“Midnight Rider” Wrongful Death Suit Filed

wrongful death

“Midnight Rider” Producers Face Wrongful Death Lawsuit for Assistant’s Death

wrongful deathIn February, six crew members were injured and one – 27-year-old assistant cameraman Sarah Jones – was killed on the set of “Midnight Rider,” produced by a Pasadena-based company and based on the memoir of Gregg Allman. Now, Sarah Jones’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

On February 20th, a freight train barreled through the set of the movie, and Jones was killed after being struck by the train.  Unfortunately, train injuries occur more often than you might think.  According to Operation Lifesaver, there were 2087 accidents in 2013, leading to 929 injuries and 251 fatalities

The wrongful death lawsuit was filed in Chatham County, Georgia, where the movie was being shot. Richard and Elizabeth Jones, Sarah’s parents, allege that the producers Randall Miller and his wife, Jody Savin, were negligent on the set and that led to their daughter’s death.

The Jones’s wrongful death suit names the production company, Unclaimed Freight Productions, its local production partner Meddin Studios, CSX Transportation (who operated the train), and Open Road Films (the owner of movie theatres Regal and AMC, which planned to distribute the film). Several crew members were also named in the wrongful death lawsuit.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified punitive damages for a litany of alleged safety violations that led to the train tearing through the movie set. Reportedly, the producers did not have permission from the railway to film on the tracks, and misled the crew regarding their safety. The producers did not, allegedly, take standard and required safety precautions, including failing to host a safety meeting before filming, no on-site medic, and failing to have a railway representative on site.

“By committing these acts, or failures to act, the ‘Midnight Rider’ defendants operated without minimum safety precautions and contrary to standard industry practices for productions of this scale and for productions involving dangerous filming conditions,” according to the suit, prepared by the Atlanta firm of Harris Penn Lowry.

“While the crew had been told they would have 60 seconds to remove themselves, the equipment, and the hospital bed from the trestle bridge, the train approached with a rapid speed and the crew had less than 60 seconds to react,” the lawsuit states.

The accident occurred on the first day of filming, and has prompted multiple investigations into both federal and state agencies.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits in South Carolina

The unexpected loss of a loved is a very painful experience.  While mourning their loss, surviving family members are often with mounting medical bills, the loss of an income, and sudden expenses such as hospital bills and funeral costs.

If a loved one dies as a result of the negligence, reckless, or intentional conduct of another, you may be entitled to bring a claim for wrongful death. A wrongful death lawsuit asserts a claim against a person who can be held legally responsible for a death.  Surviving family members may be entitled to damages; money that can help with the expenses caused by the loss of their loved one.

Depending upon the circumstances, our South Carolina wrongful death attorneys may also assert a claim for punitive damages intended to punish the wrongdoer  and deter others from engaging in such behavior.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The wrongful death lawyers at the Strom Law Firm, LLC, will help you during this extremely difficult and emotional time. You do not have to face the emotional and financial pain of a loved one’s wrongful death alone. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed through no fault of your own, contact the South Carolina wrongful death attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, LLC today for a free, no-cost consultation today. 803.252.4800

SC’s Buckle Up Seatbelt Campaign Begins

seatbelt

South Carolina’s Buckle Up Seatbelt Campaign Begins in Time for Summer Road Trips

seatbeltSummer is a busy season for drivers. Children are out of school, and many families go on vacation. That means that drivers and passengers alike should be aware of seatbelt safety.

South Carolina has officially launched the state’s annual Buckle Up South Carolina seatbelt campaign. The program includes additional seatbelt safety enforcement, as well as education outreach.

The seatbelt program launched on Wednesday, May 14th, which law enforcement officials dub “100 Deadly Days of Summer” – the span from just before Memorial Day through the end of summer over Labor Day. This period sees the highest rate of traffic accidents across the country, which means that safety campaigns like Buckle Up are hugely important to prevent deadly disasters.

According to National Safety Council statistics, if seatbelts were used 90% of the time in every state, “1,600 lives could be saved and 22,000 injuries prevented.” However, as of 2009, seatbelt use across the country was 88% – up from 1998, when seatbelt use was only 69%. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta show that adults who live in rural areas are 10 percent less likely to wear seat belts (78 percent use) than adults who live in urban and suburban areas (87 percent use). The report notes that seatbelt use can reduce serious car crash injuries and deaths by 50%, and that airbags and seatbelts together provide the greatest amount of safety.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that seatbelt use is lowest among young drivers, who are also the highest risk-takers on the roads.

