Turnipseed & Associates - Attorneys at Law

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Practice Areas

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Auto Accidents

You have been hurt in an automobile collision and now wonder if you need a lawyer. Family and friends may have differing advice as to whether or not you need a lawyer. Representatives from the insurance companies will often try to discourage injured victims from obtaining the assistance of an attorney. The decision is ultimately yours but here are some things to consider.

Severity of the Injury A minor injury with a minimal amount of medical treatment and no lost time from work can usually be handled without the assistance of an attorney. Bumps, bruises, contusions and strains that require only one trip to the emergency room or to the family doctor can usually be resolved fairly quickly with an insurance carrier. If you sustain injuries that require therapy or a number of visits to a physician you are more likely to benefit from the assistance of an attorney. If your injuries are permanent or disabling, an attorney can present your claim for your permanent impairments and loss of income so that you may be fully compensated.

Getting a Fair Settlement Often the insurance company representative will seem to cooperate and even make an offer to resolve your claim, but it is still a good idea to contact an attorney to see if you are being treated fairly. After discussing your case with you, an attorney can determine whether you are being fully compensated. Often an insurance company representative will offer to pay your medical bills and something for your pain and suffering. An attorney can help determine whether you have been fully compensated for your pain and suffering as well as lost wages, permanent impairment, loss of earning capacity and any other compensable damages.

Cooperation in Settling a Claim If the insurance company fails to contact you or return your calls it may be a sign that they are intent on not cooperating and resolving your claim. Sometimes insurance companies will not cooperate with an injured victim hoping that they will forget about their claim or get tired of the hassle of trying to present their claim. An attorney can help in dealing with the insurance company and assistance will likely be necessary if the insurance company refuses to cooperate.

Denied Claim If you have been hurt but the insurance company doesn’t believe that you have been injured or deny your claim for other reasons, you will likely need a lawyer to assist you in proving your claim. Some cases may be straightforward enough for an injured victim to present on their own, but many cases are denied for legal reasons or issues that may be difficult for an injured victim to handle on their own.

Cost of Representation In determining whether or not you need an attorney you must remember that most attorneys who handle automobile collision cases are paid on a contingent fee. Usually such attorneys charge a 1/3 contingent fee meaning that they are to be paid 1/3 of the total recovery. If your injuries are not severe and you have not suffered a great deal of financial burdens as a result of your accident, the amount of the recovery you can get on your own may be as good as if not more than what you would get after an attorney deducts his fee.

Questions, Worries, and Concerns If you have never been injured in an accident and don’t know your rights or how to proceed, you should consult an attorney. Attorneys can answer your questions, give assistance and help you to decide whether further representation by an attorney can be beneficial to you.

Things To Remember Whether you obtain the services of an attorney or not there are some things of which you need to be aware.

-Many times the insurance company representative will want to take a recorded statement to adjust your claim. If you believe that you are going to seek the assistance of an attorney, wait before giving such a statement as any attorney you may obtain will likely prefer that you not give such a statement without their presence. Also, the insurance company will sometimes use misstatements or your own wording against you in denying your claim and to avoid giving you fair compensation.

-Gaps or delays in your medical treatment often present problems in resolving your claim. Insurance company representatives usually will use gaps or delays in treatment to argue that you were not injured or that your injury has been caused in some other way. If you have been injured and feel you need medical attention, you should seek medical assistance as soon as possible.

-Take pictures. You can describe your injuries or the damage to the vehicle involved in an accident but pictures will be much clearer. If your claim is denied and you are forced to file a lawsuit, the pictures you have taken are likely to be more beneficial than any description you can give.

-Make sure your injuries have healed before settling your claim. Once you settle your claim, you will likely sign a release that will prevent you from obtaining any further compensation. If you have not fully healed and settle your claim, you may be denying yourself fair compensation. Until you have healed you may not know the full extent of the treatment you need or may not know the full extent of your injury.

-You are limited in the amount of time you have to recover your claim. For an automobile collision in South Carolina the standard amount of time to bring an action to recover for your injuries is three years. Sometimes this period can be shorter depending on who is involved in the collision or responsible for the collision. You should contact an attorney to see how much time you have to bring an action for your claim. If you fail to bring an action or resolve your claim before the time period runs, you lose your right to be compensated for your injuries.

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Workers Compensation

I’ve been hurt on my job. Do I need a lawyer?

You’ve been hurt on your job. Who will pay the medical bills? How will you support your family if you can’t work? Do you need a lawyer? Coworkers, friends and family members offer conflicting advice. What should you do? Here are some guidelines to help you decide.

