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Save Fort Jackson – Our local economy is at risk!

Can you imagine Columbia without Fort Jackson? Potential cuts at the post would have a major effect on our local economy.  It does not appear that Fort Jackson is in danger of closing, but the cuts in work force at the post will clearly prevent or diminish its annual training of 47,000 new recruits.  There are several graduation ceremonies per year for soldiers completing basic training that brings hundreds of thousands of visitors to Columbia.  There is no doubt that any drop in these number will have an negative effect on the local economy.

A public meeting will be held at Shandon Baptist Church on February 26, 2015 at 3:00 pm.  This is an opportunity to show the U.S. Army what Fort Jackson means to our current economy, our storied history, and our local veterans.

#saveFortJackson

Save Our Fort!


Holiday Party Hosts Beware! Social Host Liability in South Carolina

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.  Ding Dong Ding Dong.  This is the time of year when your calendar fills up with more party events than you can possible attend.  You may even be hosting an event yourself.  While holiday gatherings are a wonderful time to connect with friends and family, if you event is serving alcohol then you need to be aware of some potential legal risks.  These risks are particularly important if any of your guests are under the age of 21.  That can range from a high school student to a college senior who is 20 years 11 month and 29 days old. 

 

Prior to 2007 , the common law in this state provided that a social host incurred no liability to either first or third parties injured by an intoxicated adult guest, but the law as to minor guests was unclear.  Basically, if you left the office party at your bosses house, and harmed someone else only that guest would be individually liable for the harm caused.  This would have included your college students home for the holiday, but this doctrine was changed in the 2007 case of Marcum v. Bowden.   In Marcum, the South Carolina Supreme tackled the issue of whether an adult social host who serves alcoholic beverages to an underage person (someone under 21) owes a duty to that guest and/or a third party injured as a proximate result of the host’s service of alcohol.  

 

In a very important ruling for anyone hosting a holiday, birthday, or office party from that date forward, the Court held that adult social hosts who knowingly and intentionally serve, or cause to be served, alcoholic beverages to persons they know or should know to be between the ages of 18 and 20 may incur liability where, under the same circumstances, they are immune for service to persons aged at least 21 years old.  Marcum v. Bowden, 372 S.C. 452, 460, 643 S.E.2d 85, 89 (2007).  In sum, be mindful of your son or daughter’s college friends who are under 21 and drinking by the fire at the annual party as they may be exposing you to serious civil liability if one of them drives home and hurts themselves or someone else.  Know your guests and always monitor your underage guests minimize your risks.

 

 

 

 


Mike Kelly selected for 2015 Super Lawyers list

Congratulation to Attorney Mike Kelly on his selection to Super Lawyer for 2015.

Super Lawyers recognizes attorneys who has distinguished themselves in their legal practice.  This fifth year in a row Mike has been recognized for the field of personal injury.

 

 


Automakers Lie On Mileage Figures – $350 Million Settlement

You may be able to get some great deals at local auto dealers this holiday season, especially as we approach December 31st.  Nothing says new years resolutions like purchasing a vehicle with better fuel and mileage standards.  You shop, you find the deal, and you are set to get 10-MPG more, right??  Maybe not.  Hyundai and Kia, two very popular brands have just settled a lawsuit arising out of overstating their mileage figures.

The two companies have agreed to a $350 million settlement with the U.S. government related to charges the Korean automakers overstated the fuel efficiency of their vehicles. The settlement is being touted by government officials as the largest of its kind. The settlement comes after an investigation determined Hyundai-Kia had overstated the mileage figures on an estimated 1.2 million of its 2012 model vehicles. The settlement was announced Nov. 3.

As part of that settlement agreement, Hyundai and Kia agreed to amend the window stickers on its vehicles to reflect the correct miles-per-gallon (MPG) fuel usage. Most vehicles were off by 1- or 2-MPG, but some Kia models were wrong by as much as 6-MPG.

Source: JereBeasleyReport.com

 


Fighting the VA on a Veterans Disabilty Claim? – We can help!

