ARCHIVES: September 2017
How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Workers’ Compensation is a statutory schedule of benefits available to workers who are injured on the job. Rules regarding the claims process and benefits available vary from state to state. In South Carolina, employers who have four or more employees are required to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance. If an employee suffers a workplace injury or illness, the employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier will cover the costs of related medical bills and will also provide disability benefits if the employee is unable to work because of the injury or illness. There is a specific procedure for reporting injuries or illnesses, obtaining medical treatment, and filing a Workers’ Compensation claim in South Carolina.
Seek Medical Treatment
Employees who are injured on the job should immediately seek medical attention. In emergency situations, injured employees should go to the nearest emergency room and obtain treatment as soon as possible. In non-emergency situations, employers should be notified of the injury immediately to help coordinate medical care for the injured worker. In South Carolina, medical treatment needs to be authorized and approved by the employer/insurance company as our state is an employer choice of doctor state.
Report the Injury or Illness
A workplace injury or illness must be reported to an employer within 90 days of the accident or diagnosis. However, it is prudent for employees to report injuries as soon as possible so that the Workers’ Compensation process may begin. Employees should report details such as when, where, and how the injury occurred, along with any resulting injuries sustained. Employers must then report the injury to their insurance company, which will start the process for the appropriate benefits.
File a Claim
If an employer does not report the injury to their insurance carrier or the insurance carrier refuses to pay benefits, the employee may face a denied Workers’ Compensation claim. In this case, the assistance of a skilled Workers’ Compensation lawyer is critical. Claims must be filed with the South Carolina Industrial Commission by completing a Form 50 within two years of a workplace accident or diagnosis of an occupational illness. If there is a dispute between the employee and the employer or insurance company, the Workers’ Compensation Commission will intervene to resolve the dispute at a hearing. The case will be heard by one of the seven commissioners usually within about four months.
Appeal a Decision
Employees may appeal the commissioner’s decision within 14 days of the decision. The case will then go before a three-member panel. Mediation, a process in which a neutral, third party will help both sides reach a mutually beneficial settlement agreement in a less formal setting, may be requested in lieu of the formal hearing. If an employee’s appeal is unsuccessful, there is a right of appeal to the South Carolina Court of Appeals. Being represented by an experienced work injury lawyer can greatly increase the chance of an injured employee having a successful outcome.
Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Help Injured Workers Through All Stages of Their Claims
If you were injured in a workplace accident or have been diagnosed with an occupational illness, contact the experienced Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A.. We have extensive experience guiding injured workers through all stages of the claims process. Contact us online or call us at 803-929-3600 to schedule a free consultation. We represent injured workers in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, as well as the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg.
Motorists Believe They Are Good at Distracted Driving
A recent Progressive Insurance study reveals that although drivers believe that distracted driving is the leading cause of car accidents, they are confident in their own ability to text and drive safely. The results of distracted driving can be deadly. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 3,477 fatalities and 391,000 injuries from distracted driving wrecks in 2105 alone. Among talking on the phone, eating, applying makeup, or changing the radio station, texting is one of the most common activities drivers engage in that causes them to take their attention off the road.
Drivers’ Misconceptions Revealed
Progressive had approximately 1,000 individuals of whom were 18 years or older participate in their national online survey. Over 65 percent of the study’s participants and 64 percent of participants between the ages of 18 to 34 believe that texting while driving is the most common cause of traffic accidents. Despite this belief, 34 percent believe that they are at least somewhat confident in their ability to text while driving.
Surprisingly, although about one third of the study participants believe that they are able to safely divide their attention between the two tasks, more than 90 percent believe that texting and driving should be illegal. Participants reported feelings of concern and irritation when seeing another driver texting and 83 percent believe that the police should be able to pull people over for texting and driving.
Variations Across Age and Gender
There was disparity between the beliefs of younger and older drivers, as well as male and female drivers. While over 60 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 34 report being confident in their ability to safely text and drive, less than six percent of those 55 and older report that same confidence. Men are generally more confident in their ability to safely text and drive than women. Regarding this ability, 21 percent of men and 11 percent of women feel “very confident.”
However, about 88 percent of men and 97 percent of women think that texting while driving should not be allowed. The business leader of usage-based insurance at Progressive notes that it is interesting how people know that texting and driving is dangerous, yet still feel as though they can safely engage in such activities. He hopes that the study will spark conversations regarding the truth about distracted driving and how it can be reduced.
Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Victims of Distracted Driving Accidents
If you were injured in a distracted driving car accident, contact an experienced Columbia car accident lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A.. Our legal team is available to help you fight for financial compensation so that you can focus on your recovery from the accident. Our firm has been representing injured clients throughout South Carolina since 1993. Please call us today at 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780 or submit an online inquiry to schedule a consultation. We serve clients in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, as well as the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg.
Effects of Depression on Work-Related Injuries
Speaking about depression as an illness was taboo for many years. Only recently, has it become more common to openly discuss mental health issues. Although depression is not the first thing that comes to mind when we think of work-related injuries, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists depression as a leading cause of both injury and illness for men and women worldwide.
Depression in the Workforce
According to the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, between 2009 and 2012, 7.6 percent of Americans aged 13 and older suffered from depression. Of those with severe depressive symptoms, 43 percent described having serious difficulties at work, home, and socially. The economic cost of these effects in 2010 was $210.5 billion.
Someone who experiences a work-related injury can be affected in many ways. In addition to having a limited capacity at work, income may also be reduced as a result. Home life may be disrupted and it may not be possible to enjoy hobbies in the same way as before the injury, especially if they involved physical activity. A worker in this situation can be vulnerable to depression. Many injuries result in chronic pain, which puts the worker at further risk of depression.
An injured worker that develops depression will likely take longer to recover, adding to the cost of the initial injury. If the worker is able to return to work, but is still depressed, their productivity may be affected. Reduced productivity can affect the ability of co-workers to do their jobs at normal capacity. Depression is also a risk factor for smoking and low back pain, which can further erode the health of an injured worker.
Unfortunately, depression that develops as a result of an injury is often denied by Workers’ Compensation insurance companies and employers meaning that workers may not receive needed therapy or medication to treat it, further drawing out recovery time. Depression can be covered if it can be shown that it results from the on-the-job injury and resulting circumstances.
Recognizing and Preventing Depression in the Workplace
Employers can train supervisors to recognize the signs of depression so that they can intervene if they sense that an employee returning to work after an injury is falling into depression. The most obvious warning signs include:
- Struggling with punctuality
- Changes in grooming habits or appearance
- Sad or listless appearance
- Decrease in productivity
Additionally, employers can provide workplace education sessions with therapists and health professionals to talk about depression. Discussing mental health issues openly can help alleviate fears that workers may have. Ideally, workers suffering from depression should have access to therapy or counseling at work to prevent the recovery from work-related injuries from being unnecessarily extended.
Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Fight for the Rights of Injured Workers
If you have suffered from a workplace injury, you may be eligible for compensation. Consult with an experienced Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyer from Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. about your Workers’ Compensation benefits. We have years of combined experience handling Workers’ Compensation cases and will fight to make sure you receive the compensation you are due so that you can recover from your injuries. Call us today at 800-531-9780 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation at one of our six convenient locations. We serve clients in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, as well as the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg.
Chappell, Smith & Arden: A Proud Partner in the Teal Day 5k
Both runners and walkers came out in force for the second annual TEAL DAY 5k on Saturday, September 9, 2017. Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. partnered with the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) again this year to help raise awareness of ovarian cancer. The start and finish line for the walk/run was located at the firm’s Devine Street location in Charleston, South Carolina.
Approximately 20,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year. It is the 10th most common cancer, and the fifth leading fatal cancer. Seventy percent of women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed when it is in an advanced stage, when the prognosis is poor.
The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about ovarian cancer. Its mission is to “save lives by fighting tirelessly to prevent and cure ovarian cancer and to improve the quality of life for survivors.”
Founded in 1993, Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. has a dedicated team of attorneys and six offices across South Carolina. Our legal team is licensed to practice in all federal and state courts in South Carolina, all state courts in North Carolina, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, the District Court for the District of Columbia, Georgia, and the Supreme Court of the United States. We are devoted to protecting the rights of injured individuals, and to keeping families safe.
To learn more about Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A., or to schedule a free consultation, please call 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780 or contact us online. With offices located throughout South Carolina, we serve clients in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, including those in the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg.
Thursday is the Deadliest Day for Truckers
For both new and experienced truck drivers, Thursday is one of the busiest days of the week when it comes to wrecks. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that more truckers are on the roads hauling freight during the week than the weekends. Statistically this drives up the accident rate for weekdays. By Thursday, drivers are at their most fatigued and less alert with slower reaction times. A tired trucker traveling unfamiliar roads is at higher risk for an accident.
