Board Certified Mediator

Smith & Haskell Law Firm, LLP & Attorneys William McBee Smith & Edwin C. Haskell III Spartanburg Community Choice Awards 2018 Best of the Best Lawyers, Law Firm Attorneys, Spartanburg South Carolina

Smith & Haskell Law Firm, LLP & Attorneys William McBee Smith & Edwin C. Haskell III Spartanburg Community Choice Awards 2018 Best of the Best Lawyers, Law Firm Attorneys, Spartanburg South Carolina

WILLIAM McBEE SMITH: MEDIATOR

William McBee Smith is a Board Certified Circuit Court Mediator in South Carolina. With the explosion and escalating cost of modern litigation, civil mediation is a cost effective alternative to resolving expensive and complicated legal disputes. The mediation process is substantially cheaper, quicker, and less stressful to the parties than traditional litigation. The parties start the mediation process by selecting an independent and neutral mediator. Often, the parties and their attorneys will go through a list of qualified mediators before settling on a particular mediator that both sides feel is neutral and best suited to the particular case to assist the parties. The role of a mediator is not to act as a judge or arbiter to decide the outcome of the case. The mediator decides no issues. Rather, the role of a mediator is to assist and facilitate the parties in deciding the outcome of the case. Typically, the parties will meet at a neutral location or office that has multiple conference rooms. The parties will often start out together in one conference room where the mediator will introduce the mediation process to the parties. Typically, the attorneys will present an opening argument for their clients, discussing the evidence, exhibits and testimony develop in discovery. Initial settlement demands and terms may be discussed. The parties often adjourn to different conference rooms while the mediator meets separately with the parties to assist in evaluating the case and options for reaching settlement. The mediation process often results in both sides reaching settlement terms that are preferable to the unpredictable outcome of a jury trial or bench trial.

Serious Accidents & Injuries

Accidents: Leading cause of death  under age 44.

Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys

For people under age 44, the leading cause of serious injury and death is often caused by the negligence of another party, person or company. Automobile accidents, trucking accidents and serious on the job injuries  can involve serious injuries that are life changing events.  The causes range from simple inattentiveness, recklessness, speeding, drinking and driving, to cell phones and texting to disregarding traffic law and even federal trucking regulations.  It is important to quickly retain an experienced attorney who knows how to handle the investigation, to located and contact eye witnesses and to locate evidence, photographs and reports concerning the events that caused or contributed to the accident.  The longer a victim or family delays in retaining an experienced accident attorney, the greater the risk that important evidence will be lost and eye witnesses unidentified. William McBee Smith at Smith & Haskell Law Firm has decades of experience and holds a top rating by the premier attorney rating organization Martindale Hubble. Call Mr. Smith @ 864-582-6727 today or email him at SmithWM@SmithandHaskell.com for a free consultation.

Serious Personal Injury in Auto Truck Accidents

Trucking Litigation

Automobile accidents and trucking accidents resulting in serious personal injury are often the result of negligence of third parties. Liability is determined by the law of negligence. South Carolina is a modified comparative negligence jurisdiction which apportions liability based on the percentage of fault of the parties involved.  If plaintiff’s percentage of fault does not exceed 50%, the plaintiff is still allowed to recover from any defendant proven to be at fault. However, plaintiff’s damages are reduced by the percentage of plaintiff’s fault.  A determination of negligence is based on the requirement that people must exercise a standard called “reasonable care under the circumstances” when operating a motor vehicle. Failure to do so is often the basis in determining damages caused by an accident. Many factors can contribute to the question of whether a driver was negligent, and courts look for these in determining fault. When you or a loved one is seriously injured in an automobile accident, it is important to secure the legal representation of experienced attorneys who know what steps to take, who know how to investigate and secure evidence and to locate all witnesses to properly prepare your case for trial.

Top Law Firm in South Carolina

FIRM HISTORY:  This firm was originally founded in 1926 by J. Davis Kerr (1903-1964)  In 1960, Roy McBee Smith (1928-2006) joined the firm which became known as Kerr and Smith.  Edwin C. Haskell joined the firm in 1983 and William McBee Smith joined the firm in 1988. The firm’s name was changed to Smith & Haskell Law Firm with offices in Spartanburg SC.

ATTORNEYS: The attorneys at Smith & Haskell are veteran civil trial attorneys with over 60 years of collective experience. Our attorneys handle litigation matters throughout South Carolina including serious personal injury, wrongful death, workers compensation, business litigation, elder law, probate and estate litigation.