Each week we meet with veterans who have come to their wits end with the VA.  Who can blame them? Dealing with the VA can be truly infuriating.  Far to often, veterans get buried in paperwork and do not know the steps that must be taken to succeed with their claim.  That is where the Mike Kelly Law Group can help.  It is an honor to assist Veterans in getting a favorable result in appealing their disability claims.  Attorney Tad McLeod (Columbia) and Attorney Jill Wright (Myrtle Beach) are available to meet with you anytime to get started on this process.

Veterans who can prove they were injured during military service can be eligible for compensation and pensions. The two are different, each with specific eligibility requirements. An attorney experienced in veterans’ disability matters can help you through the process.
Compensation is by far the most common claim and is not based on financial need. A successful disability compensation claim must prove three things:

  • Current diagnosed disability
  • Evidence of disease, injury, or debilitating event occurred while serving in the military
  • Proof that the disease, injury, debilitating event caused current disability

Pension eligibility is need based and can depend on the veteran’s current financial situation. To qualify for a pension, veterans must prove three things:

  • Total and permanent disability
  • Military service during a time of war
  • Income below specified limits

Veterans often discover that it can be difficult to prove the correlation between current disability and the damages incurred during military service. The Mike Kelly Law Group will help you secure the resources necessary to prove that connection.  Call us at 866-692-0123 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your pending claims.

 


Richland Sertoma Charity Golf Event raises $6,600.00

MKLG Attorney Tad McLeod served as Chair of the Richland Sertoma Charity Golf event which was held on October 27, 2014 at Oak Hills Golf Club in Columbia.   The annual event raises money for Camp Sertoma and Palmetto State Base Camp.   Camp Sertoma provides a summer camp experience at Clemson University for children with speech or hearing impairments.  Palmetto State Base Camp is a non-profit organization which assists veterans transit from a homeless state where he or she is living on the street to a productive state where he is fully integrated back into society.

All golfers were treated to a beautiful day of weather which ended with a super dinner catered by Little Pigs Barbeque.   Mike Kelly Law Group was proud to sponsor this event.


Mike Kelly: Proud to be a South Carolina Lawyer

Mike is proud to be to a South Carolina lawyer and has practiced law in South Carolina for more than 37 years.  He has spent his entire career working hard to protect the rights of South Carolinians and build a better, more just community. Mike is highly experienced in personal injury, workers compensation, disability, insurance litigation and handling professional liability claims. He combines his knowledge of law with a compassionate approach to each client.

This video from the South Carolina Bar offers a snapshot of why he is proud to be a South Carolina lawyer.


Happy Veterans Day

As Veterans Day comes and goes it is important to really think about how fortunate we are to live in this great nation.  As Americans, we live in a 24 hour news cycle world pulled in 10 different directions everyday.   We just finished another election cycle where citizens cast their ballots to determine who would serve as their government leaders.   As tough and divisive as America can seem sometimes, we are still best hope in the world for people to freely determine their leaders and choose their government.  This is not by accident.  Generations of Americans have answered the bell time and time again to serve their country in times of war and peace.  They have served in the air, on land, and at sea.  At home and abroad, whether serving for a 2 year enlistment or a 35 year career, our veterans have all played a vital part ensuring election days in this country continue to follow the will of the people.

While most veterans return home from abroad to begin new lives, many will return home with scars incurred from serving our nation.  Some the scars will be visible, but many will be below the surface.   Regardless, each of us will have the opportunity to assist a veteran in the future and there is no better way to show your gratitude to this group than to thank them, and ask “How can I help you”.

As attorneys, we are honored to assist and advise veterans in their disability claims with the VA, and will continue to help every veteran we can.  We are truly blessed to be Americans, and we can thank our veterans for that today, tomorrow and beyond.

If you or a loved one need assistance in obtaining VA benefits or VA disability compensation, contact the Mike Kelly Law Group at 803-726-0123.

