August 6

Fatal Crash Results in $3.5 Jury Rewarded Victim for Victim’s Family

Five years ago, Chad Kessing’s car crossed over the centerline while he was driving on Highway 17-A and struck the SUV Wanda Holland was driving. The impact killed Holland instantly. Five years later, Kessing has been ordered to pay Holland’s family a $3.5 million settlement.

lawsuit-settle-1The fact that Kessing was the one responsible for the fatal accident is just one of the reasons that Holland’s family filed a civil suit against him. The other was the fact that Holland should never have been driving in the first place. A history of seizures had resulted in the state revoking his license two times. At the time of his accident, Kessing did have a beginners permit, but that only allowed him to drive when a fully licensed person was in the car with him. At the time of the accident, Kessing was alone in the car.

“He admitted that he knew that he was unsafe to be on the road,” the attorney representing the Holland family, Julie Moore, said. “He admitted he didn’t have a proper driver’s license at the time. He admitted that he had a history of seizures which had previously caused two accidents. Then he admitted… driving anyway.”

After hearing the details of the case, the jury rule that Holland’s family should receive $3 million for their punitive damages as well as an additional $500,000 for actual damages.

“My hope is that hearing about cases like this encourage individuals who are in a situation like Mr. Kessing’s to stop and reconsider before they get behind a wheel,” said Attorney Joseph Sandefur of South Carolina’s top personal injury firm.


Driving isn’t without risks, and in South Carolina, those risks are even higher than in other parts of the country. Whether it’s the number of fatal DUIs that take place each year or the general state of the roadways, South Carolina consistently has the worst numbers.

It’s important to remember that if you are hurt, or that someone you love is killed, as a result of an accident that wasn’t your fault, you do have some legal options. Most people choose to get in touch with a law firm that specializes in personal injuries where they are free to discuss the possibility of filing a civil lawsuit. This civil lawsuit makes it possible for you to collect a settlement that covers both your actual and punitive damages.


There are several reasons you need to have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side when you decide to file a civil suit. Not only will they help you with a terminology and other details involved in filling out the paperwork, but they will also investigate the details of the auto accident and look for ways to strengthen your case. After the paperwork has been filed, you lawyer will guide you through the negotiation process where most civil lawsuits are settled.

For more information regarding how to handle a lawsuit following a car accident, contact



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August 6

Flo-Jo’s Mother Sues her Son-in-Law for Daughter’s Death

The courts have reported that the husband of Olympic champion, Al Joyner, did not take “reasonable care” of her and that is what the suit is based on.

The mother of Olympic sprint champion Florence Griffith Joyner was an Olympic sprint champ.  When she passed away her mother actually filed a wrongful death lawsuit against her son-in-law.  The mother reported that this is just part of a dispute that is taking place in the family.  It is related to the legacy that her daughter left behind when she died.

B59ytbcIQAEgUYKThe complaint that was filed was four pages long.  It makes allegations that the son-in-law did not “exercise reasonable care to avoid foreseeable risk of harm” when it came to the death of his wife.  It also makes the allegation that “harmful or offensive touching” is what actually caused her to die.  These are just a few of the allegations that were made.

The Orange County coroner completed a report shortly after the athlete died.  The report actually concluded that the 38 year old runner died because she suffocated in her sleep after she had an epileptic seizure.  The autopsy did not report any foul play and did not find any circumstances that were thought to be suspicious.  These major points were stressed by those that completed the autopsy.

image (3)Asst. Sheriff George Jaramillo stated “We’re standing by our autopsy”. It was not possible to contact the defendant for any comments.  The plaintiff of this case is 69 years old.  She did not want to speak about this lawsuit but she did say that all of this started when her son-in-law made the decision to begin a foundation in honor of his wife.

Joyner’s mother-in-law, Griffith, has reported that the foundation that he is trying to start is getting in the way of the charity group, the Florence Griffith Joyner Youth Foundation, that she supports.  It is almost as if they are competing with each other.

Griffith has also reported that her son-in-law actually tried to evict her from where she lives.  She stated that Joyner actually does own the home but her daughter had given her permission to live there.  She says that things between her and her son-in-law seemed to get bad quickly when her daughter died.

