Road to justice
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Slip and Fall Cases Are Tough
Especially When You Play Into a Company’s Hands
Injuries that happen at work are covered under workers’ compensation law. But what happens when you’re injured while
shopping, eating at a restaurant, or staying at a hotel? These types
of injuries are covered under premises liability law, and they can be some of the
trickiest personal injury cases to prove.
A lot of people assume that if they slip on a slick floor while walking the aisles of Target, they’ll have an open-and-shut claim. Unfortunately, that’s very rarely the case. Simply being injured while at a business does not guarantee that you’ll receive compensation. Because of this false sense of security, people often do things that undermine the validity of their claim without even knowing it.
The truth is that premises liability claims are a minefield. The law favors businesses, even before you factor in the tactics these companies use to protect themselves. A lot of the mega-retailers have people on staff whose job it is to make sure claims are weakened. These risk-minimization professionals are experts, and you probably won’t realize you’re speaking with one. You should absolutely report an injury to a staff member, but you shouldn’t provide them with anything more than your basic biographical information (name, date of birth, address, etc.) without speaking to an attorney first.
“The truth is that premises liability claims are a minefield. The law
accessible ramp had a divot in it that caused wheelchairs to be overturned. It goes without saying that the business should notice and fix this dangerous divot. Other times, things are a little more complicated, but an experienced attorney can help you strengthen your claim.
favors businesses, even before you factor in the tactics these companies use to protect themselves.”
At The Law Office of James R. Snell Jr., we work with engineering experts who can provide key testimony. We
once had a case where a buggy tapped a display, causing it to come tumbling down on an unsuspecting shopper. Our engineers demonstrated that this display was inherently dangerous, and the business should never have put it up in the first place. Similarly, we help
It’s also a good idea to gather whatever documentation you can at the site of your injury. To win a premises liability case, you need to prove that the business was aware or should’ve been aware of the hazard that caused your injury. If you spilled a bottle of soda and fell seconds later, you probably don’t have much of a case. However, if we can prove that a spill existed for hours or that an employee noticed it and did nothing, your claim is much stronger. Essentially, you have to prove that the hazard was open and obvious, and that the business could have taken steps to remedy this. There are times when proving this is pretty straightforward. Let’s say a wheelchair-
recover surveillance footage that can provide key insight into how long a hazard went unattended.
If you’re injured while out and about, we can make sure you get the compensation you deserve. Just remember to help yourself by withholding ammunition that a business can use against you.
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RVs vs. Tents
Which Is Better for Your Camping Trip?
Are you Team RV or Team Tent? Die- hard tent campers swear you’re not “roughing it” unless you sleep on the
When it comes to comfort, RVs have it made. Air mattresses or foam sleeping mats are never going to be as comfortable as a real bed. RVs are also able to provide electricity, which gives you air conditioning, a stove, and a hot shower. And let’s not forget about private flushable toilets.
ground with nothing but canvas and the stars above you. On the other hand, RV lovers will point out that there’s nothing heroic about freezing to death at night (or going to the woods without a TV). Neither camping method is better than the other, but each has its pros and cons. Tent camping is generally the less expensive option; two-person tents start at $40. The price of an RV can range up to $50,000 or more. Site fees for tents are also cheaper (or free) because they’re smaller and don’t require electricity or septic tank services. You just need a flat spot for your gear. A folded tent will fit into nearly any vehicle, and you can stow it in a closet when you get home. An RV will require dedicated parking space between trips.
An RV is also a must when camping in bear country. Some areas require campers to use hard-sided shelters for safety reasons.
For many people, camping promises an escape from the business of modern life. If you really want to get away from it all and immerse yourself in nature, there’s no substitute for tent camping. An RV is like a miniature portable house. You can bring the comfort of your home with you, but you might not feel as close to nature.
It all boils down to preference. You may be someone who enjoys being surrounded by nature in a tent, or you may prefer to have a toilet that flushes. Whichever camping experience you choose, remember to enjoy yourself and relax!
