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Glossary of Common Legal Terms

Glossary of Common Legal Terms

Legal talk is often complex, and to the untrained ear it can sound like a completely different language. Luckily for you, the attorneys at Stewart Law Offices, LLC are here to provide simple, easy-to-understand definitions for some common legal terms which you might have heard.

Acquittal: A verdict from a judge or jury that a criminal defendant is not guilty, or the evidence is insufficient to support a conviction.
Admissible: Evidence is considered “admissible” if it meets all of the standards required to present it in a court of law.
Affidavit: A statement (written or printed) made under oath.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR): A way to settle a dispute outside of the courtroom. Most ADRs involve the help of a neutral third party, such as a mediator or arbitrator.
Appeal: A request made after a trial by the losing party to have the case reviewed by a higher court.
Bench Trial: A trial where the judge acts as the decision-maker instead of a jury.
Class Action Lawsuit: A lawsuit in which an individual or small group sues an entity on the behalf of a much larger group. i.e.: Thousands of customers suing a company for damages caused by a faulty product.
Community Service: A verdict in which the court requires an individual to work without pay for a nonprofit organization.
Conviction: A guilty verdict against a criminal defendant.
Defendant: The individual or business against whom a lawsuit is filed.
Evidence: Facts or items presented in the court of law with the intention to persuade the judge or jury.
Felony: A serious crime, usually punishable by a minimum of one year in prison.
Hearsay: Information presented by a witness who did not see the incident in question, but rather heard about it from someone else.
Judge: An official of the United States Judicial branch with the authority to decide lawsuits brought before a court.
Jury: A group of people selected to hear the evidence in a trial and make a verdict.
Litigation: Another word for a court case, or lawsuit.
Misdemeanor: A less-serious crime, punishable by a maximum of one year imprisonment.
Mistrial: An invalid trial which leads to the restarting of the same case with a new jury.
Plaintiff: A person or business who files the lawsuit with a court.
Plea Bargain: An agreement made between the plaintiff and defendant where the defendant agrees to plead guilty in order to receive a lesser punishment. Also known as a plea deal.
Settlement: Parties resolve their dispute without trial. This usually involves the payment of the defendant to at least the partial satisfaction of the plaintiff.
Testimony: Evidence presented orally by witnesses during trials.
Verdict: The determination of guilt or innocence made by the judge or jury.
Witness: A person called upon during a trial to give a testimony before the court.

To learn more about common legal terms and their definitions, check out this expanded glossary from the United States Court System.

The personal injury attorneys at Stewart Law Offices, LLC are well-versed in the court of law and are prepared to defend you at your next trial. If you live in North Carolina or South Carolina, and have been injured as the result of someone else’s negligence, don’t wait. Pick up the phone and call us for a free consultation at (888) 286-5600.

Frequently Asked Questions About Stewart Law Offices, LLC

Frequently Asked Questions About Stewart Law Offices, LLC

Stewart Law Offices, LLC is here for you when it counts. Read through this list of frequently asked questions to learn more about our firm and the legal services we provide. If you still have any questions, feel free to give us a call at 866-783-9278.

What type of cases does Stewart Law Offices, LLC handle?

The attorneys at Stewart Law Offices, LLC handle all facets of personal injury, including:

  • Car accidents
    • Drunk driving
    • Texting while driving
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Tractor trailer accidents
  • Boating wrecks
  • Medical malpractice
  • Wrongful death
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Federal Litigation

Where does Stewart Law Offices, LLC operate?

Stewart Law Offices, LLC offers legal representation for injury victims across South Carolina, as well as portions in North Carolina. We currently have offices in Rock Hill, Spartanburg, Columbia, Beaufort, and Charlotte. Click here to learn more about our locations and service area.

Does Stewart Law Offices, LLC use contingency fee agreements?

Yes. Legal representation from Stewart Law Offices, LLC may be more affordable than you expect, thanks to our contingency fee agreement. Instead of charging for our services up front and making you pay out of your own pocket, our fees are paid as a percentage of any recovery we make on your behalf. This allows our clients to secure quality legal representation with little or no financial risk. Click here to learn more about our contingency fee agreement.

Why should I trust Stewart Law Offices, LLC with my personal injury case?

The personal injury attorneys at Stewart Law Offices, LLC are here for you when it matters most. After sustaining an injury, you may be overwhelmed with emotions or medical bills. Our lawyers will work diligently by your side to pursue the compensation you deserve. We will even visit you at home or in the hospital while you recover from your injury.

How can I get started with a free case evaluation?