1. Severity of the Injury A minor injury with routine medical treatment and little or no lost time usually can be handled without a lawyer. But, for a severe injury, or one that keeps you out of work for a period of time,you are more likely to get the proper medical care and compensation if you are represented by a lawyer.

2. Employer Cooperation If your employer seems to be angry at you for getting hurt, refuses to send you to a doctor, or won’t   report your injury to their insurance carrier, this can cause problems and delays and
may even cause your claim to be denied. If you have a non-cooperative employer it is a good idea to consult lawyer.
3. Referral to a Specialist Referral to a specialist, such as an orthopaedic surgeon or neurosurgeon, generally means your injury is severe enough that you wouldbenefit from retaining a lawyer.

4. Denial of Medical Treatment If your employer won’t send you to the doctor when you get hurt, or the insurance company refuses to authorize treatment, such as a referral to a specialist, diagnostic testing such as an MRI, physical therapy, a pain clinic or a second opinion, you should talk to a lawyer about helping you get the treatment you need.

5. Refusal to pay weekly benefits If you are unable to work and are not getting weekly benefits, you should consult a lawyer.
Important tip: Always get your work status in writing from the doctor and keep a copy for your records!

6. Getting a fair settlement Consult a lawyer before you settle your case to learn your options, determine if you are being treated fairly and discuss if you would benefit from representation. If your case does not settle and you have to go to a hearing, you may benefit from having a lawyer represent you who can help you get the evidence you need for the best outcome of your case.

7. Loss of Earning Capacity or Permanent and Total Disability If your work injury leaves you unable to work or earn what you earned before you were injured, the complicated and confusing issues in such cases are best handled by a lawyer. And, if you receive or have applied for other
types of disability benefits, such as Social Security Disability, or are a Medicare recipient, before concluding your Workers Compensation claim you should consult an attorney about protecting your other disability benefits.

8. Permanent Disability, Restrictions, or Inability to Return to Previous
Employment If you have a permanent problem as a result of your injury,
permanent restrictions or, if you are unable to return to the type of work you
usually do, a lawyer will help you secure fair compensation.

9. Denied Case If your claim is denied by your employer or their insurance carrier, you will most likely need a lawyer to help you prove you case. Some denied cases involve legal issues best handled by an attorney.

10. Injury caused by a third party or defective machine If you have been hurt on the job by someone who does not work for your employer you may be able to bring a separate lawsuit in addition to your workers compensation claim. When you may have both a workers compensation claim and a third party claim you should consult an attorney.

11. Questions, worries, and concerns A lawyer can answer your questions, explain your rights, put some of your fears to rest, and help you decide if you would benefit from having representation. When in
doubt, call a lawyer!   We will be glad to help you at Turnipseed & Associates. Call 252-9000

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Personal Injury

I have been injured due to someone else’s actions or inaction, what do I do to protect my rights?:

  1. Get names and contact information of any witnesses, especially witnesses who were not involved.
  2. If you have a camera or a camera phone, take pictures.
  3. If your injured, do not delay in your treatment.  Delays in treatment are criticized by insurance carriers.
  4. When describing your injuries at the emergency room, make sure to cover all the things you know are bothering you, don’t just mention the really bad things.
  5. If you think you will need the assistance of an attorney, your attorney will likely want you to avoid giving any recorded statements to insurance companies.
  6. Keep any and all paperwork that is related to the case in anyway. 
  7. If your injury was caused by the use of some type of equipment/product/item try to make sure that the item is kept by you or the owner as possible evidence.
  8. If injured on someone’s property or at a business, make sure to inform them of the incident and try to have an incident report filled out.
  9. If you slip or trip and fall, look around to see what caused you to fall and where it may have come from.  Also look for things that might tell you how long it has been their (water with lots of footsteps, hole covered by grass grown over it, etc.)

If you think you need assistance or possible advice on how to protect your rights, please call our office at 803-252-9000.

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Dangerous & Defective Products

Product Liability

Manufacturers, wholesalers and sellers may all be held legally responsible when a defective and unreasonably dangerous product injures someone. The defendants in a product liability case may be held liable under causes of action for negligence, strict liability or breach of warranty.

Products can be defective and unreasonably dangerous due to design defects, manufacturing defects and/or inadequate warnings. Expert witness testimony is usually required to prove a product defect.