COURTS: The firm has a General Civil Practice representing plaintiffs as well as defendants in civil trials in state and federal courts including the South Carolina Court of Common Pleas, South Carolina Court of Appeals, the South Carolina Supreme Court, United States District Courts, the United States 4th Circuit Court of Appeals as well as litigation before administrative bodies. Smith & Haskell Law Firm, LLP handles legal matters not only in Spartanburg County but also in the surrounding counties of Greenville, Laurens, Pickens, Richland, York, Cherokee, Oconee, Union and Oconee, as well as throughout the State of South Carolina. The firm utilizes state-of-the-art computer systems and technology to meet the needs of its clients in an efficient, timely and cost-effective manner.

Motorcycle Accident Statistics & Acts of Negligence

Motorcycle accidents can permanently, and often fatally, injure the victims involved.  The motorcycle accident as defined by the National Highway Transportation Administration involves motorcycles, mopeds, scooters, two- or three-wheeled motorcycles, off-road motorcycles, scooters, mini bikes, pocket bikes, and all-terrain vehicles (ATV).

Motorcycle Accident Statistics in United States and South Carolina

[ul style=”3″]
[li]In 2009, 4,462 motorcyclists were killed—a decrease of 16 percent from the 5,312 motorcyclists killed in 2008. There were 90,000 motorcyclists injured during 2009. [/li]
[li]In 2009, motorcyclists accounted for 13 percent of total traffic fatalities, 15 percent of all occupant fatalities, and 4 percent of all occupants injured.[/li]
[li]The fatality rate for motorcyclists in 2009 was 6 times the fatality rate for passenger car occupants. The injury rate for motorcyclists was 0.8 times the injury rate for passenger car occupants.[/li]
[li]In 2009, 2,203 (48%) of all motorcycles involved in fatal crashes collided with another type of motor vehicle in transport. In two-vehicle crashes, 78 percent of the motorcycles involved were struck in the front. [/li]
[li]In 2009, there were 2,006 two-vehicle fatal crashes involving a motorcycle and another type of vehicle. [/li]
[li]Forty-two percent of motorcycle riders who died in single-vehicle crashes in 2009 had BAC levels of .08 g/dL or higher.[/li]
[li]In 2009, there were 102 motorcyclists killed in South Carolina.[/li]
[/ul]

(Source: US Department of Transportation, National Highway Safety Administration, 2010 Traffic Safety Facts, October 2011)

If you are injured while riding a motorcycle and another driver is at fault, you may be entitled to damages for pain and suffering, medical expenses, scarring, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life and lost wages.  You should immediately contact an experienced motorcycle accident personal injury lawyer.Injuries from a motorcycle accident include broken or fractured joints (shoulders, elbows, knees, wrists, and hips), and pelvic and shoulder injuries. Soft-tissue damage like scrapes and burns also frequently occur.

The type of head injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents frequently damage the parts of the brain responsible for speech and higher functions, leaving the injured motorcyclist disabled for life and burdened with mounting medical bills for ongoing treatment.  A study done by the CDC on all Motorcycle Accidents between 2001 – 2008 showed the percentages of nonfatal injuries by primary body part motorcycle accidents were head and neck 22%, leg and foot 30%, upper body 20%, arm and hand 18%.

Negligence and Determining Cause of Personal Injury Motorcycle Accidents

Determining the cause of fault in a motorcycle accident is a highly detailed process.

An act of negligence can be due to a multitude of factors, including:

[ul style=”3″]
[li]Failure to signal when turning;[/li]
[li]Careless driving;[/li]
[li]Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol;[/li]
[li]Texting while driving accidents;[/li]
[li]Distracted driving;[/li]
[li]Cell phone distracted driving accident;[/li]
[li]Drug or alcohol abuse;[/li]
[li]Excessive speed; [/li]
[li]Failure to heed traffic signals or signs;[/li]
[li]Failure to obey traffic signs or signals;[/li]
[li]Failure to signal when turning;[/li]
[li]Violation of some other law;[/li]
[/ul]

If you find yourself or someone you know to be the victim of a motorcycle accident, we encourage you to contact a personal injury motorcycle accident attorney at the Smith & Haskell Law Firm, LLP today at 864.582.6727 to schedule an appointment today to discuss the legal options.  Our personal injury motorcycle accident lawyers will investigate every detail and the possible causes of your motorcycle accident so that you receive full compensation for any pain and suffering you or someone you know have endured.  We are ready to put our experienced motorcycle accident lawyers to work for you.

Automobile Accident Statistics | Spartanburg & Greenville Car & Auto Accident Lawyer

Automobile Accident Statistics for United States and South Carolina

  • In 2010, 32,885 people were killed and 2,243,000 people were injured in traffic accidents.
  • In 2010, 3,675 people were killed in large-truck crashes, a 8.7% increase from 2009.
  • In 2010, there were 5,419,000 motor vehicle crashes in the United States.
  • In 2010, there were 3,092 fatalities in distraction-affected (handheld phones, texting) motor vehicle crashes.
  • In 2010, there were 810 fatalities in South Carolina, a fatality rate of 17.47 per 100,000.
  • In 2010, 52% and 46% of fatalities in South Carolina the blood alcohol concentration BAC was at least .01 and .08 respectively, 15% above the national average.
  • In 2010, 4,280 pedestrians died from traffic-related injuries and another 70,000 sustained non-fatal injuries, an increase of 19% from 2009.
  • In 2010, 10,228 or 31% of traffic fatalities were alcohol-related. Either the driver or an affected person (e.g., a pedestrian or bicyclist) had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 grams per deciliter (g/dl).
(Source: US Department of Transportation, National Highway Safety Administration, 2010 Traffic Safety Facts, December 2011)

Auto accident personal injuries are often serious and have long-term effects. Injuries include whiplash, bone, joint and muscle injuries, head and brain injuries, and paralysis.  Insurance companies will try to settle personal injury claims and accidents quickly and often fail to cover the long-term injuries, damages and provide adequate compensation.  Don’t settle, don’t wait.  Contact a Spartanburg automobile accident personal injury attorney today.

South Carolina Automobile Accident Attorney & Personal Injury Lawyer Spartanburg, Greenville

Located in the Upstate of South Carolina in Spartanburg, we serve Spartanburg, Greenville and surrounding counties.  If you or someone you know has been involved in an automobile accident or motor vehicle accident, we encourage you to contact a auto accident personal injury lawyer at the Smith & Haskell Law Firm, LLP today at 864.582.6727 to schedule an appointment today to discuss the legal options.  We are ready to put our experienced automobile accident lawyers & personal injury attorneys to work for you.

The Total Advocacy Firm” Since 1926 | Serving the State of South Carolina | Spartanburg County | Greenville County | Anderson County | Chester County | Laurens County | Pickens County | Richland County | York County | Cherokee County | Union County | Oconee County

Automobile Accidents Determining Fault & Negligence

Automobile Accidents Determining Fault & Negligence

There exist factors that contribute to the question of whether a driver was negligent.  Courts look for these in determining fault.  Some of these factors, but not all, are:

  • Failure to obey traffic signs or signals;
  • Driving a car under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol;
  • Texting while driving accidents;
  • Failure to signal when turning;
  • Violation of some other law;
  • Careless driving;
  • Failure to follow the speed limit;
  • Distracted driving;
  • Cell phone distracted driving accident;
  • Car accidents caused by defective or recalled vehicles;
  • School bus accidents;

Any person who drives any vehicle in such a manner as to indicate either a willfull or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is negligent and reckless and may also be held liable for the cause of the accident.  Recklessness implies the doing of a negligent act knowingly.

An experienced automobile accident lawyer / personal injury attorney can assist you in the determination of the cause of your auto crash.

Defective Product & Product Liability Protect Your Legal Rights

A defective product is a product that fails to live up to your expectations, but it can also seriously injure you, leaving you with lasting pain and hardship. To ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for injuries or damage a defective product has caused you, you should consult an experienced defective product attorney who can represent you under the consumer protection laws of South Carolina.

Protect Your Legal Rights

Defective products and product liability is the area of law dealing with liability on the part of the manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer of a product that causes injury or harm. Other parties that can be held responsible for your injuries include the maker of component parts of the product, the assembler, the store or other seller of the product, and/or possibly even other parties in the distribution chain. You can file a claim of product liability even if you weren’t the purchaser of the product. You should contact a South Carolina product liability lawyer to file a claim.

Defective products and product liability claims require that certain circumstances be proven before the claim can be considered successful. These circumstances involve manufacturing defects, design defects, and failure to warn marketing defects.

[ul style=”6″]
[li]Marketing defects are those defects that elude consumers’ awareness because of inadequate warning about potentially — yet not readily apparent — dangerous components of a product.[/li]
[li]Manufacturing defects are those defects that occur during the manufacturing process. These defects can be attributable to inherently dangerous or useless design.[/li]
[li]Design defects are attributable to inherently dangerous or useless design. [/li]
[/ul]

Strict Liability

In South Carolina, Strict liability, allows an action against a manufacturer that sells any defective product that causes an injury to a buyer or anyone who uses it. A product can be defective in design, manufacture, or labeling.

Strict liability holds designers and manufacturers of the defective product liable for injuries from defective products. Under the law of strict liability, if you are injured by a defective product, you do not have to establish negligence of the manufacturer. Strict liability claims must meet the following conditions:

[ul style=”6″]
[li]The product had not been altered from the condition in which it was sold;[/li]
[li]The product has an “unreasonably dangerous” defect that injured you;[/li]
[li]The defect caused injury during routine use of the product;[/li]
[/ul]

South Carolina law limits how long after the product has been sold to the public that the manufacturer or seller can be subject to liability laws. It is important, therefore, that you keep all receipts, registration cards, and credit card bills in order to provide proof of the product’s age to the manufacturer’s insurance company. It is also important that you demonstrate that you discontinued use of the product once you became aware of its defect. Otherwise, you risk losing your personal injury claim.

South Carolina Defective Product & Products Liability Attorney

If you find you or someone you know has suffered injury from a defective product, we encourage you to contact a defective product attorney at Smith & Haskell Law Firm, LLP at 864.582.6727 to schedule an appointment today to discuss the legal options. Speak to a defective products lawyer trained in South Carolina rules and regulations governing product liability.

Boating Accident & Boat Accident Statistics

The South Carolina, waterways are second only to highways in terms of the number of accidental deaths occurring on them.  One of the most popular outdoor activities in the United States and South Carolina is boating, with over 300,000 registered boats in the state alone. Each year in South Carolina, thousands of people are injured or killed in boating wrecks during recreation outings.

United States and South Carolina: Boating Accident Statistics

  • Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents; it was listed as the leading factor in 19% of the deaths.
  • The most common types of vessels involved in reported accidents were open motorboats (46%), personal watercraft (20%), and cabin motorboats (14%).
  • In 2010, the Coast Guard counted 4604 accidents that involved 672 deaths, 3,153 injuries and approximately $35.5 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents.
  • The top five primary contributing factors in boating accidents rank as: Operator inattention, improper lookout, operator inexperience, excessive speed, and alcohol.
(Source: United States Coastguard)

(The Coast Guard has not determined unmodified inner tubes to be “vessels”; accidents involving them are therefore not included in Coast Guard reports.)  The Coast Guard defines the term “vessel” as any watercraft or artificial contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on the water, including airboats, auxiliary sailboats, jetskis, cabin motorboats, canoes, houseboats, inflatable boats, kayaks, open motorboats, personal watercraft, pontoon boats, rafts, rowboats, and sailboats.

If you or someone you know have been involved in a boating accident, consult a Spartanburg – Greenville boating accident attorney at the Smith & Haskell Law Firm, LLP today at 864.582.6727 to schedule an appointment to discuss the legal options.  We are ready to put our experienced boating accident trial attorneys to work for you.  You have the right to be compensated for a wide range of damages, including property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, permanent injury and pain and suffering. In the event that a death has resulted from your boating accident, a wrongful death suit can be filed – consult a wrongful death attorney.

Wrongful Death & Complex Laws

Wrongful Death & the Complex Laws

The emotional damage can be severe, and the economic losses are often devastating.  Wrongful death can be caused by many things, including automobile accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, defective products, construction site accidents, swimming pool accidents, boating accidents, workplace accidents, pedestrian accidents, premises liability accidents, medical malpractice or other negligent, careless, or reckless conduct. When gross negligence or reckless conduct is involved, one may also be able to obtain punitive damages.  Our attorneys provide effective, aggressive investigation and representation in wrongful death cases.

Complex Laws – Consult a South Carolina Wrongful Death Attorney

South Carolina laws regarding wrongful death cases are complex and technical.  The law strictly governs who may recover, such as a spouse, children, parents, or siblings.  Claims must be brought through the estate of the deceased relative, and are brought by an administrator or an executor.  Damages may include loss of future net income, loss of companionship and love, and loss of support.  Punitive damages may be awarded in some wrongful death cases.

Wrongful death cases are always emotional.  When you are grieving, you should not make any major decisions without consulting an South Carolina wrongful death attorney.  You should not enter into any settlement, sign any release or accept any money in exchange for releasing an individual, corporation, or insurance company from liability without first knowing what insurance coverage or other redress is available to you and your family.