed up, wrote a police report, searched her vehicle and arrested her.

Based on my experience and the law, I want to give you some advice regarding what you should do if you are involved in a car accident. First and foremost, don’t leave the scene of the accident. You can face criminal punishment for leaving the scene of an accident, particularly where injury is involved. Note, however, if you are involved in a car accident and you are in a remote area, proceed cautiously. It may be best to drive to the closest police station or public area to call the police.

Next, make sure to check on all the drivers and passengers. If someone is injured or trapped in a vehicle, you want to call for medical attention immediately. If everyone is okay, call the police.  It is important to obtain a police report of the accident so that if you have to be appear in Court, you have proofof the accident. It would also be wise to exchange information from the other driver and passengers involved in the accident. But, when conversing with the driver and passengers, be sure not to say too much. You don’t want to apologize for anything, if you do, that information could be used against in a Court of law.

Pictures, pictures, pictures! If you are able, take pictures of the damage at the scene of the accident. These pictures can serve as significant proof of who was at fault in the accident and how the injured party should be compensated.

When a police report is filed, insurance companies are usually contacted immediately. If you are the at fault driver, consult an attorney before you contact your insurance company or provide statements to any other insurance company.  Likewise, if you are not the at-fault driver, it would be advisable to contact an attorney to make sure you don’t get taken advantage of.  Remember one thing, whether your interest in this information is for criminal defense purposes or for personal injury purposes: Insurance companies are in business to make money, not help people.  Money is priority number one.

If you are injured in the automobile accident, it is extremely important to keep track of your medical treatment. You should keep a diary containing notes of all your doctors’ visits and referrals. You should also keep an itemized list of all the medical expenses you have incurred.

Lastly, don’t give up. Law enforcement and insurance companies alike may give you a hard time in pursuing your case. But, remember, you do have a case, if your property or person was injured at the hands of another or if you are being charged with a criminal driving offense, Daniel Selwa will work hard to help you.

Categories: Criminal Defense, Insurance Companies, Personal Injury | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Dangers and Consequences of Texting and Driving

You’ve probably heard one or more of these catch phrases,  “if you want to survive, don’t text and drive,” “don’t tempt fate, that text can wait”,  “don’t drive inTEXTicated”, and “friends don’t let friends text and drive.” Although it is still a national concern, drunk driving seems to have taken a back seat to texting and driving. Recent reports and statistics have caused the focus to shift from drunk driving to texting and driving.  Many cell phone providers have included features that now allow you to communicate your text by talking the text which results in the phone typing and sending the text message for you. Media outlets including radio and television constantly run segment on the dangers of texting and driving. According to recent reports, someone is injured or killed once in every 5 minutes on average in a crash that involves texting and driving.

Many states have now adopted laws that ban text messaging while driving. Currently, Columbia, the capital of South Carolina does have a ban in place for texting and driving but the state of South Carolina is not currently a state that bans text messaging while driving. However, it may soon join the growing list of states that bans text messaging while driving. A review of the proposed bill that will ban texting and driving is available at: http://www.distracteddrivinghelp.com/south-carolina-texting-laws.

Recently, the Department of Transportation and the Federal Communications Commission along with over 140 other organizations joined forces to halt texting while driving.  The WMBF news article listed explains this national movement: http://www.wmbfnews.com/story/19581108/the-dot-and-fcc-join-att-to-call-for-a-national-movement-to-halt-texting-while-driving.

Have you or someone you know been injured by someone who was texting and driving? Join the national movement and do your part by discussing your case with attorney Daniel Selwa. Although texting and driving is not yet banned across the state of South Carolina, South Carolina does recognize actions at law that will allow you to recover for your loss.

Categories: DUI, Personal Injury | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is today and for many of us, Halloween is a holiday filled with candy, haunted houses, and scary movies. While some choose to stay home and give out candy to trick or treaters or snuggle with their loved ones while watching a scary movie, many people venture out on Halloween in their costumes to trick or treat and/or attend Halloween parties. You can bet your bottom dollar that many of those attending the Halloween parties will be consuming alcohol. So, what does this mean for you, the responsible Halloween partygoer?  This means that you need to be aware of all your surroundings and particularly careful when driving to and from the Halloween party.

Every 30 minutes, someone is killed in a drunk driving accident. Last year alone, over one million people were injured in alcohol related traffic accidents. Halloween is a particularly dangerous day because of the number of drunk drivers on the road. As reported by MADD, who cited the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 41% of all highway fatalities throughout the nation during the Halloween period in 2010 involved a driver with a BAC of .08% or higher.