Turnipseed & Associates has years of experience successfully representing clients who have been injured by dangerous and defective products, including: contaminated food purchased at restaurants and grocery stores; prescription and over the counter drugs such as OxyContin and ephedra; a commercial lawnmower, a first-aid ice-pack, a two-wheel walker, an overhead garage door, a printing press, an aircraft loader, a tire curing chamber, multiple tires, a pick-up truck hydraulic lift gate, and multiple passenger vehicles and automobile restraint systems.


Automobile collisions happen. That is why automobile manufacturers have a duty to design and sell vehicles that are crashworthy. Crashworthiness refers to the protection that a motor vehicle provides to occupants against personal injury or death as a result of an automobile accident. Turnipseed and Associates attorneys are trained to look for and recognize potential crashworthiness cases whenever someone is catastrophically injured in a minor to moderately severe accident. We have handled crashworthiness cases against Ford, General Motors, and Toyota. We have successfully handled crashworthiness cases involving seat belt failure and defectively designed seatbelts, airbags, and door mounted passive restraint systems.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a product, consult with the experienced attorneys at Turnipseed and Associates as soon as possible to discuss your options.
Call us at (803)252-9000.

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Nursing Home Negligence/Abuse

Taking a family member to live in a nursing facility can be an emotional experience, and we trust that the facility will take care of our loved one when we can’t. However, on occasion there is a breach of trust and there is evidence of abuse or neglect.  Though the number of incidents of abuse has increased over the last several years, many cases go unreported.

The most common injuries that occur in nursing homes include:
decubitus ulcers (also known as bed sores);
malnutrition and dehydration;
medication errors;
physical, emotional sexual or verbal abuse;
fractures from repeated falls; and

If you suspect that your elderly loved one may be the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect you should report the abuse and call one of the nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers at Turnipseed and Associates as soon as possible, because evidence can disappear quickly. Call us at 803-252-9000.

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Medical Negligence

The law of medical malpractice is an outgrowth of general negligence law. Medical negligence may include malpractice committed by doctors, hospital negligence, mistakes made by surgeons, pharmacists' errors, and other lapses in care committed by health care providers of all kinds.

A negative result in medical treatment in and of itself does not mean that the health care provider committed malpractice. One must prove the standard of care required of professionals in the field of the defendant and that the defendant breached or failed to adhere to that standard of care, thereby causing the injury.

Medical malpractice is a politically charged issue, which has led to a complex set of state laws governing malpractice lawsuits. Pursuing a medical malpractice claim is expensive and requires expert witness testimony.

Dealing with the consequences of a medical error can be both emotionally and financially devastating to the victim as well as to his or her family.  If you or someone you care about has been injured by the carelessness of a medical professional, you should speak with one of the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Turnipseed and Associates as soon as possible. Our telephone number is 803-252-9000.

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Premises Liability

Turnipseed & Associates has a great deal of experience with handling premises liability cases. These cases typically arise when someone sustains severe injures as a result of a dangerous or hazardous condition on someone's property, land, or business. A thorough investigation of these cases is crucial. It should be done as soon as possible after the accident. Contacting witnesses to the accident and obtaining photos of the scene is very important.

If the injury occurs on the property of a business, the injured individual should ask the management to prepare an incident report documenting the occurrence of the injury. This is very important as the report may be important evidence that can be used later on. A business is much more likely to accept liability and eventually settle a case if it has notice of the injury.

A critical component of a successful premises liability case is being able to prove that the defendant/property owner had actual or constructive notice of the dangerous or hazardous condition, at the time of the accident. This can be shown in a number of ways such as proving prior injuries on the property, failing to follow routine maintenance practices, or failing to properly train employees of a business to follow appropriate safety procedures. Very often this information can be obtained through the discovery process once a lawsuit is filed in a premises liability case. At Turnipseed & Associates, we have the necessary experience and knowledge to make the case work. Call us for help at 252-9000.

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False Arrest/Imprisonment

Is the unlawful restraint of a person against their will which interferes with their personal liberty or freedom of movement. The act must be intentional in that the person committing the false imprisonment must have meant to restrain the victim. In certain circumstances it is not required that contact or force take place in the restraint. If there is reasonable/probable cause to believe a person has committed a crime there can be no false imprisonment action against the person causing the restraint. This means that even though a person has criminal charges dropped or allegations proved wrong they do not automatically have a viable false imprisonment action. Also, to proceed on a false imprisonment action arising from criminal charges, a person must first have the charges dismissed or have been found not guilty on those charges. It is also possible that a restraint by one person may be lawful while the restraint was unlawful and caused by another party. An example would be person A falsely accusing person B of a crime and giving statements to the police that they saw person B commit the crime. The police would then likely have probable cause for the arrest (depending on all facts known to them) but would not be liable for false imprisonment. However, person A would be liable for false imprisonment. If you feel that you have been falsely arrested / imprisoned, please do not hesitate to contact us at (803) 252-9000.