Johnny Hartley has more than four decades of experience with polygraphs. Before transitioning to private practice, he worked for South Carolina law enforcement as their chief polygraph examiner. We have been working with Mr. Hartley since the earliest days of our firm, and we’re honored to have somebody with his expertise helping our clients. “There are so many misconceptions about polygraph examinations,” Mr. Hartley says.“Some people think you can beat the test, but the truth is, you can’t. You might be able to beat the examiner, though, which is why the questions asked are the most important part of any polygraph examination. No two human minds are the same, and if the questioner and examinee aren’t on the same page, it presents the opportunity for flawed results.” To avoid this, Mr. Hartley goes over the questions with our clients before they are hooked up to the machine, ensuring they fully understand what’s being asked. He also runs through the questions multiple times, verifying the results of the exam.
of their own.“Sometimes, we use a polygraph as part of the fact-finding process, often along with private investigation,” he says.“It provides Mr. Snell and his team the chance to understand the details of the case as early as possible, rather than waiting for information presented by the other party.” In other instances, we use a polygraph examination to dispute information presented by prosecutors in court. “One of the things I admire about The Law Office of James R. Snell Jr. is their willingness to use every possible resource that will benefit their clients,” Mr. Hartley states.“It’s not just me. They’ll use PIs, counselors, engineers, and anybody else they think can help.” Given the long-standing nature of our relationship, it’s clear that we value Mr. Hartley’s services tremendously. It’s important to us that we only work with the best because it’s what our clients deserve. And that’s exactly what Mr. Hartley is when it comes to polygraph examinations in the state of South Carolina.
Meet Johnny Hartley OurPolygraphExpert
We employ Mr. Hartley often, whether or not the state has had our client submit to a polygraph
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Fathers Who Put Their Lives on the Line for Their Kids 3 Awesome Dads
GREG ALEXANDER BATTLED A BEAR FOR HIS SON’S LIFE. While camping in the backcountry of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Greg Alexander was startled awake at dawn by the screams of his 16-year- old son, Gabriel. He rushed out of his hammock to see a black bear dragging his son away by the head. Without hesitation, he kicked the beast in the side, and when that didn’t work, he leapt onto its back and started punching it in the face. When the bear finally released Gabriel, Greg threw rocks until it fled. His son was hurt, but made a full recovery in the hospital over the coming weeks. ARTUR MAGOMEDOV SAVED HIS DAUGHTERS FROM ISIS. Artur Magomedov was devastated to discover that his wife had taken his 3- and 10-year-old daughters from their home in Dagestan under the cover of night, flown to Turkey, and crossed into Syria to join ISIS. But he resolved to get his kids back. After a long, hazardous journey, he arrived in Tabqa to embrace his two daughters. To leave the caliphate — under penalty of death — they hitched a ride to the border one night and crawled along a railway line until they were within 70 meters of the border. Then they ran under fire from Turkish border guards until they could scramble into tall grasses. After some help from the Russian consulate in Istanbul, they made it back home, together again and safe.
This Father’s Day, thousands of dads will receive a “No. 1 Dad” mug to sip coffee out of at the office. But the following dads took that “No. 1” to a new level
BRIAN MUNN GAVE HIS SON A LIVER TRANSPLANT. When doctors discovered that baby Caleb Munn had a rare disease called biliary atresia, they told his parents that he was unlikely to survive past age 2 without a liver transplant. Luckily, his father was a perfect match, and he eagerly donated part of his liver in March 2015 to save his son’s life.
Father’s Day Chili Lime Chicken Wings
Which movie is the highest-grossing legal drama of all time?
This Father’s Day, spice up your wings with this zesty recipe that’s sure to please the whole family.
Send your answers to Shannon (firstname.lastname@example.org).
1/4 cup soy sauce
4 pounds chicken wings
1. The first correct answer wins a $25 gift card to Starbucks.
1 lime, halved
1 stick unsalted butter, softened 1 1/4 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
2. All other submissions are entered for a drawing to win a second $25 gift card to Starbucks.
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3. The funniest wrong answer will be chosen by Shannon and will also win a $25 gift card to Starbucks. All entries must be sent to Shannon by 6/22/18, and the winners will be announced in our next monthly issue.
