South Carolina's Golden Corner's Only Super Lawyers Rising Star for 2015

The triad of counties encompassing the Golden Corner of South Carolina, Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens, only have one (1) attorney recognized by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star in 2015- Congratulations Trey Mills

Floyd S. Mills III, aka "Trey", has been recognized again in 2015 as a Super Lawyers Rising Star in South Carolina . As a partner at Trammell & Mills Law Firm, LLC, Mr. Mills practices only personal injury law which encompasses anyone harmed by the negligence, ignorance, or omissions of others. Trey loves fighting against faceless insurance companies that only seem to know one word, "No." 

The motivating factor that caused Trey Mills to become a lawyer was when he was dying of leukemia, more specifically ALL, at the age of 17 and heard his mother constantly yelling on the phone with insurance providers pleading with them to process payment to the wonderful medical facilities, medical workers, and doctors that were trying to save his life. The only reason that evil insurance company didn't make payment, delayed payment, or tried to deny payment was because it was very expensive to cover the costs of a dying human and insurance companies are in business to make money not save lives. Well fortunately, Mr. Mills lived but more importantly others impacted by the evil insurance companies can now have someone that is truly:

  • on their side, not on the side of the negligent party (Nationwide);
  • providing a helping hand and pat on the shoulder versus the good hands around your neck (Allstate);
  • your neighbor in Anderson & Oconee Counties, not in some call center in Duluth, GA (State Farm);
  • not going to equate you to a dog and pat you on the head to recognize good behavior (Travelers);
  • not going to have some crazy eyed, all white dressed woman named "Ho" to berate you (Progressive); or
  • not consider you to be the scapegoat for someone else's actions or lick his eyes with his tongue (GEICO).  

 

 

 

 

The selection process for being selected into this group is as follows:

The selection process for the Rising Stars list is the same as the Super Lawyers selection process, with one exception: to be eligible for inclusion in Rising Stars, a candidate must be either 40 years old or younger or in practice for 10 years or less. All attorneys first go through the Super Lawyers selection process. Those who are not selected to the Super Lawyers list, but who meet either one of the Rising Stars eligibility requirements, go through the Rising Stars selection process. While up to five percent of the lawyers in the state are named to Super Lawyers, no more than 2.5 percent are named to the Rising Stars list

 

Pedestrians Have the Right of Way in South Carolina

A pedestrian walking across the street to Anderson University was struck on Wednesday, September 17, 2014, according to WSPA and other media outlets. 

pedestrian, or any person on foot, has duties just like those driving motor vehicles to be responsible, however, sometimes the higher duty and responsibility remains with the driver of the motor vehicle to be more alert and observant.

South Carolina Drivers' Manual is where we all started and had to learn the "rules of the road" before being granted permission to get our license. After the introduction, the manual goes into "General Information", more specifically the subsection entitled, "Sharing the Road" states:

It is your responsibility as a driver to be on the lookout and to take every precaution possible to not injure a person on foot. If you see a vehicle, pedestrian or children near the road, you should slow down and be prepared to stop. (General Information p.45)

The South Carolina Code of Laws sets forth a few reminders for all of us drivers on the roadways as it pertains to pedestrians:

  1. SECTION 56-5-3230. Drivers to exercise due care.

    Notwithstanding other provisions of any local ordinance, every driver of a vehicle shallexercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or any person propelling a human-powered vehicle and shall give an audible signal when necessary and shall exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused, incapacitated or intoxicated person.

  2. SECTION 56-5-1520. General rules as to maximum speed limits; lower speeds may be required.

    (A) A person shall not drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing. Speed must be so controlled to avoid colliding with a person, vehicle, or other conveyance on or entering the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of a person to use care.

    (F) The driver of a vehicle shall drive, consistent with the requirements of subsection (A), at an appropriate reduced speed when approaching and crossing an intersection or railway grade crossing, when approaching and going around a curve, approaching a hillcrest, when traveling upon any narrow bridge, narrow or winding roadway, and when special hazard exists with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather or highway conditions.

South Carolina case law follows in line with the before mentioned rules in stating:

  • One operating a motor vehicle on a public highway owes an urgent duty to keep a proper lookout and to keep the vehicle under proper control.  Yaun v. Baldridge, 134 S.E.2d 248, 251 (S.C.1964).
  • Negligence is established as a matter of law if the only inference is that either the driver did not look or did so in such a careless fashion as not to see what was in plain view. Williams v. Davis, 243 S.C. 524, 134 S.E.2d 760 (1964).

No one may truly know what happened during the incident. However, this is a time to remind all of us who get behind the wheel to just remain alert and vigilant to our surroundings.

 

Millions of Dollars Missing in Anderson, Oconee & Pickens Counties

People throughout Anderson, Oconee, & Pickens Counties are missing their money.  In fact, they’re missing millions.  For many, it’s a few thousand dollars…but for some, it’s a whole lot more.  And many of these victims don’t even realize their own money is gone.

How is this possible?  Money that is rightfully theirs—owed to them for any number of legitimate reasons—simply isn’t paid.  It happens every day, because no one stands up for the people who need it most.  In a lot of cases, it’s pure greed on the part of an employer or an insurance company

Every day, workers suffer injuries at on the job.  They are legally entitled to be paid because of those injuries, but insurance companies deny claims without even blinking.  Others have valid Social Security claims that are routinely dismissed.  And folks get hurt daily in car wrecks, slip and fall cases, and dog bite cases only to be told the insurance company won’t pay.

These people are legally entitled to collect money, but can’t do it on their own.  They don’t know how to fight the system, so they give up.  The Trammell & Mills Law Firm, LLC steps forward to help these victims, with great success.  Ernest Trammell, Trey Mills, Bradley Bledsoe and Roy Trammell have the compassion and experience to truly help.

In a lot of cases, insurance companies use complex legal language to deny claims.  The professionals at Trammell & Mills translate the legal talk into words anyone can understand.  They take the mystery out of legal documents, so people can make the right decisions.

The attorneys of Trammell & Mills are dedicated to helping the people who need it most.  And they believe in giving back to the Anderson community.  They actively support local groups like the Anderson Free Clinic,  Boy Scouts, Cancer Association of Anderson, Coaches 4 Character,  Miracle Hill Ministries, Tackling the Streets, The Leukemia & Lymphoma SocietyThe Red Cross, and YMCA.  They serve at church, on IPTAY and on bank boards.  They’re caring neighbors.

They believe in doing the right thing.  And that means standing up to the nameless, faceless insurance companies who make heartless decisions without thinking.  They help the people of Anderson County get the money they’re missing.  Learn how The Trammell & Mills Law Firm LLC can help you at www.trammellandmills.com or contact us at 864-231-7171. 

 

Floyd S. "Trey" Mills III Invited to Join The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial Lawyers

Floyd S. "Trey" Mills III with the Trammell & Mills Law Firm, LLC has just been recognized and invited to join The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial Lawyers. Mr. Mills was recognized for his work in the state of South Carolina for Civil Plaintiff's litigation. 

 

The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 an invitation-only organization composed of the premier trial lawyers from each state in the nation who meet stringent qualifications as civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense trial lawyers. Selection is based on a thorough multi-phase process which includes peer nominations combined with third-party research. Membership is extended solely to the select few of the most qualified attorneys from each state who demonstrate superior qualifications of leadership, reputation, influence, stature and public profile.

In more simpler terms, without all the law mumbo jumbo, Mr. Mills represents the rights of those harmed by the negligence, ignorance, and/or omissions of others. Ninety-nine (99%) percent of the cases he files a law suit on involve the insurance company of that negligent, ignorant, and/or omitting party that has caused his clients a loss or harm. The insurance company provides a lawyer to the at fault party and then the insurance company makes every effort to not pay a dime or a much lower price for the actual harms and losses Mr. Mills' clients have incurred. An example of cases you can consult with Mr. Mills in assisting you on your legal needs are listed below:

Trammell & Mills Law Firm, LLC also handles cases involving injuries at work and disability claims. Feel free come by our office in Anderson, visit us on the web, or like our Facebook page

 

The National Trial Lawyers

Anderson County Property Arbitration: January 2014 Report

I have blogged about the benefits of citizens filing for property arbitration hearings in their respective county when they are unhappy, insulted, and/or confused with the offers they receive from the at fault driver's insurance company following a motor vehicle collision. Clicking on the link below from a prior article I wrote, will set forth the actual law on property arbitrations and highlight the items you should bring to win your case. More importantly, this process may take more time but it only costs $10 (ten dollars). Seriously, you could get hundreds or thousands more on your property for a $10 investment and your time. 

Why do I advocate property arbitration?