Car accident deaths are down in South Carolina over the last year, as well. From the beginning of this year through May 11th, 248 people died in car crashes on South Carolina highways, but that number is down slightly from the same time period last year, when 251 people died in accidents.

According to current South Carolina law, drivers, who are legal adults, are responsible for ensuring that passengers 17 years old or younger are wearing seatbelts. Legally, all passengers and drivers in South Carolina must wear seatbelts. Drivers can be fined up to $25 per violation, up to a total of $50 per traffic stop. However, no points will be assessed for the offense.

“While more people are buckling up during the day, far too many choose to disobey the law at night when the risk of getting into a fatal collision actually rises,” said Leroy Smith, director of the state Department of Public Safety, during last year’s Buck Up South Carolina campaign. “The simple act of buckling up could save hundreds of lives each year. We want to bring a focus on this deadly trend, especially going into summer when travel on our roads will increase.”

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Seatbelt Safety

If you or a loved one have been pulled over due to a traffic violation, such as improper seatbelt safety, distracted driving, or DUI, you do not have to face the charges alone. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm understand the complexities of traffic safety regulations in South Carolina, and can help you fight for your rights. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation. 803.252.4800.

Texting and Driving Ban Heads for House

texting and driving

SC Texting and Driving Ban Heads to House for Vote

texting and drivingA bill that would ban texting and driving for all drivers in South Carolina received some edits from a Senate committee on Tuesday, May 13th, and will now head back to the House of Representatives for a vote.

The original Senate bill banned texting and driving only for drivers with beginner’s permits, or those with restricted licenses. It also proposed to ban all hand-held cell phone use for drivers in school zones, which included texting and talking.

However, a Senate committee took out the school zone provision, and expanded the ban on texting and driving to all drivers, not just specific license types. Now, the bill will head back to the House for a vote.

Rep. Joe Daning, R-Goose Creek,said of the texting and driving legislation. “I was coming up the Interstate today and a guy just flew past me and he’s texting. And I look at him going in the distance and he’s just weaving all over the place. If you’re on a two-lane road, you’re gonna hit somebody.”

The bill is expected to pass a vote in the House. Once the House passes the bill, it will head to a conference committee of three House members and three senators, who will draft the final version of the texting and driving ban.

South Carolina is one of the few states that has not passed texting and driving legislation. However, the idea has become more popular across the state in the last year as local governments passed their own specific texting and driving bans.

Distracted Driving, Including Texting and Driving, in South Carolina

Distracted driving includes:

  • talking on a cell phone

  • eating and drinking

  • talking to passengers

  • grooming or putting on makeup

  • reading books, newspapers, or even a map

  • using a PDA or navigation system

  • watching a video or playing on a computer or tablet

  • playing with the radio, a CD or an iPod

  • texting or writing emails

  • checking social media

It’s a common occurrence to see distracted drivers cruising down South Carolina roads and interstates.  Whether the distraction is eating, putting on makeup, talking on a cellphone, or even just daydreaming, the effects of distracted driving can lead to an accident, resulting in life altering and even deadly consequences.

The Strom Law Firm Helps Those Injured by Distracted Drivers, Including Texting and Driving

If you have been injured by a distracted driver, the South Carolina accident attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. will fight for fair compensation for your injuries. Our South Carolina car accident lawyers are prepared to fight for compensation in the courtroom and will defend your right to compensation for your past and future medical bills, lost wages and future earnings, your pain and suffering, and, in the event of a fatal car accident, even wrongful death. Our attorneys offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your personal injury case for distracted driving, so contact us today. 803.252.4800.

Settlement in Lake Murray Boating Accident Wrongful Death Case

boating accident

Family Settles in Wrongful Death Case for Lake Murray Boating Accident

boating accidentThe family of a man killed in a boating accident on Lake Murray in May 2010 has agreed to a settlement from the boat driver’s insurer for $77,200.

Randall Carter of Irmo was killed in a boating accident after the boat’s driver, Steven Miller, collided with another vessel during a late night outing to go camping. Both Carter and Matthew Kyle Howk of Columbia were killed in the boating accident.

As part of the settlement, Miller admitted no wrongdoing in the boating accident and wrongful death case. The settlement will also give Miller “peace from litigation and save the expense of trial.”

The boating accident settlement could also be a prelude to resolving criminal charges against Miller. He currently faces two counts of felony boating under the influence of alcohol. Reportedly, he also did not display proper lighting on his boat, although he was boating late at night.

The crash led to the deaths of two women on the other boat as well.

In the boating accident lawsuit that led to the wrongful death settlement, Carter’s family contended that Miller was speeding out of control.

Howk’s family is not pursuing damages against Miller, either criminal or civil.

Boating Accidents in South Carolina

South Carolina is home to 2,876 miles of shoreline and 437,672 acres of lakes including Lake Murray and Lake Wateree.  This creates seemingly limitless opportunities for recreational activities on Lake Murray and Lake Wateree and along the South Carolina coast. Unfortunately whether sailing, or riding a jetski, recreational water sports also create the opportunity for a water related injury.

Boating is an activity that thousands of people in South Carolina participate in throughout the year.  Unfortunately, no matter how many precautions are taken, boating accidents can and do occur. A boating accident does not occur as often as a car accident; however, it can be just as deadly. A crash or explosion can result in a fire and injure people around the boat.  A negligent boater can permanently disable or even kill innocent passengers in a split second.

Boating accidents are commonly the result of:

The insurance companies who most often defend at-fault drivers spend millions of dollars teaching their adjusters how to successfully deny claims. Do not let insurance adjusters take advantage of the situation by settling your claim for as little as possible. If you have been in a South Carolina boating accident, it is important that you understand your legal rights.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Injury Cases from Boating Accidents

If your boating accident injuries are the result of someone else’s negligent actions, you may be entitled to compensation. The South Carolina boat accident attorneys at The Strom Law Firm, LLC, will fight hard to obtain the compensation that you deserve. We offer a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case, so do not hesitate to contact us.803.252.4800.

Uber Files Defense in Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Uber Files Defense In New Years Eve Wrongful Death Lawsuit

wrongful death lawsuitUber, a mobile app that hires drivers and connects the drivers to customers who need a ride, became a codefendant in a wrongful death lawsuit alleging that the company encouraged a driver to use the app and become distracted, leading him to accidentally kill a young girl on New Year’s Day in San Francisco.

In San Francisco on New Year’s Eve, a family was struck by an Uber driver while crossing a crosswalk – the mother and brother were injured, while a 6-year-old was killed. On Monday, January 27th, the little girl’s family will file a wrongful death lawsuit against Uber, not just the driver, in Superior Court in California. Sophia Liu, 6, was the victim of driver Syed Muzzafar, 57, on New Year’s Eve. Muzzafar was arrested following the child’s death on charges of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and failure to yield to pedestrians in a cross walk. He reportedly cooperated in full with police investigators, and later posted bail. Muzzafar worked full-time as an Uber driver, supporting four children on his income.

Uber hires drivers under contract to act like a taxi service for as many hours a week as the driver wishes to be available. However, the drivers are not, strictly speaking, employees of the company, but independent contractors – therefore, responsibility for personal injury or wrongful death cases could shift to the individual and not the company.

On May 1st, Uber officially filed their defense, alleging that the driver – Syed Muzzafar – was not technically a driver and not logged into the app to pick up a fare at the time of the accident.

“Uber and its affiliated companies sympathize with the Liu family and understand their desire for redress for their loss and their injuries,” attorneys said in a response to a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family in San Francisco Superior Court. “However, the companies did not cause this tragic accident.”

Uber’s response, filed Thursday, said Muzaffar was “never an employee, agent, joint venture or partner of Uber.”

“The only information displayed on the screen was a GPS-generated map with his location – akin to the information displayed by a smartphone map application,” the defense statement continued.

“Uber shares in the profits of its drivers and must share in the responsibility for the harms they cause,” the family’s attorney, Chris Dolan, said in a prepared statement. “The use of the Uber app by drivers violates California laws designed to eliminate driver distraction. Drivers are constantly interacting with their mobile devices creating serious risk to both passengers and the community … Uber’s claims that they are not responsible for injuries caused by Uber drivers who are logged on to the system but not carrying a fare flies in the face of hundreds of years of law. New technology does not eliminate well-established legal principles.”