1/4 cup honey
Chopped cilantro for garnish
3. Blend butter, red curry paste, honey, and soy sauce in a large mixing bowl. 4. Toss wings in butter mixture. Squeeze lime juice on top, transfer to serving plate, and garnish with cilantro.
1. Heat oven to 425 F. 2. Rinse wings under cold water and pat dry. Season liberally with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Roast on a baking sheet for 25 minutes or until skin becomes crisp and brown.
Congratulations to last month’s winner: Lawrence H.
inspired by foodnetwork.com
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The Law Office of James R. Snell Jr., LLC 123 Harmon Street Lexington, SC 29072
Don’t hesitate to give our office a call! 803-753-1476
Inside this Issue
How to Handle Premises Liability PAGE 1
RV vs. Tent Camping Snell Law’s Polygraph Expert PAGE 2
3 Fathers Who Risked It All for Their Kids Father’s Day Chili Lime Chicken Wings PAGE 3
Snell Law Office Happenings PAGE 4
Kids’ Day of Lexington Having Fun While Giving Back underestimated, because we ran out well before the event was over. Next year, we’ll have to make at least 1,000. In addition to supporting this amazing community endeavor, we’ve been busy putting our name and the faces behind it out there. We were featured on the cover of Lexington Life magazine’s May issue and got featured in a spread in Columbia Metropolitan magazine. It means a lot to be prominent members of our wonderful community, so it’s a great privilege to be featured in these publications. As election season gets into full swing, we’ll also be doing some pop-ins with politicians. It’s very important to us that our local and state legislatures represent the needs of our clients. Since we’re in a position to have important conversations about issues, we feel it’s our responsibility to do so. Back at the office, we’re gearing up for a busy summer season. Luckily, our new location has a working A/C system. No matter how high the temperature climbs, you can rest assured that we’ll stay calm, cool, and collected while handling your case.
berof lawyersper capita andplentiful lit- igation opportunities,Mr. Snell decided to stay in Lexington. Although techni- cally a transplant, he has deep ancestral rootswithin the area and is adescendant
lemswith a “sense of urgency,” saysMr. Snell. “I encourage same-day appoint- ments, and we try to get started right away. It’s not unusual for us to begin fil- ing legalmotions and working with an
“I enjoy situationswherewe canmakeadifference,and really feel goodabout the serviceweareproviding.”
ofBarbara “Granny”Corley, a founderof the townwhosename is engravedon the historicalmarker at theold courthouse. Hisfirstclientswere referred tohimby other local lawyers when they were not interested in taking their cases.Thus, he became involved in “all typesof lawsuits” relating to loan closings, bankruptcies, disability hearings, contested farm per- mits, and family court. “Iwas fortunate to be able to begin signing clients imme- diately,”he says, “and that’s continued.” Mr. Snell estimates that the firm is currently handlingmatters in about 20 counties throughout SouthCarolina,but in2007, theybegan to focusmoreonpur- suing criminal cases.Today, “We arebest known for the criminal defense side of thepractice,”explainsMr.Snell. “There is
investigator the samedaywe arehired.” “We still, however, do a very steady stream ofpersonal injury,”he adds. “I’ve obtainedmillions of dollars in compen- sation forclients inautomobileaccidents, workers’ compensation, medical, and premises liability cases.” Additionally, the firm works in cer- tain “niche areas” including uncontested adoptions, appeals, name changes, and judgment collection. “I’m also very in- terested about becomingmore involved withmass torts,” saysMr. Snell. “That is a reallyexcitingpracticearea forus; there is a bigneed tohelp local residentswith injuries causedbyprescriptiondrugs.” Since those early days,Mr. Snell has grownhispractice from aone-man show to a staff of seven,which includes a sec-
best resultspossible. I couldn’tpractice at the level I am currently able towith- out theirhelp.” Collectively and individually, the firm has embraced their place in the Lexington community. They have host- ed a booth atKid’sDay that featured a balloon artist to entertain the children. Additionally, they have been platinum sponsors for the 2018Heartworm Proj- ect, a local charity that helps shelter animals receive needed medical care; sponsored the Tribe baseball team in Gilbert; and given regular donations to causes such as the Shriner’sHospital. Mr. Snell also serves on the Town of Lexington’s Board of Building Code Appeals and is on the eleventh Circuit Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee.He belongs to a number of other law-related entities andwas apre- viouspresidentof theLexingtonCoun- ty Bar Association. In his spare time, he has completed additional college courses, presented at national confer- ences about technical legal issues, and authored books including Challenging CDV, a publication about the defense of domestic violence cases, and South Carolina DUI Defense, The Law and Practice. Formore information, the firm can be reached by calling 888.301.6004, andotherdetailsabout thepracticeand the litigation theyhandle aredescribed on theirwebsite atwww.snelllaw.com. “Call now!” says Mr. Snell. “People feel betterwhen they know their situa- tion ishandled orbeing addressed.” n
The LawOffice of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC: Defending Your Rights At All Costs , ., LLC: ding Your Rights .