  1. I feel insurance companies habitually take advantage of people injured through no fault of their own and start kicking them while they are down immediately with low ball or inaccurate information about property reimbursement. 
  2. Insurance companies can lie and mislead you on the law because they aren't lawyers, they are only protecting their money. Not your money.
  3. It is such a simple, affordable, and successful process for the property owner to get more money than they are being offered by the insurance company AND cost the insurance company additional money for being greedy. 

Below I have detailed a real life example and scenario that happened in Anderson County on January 16, 2014 in an arbitration hearing for one of my clients.

BACKGROUND

My client was the owner of a 1971 Pontiac Bonneville that had been passed down from his family to him and kept in pristine shape. He loved that car and had strong emotional and sentimental attachments to it. On occassion he would allow his son to drive the car and on one such day his son was driving in Oconee County when suddenly and without warning he was violently rear ended while driving in his lane of travel by a young girl in a Dodge Ram pick up truck. The damage was extensive to the classic vehicle. However, my client wanted it repaired or paid the classic value he associated with it. Liability was not in dispute, the at fault driver was responsible for the collision for speeding. 

Unfortunately, the at fault driver was insured by Safeco Insurance Company and they took a draconian approach to resolving my client's property damage. They offered to pay my client $3,500.00 for the vehicle because their own estimate for repairs was $5,700.00 and they felt that my client's vehicle was worth the lowest end of the NADA estimate. You have to realize insurance companies don't make money paying it to claims from their insureds causing harms and losses. Insurance companies make money low balling, minimizing, and starving out clients to force them to settle. 

My client refused Safeco's low ball offer and followed my advice by filing a property arbitration in the county the at fault driver lived, which was Anderson County. Since I was assisting his son on the personal injury claim from the motor vehicle collision, I thought I would run by the courthouse and make sure he presented the best case in front of the panel and the defense attorney hired by Safeco.

In any property arbitration hearing the plaintiff, or person bringing the claim, will present their side of the case first. The plaintiff should bring two or more property estimates signed and notarized by the company providing the estimate, pictures of the damage or vehicle, a copy of the accident report, and be prepared to answer any questions the panel my have. Next, the defense attorney will present their case and explain to the panel why they think the property damage is only x amount of dollars. 

Yesterday, we presented the evidence and although Safeco had only offered $3,500.00 19 months earlier, at the hearing they agreed the claim was worth at least $5,000.00. My clients had originally filed on their own and only asked for $7,500.00 but since I came I went ahead and provided a more recent property estimate for over $10,000.00 and asked for that amount from the panel. The whole process took around 30 minutes from start to finish. The panel eventually awarded my client $8,255.00, which turned out to be the difference between Safeco's original estimate of $5,700.00 and my more recent estimate for over $10,000.00. A fair verdict no doubt and more than double what Safeco had ever offered my clients. 

Go forward people and fight this battle! Stop being railroaded into accepting less than the value of your vehicles. Stand up and fight for yourselves. The insurance companies will continue to take money from your hands as long as you allow it. 

 

PRIOR ARTICLE DETAILING PROCESS AND LAW:

South Carolina Property Arbitration: Your Weapon Against Insurance Adjusters

 

"Wrecked?" on Interstate 85 Illustrated in Reality

The Anderson Independent used today's front page article to help publicize and illustrate the reality of interstate 85 and the dangers that exist on this roadway in South Carolina every day. That is something Trammell & Mills Law Firm, LLC has been doing on that stretch of interstate for awhile as you can see with our billboard in the background:

Six People Injured in Anderson County: Minimum Automobile Insurance Review

The minimum limits for automobile insurance in the state of South Carolina are $25,000.00 per person for bodily injury, $50,000.00 for all persons per accident in bodily injury, and $25,000.00 per accident in property damage. (Current through the date of this blog post).  Every driver must carry liability coverage for harm, or injury, they may cause others and uninsured coverage to protect themselves from others not following the rules, ie when harmed, or injured, by drivers without automobile insurance. (For a more in depth analysis feel free to read the actual South Carolina Code on Automobile Insurance, S.C. Code Ann. 38-77-10, et al.)

I have discussed the term "full coverage" on previous blog posts and will only revisit it to say, 90% of clients I assist think they have full coverage and they do not. There is a two inch thick reference book by my desk entitled, "The Law of Automobile Insurance in South Carolina", so understand there are many twists and turns in the world of insurance law. There are two main items everyone should add to the minimum coverage, underinsured coverage and Personal Injury Protection, because these items protect your interest instead of you depending on the general population having enough insurance coverage when you are seriously injured.