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Wrongful Death Cases

Although many of the people we represent in these cases are from right here in South Carolina, our lawyers routinely take clients from throughout the Southeastern U.S. and, in certain types of product liability or pharmaceutical cases, from across the country as well. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed through no fault of your own, you may have a wrongful death case. Contact the South Carolina wrongful death attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, LLC today for a free, no-cost consultation today. 803.252.4800

Wrongful Death Case Against Eutawville Reaches Settlement

wrongful death

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Eutawville for Shooting Death Reaches Settlement Agreement

wrongful deathThe wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of a shooting victim in Eutawville reached a settlement on April 29th.

The family of Bernard Bailey, 54 years old at the time he was shot by a former Eutawville police officer, agreed to settle with the Town of Eutawville for $400,000. As part of the settlement, the family will drop the wrongful death lawsuit against the township.

On May 2nd, 2011, Bailey went to the Eutawville police department to check on the status of a ticket that had been issued to his daughter. When he arrived at the department, then Police Chief Richard Combs said that there was an outstanding warrant for Bailey’s arrest due to obstruction of justice. After an exchange between Combs and Bailey, during which Bailey’s family alleges that the former police chief used several racial epithets, Bailey got into his car to leave. Reportedly, that is when Combs followed Bailey and shot him three times as the man drove out of the parking lot.

Combs contended that he had been trapped between Bailey’s truck and another vehicle’s door at the time of the shooting. Regardless, Combs was put on administrative leave, then was dismissed later that year for excessive use of force.

Federal investigators decided in 2013 not to file any criminal charges against Combs in connection with the shooting. However, the family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Eutawville the year before, adding that they had never seen a warrant for Bailey’s arrest, and they had been surprised that one had been issued.

The family agreed to a civil settlement of $400,000.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits in South Carolina

The unexpected loss of a loved is a very painful experience.  While mourning their loss, surviving family members are often with mounting medical bills, the loss of an income, and sudden expenses such as hospital bills and funeral costs.

If a loved one dies as a result of the negligence, reckless, or intentional conduct of another, you may be entitled to bring a claim for wrongful death. A wrongful death lawsuit asserts a claim against a person who can be held legally responsible for a death.  Surviving family members may be entitled to damages; money that can help with the expenses caused by the loss of their loved one.

Depending upon the circumstances, our South Carolina wrongful death attorneys may also assert a claim for punitive damages intended to punish the wrongdoer  and deter others from engaging in such behavior.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The wrongful death lawyers at the Strom Law Firm, LLC, will help you during this extremely difficult and emotional time. You do not have to face the emotional and financial pain of a loved one’s wrongful death alone. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed through no fault of your own, contact the South Carolina wrongful death attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, LLC today for a free, no-cost consultation today. 803.252.4800

FedEx Faces Personal Injury and Negligence Lawsuits for Crash

personal injury

Fatal Northern California Crash Between Bus and FedEx Truck Ends in Personal Injury and Negligence Suits

personal injuryTwo people have filed personal injury and negligence lawsuits against FedEx for the company’s responsibility in a fatal crash in Northern California on April 10th.

The first lawsuit involves a wrongful death and negligence accusation filed by the family of victim Jennifer Bonilla, a 17-year-old high school student from Los Angeles.

The huge vehicle crash occurred in early April on an interstate outside of San Diego. A FedEx truck veered across the road and collided with a school bus full of high school students headed to see Humbolt State University. Both the bus and the FedEx truck were engulfed in flames. Ten people were killed – five students, three adult chaperones, and both drivers. Over 30 other people were injured.

“We remain focused on providing support to those affected and cooperating with the authorities as they conduct their investigation,” FedEx said in a statement, according to CNS. “This is not the time for us to discuss potential litigation.”

The wrongful death lawsuit was filed on Tuesday, April 22nd, in Los Angeles Superior Court, and accuses both FedEx and the driver of negligence, and claims that FedEx trucks have a history of vehicle fires. The latter claim was based on the accusation after the accident that the FedEx truck was on fire before hitting the bus.

“Look at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, they’ve recorded FedEx having 679 moving violations in the last two years,” Plaintiff’s attorney King Aminpour said.

