Hit & Run Collision: My Personal Experience

This morning while traveling on Augusta Street in Greenville, South Carolina around 9:10 a.m.,  I was in the right hand lane headed to drop off our two dogs when suddenly and without warning a Ford SUV came directly into my lane striking the driver's side quarter panel and causing me to run into and over the right side curbing. Prior to contact I was edging to the right and pressing on the horn in an effort to prevent the collision but to no avail. After being run into and over the curbing I pulled into the exit of DryClean USA , I checked on the dogs that were a little shaken up in the back seat but more importantly noticed the other driver continuing down the road. I felt confident he knew what had happened considering he jerked back into his lane then put on brakes to stop but after I went off into a parking lot, continued on. 

Needless to say I was furious but more importantly I knew, not having a witness or third party to verify what had just happened, I was SOL (not a lawyer term). Why would I be &*^* out of luck you ask? Well in South Carolina in order to utilize your own uninsured coverage against someone that is unknown to you several circumstances have to happen, one of those being a witness to the collision. (  S.C. Code 38-77-170).  I got back onto the road and noticed he had been paused by a stop light further down the road. In an expedient manner, but not over the speed limit, I was able to get beside him to try and wave him over. Short of shooting me the bird, he simply gave me a facial expression I will keep throughout the process and waved back at me. I then got behind him and dialed 911 to pass along the make, model, and license tag number of his vehicle. After doing so, I then pulled beside him again and mouthed, "P-O-L-I-C-E" and showed him my phone. A funny thing happened, he pulled over. 

After pulling over into a church parking lot, I got off the phone with 911 and told them I would call back if I needed police assistance. He rolled down his passenger window and I said, "Man, you ran me off the road and kept going! What's your deal?". A lot of my "fight or fight" response lowered when I saw he had two minors in car seats in his back seat. He immediately apologized saying, "I'm sorry, I must have had the sun in my eyes and just didn't see you there beside me." I said, "Well, you saw me go off the road then you didn't stop when I flagged you down. Why was that?" He just shrugged his shoulders and asked if anything was wrong with my vehicle and told me he had Travelers Insurance. Rather than wait on hour on police to do a report from conversations they hear from both of us, I simply used my Iphone to record down him saying his information, along with the date and time of the collision.  (I DONT RECOMMEND ANYONE ELSE USING THIS METHOD! ALWAYS NOTIFY POLICE).  In addition to having police come if you want to document things with your phone, go ahead. 

A more thorough evaluation of the vehicle indicates a noticeable impact point on the driver's front quarter panel, ground up passenger front rim, and alignment that needs to be inspected at this point. My right shoulder and wrist are a little jammed from impact of curb but we will have to let medical professionals determine any injuries. Depending on how cooperative the at fault driver is in disclosing the truth to his own insurance company will be the true test of character. I will provide his name, work information, address and other particulars as needed, if needed to help with any further revelations. 

Most times the investigating officer will not write a ticket for "hit & run" if the other driver is actually there. Don't get upset, just try and get the other driver to admit to it while you record them. 

LESSONS TO BE LEARNED FROM A LEGAL AND PRACTICAL STANDPOINT

  • If you are ever side swiped, run off the road, or struck by another vehicle that does not stop you need to be able to prove an impact occurred, you need to have a witness, and you need to try and notify police of the make, model, and license tag number of the vehicle. Otherwise you are SOL;
  • Always call the police and have them do a report, then you have all information on the other driver you need without "trusting them to do the right thing";
  • Never trust the other driver will tell the truth later down the road or do the right thing, always get it documented, recorded, videoed, or some verification at that time or place. 

SEE ALSO

Hit-and-Run Accidents in South Carolina: What You Need to Know

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

 

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.”
 

Charity Events Don't Just Help the Cause-They Help the Contributor

At some point every male that participated in the Outstanding Men of Greenville Bachelor Auction  last night was propositioned, pinned, cajoled, and otherwise guilt tripped into helping out for a good cause by Shay Hewitt.  I got caught when I was hanging out at the bar at Rick Erwin's after a sales pitch by Chris Norton of Walton International. Ms. Hewitt came over working the crowd and discussing the amazing things that she has been involved in with her designing and event planning for good causes.

Next thing I know, I am at Sassafras in Greenville walking in front of a bunch of women with wine and other drinks trying to raise money by auctioning off myself. Fortunately for the fundraising part of this event, all was not lost and even I brought in several hundred dollars in bidding. I didn't even have to give the signal to my cousin in the crowd to keep me from going too low. ( I had provided her with crisp 100's to assist with a recession like market).