aheavy emphasisonDUI (drivingunder the influence),domesticviolence,and fel- onydefense inGeneralSessions.” “Ienjoy situationswherewe canmake a difference, and really feel good about the service we are providing,” says Mr. Snell. “A lot of people feel like they have been treatedunfairlyby thepoliceor the systembefore,and I like tobeable topro- vide themwith abetter experience.” Most of the time, Mr. Snell’s clients “are involuntarily thrust into thisworld,” he explains. “A lot of our clients arepeo- plewhodidn’tchoose tobeanybody’scli- ent.They found themselves inasituation, and they are really looking forhelp.” Harkeningback to thosegrocery-store days, the firm approaches all legal prob-
ond lawyer andhisownwife,Lee,who is thefirm’sbusinessmanager.Theyhave a satelliteoffice inColumbia, andMr.Snell recently relocated hismain practice to a newly constructed building at 123 Har- mon Street, across from theOldMill in theheartofLexington, “It really isagreatenvironment forour staff andour clients,” saysMr.Snell,who personally designed the facility so the staff canworkbehind the scenesuninter- rupted, while the clients privatelymeet with their representation in calm and classy surroundings such as the Louvre andOrsay conference rooms. “I’ve got a really great staff,” saysMr. Snell. “They are smart, dedicated, and really want to see our clients get the
“Everythingwe tell somebodywe do, wedo,” says JamesR.Snell, Jr., the found- erofTheLawOfficeof JamesR.Snell, Jr., LLC. This successful, thirteen-year-old practice, located at 123 Harmon Street, ismotivatedby a “sense ofurgency” that is appreciated by those they serve. “We measure success in satisfied clients,”Mr. Snell asserts, “andwedoverywell.” During his youth, the Snell family owned and operated grocery stores in Spartanburg, and that’s where a young Jamesdeveloped a strongwork ethic and a “sense of urgency”when dealingwith thepublic. After high school, he completed his Bachelor of Science degree at Limestone College in18months,whileworking full-
time, and then enrolled in theUniversi- ty of South Carolina’s School of Law. “I wanted something thatwould allowme to be entrepreneurial, but also intellectu- ally stimulating,” he explains. “Law has that, in addition to allowingme to really make adifference for clients.” While still in law school, he was of- fered a position as a part-time law clerk with local legal legend and formermay- or of the Town of Lexington, H. Hugh Rogers. His late aunt had worked for Mr. Rogers, who has been practicing law since 1965. “After being sworn in as a lawyeronNovember15,2004,”Mr. Snell recalls, “Mr.Rogersofferedme two weeksof free rent.” Becauseof its lower-than-averagenum-
28 | LEXINGTON LIFE | May2018
May 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 29
It’s been a busy month here at The Law Office of James R. Snell Jr. At the end of April, we participated in the 18th Annual Kids’ Day of Lexington. It was a blast, and we’re honored to support such a worthy cause. The event’s goal is to “create a better community by educating and caring for families with love, honesty, and laughter.” It was our second year having a booth at the event. We brought along a balloon artist to whip up some crazy creations for the kids. For a more permanent souvenir, we printed some drawstring backpacks to give away. We thought 500 would be more than enough, but we clearly
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