Let's make all these facts and figures relevant:

  • Example 1: The Anderson Independent reported that six people were injured on Sunday, August 19, 2012, "Six Hospitalized in Sunday Morning Collision." Let's assume only one driver was responsible for the collision, albeit an accident and not intentional, and was not one of the six injured. If that at fault driver has minimum insurance coverage, the most any one of those six people could receive for their injuries, without pursuing personal assets of the at fault driver, is $25,000.00. The most all six injured parties could receive under the same example, is $50,000.00  aggregate between all six of them.  But what if one party had a broken arm that required surgery? That doesn't change the fact that the only amount of coverage the at fault driver has is $25,000.00 per person per accident in bodily injury and $50,000.00 for all persons per accident. That is why it is important to make sure you have underinsured coverage and PIP coverage. Nobody will watch out for your interest more than you.
  • Example 2: Also reported recently by the Anderson Independent was a fatality when a motorcycle driver lost control of his bike and was killed. "Clemson Motorcyclist Killed in Accident on Liberty Highway." There was apparently no other vehicle involved and was merely an accident with no other party being negligent, or liable. Therefore the only relevant automobile insurance coverage would be PIP, or medpay, and only if the driver incurred medical expenses prior to his untimely death. The only party is the driver and you can not pursue your own liability coverage against yourself in a collision. See also "Single Car Accident Leave Drivers and Passengers with Few Options."

When you have been involved in a motor vehicle collision and been injured, you want to make sure at the very least you have your interests protected within your own insurance coverage. Your right, that is not fair because it was the fault of someone else and they should take care of all your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, permanent disfigurement, and loss of earning capacity. Fill in the blank, "Nobody said life was _____." Plus, if they have minimum coverage they are doing everything required of them by South Carolina law. Good luck trying to get a judgment against personal assets that don't exit, too. I have several outstanding judgments, one against a 19 year old that will most likely never own anything and one against a now defunct corporation. We've all heard the saying, "Can't get blood out of a turnip." Well that's true.

South Carolina Free Medical and Dental Clinics

If you do not have any other resource to seek treatment for your injuries, ailments, disease, or disorder please use this resource to find medical and dental assistance.

We hope this helps you get the medical and/or dental treatment you need. No one should go without care in the United States. Additionally, those that are able should donate to ensure these facilities remain open.

http://www.freemedicalsearch.org/sta/south_carolina

For more specific local areas, please see below:

ANDERSONAnderson Free Clinic

GREENVILLE: Greenville Free Medical Clinic, New Horizon Family Health Services, New Horizon Family Dental Care, and West End Medical Family Alliance

PICKENS: Clemson Free Clinic

 

Pedestrians and Motor Vehicle Accidents in South Carolina

The Anderson Independent Mail reported that a young girl was struck and injured by a vehicle yesterday in Anderson County.  Reportedly, there was a school bus in the area and she darted out across the road.

A pedestrian, or any person on foot, has duties just like those driving motor vehicles to be responsible, however, sometimes the higher duty and responsibility remains with the driver of the motor vehicle to be more alert and observant.

South Carolina Drivers' Manual is where we all started and had to learn the "rules of the road" before being granted permission to get our license. After the introduction, the manual goes into "General Information", more specifically the subsection entitled, "Sharing the Road" states:

It is your responsibility as a driver to be on the lookout and to take every precaution possible to not injure a person on foot. If you see a vehicle, pedestrian or children near the road, you should slow down and be prepared to stop. (General Information p.45)

The South Carolina Code of Laws sets forth a few reminders for all of us drivers on the roadways as it pertains to pedestrians:

  1. SECTION 56-5-3230. Drivers to exercise due care.

    Notwithstanding other provisions of any local ordinance, every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or any person propelling a human-powered vehicle and shall give an audible signal when necessary and shall exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused, incapacitated or intoxicated person.

  2. SECTION 56-5-1520. General rules as to maximum speed limits; lower speeds may be required.

    (A) A person shall not drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing. Speed must be so controlled to avoid colliding with a person, vehicle, or other conveyance on or entering the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of a person to use care.