Driver error is the leading cause of truck accidents, and fatigue is a major factor. Truckers spend many hours on the road delivering goods and are more susceptible to drowsy driving than the average motorist. Adhering to federal hours of service regulations, staying hydrated, and taking rest breaks are all ways drivers can fight off drowsiness and avoid becoming a Thursday statistic. Most experienced truck drivers also take care not to tailgate, drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or speed recklessly. They know that losing their license means losing their livelihood.
The second most common cause of truck accidents is equipment failure. Tires and brakes must be vigilantly maintained to ensure safety for the many miles and hours a rig endures out on the road. Regulations require that trucking companies maintain inspection records for their vehicles. Drivers are the first line of defense in truck safety as they complete the daily inspections and will be the first to recognize when a mechanical issue arises.
Many trucking companies now employ video systems for driver safety. Cameras installed inside and outside the truck record the driver’s activities and the information can be collected and analyzed to improve safety records. The cameras are triggered automatically when a truck swerves, attempts a U-turn or collides with something. A company can acknowledge their exemplary drivers and also determine exactly in which areas other drivers need to improve. Risky behavior can be identified before collisions happen. The data also helps companies lower their operating costs by providing information about accidents. Video recordings can help prove the innocence of the driver in the event of a crash. On board cameras also discourage dangerous habits like texting and other forms of distracted driving.
While statistics such as this one about Thursdays may seem daunting, awareness of these facts and the causes behind them can help everyone using the roadways, not just truckers, be vigilant about safety.
Columbia Truck Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Advocate for Injured Victims of Truck Accidents
If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident, you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries. Be sure to speak with an experienced Columbia truck accident lawyer from Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. about your legal options. Liability in a truck accident can be complex and trucking companies and their insurers employ teams of lawyers to avoid paying injury claims. At Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. we have more than three decades of experience fighting for the rights of injured clients. Contact us today at 800-531-9780 to schedule a free consultation about your case or contact us online.
Fatal Collision in Columbia Related to Hurricane Irma
On Monday afternoon, a fatal collision took place between two cars, which was related to Hurricane Irma. The accident occurred on Interstate 77 in the southbound lanes near the Bluff Road exit in Columbia, South Carolina. A 21-year-old man driving an SUV with Florida license plates collided into a sedan, causing the SUV driver to succumb to his fatal injuries at the scene of the accident. The driver of the sedan was transported to the hospital for treatment. During the time of the fatal collision, heavy rains and winds, as a result from the hurricane, led to challenging weather conditions on the road.
When inclement weather affects driving conditions, it is more common for collisions to occur. This may lead to drivers and passengers incurring personal injuries, or, in serious accidents, potential fatalities. Even skilled drivers may find it difficult to control their vehicles when traveling in a storm as severe as a hurricane.
If you have been injured in a car accident, our Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. will fight for you. You may schedule a free consultation by calling 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780 or contact us online. With offices located throughout South Carolina, we serve clients in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, including those in the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg.
No More 34 Hour Restart Rule
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has scrapped two provisions of the Hours of Service Final Rule that required commercial motor vehicle drivers to take two overnight breaks and a 34-hour break once per week. The rule was intended to prevent drowsy driving which, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, causes up to 100,000 truck accidents per year. Over-the-road truck drivers often drive up to 11 hours a day to meet tight deadlines. Therefore, the FMCSA implemented the rule to limit the ability of drivers to work the maximum number of hours on a continuing basis to reduce driver fatigue. After the Department of Transportation found that the regulations do not improve safety as intended, the FMCSA announced that the provisions will no longer be enforced.
The 34-hour restart rule, which was in operational effect on June 30, 2013, has been suspended since 2014, pending a study to determine its actual effects on safety. It was implemented as a voluntary rule to help truckers comply with the federal Hours of Service regulations. The Hours of Service regulations state that truckers cannot work more than 60 hours in seven days or 70 hours in eight days. The FMCSA limited the use of the 34-hour restart provision to once every 168 hours and stated that two rest periods between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. must be included. Truckers could also choose to drive if they had taken a break of at least 30 minutes within the past eight hours.