The plaintiff filed for $100 million against both FedEx and the driver’s estate.

The second personal injury and negligence lawsuit came from one of the crash survivors, Evelyln Guzman. She filed the suit in Glenn County on April 14th, four days after the crash. The personal injury filing does not have an exact amount listed for the suit, only that the plaintiff seeks more than $25,000 in compensatory damages.

Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Litigation from Car Accidents

car accident can transform a routine drive into a life-changing catastrophe. Every year, thousands of drivers end up in a South Carolina car wreck, and on average about 800 of them will lose their lives.

Typical causes of car accidents include driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, automobile defect, failed maintenance, failing to be careful, speeding, running stops signs or stop lights, failing to yield the right of way, not paying attention because of using cell phone or PDA, adjusting radio or DVD player, or eating while driving.

If a loved one dies as a result of the negligence, reckless, or intentional conduct of another, you may be entitled to bring a claim for wrongful death. A wrongful death lawsuit asserts a claim against a person who can be held legally responsible for a death.  Surviving family members may be entitled to damages; money that can help with the expenses caused by the loss of their loved one.

A South Carolina wrongful death lawsuit seeks compensation for:

  • medical bills and funeral expenses
  • loss of income
  • loss of consortium and loss of support.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases

Although many of the people we represent in these cases are from right here in South Carolina, our lawyers routinely take clients from throughout the Southeastern U.S. and, in certain types of product liability or pharmaceutical cases, from across the country as well. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed through no fault of your own, whether from a defective product or in a car accident, you may have a personal injury or wrongful death caseContact the South Carolina wrongful death attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, LLC today for a free, no-cost consultation today. 803.252.4800

Greer, SC Bans Texting and Driving

texting and driving

City of Greer Bans Texting and Driving

texting and drivingThe city of Greer, SC is the latest municipality in the state to ban texting and driving.

On the evening of Tuesday, April 22nd, passed a measure to prevent drivers from composing, reading, or sending text messages while in a moving vehicle. The vote passed 5-2.

The texting and driving ban goes into effect on July 1st, and will be considered a misdemeanor, with a penalty of $100 or 30 days in jail.

City Spokesman Steve Owens said that the ban still allows drivers to text while they are pulled over. The ban specified that the vehicle cannot be in motion.

Bans on texting and driving are growing in popularity all over the state. A measure to ban mobile phone use is also moving through the state legislature – on Wednesday, April 9th, the South Carolina Senate passed a state-wide texting and driving ban 38-2. The bill would levy fines against drivers starting at $75 – more lenient than several local bans passed across the state – and would penalize drivers with one point from their licenses. The legislation also bans texting and driving as well as other cell phone use from drivers with a learner’s permit or a restricted license.

The state House of Representatives passed a different piece of texting and driving legislation 97-16. The texting and driving ban would fine drivers only $25 for the first offense and would not remove any points from the driver’s license.

The Greer texting and driving ban also does not prohibit talking on a cell phone while in a moving vehicle – it only bans writing on a cell phone or smart phone, as that takes the driver’s eyes off the road.

South Carolina is one of the few states in the US that does not yet have a state-wide texting and driving ban.

Distracted Driving, Including Texting and Driving, in South Carolina

Distracted driving includes:

  • talking on a cell phone
  • eating and drinking
  • talking to passengers
  • grooming or putting on makeup
  • reading books, newspapers, or even a map
  • using a PDA or navigation system
  • watching a video or playing on a computer or tablet
  • playing with the radio, a CD or an iPod
  • texting or writing emails
  • checking social media

It’s a common occurrence to see distracted drivers cruising down South Carolina roads and interstates.  Whether the distraction is eating, putting on makeup, talking on a cellphone, or even just daydreaming, the effects of distracted driving can lead to an accident, resulting in life altering and even deadly consequences.

The Strom Law Firm Helps Those Injured by Distracted Drivers, Including Texting and Driving

If you have been injured by a distracted driver, the South Carolina accident attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. will fight for fair compensation for your injuries. Our South Carolina car accident lawyers are prepared to fight for compensation in the courtroom and will defend your right to compensation for your past and future medical bills, lost wages and future earnings, your pain and suffering, and, in the event of a fatal car accident, even wrongful death. Our attorneys offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your personal injury case for distracted driving, so contact us today. 803.252.4800.