Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer
Car Accidents and North Carolina’s Good Samaritan Law
It is a situation no one wishes to ever be placed in. You witness a car accident. You can see that there are victims in need of immediate help. Everyone wants to say that they would jump right in and assist the victims in anyway possible. And if you do – can the victims sue you later if your help actually causes him or her further injury? What if a victim dies because of help you administered?
It is a worst case scenario that unfortunately plays out in North Carolina and states around the nation each year – good Samaritans caught between what they know is right and protecting themselves from a potential lawsuit.
What are Good Samaritan Laws?
Generally, good Samaritan laws protect the average person who sees someone in need and extends help. A person, or “good Samaritan” who steps in to aid is shielded from liability because of they help they administer. Unless, the “good Samaritan” is completely negligent in helping, no lawsuit may be filed against the Samaritan.
Good Samaritan laws are often invoked in the context of car accidents. If you attempt to aid a victim of a car accident, you are generally protected from any lawsuit based on the care you give.
In the United States there is no general duty to rescue someone in need. Further, the victim of an accident cannot sue a person who passed by the accident and did nothing to help.
However, as a matter of public policy, state legislature would like to encourage citizens to help one another, and thus have written good Samaritan laws.
Each state and the District of Columbia has a version of a good Samaritan law codified within their state statutes. The laws vary greatly from state to state so it is important to know the law of the land in your particular state.
What is the law in North Carolina?
North Carolina’s Good Samaritan Act statute protects a Samaritan from liability for civil damages if that person acted without compensation and in good faith. The statute also states that the Samaritan must have acted voluntarily; it must also have been reasonably apparent under the circumstances that prompt actions and decisions were necessary and that any delay of treatment would have caused even more harm.
How to Safely Help After a Car Accident
If you do see a car accident occur while you are driving, what can you safely do to help the victims?
- Park your car a safe distance away from the scene: Do not park too close to the accident or block emergency vehicles access to the victims. Turn on your bright headlights to signal to emergency responders that they are nearing the scene.
- Check on the victims: From a safe distance at first, determine how critical the accident was, the number and severity of the injuries, and if you can safely provide further assistance.
- Call 911: You are being the most help by calling authorities and alerting the proper medical professional of the accident.
Car accidents and personal injuries occur every day on the roads. If you need more information on the good Samaritan laws or were the victim of a personal injury, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Bice Law, LLC can provide you with excellent legal information. Contact our office now to schedule an appointment with one of our seasoned professional.
FAQs: Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in South Carolina
In South Carolina, workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees that are injured while on the job. In exchange for these benefits, the employee gives up his or her right to sue their employer in negligence. Employees who are injured while working in South Carolina or develop an illness as a result of their working environment are eligible to collect benefits under the state’s workers’ compensation system.
What body of law governs workers’ compensation in South Carolina?
The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission has been granted statutory authority to create and administer the state’s workers’ compensation regulations.
The Commission decides the procedure to be followed in order to file a claim and to achieve a hearing. Visit their website for more information.
Who will pay my workers’ compensation benefits?
Any employer in South Carolina with more than with employees must purchase workers’ compensation insurance from a licensed insurance company. The insurance company will then pay you on behalf of your employer.
How do I file a claim?
Usually, an employer requires you to inform them directly after you have been injured on the job or develop an illness. You must give your employer notice of the injury within 90 days or risk losing your right to any benefits. The employer is then required to fill out a First Report of Injury form and file it with the Commission.
What if my employer refuses to report the accident to the Commission?
If your employer does not report the accident to the Commission, you will need to file a claim with the Commission yourself. You will need to fill out an Employee’s Notice of Claim form and pay a $25.00 fee in order to file the notice. You have two years in which to file your claim.
What type of medical care am I entitled to?
You are entitled to medical care for all reasonable work-related injuries or illnesses. All necessary treatments will be paid for by your employer’s workers’ compensation policy.
However, in South Carolina, your employer and their insurance carrier have the right to choose what doctor you are treated by. You may not be able to see your own doctor. If you choose to see your own doctor, your treatments will not be paid for under the workers’ compensation program.
Can I collect benefits for punitive damages?
Punitive damages are often awarded in negligence cases to compensate for things like pain and suffering. Under a workers’ compensation claim you are not entitled to punitive damages. When you file a workers’ compensation claim you are giving up your right to sue your employer for negligence and thus may not collect punitive damages.
How will I be compensated for my lost wages?
If you are unable to work because of a work-related injury or illness, you will be paid the wages you would have earned while you recover. You will receive 66 2/3% of your average weekly wages and this will continue until your doctor “releases” you, or approves your going back to work.
Workers’ compensation insurance exists in order to provide for both you and your family after you are injured on the job. The process is complex and time consuming, especially at a time when you are not feeling your best. If you have been hurt on the job, contact the personal injury attorneys at Bice Law today. Your consultation with one of our skilled attorneys is free and will help to get you on the road to recovery.
Contact the Personal Injury Law Firm of Bice Law
The personal injury firm of Bice Law will examine your case to determine the type and amount of damages that your injury warrants, including payments for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any permanent disability. We’ll determine whether an out-of-court settlement or trial is the best strategy to obtain maximum benefits for you or your family. If you have suffered injury or harm because of someone else’s actions, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law serving both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, so act quickly. Call 877-BICE-877 today or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a personal injury attorney. We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina.