Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Workers' Compensation Claims in South Carolina

South Carolina Code Section 42-1-10 contains the South Carolina Workers' Compensation law. This law provides a system of providing medical and financial benefits to employees in South Carolina who are injured on the job.

A typical workers' compensation claim begins with an employee being injured while on the job. The injured employee typically will report the injury to his or her supervisor, who makes a written report of the injury. If the employee’s injury requires examination or medical treatment, the supervisor then directs the employee to an appropriate medical facility, which may be a local hospital’s emergency department, a general practitioner, or a specialist physician. Pursuant to the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Law, the employer is responsible for the cost of any such treatment.

Following such examination and treatment, an injured employee may be given written work restrictions by the treating physician. For example, the injured employee may be directed to not lift more than ten (10) pounds or to not stand for more than thirty (30) minutes. Upon receipt of such written work restrictions, the employer has the option to provide the employee with a temporary employment position that meets such work restrictions or to hold the employee out of work until his or her condition improves and he or she may resume regular job duties. If the employer elects to hold the injured employee out of work until his or her condition improves, upon the employee being out of work for fourteen (14) days the employer is required to pay the employee temporary compensation.

In addition to medical treatment and temporary compensation, an additional element of compensation an injured worker may be entitled to is permanent disability compensation. Permanent disability compensation applies when, despite receiving all available medical and rehabilitative treatment, an employee still has a permanent injury or disabling condition. Based upon the treating physician’s assessment of the employee’s injury and his or her resulting physical limitations, as well as upon the employee’s age, education, work experience, and other life circumstances, an award of permanent disability compensation is either reached by agreement between the employee and the employer or is decided by a workers' compensation Commissioner.

The foregoing describes a typical workers' compensation claim. However, every claim is different, and every employee injured on the job in South Carolina is encouraged to consult with a licensed attorney. Please feel free to contact me, Joseph DuBois, at (843) 686-5500 for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your rights.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Timeshare Complaints in South Carolina

Pursuant to Section 27-32-130, Enforcement and implementation of chapter; regulations, of the South Carolina Timeshare Act:

"The Real Estate Commission is responsible for the enforcement and implementation of this chapter and the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, at the request of the Real Estate Commission, shall prosecute a violation under this chapter. The [Real Estate C]ommission shall promulgate regulations for the implementation of this chapter, subject to the State Administrative Procedures Act."

However, the South Carolina Real Estate Commission's website states that it is "not empowered to assist with the following types of complaints:

* Contract matters such as questions about listing agreements, management agreements, sales contracts and leases for which you need to contact an attorney;

* Earnest money or security deposit disputes that must be heard by a magistrate;

* Disputes over payment for services either by or to a licensee;

* Disputes with your landlord about property condition, past due rent, eviction notices and the like;

* Complaints that do not involve a licensed real estate licensee;

* Complaints about managers of homeowners associations; or

* Complaints relating to licensee ethical behavior or poor business manners."

Here is the link to the South Carolina Real Estate Commission's website containing the above-listed explanations of complaints with which the South Carolina Real Estate Commission is not empowered to assist, as well as the Commission's instructions and other guidance regarding the complaint process.

Have you made complaints to the South Carolina Real Estate Commission and received a letter of determination stating that no evidence of fraud or violations of the South Carolina Timeshare Act have been found in the investigation? Have you made further complaints to entities like the Office of the Mayor of Hilton Head Island, the South Carolina Attorney General's Office, the Human Affairs Commission, and the Better Business Bureau, and failed to obtain a meaningful communication and favorable result?

Section 27-32-130 of the Act further states that "[t]he provisions of this section do not limit the right of a purchaser or lessee to bring a private action to enforce the provisions of this chapter." The South Carolina Timeshare Act specifically authorizes individuals to bring private causes of action and lawsuits against those timeshare entities subject to the Act.

If you have questions about bringing a lawsuit against a timeshare company and protecting your rights, please feel free to contact my office to speak with Zach or Joe. We are happy to offer free consultations, and we have the ability to speak with you through technology like Skype and Facetime.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Cancel Your Timeshare Contract in South Carolina

South Carolina Code Section 27-32-40, Furnishing copy of contract to purchaser; terms thereof, states as follows:

"(A) It is a violation of this chapter for the seller of a vacation time sharing plan to fail to utilize and furnish the purchaser a fully completed copy of a contract pertaining to the sale at the time of its execution. The contract must include the:

(1) actual date the contract is executed by all parties;

(2) name and address of the seller;

(3) total financial obligation of the purchaser, including the initial purchase price and additional charges to which the purchaser may be subject;

(4) specific term of the contract; and

(5)(a) following statement in immediate proximity to the space reserved in the contract for the signature of the purchaser and in bold type:

"YOU MAY CANCEL THIS CONTRACT WITHOUT PENALTY OR OBLIGATION WITHIN FIVE DAYS AFTER THE DATE YOU SIGN THIS CONTRACT, NOT INCLUDING SUNDAY IF THAT IS THE FIFTH DAY, OR THE DATE YOU RECEIVE THE DISCLOSURE STATEMENT PURSUANT TO Section 27-32-100, WHICHEVER OCCURS LATER. IF YOU DECIDE TO CANCEL, YOU MUST NOTIFY THE SELLER IN WRITING OF YOUR INTENT TO CANCEL BY SENDING NOTICE BY CERTIFIED MAIL, RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED, OR BY ANOTHER VERIFIABLE MEANS, TO (NAME OF SELLER) AT (SELLER'S ADDRESS).""

An example of an incomplete copy of a contract may be a copy of a contract that does not include the signature of a Notary Public for any signature required to be notarized. It may be a further violation if a Notary Public was not present for your signature, particularly if the signature was notarized thereafter.

Moreover, pursuant to South Carolina Code Section 27-32-50, Request to cancel contract: "It is a violation of this chapter for the seller of vacation time sharing plans, or his assignees, to fail or refuse to honor a purchaser's request to cancel a contract as provided by Section 27-32-40 if the request is made...."

Does your contract contain the above-described statement? Are you within the rescission period? Have you attempted to exercise this provision, but still own your timeshare? Did you ultimately make a second purchase after attempting to rescind your contract with the seller of the timeshare? If you have questions about your timeshare purchase, please feel free to contact my office for a free consultation.