The FMCSA cited the link between long hours and an increased risk of crashes and health conditions due to lack of sleep. However, enforcement of the 34-hour rule was suspended pending the Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Restart Study, which Congress directed the FMCSA to conduct. In its study, the FMCSA compared the fatigue and performance levels of truck drivers who adhered to the 2013 regulations and those who adhered to the previous regulations that did not require time-specific rest breaks. Drivers from small, medium, and large fleets as well as those from different operations and sectors of the industry were studied over the course of five months.
The FMCSA studied data from various tests and devices which measured drivers’ alertness, sleep, stress, hours slept, and caffeine intake. According to the results of the study, the overnight breaks did not improve safety or reduce driver fatigue. As a result, the provision in the Hours of Service Final Rule will not be enforced, nor will the provision that limited truckers to using the 34-hour restart rule once per week.
Columbia Truck Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Those Injured in Truck Accidents
If you were injured in a truck accident, contact the experienced Columbia truck accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A.. Each year, thousands of people are injured in various types of truck accidents including rollover accidents, head-on or rear-end accidents, jackknife accidents, lost loads, underride accidents, no-zone accidents, tire blowouts, and hazardous material accidents. For over two decades, our knowledgeable attorneys have been dedicated to holding negligent parties accountable and obtaining compensation for the injured. We have six locations throughout South Carolina and we represent clients throughout the state, including Columbia, Lexington County, Richland County, and Kershaw County. To schedule an initial consultation, contact us online or call us at 803-929-3600.
Intra-Aortic Balloon Pumps May Cause Death
On September 6, 2017, the Food and Drug Administration announced the immediate recall of over 12,000 intra-aortic balloon pumps manufactured by Datascope Corp./MAQUET due to a product defect that could result in death. The recall affects all such devices manufactured by the company from 2003 to 2017, approximately 5,000 of which were distributed in the United States.
According to the FDA’s announcement, the recall is not requiring the return of the devices to the manufacturer, but rather is giving medical providers additional information regarding a potential “false blood detection alarm” which causes the balloon pump to stop working correctly. In the meantime, Datascope Corp. is contacting healthcare providers and is arranging for technicians to service balloon pumps that are subject to the recall.
An intra-aortic balloon pump is a polyethylene device designed to help the heart work. The device is inserted into a patient’s circulatory system usually through an artery in the leg and is then placed in the aorta. There the balloon inflates and deflates as the heart pumps, increasing the heart’s pumping strength while decreasing the effort required from the heart muscle.
A failure of the “blood detection alarm” causes the balloon pump to cease inflating and deflating. The balloon pump then becomes a risk for blood clot formation within the patient’s aorta, which can be fatal.
Many different kinds of heart patients may undergo procedures involving an intra-aortic balloon pump. These include patients suffering from heart failure, cardiogenic shock, an acute heart attack, or surgical patients undergoing an angioplasty or stent placement.
If you or a loved one would like more information about the link between injuries and intra-aortic balloon pumps, contact a Columbia product liability lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. for experienced help moving forward. Since 1993, our lawyers have been committed to protecting our clients’ rights and interests’ and helping them obtain – and keep – the benefits to which they are entitled. Call us today at 803-929-3600 or contact us online.
The Nation’s 20 Most Dangerous Jobs
According to the most recent United States Bureau of Labor statistics, there were 4,836 fatal injuries and over two million nonfatal work injuries and illnesses in private industry in 2015. These workplace accidents can happen in any job, and there are many possible causes for them including overexertion, slip and falls, and exposure to hazardous materials. However, some industries are generally deadlier than others due to their inherently dangerous nature and the risks associated with the job.
Following are the nation’s 20 most dangerous jobs and their corresponding fatalities per 100,000:
- Loggers: 132.7
- Fishermen: 54.8
- Pilots and flight engineers: 40.4
- Roofers: 39.7
- Garbage Collectors: 38.8
- Steelworkers: 29.8
- Truckers: 24.3
- Farmers and agricultural workers: 22
- Line workers: 20.5
- Tree-trimmers and lawn maintenance workers: 18.1
- Taxi drivers: 14.7
- Construction workers and electricians: 12.5
- Miners and mining foremen: 11.4
- Mechanics and their supervisors: 7.6
- Firefighters and police officers: 6.2
- Janitors and pest control specialists: 5.8
- Manufacturing and production workers: three
- Arts, design, sports and entertainment workers: 2.4
- Architects and engineers: 1.2
- Social Workers: one
What Makes These Jobs Dangerous
Some jobs on this list are inherently dangerous due to the nature of the duties associated with the job, such as miners, firefighters, police officers, social workers and athletes. The other industries share common themes regarding what makes them particularly dangerous such as weather, heights, machinery, and hazardous material exposure. Loggers often deal with most of those challenges – rapidly changing weather, falling trees, and powerful, heavy machinery – making logging the deadliest job in the nation.