Think you may have a personal injury case on your hands? Speak to our attorneys and let us know! We offer free case evaluations for all new clients. Simply contact us online to get started, or pick up the phone and call 866-783-9278.

5 Things to Do Immediately Following a Car Accident

5 Things to Do Immediately Following a Car Accident

Getting into a car accident is a scary situation, even if it’s just a fender bender. Luckily, the personal injury attorneys at Stewart Law Offices, LLC are here to guide you through this traumatic experience, step by step. Here are five things you need to do immediately following your next car collision…

1. Check Yourself & Your Passengers

The first thing you should do after getting into an accident, before even getting out of the car, is make sure everyone is okay. The immediate health of you and your passengers is always priority number one. If nobody is in need of emergency medical assistance, get out and check on the other vehicle.

2. Contact Law Enforcement

After making sure everyone involved in the accident is okay, it is a good idea to call the police – even if there are no serious injuries involved. Responding officers can file a police report, which may be needed for your insurance claim. In some states, it is legally required to contact the police after an accident; no matter how small.

3. Document the Accident

After the police arrive, work with them to construct an accurate record of the accident. Tell them exactly what happened, to the best of your ability. If you aren’t sure, tell them that, instead of making up facts or guessing. If they ask if you are hurt, do not say no, even if you aren’t. Tell them you aren’t sure – many times, injuries don’t become apparent until hours (or even days) after the collision. It is also important to take plenty of pictures of your car for insurance purposes.

4. Gather Information

Obtain the name, address, phone number, and insurance information of the other driver(s) involved in the accident. If there are any witnesses, you should also collect their names and phone numbers in the event you need to contact them in the future.

5. Contact an Attorney

If you want the best chance at recovering costs for personal injury and damaged property, you will need to contact a qualified attorney. They can help you fill out proper documentation, file a legal claim, and recommend the best course of action to recover compensation for your damages.

In the unfortunate event that you or a loved one is involved in a car accident, the attorneys at Stewart Law Offices, LLC are just a phone call away. We offer legal representation for personal injury cases in North Carolina and South Carolina, and will even visit you at home or in the hospital while you recover. Contact us online for a free consultation, or give us a call at 866-783-9278.

Dog Bites? Can I Sue?

Dog Bites? Can I Sue?

No one wants to find themselves the victim of a dog bite, but for the 4.5 million people who are bitten by dogs in the United States annually, this becomes a harsh reality. In fact, dog bites make up one third of all home owners’ insurance claims (www.dogsbite.org). Unfortunately, a family pet can seem to turn on a dime. Often, pet owners are blinded by affection for their animal and don’t take proper steps when aggressive behavior is shown.  There are many underlying factors surrounding a dog bite, and Stewart Law Offices LLC are here to help if you find yourself or your child a victim of an attack.  Consider the following information when exploring the appropriate legal action following a dog bite.

Dog Bite Circumstances to Consider

Dog bites are rarely a cut and dry event.  When considering your options, it’s important to note details surrounding the bite.  For example, if you were invited to someone’s property and their dog attacked, you might be entitled to compensation, whereas if you’re trespassing on private property, then the owner might not be responsible. Seek immediate medical attention, take pictures following the bite, and write down all details so you can accurately recall them later.  While each state, city and even county has specific rules regarding dog bites, a few circumstances make personal injury compensation more likely.

  • Owner is in violation of leash laws when the bite occurs
  • Bite occurs on public property
  • Bite occurs on a property where you have been lawfully invited and the dog was unprovoked
  • A dog had been declared dangerous and the owner failed to follow guidelines set out by the state
  • The owner failed to maintain reasonable control over the dog

Reminders for Dog Owners

A dog bite is an unpleasant situation for both the owner of the dog and the victim, and it’s important to take precautions to prevent these circumstances.  Dog owners should always err on the side of caution.  If children will be in your home, maintain strict control of your dog, as children are often unpredictable and can cause an otherwise calm dog to become anxious and aggressive.  When taking your dog in public, always obey leash laws.  Dogs that are easily excited should be kept muzzled in public.  Families who have a new dog should take precautions as they learn their dog’s demeanor.  It’s easy to assume that your beloved pet will treat others with the same affection as he treats you, but unfortunately this isn’t always the case.

