Frank Hartman's Frequently Asked Questions




Charleston, South Carolina Accident Injury Attorney Frequently Asked Questions

Driving while intoxicated is an act of negligence. When anyone makes the choice to commit a negligent act, and that act causes injury, they have the right to be compensated.

In the state of South Carolina the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit depends on the driver. They are as follow:

  • State limit BAC: 0.08
  • If you have a commercial license BAC: 0.04
  • If you’reunder the age of 21 BAC: 0.02

If anyone driving with a BAC over these limits causes an accident, they have violated their “duty to care.” As a result, they may owe significant compensation to anyone injured.

Car accidents involve powerful forces that are capable of causing serious injury. Even with modern safety features, this holds true.

Accident related injuries result in substantial financial losses, as well as loss of quality of life. It’s critical for accident victims to retain an attorney to help them get the compensation they deserve.

Here are some of the more common injuries that people can sustain in a car accident.


People break arms, legs, ribs, hips, or even the bones in their face or head, depending on the accident. Fractures are extremely painful, and may require surgery to treat. In many cases, broken bones can require the immobilization of a body part for a significant period of time.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

TBI’s occur when a person’s head suffers hard a blow or jolt. They are common in car accidents in which a person’s head slams against the dashboard or steering wheel, or he or she is ejected from the vehicle. TBIs are capable of causing extremely serious complications, including:

  • dizziness
  • problems concentrating
  • Sensitivity to light or sounds
  • Problems with communication
  • Difficult solving problems

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries occur when physical trauma damages the spinal cord, which is the bundle of nerves that allows the brain to communicate with the rest of the body. They can be categorized into two broad categories, which are as follows:

A spinal cord injury is characterized as “incomplete” when the victim retains some feeling or function below the site of the injury

Complete – In an incomplete spinal cord injury, victims have no sensation or function below the site of the injurySpinal cord injuries often result in significant long-term problems and victims who are paralyzed often require a lifetime of medical treatment and care. As a result, it is essential for spinal cord injury victims to make sure their rights are protected by retaining an experienced Charleston car accident lawyer.


In many car accidents, one or more of the vehicles involved catches fire during or immediately after the accident, potentially causing extremely serious burns to the people inside them. Burns can be extremely painful, require long-term medical treatment, and leave victims with scarring and disfigurement that can last a lifetime.

If you wait two, three, or four weeks before you seek medical treatment, the insurance company will likely use that “gap in treatment” as the reason for their denial of your claim. At the very least, they will use it as a reason to deny any follow-up treatment you receive after your initial check-up (This scenario assumes you went to the Emergency Room to be checked out after the wreck happened.) 

That means any treatment you get after the four week gap, for example, would likely not be considered by the insurance company as part of the claim. They would only consider your Emergency Room visit.

For this reason, it is critical that you call The Hartman Law Firm sooner, rather than later, so we can get you the medical care you need immediately.

Hopefully, you went to the Emergency Room to get checked out immediately after the accident. After you do that, you will know within two to three days how badly you are hurt from the accident. Try going a day without the pain medication you got at the ER. If you are not hurt, then you should consider handling the claim yourself. 

You will need to get all of the medical bills and the corresponding medical records from the hospital to give to the insurance company. Or you can allow the insurance company to request them for you. 

If you have any doubts, call me and we can discuss it. If I think you should handle it on your own, I will tell you so.

(A260, R270, S459)

Unlawful use of a wireless electronic communication device while operating a motor vehicle