 

 

 

 

 


Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM)?? Yes! You Need It!!

Far too many times in my practice, I have handled claims for individuals that have sustained severe and permanent injuries caused by an at fault motorist that had little or no insurance coverage. Unfortunately, many of these clients were unaware that they could purchase additional coverage that would serve to protect them if they were injured by someone who carried only the minimum limits of insurance. In many cases, this additional coverage is very affordable and can be obtained in a matter of minutes through the individual’s respective insurer.

There is an insurance coverage for motorists that can be most important in the event that a motorist is involved in a serious motor vehicle accident. Uninsured/Underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist coverage is an option that is available to all motorists in South Carolina. Under South Carolina Code Ann. § 38-77-150, every insurance policy must contain uninsured motorist coverage. In South Carolina, automobile insurers are required to offer underinsured motorist coverage under S.C. Code Ann. § 38-77-160.

If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, you cannot assume that the other driver will have sufficient liability insurance coverage to take care of your injuries and damages. When the coverage of the other driver who caused the accident is not adequate to cover your losses and damages, including medical bills and lost income, the uninsured/underinsured coverage under your own automobile insurance policy can be beneficial and may be the only avenue to fully compensate you for your losses.

For example, I recently handled a case for a gentleman in Orangeburg County who was severely injured in an automobile accident that occurred on Thanksgiving day in 2009. My client was a passenger in an automobile that was struck by another vehicle that ran a stop sign. My client sustained permanent injuries, including partial paralysis, nerve damage, decreased strength and neuromuscular impairment. While my client’s medical bills exceeded $200,000, the at fault driver maintained only $25,000 in liability coverage.

Fortunately, the vehicle in which my client was a passenger in was covered under a policy that contained significant underinsured motorist coverage. As a result, the additional UIM coverage allowed this case to be settled satisfactorily for my client. Without the underinsured motorist coverage under the owner’s policy, my client would not have received any financial assistance to take care of himself or to offset the medical bills incurred from the accident.

In a separate case, I represented a lady that was driving a vehicle owned by her employer when she was involved in an accident on an interstate in Richland County, South Carolina. As a result of the accident, my client sustained severe and permanent injuries to her back, neck and shoulder. She had to undergo multiples surgeries and incurred over $100,000 in medical bills and lost wages. As is so often the case, the at fault driver maintained only the minimum liability limits. However, because my client’s employer maintained a sizeable UIM policy on the vehicle she was driving, we were able to settle this case satisfactorily for my client.

Uninsured/underinsured coverage also applies in a “hit and run” accident where the owner or operator of the vehicle who caused the accident is unknown. I would recommend that you check your automobile insurance policy and make sure you have adequate uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. You may also be able to “stack” the coverage if you own multiple vehicles and maintain UM or UIM coverage if your injuries and damages exceed the limits of the responsible party’s liability policy.

For example, let’s suppose that you own a car involved in an accident that is the fault of the other driver. You have over $100,000 in medical bills and have been permanently injured or otherwise damaged. The at fault driver maintained only $25,000 in liability coverage. You were fortunate to have previously opted for UIM coverage of $50,000 for the vehicle you were driving that was involved in the accident. You also own 3 other vehicles and carry UIM coverage on these vehicles under your policy as well. You may be able to stack the coverage on the vehicle involved in the accident in addition to your other 3 cars which would warrant total UIM coverage of $100,000 in addition to the $25,000 maintained by the at fault driver.

The cost of additional uninsured motorist coverage is fairly reasonable. My advice is to check your policy and contact your insurer today to obtain as much coverage as possible to protect you and your family. If you need more information on this issue, please contact Brad Hewett at 803.726.0123 or email me at bhewett@mklawgroup.com.


We Have Launched Our New Blog

Please check back weekly for updates on the Mike Kelly Law Firm, our attorneys and valuable posts on legal topics of interest.  We hope you enjoy and come back often for timely updates that we hope you will find beneficial.  Thanks for reading our blog!


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