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Clemson Law Blog

South Carolina woman awarded $300,000 after tripping on rug

The city of Myrtle Beach has been ordered to pay $300,000 to a South Carolina woman after a fall in 2015. The woman, a resident of Georgetown County, tripped on a rug while volunteering at a recreation center.

The jury awarded the woman over $540,000 in damages. The judge lowered this amount to $300,000 due to a cap on statutory damages. The city is planning on appealing the decision.

Why you should see a doctor after a car accident

It’s easy to know that you need to visit a doctor if you’ve suffered a major injury after a car accident. When the injury is perceived to be more minor, some people forego visiting a doctor after the accident.

No matter how serious or minor your injury may be, it’s important to visit a doctor following a car accident. These are three of the most important reasons why it’s a good idea to seek medical attention.

No harm no foul? Beware soft tissue injuries after an accident.

In the immediate aftermath of the car accident, you may have had many issues to address: ensuring the safety of everyone involved, documenting the scene, exchanging insurance information and completing the police report. In scrambling to record relevant details and striving to avoid making a mistake that could affect an insurance claim, you thought you handled the stressful situation well. Although your car may have suffered damage, you are thankful that you and your passengers seemed to have survived without a scratch.

Days after the collision, however, your body is sending signals that indicate you did sustain injuries. It's possible that the flood of adrenaline that coursed through your body after that traumatic event prevented you from feeling the full effect of the car's impact until the stress and adrenaline subsided. While you may have documented the visible effects of the collision, you may not have accounted for the effects that reveal themselves after time has passed.

Be careful of insurance companies after a car crash

If you find yourself in a car accident, an insurance claim will probably be one of your main concerns after you get any needed medical attention. After all, you are probably facing medical and car repair bills now. However, you need to be wary of any interactions with an insurance company.

Insurers want to pay you as little as possible for your claim, so they have many tactics to delay your claim or give you less than you need. Here are a few tips on how to handle the post-accident process:

Family courts must consider fathers' rights

South Carolina unmarried fathers have certain rights. A man is automatically recognized as the baby's legal father with equivalent legal parental standing when he is named on the birth certificate. He is also more likely to pay child support. Fathers' rights focus on fairness. Fathers want an equal opportunity for a relationship with the child.

According to a study published in the journal Human Nature, paternity establishment begins at birth. The father should be named on the birth certificate. If the parents are married, the husband will usually be named. However, 40.6 percent of babies were born to unmarried mothers in 2013. It is important for the mother to name the father on the birth certificate and for the father to sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity when they are not married.

Reaching a decision about frozen embryos during a divorce

Couples in South Carolina who have IVF treatments may not think about what may become of their embryos if they divorce. Usually, facilities have couples sign a contract that specifies whether they want their embryos donated or destroyed in the case of divorce. Keeping the embryos frozen may be another option. However, these contracts might not be legally enforceable.

If a couple cannot agree on the fate of their embryos, it could result in a long court case. Estranged couples need to keep up with their payments to the storage facility so the embryos they're fighting over don't end up being destroyed.

Obama child support rule left alone by Trump

A rule that took effect just before former President Barack Obama left office has so far been left unchanged by President Donald Trump. The law would require South Carolina and other states to set realistic child support levels for noncustodial parents who are in jail or who live in poverty. The goal is to ensure that noncustodial parents don't accumulate debt that they can't afford, which could trigger a cycle of incarceration.

This rule was one of more than 600 that were passed in Obama's final month in office. According to the Supreme Court, courts must first inquire about a parent's ability to pay support before finding them in civil contempt or putting them in jail for nonpayment. Failure to do so was found to be a violation of that person's right to due process.

Dealing with the family home when a divorce occurs

If a South Carolina couple is considering divorce, they may be wondering what will happen to the family home. Because people often have an emotional connection to their home, especially if they built it themselves or raised their children there, it can be very difficult to make a rational decision that makes sense when post-divorce finances are taken into consideration.

The first decision that has to be made is whether or not a person wants to stay in the home. For example, if the home is comfortable place that provides emotional security and is close to work, a person may want to retain ownership of the home. If the home evokes unpleasant memories and a person wants to make a new start somewhere else, selling the home will be a priority.

Learn more about past due child support payments

South Carolina custodial parents may be entitled to missed child support payments even after the child turns 18 or is otherwise emancipated. Therefore, a noncustodial parent is obligated to pay any support that is in arrears until that past due balance is paid off. To ensure that a past due balance is paid, the government may suspend professional licenses, garnish wages or seize tax refunds.

Those who are behind in their child support generally cannot have the debt discharged in bankruptcy. In extreme cases, a parent who owes back child support may be sent to jail. However, there may be a statue of limitations as it relates to how long a parent can collect past due balances. Therefore, it may be necessary to have an order renewed to ensure that those past due payments are made.

Prioritizing children in a divorce

South Carolina parents who are divorcing need to make sure that they put their children first. This may also mean giving each other the benefit of the doubt even when one believes that the other parent does not deserve it. For example, rather than assuming that an ex-spouse is irresponsible by not adhering to a time schedule, a parent should assume there is a good reason for the tardiness. Parents also need to keep their own emotions in check around the children and avoid venting or saying negative things about each other in front of the child.

Effective co-parenting is important because in most cases, children still need to have a relationship with both parents. A written parenting plan can help reduce conflict. Items to consider for the plan include grandparent visitation, schooling, health care, how much contact children will have with new partners and setting aside a time to discuss any additional problems that might arise. Over time, the agreement might need to be altered.

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