SECTION    1.    Article 31, Chapter 5, Title 56 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
“Section 56-5-3890.    (A)    For purposes of this section:
(1)    ‘Hands-free wireless electronic communication device’ means an electronic device, including, but not limited to, a telephone, a personal digital assistant, a text-messaging device, or a computer, which allows a person to wirelessly communicate with another person without holding the device in either hand by utilizing an internal feature or function of the device, an attachment, or an additional device. A hands-free wireless electronic communication device may require the use of either hand to activate or deactivate an internal feature or function of the device.
(2)    ‘Text-based communication’ means a communication using text-based information, including, but not limited to, a text message, an SMS message, an instant message, or an electronic mail message.(3)    ‘Wireless electronic communication device’ means an electronic device, including, but not limited to, a telephone, a personal digital assistant, a text-messaging device, or a computer, which allows a person to wirelessly communicate with another person.
(B)    It is unlawful for a person to use a wireless electronic communication device to compose, send, or read a text-based communication while operating a motor vehicle on the public streets and highways of this State.
(C)    This section does not apply to a person who is:
(1)    lawfully parked or stopped;
(2)    using a hands-free wireless electronic communication device;
(3)    summoning emergency assistance;
(4)    transmitting or receiving data as part of a digital dispatch system;
(5)    a public safety official while in the performance of the person’s official duties; or
(6)    using a global positioning system device or an internal global positioning system feature or function of a wireless electronic communication device for the purpose of navigation or obtaining related traffic and road condition information.
(D)(1)    A person who is adjudicated to be in violation of the provisions of this section must be fined not more than twenty-five dollars, no part of which may be suspended. No court costs, assessments, or surcharges may be assessed against a person who violates a provision of this section. A person must not be fined more than fifty dollars for any one incident of one or more violations of the provisions of this section. A custodial arrest for a violation of this section must not be made, except upon a warrant issued for failure to appear in court when summoned or for failure to pay an imposed fine. A violation of this section does not constitute a criminal offense. Notwithstanding Section 56-1-640, a violation of this section must not be:
(a)    included in the offender’s motor vehicle records maintained by the Department of Motor Vehicles or in the criminal records maintained by SLED; or
(b)    reported to the offender’s motor vehicle insurer.
(2)    During the first one hundred eighty days after this section’s effective date, law enforcement officers shall issue only warnings for violations of this section.
(E)    A law enforcement officer shall not:
(1)    stop a person for a violation of this section except when the officer has probable cause that a violation has occurred based on the officer’s clear and unobstructed view of a person who is using a wireless electronic communication device to compose, send, or read a text-based communication while operating a motor vehicle on the public streets and highways of this State;
(2)    seize, search, view, or require the forfeiture of a wireless electronic communication device because of a violation of this section;
(3)    search or request to search a motor vehicle, driver, or passenger in a motor vehicle, solely because of a violation of this section; or
(4)    make a custodial arrest for a violation of this section, except upon a warrant issued for failure to appear in court when summoned or for failure to pay an imposed fine.
(F)    The Department of Public Safety shall maintain statistical information regarding citations issued pursuant to this section.
(G)    This section preempts local ordinances, regulations, and resolutions adopted by municipalities, counties, and other local governmental entities regarding persons using wireless electronic communication devices while operating motor vehicles on the public streets and highways of this State.”

Statistics reported by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) indicate the following regarding texting and driving:
At any second during the day, an estimated 660,000 people are driving while using a cell phone or smartphone.
Drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 have the highest reported rate of texting and driving.
There were about 391,000 people injured in crashes caused by texting and driving in 2015, which means close to 1,100 injuries occurred every day.
3,477 fatalities were reported in 2015 as a result of distracted driving accidents.

In addition to using traditional handheld devices, research by the National Safety Council indicates that hands-free technology is not much safer. The NSC claims that the cognitive distractions involved when using hands-free systems to listen to or dictate text messages is still great enough to seriously increase risks of an accident. Cognitive distraction can keep drivers from being fully aware of their surroundings, even if they believe their eyes are on the road.In short, all forms of text-based messaging while behind the wheel are extremely dangerous and should always be avoided to keep you and others on the road safe. Unfortunately, you cannot control the actions of other drivers and texting and driving accidents continue to happen on a daily basis.

Drivers who are distracted by texting or messaging can cause devastating accidents and injuries. The following are types of collisions that regularly result from distracted driving:
Rear-end crashes – Drivers who are looking down at their phones instead of ahead often do not realize that the traffic in front of them has slowed down or stopped. By the time they notice, it is often too late to avoid crashing into the back of the vehicle in front of them. Rear-end collisions may sometimes be referred to as “fender benders,” but these collisions can cause serious injuries to motorists in the front car. Common injuries in rear-end accidents include whiplash, back injuries, traumatic brain injury, broken bones, and more. If you have suffered such an injury, it is very important to speak with our skilled, Charleston distracted driving attorney today about how we can help you.

Head-on crashes – When drivers are not looking at the road, they often are unable to stay in their designated lane. Sometimes, if a driver departs their lane to the left, they may cross over the double yellow line and into oncoming traffic, which can cause two cars to crash head-on. Head-on collisions are some of the most deadly crashes that can happen on the roads, especially if they involve one vehicle that is substantially larger than the other, such as a commercial truck. In addition, these accidents are often so serious because both cars are usually in motion at the time of the crash.

Many of these crashes result in life-changing injuries to victims, requiring extensive medical care, time away from work, as well as physical and emotional pain and suffering. In many cases, injuries from distracted driving accidents may cause permanent disabilities or impairments or a victim may not survive. Drivers who cause injuries and damage because they were texting should be held fully accountable for their actions under the law.

Because of the serious dangers of texting and driving, 46 states and the District of Columbia ban drivers from engaging in text-based messaging. South Carolina passed its ban in 2014, however, these tickets are not criminal offenses, are not reported on driving records, and have minimal fines. Law enforcement in South Carolina have been reported to be enforcing the texting ban lightly, as very few tickets were issued in the first two years the law was on the books. For these reasons, the texting ban does little to deter drivers from being texting and does nothing for injured victims. Therefore, injured accident victims must hold drivers liable in other ways. Our dedicated Charleston distracted driving law firm understands how difficult it is for victims to find justice. We are here to help you get back up from your financial, emotional, and physical hardship that results from an accident.