This week is/has been full of charity events and pro bono opportunities. (Don't forget about the YMCA's Blue Jean Ball for Camp Greenville). It's good timing for giving back considering the recent passing of a local physical therapist, Scott Shuey. A man that lived his life in such a way to make you envy the purity and goodness of it.  Scott worked several doors down from my office and I would see him come in after receiving both his diagnosis and subsequent treatment. He went from a physically fit man to a physically fit bald man. He continued to do the things he loved and garnered the love and support of his community as his positive spirit and triumphant attitude reigned supreme.  Then news came from MD Anderson that all had been done that could be done. Scott returned back to his earthly home before returning to his heavenly home.

This week has been hard for me as a cancer survivor.  I am reminded of my mortality, my second chance at life and the most precious thing of all...... time.  The extra time I have been given to share with those I love. The extra time I have been given to help those in need. The extra time I have been given to make a positive impact on this world. 

But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:48

Life Is a Lot Like Running

I am NOT an avid, amateur, or competitive runner. I do not read Runner's World on a regular basis. However, I do like to get out there on a beautiful day and exert some energy, get rid of some stress, and challenge my body to stay healthy.

Recently I have enjoyed getting back out on the streets and trying to increase my stamina. My left knee still gives me some grief but I enjoy the pain and struggle that running provides. I am the type of runner that enjoys running in the South's 90+ degree weather and torturing my body. Sure there are the health nuts that think that is not healthy but neither is binge drinking/smoking/excessive eating/ tomfoolery so let me pick my own poison.

I enjoy physically participating in the real life challenge of getting over the next obstacle in front of me. In Greenville, it is not that difficult to find hilly terrain to have a challenging jog. Lately, I have struggled with the hill coming from North Church Street, headed South towards the intersection of S. Church Street and University Ridge. It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't the last leg of my run.

That hill has taught me some things:

  • If I dread doing it, I'm not going to push myself to complete it;
  • If I stop before I get to the top, I lose the discipline to start back up and finish the task I set out to perform;
  • If I look too far ahead because of the distance that lies before me, I lose hope in my struggle and often times fail to complete it;
  • If I put my head down and focus on one step at a time it's a lot easier; and
  • When I do blow past the top and turn the corner towards home, I feel like I can conquer the world!

 

 A little "Eye of the Tiger" Rocky style to help those on Friday run out of their offices.

A Picture is Worth a 1,000 Words

From the

to the

people use poor judgment.

Consider this

like one of my clients struck by

 

  1. What is Full Coverage automobile insurance? (click on "Full Coverage" to find out)
  2. What do you do about Property Damage to your car after a wreck? (click "Property Damage")
  3. Why does Allstate Insurance suck so bad? (again click to find out)
  4. How do you win the Insurance Claim Game?

 

South Carolina Foreclosure Sale: My Personal Experience

The current home I live and work out of is on the West End of Greenville, South Carolina:

The current Greenville County Master-in-Equity, Judge Charles B. Simmons Jr., provides an excellent "Primer for Mortgage Foreclosure Sales" on the Greenville County website. Judge Simmons highlights 14 points that are important if you decide to embark upon this path during the recent economic climate.

As an attorney and real estate investor, I felt confident in the process because I had bought foreclosure sales before from banks but not "on the courthouse steps" so to speak. I made several mistakes and got lucky. I do not trust that luck will get me through again so I share these tips:

  1. Always have title work done/checked on your prospective foreclosure house!- The house I bought was being foreclosed upon the "Smith" family-seriously.
  2. Physically go see the house. Don't trust internet services or court records. I visited my prospective house but never got inside. I knew I was going to "gut" the inside to my liking but wanted the "bones" to be good. On another home I went to go bid on, I went by the morning of the auction and there was no house on the lot, just a lot. Imagine how high I would have bid for what I thought was a house and a lot.
  3. Factor in more time and/or money if it is inhabited. I paid for the first month's rent and moved the inhabitants of my foreclosure house out because I had just sold my house. I was on a tight time frame with repairs and knew how slow the eviction process could be if disputed or fought.  "Honey attracts more flies than vinegar." 
  4. Have financing and closing attorney already arranged. You only have a short turn around time to complete the closing on the house after you put your deposit down the day of the sale. Likewise, you can't move in or make repairs until you have title, ie close.
  5. This is not a "new" thing. Some people make their living off of buying homes in foreclosure sales. You may very well find a great deal but don't think you will be the only one there.

Anytime there is an opportunity for reward there is a risk. Foreclosure sales are the poster children for inherent risks. Do your homework and you can capitalize.  Have fun and enjoy your new experience.

If you would like for me to forward you the recent article entitled, "Prudent Bidding at a Foreclosure Sale," by Clifford P. Parson and C. Joseph Roof that was published in the January 2009 edition of the South Carolina Lawyer, please email me (trey@trammell-law.com) or post a comment request.

A side note: I do civil personal injury law, not real estate law. Outside of paying lots of money for a "Real Estate" class in law school and visiting the records room of a Georgia courthouse, I have no real estate law experience.