    (F) The driver of a vehicle shall drive, consistent with the requirements of subsection (A), at an appropriate reduced speed when approaching and crossing an intersection or railway grade crossing, when approaching and going around a curve, approaching a hillcrest, when traveling upon any narrow bridge, narrow or winding roadway, and when special hazard exists with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather or highway conditions.

South Carolina case law follows in line with the before mentioned rules in stating:

  • One operating a motor vehicle on a public highway owes an urgent duty to keep a proper lookout and to keep the vehicle under proper control.  Yaun v. Baldridge, 134 S.E.2d 248, 251 (S.C.1964).
  • Negligence is established as a matter of law if the only inference is that either the driver did not look or did so in such a careless fashion as not to see what was in plain view. Williams v. Davis, 243 S.C. 524, 134 S.E.2d 760 (1964).

No one may truly know what happened during the incident with the young girl and the driver may have used ever caution and observation available to him. However, this is a time to remind all of us who get behind the wheel to just remain alert and vigilant to our surroundings.

 

Anderson, South Carolina: Traffic Citations Equal Big Money

After reading Rick Spruill's article in the Anderson Independent about the revenue brought in from traffic citations in Anderson, a line from the song in The Dukes of Hazzard, came quickly to mind:

"Making their way the only way they know how but that's just a little bit more than the law will allow."

Mr. Spruill reported that over the past few years, Anderson has brought in over $1,868,218 in revenue from traffic citations. More specifically the break down is as follows:

 

Anderson city traffic fines, 2005-2009

2005: $306,506

2006: $343,566

2007: $313,139

2008: $468,968

2009: $436,039

 

So we had a recession and some money had to be made up somewhere? The best part of the article is the last paragraph where Mr. Spruill was inquiring with Capt. Jim Stewart about quotas. Capt. Stewart denied that there were in ticket quotas but said they do compare from year to year.

Capt Stewart stated:

“We keep count to see how we compare and to track trends,” he said. “The number one priority of road patrol is not to issue tickets, it’s to reduce injuries and fatalities. There are a lot more cars on the road and a lot of our wrecks come as people are entering and leaving a business.”

 

 

If You Are Injured After a Wreck, Dog Bite, Slip & Fall or _______:Seek Medical Attention

It sounds so simple but so many people I interact with from Greenville, Anderson, Oconee, Seneca, Clemson, and the remainder of South Carolina, have a hard time understanding that lawyers are not doctors

If you are hurt, hurting, in pain, or otherwise not in the same physical, mental, or emotional state you were in prior to some traumatic injury, or incident, then you should seek medical advice.  Doing this simple act can help you on several fronts:

  1. This helps diagnose and assess your problems;
  2. This helps you get better; and
  3. This helps objectify and validate the change(s) in your condition.

Having grown up in the rural area of Prosperity, South Carolina and now working for people from similar areas of the state, the comment:

"I dont like going to the doctor. They are just going to give me medication and run up a lot of bills."

is a comment I hear all too often. However, try telling that evil insurance company that you are hurt, hurting, in pain, or otherwise not in the same mental, physical, or emotional condition you were in before ____________. (fill in the blank-wreck, slip & fall, dog bite, injury at work, and/or negligent product).

Try figuring out a reasonable and fair amount to be compensated for your injury when you are the only voice or piece of evidence in your favor. Think that evil insurance company will believe you more or a disinterested third party that has no interest in the outcome?

I know, most times the evil insurance adjusters wouldn't believe they were on fire if they saw their skin melting but you can only do your part as a reasonable person. Leave the insurance fighting to those that do it all the time and fight for your rights--trial lawyers, aka Trey Mills.

Interstate 85: Traffic Accidents Caused by Speed and Distraction

I was surprised with the amount of fatalities we were having on Interstate 85 back in July of this year and wrote, "Wrecking' Havoc on Interstate 85 in Upstate South Carolina". There were too many fatalities occurring in such a short period of time on the same stretch of interstate that runs from the Georgia/South Carolina border to the Greenville/Anderson County line.

Local journalist, Rick Spruill of the Anderson Independent, took this research on I-85 to a new level in his article entitled, "Pressure Cruise: Traffic Increase on I-85 in Anderson County". Some interesting points to consider are:

In the article, Lance Cpl. Kathy Hiles of the South Carolina Highway Patrol said,

“Unfortunately, we have more distractions than ever with cell phones, GPS units and PDAs with e-mail access. ... Anything that takes you away from the task at hand should be kept to a minimum. It only takes an instant of distraction to create a lifetime of regret.”