Under most circumstances, a vehicle that makes a left turn is usually found to be at fault for causing an accident with a vehicle coming from the other direction. This is because State Law mandates that any vehcile making a left hand turn must wait until it’s safe to complete the turn before moving into any area where oncoming traffic will travel.

Fault for left hand turn accidents is almost always placed on the vehicle making the turn, because responsibility for yielding to traffic is on them. The driver of the turning vehicle is required to make sure their path of travel is safe before turning.

In short, if you’re making a left hand turn, you better make sure it’s safe to do so.

From the moment that you step over the seat of a motorcycle, the driver becomes responsible for anyone on board. This means that, generally speaking, passengers are not liable for damages.

Furthermore, if the driver, or the driver of another vehicle, causes an accident, the at-fault operator is responsible for any damages or injuries.

The question then becomes, “who was found at-fault in the accident?” If your driver is found liable, you can file a claim against their insurance, as well as against them as an individual, for injuries, pain, and suffering caused in the collision.

Comparatively, you may also file a claim against the driver of any other vehicle found to be at fault in any sort of vehicle wreck.

A compact car crushed in a Commercial Driving Accident - The Hartman Law Firm, LLC represents trucking accident injury victims

The cost of losing a loved one goes far beyond financial damages. As a result, when someone is killed in a trucking collision, additional compensation may be awarded for wrongful death.

The amount of any settlement involving fatalities can be significant. When the culprit is a commercial trucking company, there is a greater degree of compensation possible.

Additional damages for wrongful death can be assessed under these circumstances. To find out if your pain and injuries are grounds for fair compensation under the law, contact Frank Hartman now.

A Pit Bull can bite with a force of 235 pounds per square inch. This is equivalent to the weight of a full grown human standing on a bottle cap.

It should come as no surprise that this force can crush, cut, and puncture tissue and bone. In addition, there may be additional injuries due to infection, falling, or even an animal with rabies. Some of the most common injuries include:

  • Physical disfigurement at the wound site (often necessitating plastic surgery)
  • Significant lacerations and scarring that necessitate future care
  • Deep puncture wounds
  • Torn ligaments or muscles
  • Fractured bones
  • Loss of mobility in the affected area, which often requires physical therapy
  • Serious illnesses that manifest as a result of the bite
  • Serious infections

Every dog bite should be taken seriously and every victim should seek medical attention.

The type of compensation in any personal injury case depends on the court’s determination of liability. In most cases where someone suffers physical and/or mental damages, the following compensatory damages can be recovered.

  • Pain and suffering
  • Medical expenses
  • Emergency room bills
  • Psychological treatment
  • Loss of income
  • Loss of future income
  • Loss of quality or enjoyment of life
  • Temporary or long-term disability
  • Disfigurement of loss of range of motion
  • Property damages
  •  Loss of consortium, which has to do with marital relations
Every accident injury claim is different. As a result, the factors for the settlement amounts and types can vary. In general, the items listed here are the most common.

The amount of any settlement involving wrongful death can be significant. When the individual, business, or organization is found to be responsible due to negligence, they must be held accountable.

Additional damages for wrongful death can be assessed under these circumstances. To find out if your pain and injuries are grounds for fair compensation under the law, contact Frank Hartman now.

Frank Hartman has helped several accident injury victims get the compensation that they deserve.. He has successfully won settlements for injuries such as:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Scarring and Disfigurement
  • Mental Anguish
  • Neck injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Amputation
  • Death

If you or a loved one has been injured in an animal attack, contact Frank Hartman now for your free strategy session.

In the state of South Carolina, if a person dies without a will, their possessions pass by what is called intestacy. In other words, the state has laws in place to distribute the possessions of the deceased to the family. 

For example, if a man’s wife dies and there are no children, her estate will go to the surviving spouse. If there are children, then the estate is split 50/50 between the spouse and the children. The children would split the 50% evenly amongst all of them.

Technically, joint custody means that the father and the mother of a child have equal parenting rights. The child alternates between the parents every other week, or any agreed upon weekly schedule. 

However, oftentimes the language of joint custody is used but a parent is named as the primary caregiver. For example, the mother would have primary custody, keeping the children during the week. The father would have visitation rights, frequently every other weekend. 

Major holidays are typically split and the parents alternate holidays every year. Also, the secondary parent would receive a significant amount of vacation time during the summer. 

South Carolina family courts use the best interest of the child to determine the best scenario, so having a stable home and school schedule are points of emphasis for the court.