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Car Property Damage

We serve our clients by handling their Auto Property Damage Issues
By Jim Gilchrist

Turnipseed & Associates assists our clients in resolving their property damage issues. In many cases, insurance companies don’t pay individuals a fair amount for the damage to their automobiles that
have been involved in accidents. Under South Carolina law, the atfault party and their insurance company are responsible for paying repairs to your vehicle, a fair amount for loss of use or for an auto rental, depreciation or a loss in value of your vehicle after repairs are completed, and/or the fair market value of your vehicle if it is totaled in the accident.

We have a great deal of experience in handling cases through the formal arbitration system at the county clerk of court’s office. This process is a good, practical approach that assists clients to obtain fair compensation for their property damage and ultimately in getting this part of their case resolved fairly and effectively.

At Turnipseed & Associates, we understand that our clients are very dependant on their automobiles for transportation in their daily lives. When their vehicles are damaged in accidents, their lives are disrupted. We work very hard to assist people in getting things back to normal.

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Family Based Immigration

What family members can I sponsor to immigrate to the United States?:

This is a brief discussion and does not discuss everything or even most of what you need to know or do to sponsor a family member to immigrate.  It is always best to call an attorney and discuss your specific case to determine if you can help a relative immigrate.  This is meant only for informational purposes and is not to be relied upon in attempting to immigrate a relative.

In order to sponsor a family member to immigrate to the United States you must first be either a U.S. Citizen or a Legal Permanent Resident.  However, a Legal Permanent Resident will have fewer types of relatives they can sponsor to immigrate.

Family members may either immigrate as immediate relatives of U.S. Citizens or through the family preference system. 

“Immediate Relatives” of U.S. Citizens are: 1) Spouses of U.S. Citizens; 2) Unmarried minor children of U.S. Citizens; and, 3) Parents of U.S. Citizens over the age of 21.  The advantages of immigrating as an immediate relative is that there is no quota on the number of visas available each year.

“The Family Preference System” is used to immigrate: 1) Adult children of U.S. citizens; 2) Brother and sisters of U.S. Citizens over 21; and (3) Spouses and unmarried children of Legal Permanent Residents.  The problem with the family preference system is that there is a limited number of visas that may be issued each year.

The U.S. Government has special definitions and rules for each type of relative, so it is always best to talk with a lawyer about what category your relative may fall in.

It is also important to know that if your relative has entered the United States without documentation or overstayed a visa, there may be time penalties or complete bars for immigrating to the United States. 

It is important to remember that immigrating to the United States is a process.  The process can take numerous years.  Your relatives relationship, home country and other circumstances play a role in how long the process may take.  Also remember, your relative may be in an eligible group to immigrate but does not have an absolute right to become a Legal Permanent Resident or a U.S. Citizen.  Your relative needs to avoid any type of criminal activity or doing anything that may bring their character into question.

Family immigration matters have numerous aspects that need to be reviewed before applying.  If you think you have a family member who you wish to sponsor, please call Bill Jones in our office  at (803) 252-9000.   

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Social Security Disability

The Social Security disability program is one of the largest of several federal programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities. Individuals who have a
disability and meet medical criteria may qualify for benefits under the Social Security disability program.

Disability is something most people do not like to think about. But the chances that you will become disabled probably are greater than you realize. Studies show that a 20-year-old worker has a 3 in 10 chance of becoming disabled before reaching retirement age.

Social Security pays benefits to people who cannot work because they have a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death. You should apply for disability benefits as soon as you become disabled. It can take a long time to process an application for disability benefits (three to five months).

To apply for disability benefits, you will need to complete an
application for Social Security Benefits and the Disability Report. If you meet some basic requirements for disability benefits, such as having worked enough years to qualify, your
application will be sent to the Disability Determination Services office in your state.

Doctors and disability specialists in the state agency ask your doctors for information about your condition. They will consider all the facts in your case. They will use the medical evidence from your doctors and hospitals, clinics or institutions where you have been treated. Your Doctors will be asked about your medical condition and how it limits your activities and affects your ability to do
work-related activities, such as walking, sitting, lifting, carrying and remembering instructions.

If your application is not approved by Disability Determination Services, you have the right to appeal.