Taking Precautions as a Parent

Though no one wants to be bitten by a dog, it is equally as necessary that steps are taken to prevent a dog bite when around an unfamiliar dog.  Children are more vulnerable when it comes to dog bites, and therefore adults should be cautious when bringing children around a new or unknown animal.  Teach your children to always ask before petting a dog.  Do not leave children alone with a dog and never assume that a child knows how to act towards a dog.  If you find yourself in a situation where a dog is running loose or “at large,” call animal control and avoid trying to make contact with the dog. 

Even the most cautious person can find themselves the victim of a dog bite.  Given the individuality of each case, it is important to consult with a lawyer to find out your rights as the injured party.  Should you fall victim to a dog bite, contact a person injury attorney at Stewart Law Offices, LLC to learn about your options and receive the personal injury compensation you deserve.  We’re ready and waiting for your call at 1-866-STEWART.

🐕 For more detailed information about domestic animal laws in your state, visit the following websites.

North Carolina: http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/statutes/StatutesTOC.pl?Chapter=0067
South Carolina: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t47c003.php

 

Back to School Driving Safety

Back to School Driving Safety

Early fall is filled with the excitement of a fresh start with back to school for students everywhere, but unfortunately, it also brings about new dangers for drivers and students.  Congestion near schools, newly licensed teen drivers, student commuters rushing to get to class, and buses making frequent stops all create increased need for drivers to be aware and remain safe. Stewart Law Offices, LLC wants to remind you of a few simple tips to help you and your students have a successful, safe, and injury free school year.

According to the National Safe Routes to School program, more children are struck by vehicles near schools than anywhere else.  Drivers have to be extra aware whenever they are in or near a school zone in order to avoid finding themselves in a tragic collision.

School-Zone Reminders

●    No double parking in a school zone.  This diminishes visibility for children and other vehicles.
●    Avoid loading and unloading children across the street.
●    Obey posted speeding signs in a school zone.  If no sign is visible, obey the standard 25 mph rule.
●    Do not use cell-phones in a school zone.  Drivers must remain aware at all times to avoid hitting students.
●    Scan constantly for absent-minded students.  Kids often don’t follow proper rules of the road and even if the driver has the right of way, tragedy can be avoided by maintaining intense awareness.
●    Teens and inexperienced drivers are often those surrounding high schools.  Maintain defensive driving at all time.
●    Avoid switching lanes or passing other drivers in a school zone.

Bus Safety Reminders

●    It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.
●    Maintain extra distance behind a bus so you’re prepared to stop when needed.
●    Wait until the bus begins moving to resume traffic.  Late children often run out and aren’t aware of the dangers of their surroundings.
●    Buses merging back into traffic have the right of way.

While it might seem like a hassle to be stuck in the often overwhelming and frustrating traffic accompanying school start and end times, it is important as drivers and adults that we keep our children and those in the community safe.  If you or your family find yourselves involved in any type of accident and need a personal injury attorney, Stewart Law Offices, LLC is ready and willing to support you.  We hope you won’t need our number, but if you do, we will counsel you and help you get the compensation you deserve.  Call us at 1-866-STEWART.

For more information regarding back to school driving safety, please visit http://www.nsc.org/learn/safety-knowledge/Pages/back-to-school-safety-tips-for-drivers.aspx.

How Can I Throw a Safe Holiday Party?

How Can I Throw a Safe Holiday Party?

One of the best things about the holiday season is getting to gather together with friends, family and co-workers to celebrate. However, as much fun as such celebrations are, if those attending and hosting them do not do so safely and responsibly, they can result in tragedy.
According to the National Safety Council, from 2007 to 2011, 35 percent of accidents on Christmas were the result of drinking and driving. To avoid letting drunk driving auto accidents or any other safety issues result from a holiday party, The Herald of Everett, Washington recently published some tips for throwing safer holiday gatherings, including:

  • Don’t serve alcohol, or if you do, only serve beer and wine.
  • Hosts of work-related holiday parties should invite employees’ spouses and partners to attend and have employees and their guests pay for their drinks.
  • Stop serving alcohol after one or two hours.
  • Use drink tickets or some other method to limit the amount of drinks partygoers are allowed to consume.

Do I Need to Sue the Drunk Driver Who Hurt Me If He or She Was Arrested?

Stewart Law Offices wishes you and your family a very safe and happy holiday season. If you ever happen to need a auto accident attorney Columbia SC, we are here for you. To learn more about our firm or to get in touch with us to schedule a free consultation with one of our injury lawyers, call us or send us a message on our website.

Did You Know? Fatalities in drunk driving wrecks accounted for 41 percent of the traffic-related deaths in South Carolina in 2012, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
Note: This information is for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. You can only receive legal advice by meeting with an attorney.