Griffith was asked if she thought that her son-in-law caused the death of her daughter.  She took some time before she said “In a lot of ways.”  She was not willing to say anything else.

MasterGriffith stated that her daughter died 10 years after she had won the 100 meter gold medal.  She actually won three of them and the first one was at the 1988 Olympics.   She went on to win the 200 meters.  As if that is not enough, she was a part of the team that won the 400 meter relay.  She was second in the 1,600 meter relay.

When Joyner’s wife died he created the Flo-Jo Memorial Community Empowerment Foundation.  He launched a lot of other ventures in her memory as well.  He has stated that he would like to open a museum in her name in Southern California where her writing, art and even clothing designs can be displayed.



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June 2

Turtle Comes Crashing Through a Myrtle Beach Driver’s Windshield

Myrtle Beach is well-known for its fun and colorful creatures, but most feel that as long as they are not near the water that many of these will not present a problem. Monday was a day like any other until a woman was driving along a Myrtle Beach highway and her windshield was struck by something you would never think possible.

It appears that the turtle struck the woman’s windshield after being hit by another vehicle. After flying through the window, the turtle bounced of the car’s passenger seat and came to rest of the vehicle’s dashboard. The windshield was shattered and the driver understandably shaken.

“A vehicle in front [of Bjanes’ car] ran over the turtle. The turtle was thrown airborne and struck the windshield … shattering it,” reports officers of the Myrtle Beach Highway Patrol that responded to the scene.

1_201605151230381WYsYThe driver of the vehicle was going approximately 75 miles per hour on the I-4 highway. “As soon as it hit the windshield, of course I was a little freaked out and hysterical,” said Nicole Marie Bjanes, the driver of the vehicle.

If this accident proves anything it is that you never know what to expect once you hit the road. Everyone knows to avoid distractions and to never drive impaired. Drivers are paying attention to the road and those around them as they go about town. However, a flying turtle is certainly not something that warrants questions on the written test for a driver’s license.

It is especially important to be alert and aware when going at high speeds on the highway. This helps to avoid creating an accident that could prove disastrous, and in some cases, even fatal.

“When you are on the road, it is important to be aware and alert, but there is always a chance that something completely out of the ordinary will happen,” said Joe and Martin, managing partners of a top personal injury law firm with an office located in Myrtle Beach. “When this type of situation happens, it is important to speak to an Myrtle Beach auto accident attorney that can assist with determining liability and what needs to be done to properly deal with the insurance company.”

While driving, it is important to be aware that things like this can happen, even though they are rare. The driver was in control of her vehicle and was able to pull over safely without involving any other vehicles in this accident.

Both the driver and the turtle were okay after the accident. This is largely due to Bjanes remaining calm and staying in control of her vehicle from the second the turtle came sailing through her windshield. Bjanes suffered from a few minor cuts following the accident, but no serious injuries.
Negotiating a settlement for a car accident or personal injury claim requires that you calculate a reasonable amount of money you would accept to give up your legal claim. Most insurance companies and injury attorneys rely on one formula or another to get a starting point for settlement talks.

The turtle’s shell was scuffed, but he or she was otherwise fine. A firefighter and a state trooper took the turtle to safety and released him or her into a pond near the site of the accident. The turtle swam away.


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May 18

Tribal Law Creates Twist in Personal Injury Case

The Connecticut Supreme Court recently ruled to overturn a decision made by a trail judge regarding a lawsuit filed against a Mohegan Sun limousine driver. Like many tribal nations, the Mohegan tribe enjoys being a sovereign nation which creates immunity in many civil legal claims. Where things become tangled is when the lawsuits aren’t targeted at a casino or tribal business, but rather at a specific employee.


This particular case involved limo driver William Clarke. In October of 2011 he was hired to drive a pair of couples from the tribal casino to their home in Greenwhich. While he was driving, Clarke failed to notice that the traffic ahead of him had backed up until he rear-ended a car that was being driven by Brian Lewis.

According the police reports, the force of the impact was so great, Lewis’s car was forced up and over the barrier. While it was suspended, something ruptured, and the vehicle caught fire. Both Lewis and his wife were injured and accumulated $75,000 worth of medical bills as a direct result of the accident.

The Lewis’s weren’t the only injured parties. One of the passengers in Clarke’s limo suffered a back injury that required medical treatment, while some of the other limo passengers reported minor injuries.