Here are some particular tips from MADD about how to keep safe this Halloween: http://www.madd.org/blog/2012/october/Halloween.html

If you suffer personal injury this Halloween, contact Daniel Selwa immediately.  You may have a claim for negligence against the driver who injured you. Automobile drivers are under a duty to use reasonable care under the circumstances and a failure to use reasonable care results in negligence. If the driver who injured you was over the legal limit of alcohol at the time of the accident, the judge will take this fact into consideration. It is likely that the judge will infer negligence if the plaintiff can prove the defendant was inebriated at the time of the accident. Liability may also extend to the establishment that served the driver alcohol. Contact Daniel Selwa immediately so that he can ensure all of the liable parties are held responsible for their wrongful actions.

Eat, drink, be scary, but most of all be safe this Halloween! Happy Halloween!

Categories: DUI, Personal Injury | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Negligence: Don’t let your suffering go unnoticed.

Picture this: You are walking toward the bus stop where you pick up your child every day. You see the bus approach so you step out of your vehicle so that you can greet your child. Moments later, a crash occurs before your eyes. You realize there is a lifeless body lying on the pavement and as you look closer, you realize it is your child lying there.

A bystander (plaintiff) may recover for negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) where the defendant was negligent, defendant’s negligence was the cause of injury or death to the victim, and where the plaintiff (bystander) was the spouse, child, or parent of the victim, plaintiff was present at the scene of the accident at the time it occurred, plaintiff was aware that such event or accident caused the injury to the victim and as a result, plaintiff suffered emotional distress. In the above-mentioned scenario, you would be entitled to recover from the at fault driver involved.

But suppose you don’t meet the requirements of NIED but you have suffered injury due to another’s negligence. Suppose the last thing you remember was you were driving on the freeway behind a large truck carrying tree trunks, next thing you know, you’re waking up in a hospital. The doctor informs you that one of the tree trunks came loose from the truck and crashed through your windshield; you were knocked unconscious from the accident. You are entitled to recover damages including your medical bills based on the legal theory of negligence. In order to recover, the plaintiff must show: a duty owed to her, a breach of that duty, causation that links the defendant’s negligence to the plaintiff’s injury and damages resulting from defendant’s negligence. As a truck driver, the defendant owes a duty of care to other drivers on the roadways. He breached that duty by failing to secure the tree trunks properly on his truck. The company he works for may also be liable for negligence in participating in loading the tree trunks or failing to supervise the loading of tree trunks onto the truck. The plaintiff suffered injury from the tree trunk that fell of the defendant’s trunk; therefore, there is causation and damages present.

There are many variations of negligence that allow for recovery. You may have experienced one of the above-mentioned scenarios or one that is very similar to the examples listed above. If you have suffered injury due to the negligence of another, you are entitled to recovery from the negligent party. Don’t sleep on your legal rights; contact Daniel Selwa today to set up a free consultation.

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Injured in a car accident?

Have you been involved in an automobile accident and sustained personal injuries as a result? Did you know you may recover for your medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, intangible losses and loss of consortium?

For medical expenses, you may recover the costs for medicine, medical attendance, hospital expense and care, and nursing. Also, if you are going to require future medical procedures due to the injury-causing event then you may recover future medical expenses.  Types of future medical expenses include the cost of any medically necessary attempt to heal or improve any injury or disfigurement.  If you were employed at the time of the accident and had to miss work due to the injuries you sustained from the accident you may also recover lost wages.  The amount of loss wages is determined according to the amount lost before trial. Loss of earning capacity may also be recoverable where the plaintiff can show the extent of the injury and how it will reduce future earning power. Intangible losses include pain and suffering and emotional/mental distress. There is no set formula for the recovery of pain and suffering; the jury determines the amount of damages to be awarded for pain and suffering. Loss of consortium includes the loss of services of a spouse as well as the loss of love and companionship.

Suppose you are involved in an automobile accident with a drunk driver. In addition to the remedies already mentioned, you may be able to recover punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded where the plaintiff can show the defendant’s actions were malicious, wanton, willful, or in reckless disregard of the plaintiff’s rights. Driving while intoxicated is negligence per se and typically gives rise to punitive damages. You may also recover punitive damages where the at fault party was driving at an excessive speed or was driving a vehicle with the knowledge that the vehicle was in poor condition.

Filing a claim with your insurance company is not the only way to recover your damages. With an attorney, you can sue the at fault party personally to recover the additional damages you suffered such as the ones mentioned above: medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, intangible losses and loss of consortium. Since damage awards can vary, you need a competent attorney on your side to ensure you recover the maximum amount of damages. Daniel Selwa is a personal injury attorney in the Myrtle Beach area who is experienced in handling personal injury cases. Call him today to set up your free consultation.

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