Fishermen, pilots, and flight engineers also must deal with adverse weather conditions as well as faulty equipment. Manufacturing and production workers as well as mechanics often suffer fatal injuries from the machines or tools that they regularly use. Some workers are at an increased risk of suffering a deadly fall such as roofers, line workers, steelworkers, tree trimmers, and architects. Construction workers and electricians may also suffer from deadly falls, injuries from heavy objects, or electrocutions.
Truckers, farmers, taxi drivers and garbage collectors all use vehicles and are therefore more likely to suffer work-related transportation accidents due to a variety of causes such as fatigue or equipment failure. Garbage collectors, janitors and pest control specialists are also exposed to bacteria, harsh chemicals and disease-carrying pests, putting them at an increased risk of developing occupational diseases.
Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Fight for Injured Workers in All Types of Industries
South Carolina employers and employees are covered by the State’s Workers’ Compensation Act. Any employee who is injured on the job may receive payment for medical treatment, lost wages due to disability, and compensation for permanent disability or disfigurement. If you suffered an injury or have lost a loved one due to a workplace accident, call an experienced Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. at 803-929-3600 or contact us online. We understand the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation system and can help guide you through all the stages of your claim, from reporting injuries to appealing a denied claim. Our offices are conveniently located throughout South Carolina and we serve clients in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, as well as the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg.
Mistakes to Avoid When Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim
The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act encourages prompt notification of work injuries, but requires injured employees to give notice of the accident or discovery of a compensable condition to employers within 90 days. It is best not to assume that your employer knows about the workplace accident simply because you went to the doctor. Doctors may not report your injury to your employer and you should report your injuries in writing to your employer as soon as possible so that the eligibility and benefits process can begin. Even if an injury does not seem serious, it may later develop into a disability. It is important to establish a record of your injury early on so that your medical records will show how your work-related injury led to the disability.
Do Not Assume That Your Claim Is Not Valid
Many people make the mistake of assuming they do not have a claim for various reasons. Some people, such as those suffering from repetitive stress injuries, may not realize that their injuries could entitle them to Workers’ Compensation benefits. Workers do not have to identify one particular accident in order to receive Workers’ Compensation; their injuries could have been caused by a series of events related to their job. Benefits are available to workers who develop repetitive stress injuries over time, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, or neck and back strain.
Those who drive for work may also receive Workers’ Compensation even when accidents happen on the road, away from work. Those who were on the job and not merely traveling to or from work may be eligible for benefits. Workers who are running an errand for their employer or traveling in the scope of employment are considered to be on the job and therefore eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits.
Injured workers may also think that they are not entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits because they did not take time off from work. Although lost wages due to the injury would be compensable under Workers’ Compensation, having lost wages is not a prerequisite to receive other forms of Workers’ Compensation benefits such as compensation for medical expenses and rehabilitation.
Do Not Rely on Private Insurance
Employers will often suggest that injured employees claim benefits under private health insurance rather than Workers’ Compensation. This is not in your best interest. Health insurance typically requires co-payments or deductibles, whereas Workers’ Compensation does not. Workers’ Compensation pays for all reasonable and necessary medical costs without any pre-established limits on the amount that will be paid.
Additionally, private health insurance often limits your choice of physicians, whereas Workers’ Compensation allows you to choose your physician. Workers’ Compensation also provides benefits that private health insurance does not, such as disability benefits, medical expense reimbursements, and other rehabilitative services.
Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Help Injured Workers Navigate All Types of Workers’ Compensation Claims
If you suffered a work-related injury, call an experienced Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A.. We understand the complex South Carolina Workers’ Compensation system and can help guide you through it. Our offices are conveniently located throughout South Carolina and we provide effective legal advocacy to clients, including in the communities of Columbia, Lexington County, Richland County, and Kershaw County. Contact us online or call us at 803-929-3600 to consult with one of our knowledgeable lawyers.