The first step in the appeals process is called a reconsideration determination. You will receive a new decision by someone who had no part in the first decision. If you disagree with this decision, you have the right to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The ALJ will make an independent decision based on the evidence we have, including your testimony at the hearing.

At the hearing: 

The Administrative Law Judge explains the issues in your case and may question you and any
witnesses you bring to the hearing.
The Administrative Law Judge may ask other witnesses, such as a doctor or vocational expert, to
come to the hearing.
You and the witnesses answer questions under oath.
The hearing is informal but is recorded.
You and your representative, if you have one, may question any witnesses and submit evidence.

As your representative, the Turnipseed & Associates team can help you through the SS Disability hearing process by:

Getting information from your Social Security file;
Helping you get medical records or information to support your claim;
Requesting a reconsideration or hearing;
Helping you and your witnesses prepare for the hearing; and
Coming with you to your hearing, presenting your claim, and questioning any witnesses.

Contact Jeff Turnipseed at (803) 252-9000 or jturnipseed@turnipseed.net for help concerning  your Social Security Disability.

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Simple Wills

A will is a binding legal document by which a person directs how their property will be distributed upon their death.  A simple will is one where a person leaves everything they own at their death to one person or to be divided evenly among a group of people.  The most common simple wills are where a husband leaves everything to his wife and the wife leaves everything to her husband and on the death of the surviving spouse, everything goes to their children in equal shares.  These are often called reciprocal wills.  Another example of a simple will might be where a single parent leaves everything to his or her child or children.  This type of will might provide for a guardian of the children if they are minors. For assistance with a simple will call Ilene King here at Turnipseed & Associates. The number is  252-9000.

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Living Wills

A Living Will is a common name for what is more formally called a Declaration of a Desire for a Natural Death.  It is not truly a Awill@, which controls the disposition of property after a person's death, but rather a document which controls how someone wishes to be treated if they are in a state close to death or a permanent vegetative state and unable to communicate their wishes.  Issues such as nutrition and hydration are addressed.  The purpose of a Living Will is to make one's wishes known ahead of time in a legally binding document so that family members will not wind up in a battle over end of life decisions. Contact  Ilene at iking@turnipseed.net or 252-9000 for help with your living will.


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Uncontested Divorce

What is an uncontested divorce? An uncontested divorce is one in which both you and your spouse agree on major issues and where your spouse
will not be filing papers disagreeing with any issue.

Major issues that you and your spouse must agree on for an uncontested divorce include property division, alimony, child custody and child support. Most uncontested divorces are filed upon the basis of one year separation, which is
the only no fault basis for divorce in South Carolina.

It is important to know that an attorney may only represent one person in a divorce action, and cannot give legal advice to both parties. You also need to be aware that divorces are emotional by nature. When you first begin the divorce process you and your spouse may be in agreement but things can happen that cause conflict and cause the divorce to become a contested matter.

If a divorce becomes contested, the terms and costs of your attorney’s representation will change and, depending on the circumstances,
your attorney may need to withdraw from representation
Please feel free to contact Bill Jones at our office if you have any questions about uncontested divorces.  His contact information is (803) 252-9000 or bjones@turnipseed.net.

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General Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is a binding legal document by which an individual gives another person the power to act in the name of the individual giving the Power of Attorney. Most often this means giving another person the power to sign documents in the name of and legally bind the individual giving the power of attorney.    Unlike a will, which takes effect only upon death, a Power of Attorney is only effective while the individual who gave it is alive.  Powers of Attorney can be limited or general.  A Limited Power of Attorney is limited to a certain specific act or acts, such as signing a deed or a check or other legal papers.  A General Power of Attorney, if it is not limited in any way, means the person it is given to has the power to sign any document the individual giving the power of attorney could do.Turnipseed & Associates will be happy to help you with your Power of Attorney.  Call us at 252-9000.

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Health Care Power of Attorney

A Health Care Power of Attorney is a binding legal document in which a person appoints someone as their agent to be able to make medical decisions if the person is unable to act for themselves.  Unlike a Living Will, which applies only when someone is near death or in a permanent vegetative state, the Health Care Power of Attorney applies whenever the person who gave it is unable to speak for themselves, whether permanently or temporarily.  For example, a Health Care Power of Attorney would be useful when someone has been in a serious accident, is unconscious and treatment decisions need to be made.  The power given may be broad and general or limited and specific.  A Living Will is often combined with a Health Care Power of Attorney in one document.  Ilene at iking@turnipseed.net or 252-9000 can help you with your needs regarding a Health Care Power of Attorney.

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Turnipseed & Associates - Attorneys at Law Tom Turnipseed
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