The Lewis’s choose to file a civil suit against Clarke, but rather than go through tribal court, they decided to see how things would fair if they went through the state court system instead. They hoped that by going through the state courts they would be able to sue Clarke personally. The tribe tried to get the case dismissed, claiming sovereignty, but were unsuccessful in state court, which is why they took the case to the Supreme Court were they won.

Personal Injury Claim Form with pen, calculator

John Bales personal injury attorney will tell you that a case like the one Lewis’s filed against Clarke can quickly become complicated. They’ll also tell you that when Native Americans and tribal court enter into the picture things get even stranger.

The rules surrounding tribal law and personal injury cases are different than in regular state or district court. According to Tribal Court laws, the driver can’t be sued for their actions, the lawsuit has to be filed against their employers. The statute of limitation for these cases is just one year, which doesn’t give the personal injury attorney much time to get the case put together. The amount of any potential settlement is capped and the case won’t be heard before a jury.

According to information released by the National Center for Health Statistics, 31 million people will be injured severely enough to warrant medical attention and nearly 2 million will require a period of hospitalization. A large portion of these individuals will have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.

personal-injury-attorneyWhether you were involved in an accident connected to a Native American tribe or not, if you feel you have a personal injury case, the single best thing you can do is contact a John Bales Attorneys right away.  They will provide you with sound legal advice and make sure your rights aren’t violated. Don’t assume that just because you filed a personal injury suit, that you will be going to court More than 90% of case are settled before the pre-trial.



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October 9

Avoid Distraction While Driving

distractiontDistracted driving is one of today fastest growing dangers on the road. Either due to driver negligence or outside factors, crashes are occurring because of inattention to the road. The CDC reports, “Each day in the United States, more than 9 people are killed and more than 1,153 people are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.”

Distracted driving is a major source of danger. The important thing to realize is that it is also the easiest hazard to avoid. New York State has joined other states throughout the nation in enforcing the ban of devices that cause distraction while driving.  There are many types of distractions on the road, and we have control over most of them.

Recognizing driving distractions and eliminating them should be everyone’s priority. There are different types of distractions , it is important to recognize them and to build a strategy around removing them.

Personal distractions are distractions that are caused by the driver. Examples of personal distractions would be daydreaming, the effects of drugs and alcohol, reading, writing, personal grooming, or the use of electronic devices such as cell phones.

Internal distractions are distractions that happen inside the car and are usually caused by other passengers, animals, or objects within the vehicle.

External distractions are distractions caused by factors outside the car, and include other motorists, weather, or even the scenery.

The NHTSA estimates that 80% of crashes in New York are caused by driver inattention. It should be no surprise to anyone that the most predominant form of distraction has become the use of cell phones and electronic devices. To fight this, the state legislature passed a cell phone law that should make it clear how severe this issue is.

New York State cell phone law prohibits the use any hand-held cellular phone while driving on any New York road. Violators will be issued a traffic violation which will carry a fine of up to $150. Additionally, 2 points will be added to the offender’s Drivers license and driving record.

The definitions of a handheld device in New York is very specific. According to New York law, a handheld device is defined as a cell phone, personal digital assistant, a laptop, pager, iPads, video game console, or any other portable computing or communications device. When you have any of these in your vehicle, you may not use them in any way. However, there are exceptions to this rule.

If the electronic device is built into the vehicle, the driver will not suffer any penalty. If a driver is seen using a dashboard computer or a handheld device that is attached to the car itself, it will not be grounds for citation. Examples of acceptable devices include, GPS devices, built-in mobile phones, built-in MP3 players, and the like. In-other-words, as long as the device is not being used in the drivers hand. In addition, the law will allow a driver to use their in-hand cell phone to report road emergencies, to contact their physician, or a hospital in the event of a personal emergency.

If you suffered a personal injury in New York caused by a distracted driver, it is important to seek a New York Personal Injury Lawyer immediately. New York Personal Injury attorneys at the firm of Pulvers Thompson have assisting clients for over 70 years. They can help ensure that your legal rights are protected. A New York Personal Injury attorney can help you recover fair compensation for lost wages, medical costs due to related injuries, long-term diminished quality of life, and loss of life compensation for immediate family.