COVID-19 Update

Joye Law Firm is Still Here for You. Help is a Just a Call or Click Away.

For the safety of our Clients, Guests, and Team, our offices are currently closed to visitors.  However, most of our Team is now working remotely from home to help both current and new Clients. Throughout the crisis, we will remain open and standing by to help you with your legal needs.  Please feel free to call us on a 24/7 basis at (888) 324-3100.  Stay well.

To find out how we can help you, call us at 877-936-9707 or fill out our online contact form for a free and confidential claim evaluation.

We all have a duty to keep ourselves, our families, our neighbors, and our communities safe right now. This means temporarily reshaping the way we live our lives to combat the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Like every other business in our country, our law firm is having to implement steps to ensure the well-being of our employees and of our clients to the greatest extent possible due to the current coronavirus situation.  Our top goal is to ensure that you continue to receive quality representation and that we continue to remain accessible to you for information about your case.

Find more information on the following topics at the links below:

WHAT WE’RE DOING TO STOP THE SPREAD OF COVID-19

MESSAGES FROM OUR MANAGING PARTNER

An Update from Attorney Ken Harrell

March 23, 2020

Dear Friend,

We hope this message finds you doing well and your family and you are finding innovative ways to maintain your sanity during the period of mandatory “social distancing” we are all dealing with.  We know this is a stressful time for many of you.  Until the coronavirus situation is behind us, I will periodically send an update to all Joye Law Firm clients to give you some updates on how our law firm is dealing with the virus and what’s going on with our state court systems.  Please understand that this is a uniform letter for all of our clients.  While almost all of our clients have an injury claim of some sort, we know that some of our clients have different types of legal situations we’re helping them with and some of this information may be irrelevant to them.  With that said, here are some answers to some commonly asked questions we have received from our clients.

1.  How have the law firm’s daily operations been affected?

This was addressed to some extent in the letter sent to all of our clients last week.  We continue to have more restrictions on the number of employees physically present at our offices state-wide and we are trying to reduce the number of office visitors to as close to zero as we can.  For our employees, we continue to have skeletal staffs present to process the mail and to assist with the filing of pleadings when that becomes necessary.  (As to pleadings, as of now, South Carolina has not extended the statute of limitations for personal injury or workers’ compensation cases, something which has been done in several states.  We have systems in place to monitor claim deadlines and we are continuing to file lawsuits and workers’ compensation hearing requests.)  For now, all of our employees are continuing to work a full work schedule each week but the majority of our employees are working from home on any given day.  Fortunately, our employees are able to complete most of their tasks as long as they have internet access to our electronic case management system (and all of them do) and access to telephone messages.  It is much more likely that you will get voice mail when you call your lawyer or case manager.  Please leave detailed messages with the best number where you can be reached.  All of our lawyers and case managers are expected to remain responsive to client voice mails and emails.

As to office visits, please don’t show up at our office unannounced.  We are all having to adjust our normal way of doing things.  We realize that a face to face meeting can be very helpful – to you and to us – at times.  However, we have no way of knowing who any office visitors have been around or where they may been before they come into our office so each visitor creates a good bit of work for our employees in terms of sanitizing efforts.  99.9% of your dealings with our law firm can be conducted by way of telephone calls or emails until this situation has improved.  Of course, there is no way for any of us to know how long these restrictions will be in place but we are hopeful that things will start to improve for the better in a month or so.  Time will tell.

2.  How has my personal injury case been affected?

First, 90% of our personal injury cases involve injuries sustained due to a car wreck.  I will address this question with that in mind.  Even if you have a different type of personal injury case (such as a slip and fall injury), much of this will still be relevant to your case.

If a lawsuit has not been filed on your case yet (and we don’t file lawsuits on 80% of our personal injury cases as our goal is always to try to obtain a fair settlement for you without the necessity of filing suit), we will do all we can to try to keep your claim moving forward as it normally would.  One issue which may develop is your access to medical treatment.  The extent to which our clients fully treat for their accident-related injuries (and the amount of their medical bills) is an important factor in determining the value of one of these cases.  However, we realize that most medical practices have also had to alter their normal course of business.  While some medical practices are continuing to have patients come in for evaluations and treatments (such as injections), other practices have alerted us that they are now using video-conferencing technology, at least for evaluation appointments.  Obviously, there’s no way you can receive an injection by way of video-conferencing.  If you have specific treatments scheduled, such as an injection or a surgery, please reach out to your doctor’s office to see how they are handling the same and what safety precautions they have in place for their patients.  The same would be true for diagnostic tests or physical therapy.  If your physical therapy provider is not having patients come in for treatment, see if your therapist can prescribe home exercises to help with your recovery.  Many of you may also be receiving medications for your accident injuries.  If so, confer with your doctor’s office on how they are handling prescriptions.  As always, the more compliant you are with your treatment, the more it will help us obtain full value for your claim.  The key here is maintaining good communication with your doctors.

If your accident-related treatment has been completed, we will continue to complete the steps necessary to get a demand packet to the insurance company and to start settlement negotiations.  We are continuing to gather medical records and bills related to our clients’ cases (most of these requests can be made electronically) and our attorneys and case managers continue to prepare and send out settlement packets.  As of now, most insurance companies continue to have their claim adjusters working, although many of them are now working from home as well.  Whenever a settlement offer is made on your case, your attorney will contact you to discuss it.

If a lawsuit has been filed on your case, the coronavirus situation may slow things down to some extent.  For depositions, we are working to keep scheduled depositions on track (and to continue scheduling appropriate depositions in the future) by recommending that the defense lawyer consent to using video-conferencing or telephone conferences to conduct the same.  All of the court reporting services we work with have measures in place to allow for depositions to continue using this format.  Consistent with the state of emergency declared by Governor McMaster, South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Don Beatty has issued an order suspending all civil jury trials until at least May 1.  This makes sense as there is no way the courts could safely gather 100-plus people to a prospective jury panel for jury selection, nor could they safely put 12 people together in a small room for jury deliberations.  This is going to create some backlog with our civil docket so the standard time it would normally take to get a civil case to trial is likely to be extended.  Of course, there is no way to know if this ban on civil jury trials will extend beyond May 1.  For now, hearings on civil cases are continuing to be scheduled using video-conferencing tools or telephone conferences.  Also, the county clerk’s offices continue to be open with a skeletal staff to allow lawsuits and motions to continue to be filed.

3.  How has my workers’ compensation case been affected?

Continuing to be compliant with your recommended medical treatment for a work injury may be even more important, especially if you are receiving weekly disability benefits for your work injury.  Under South Carolina law, non-compliance with medical treatment recommended by a doctor authorized by the insurance company is a basis for the insurance company’s cutting off your weekly disability benefits.  Whether the termination of weekly benefits would be appropriate on this basis is usually determined based on the “reasonableness” of the delay in treatment.  Given the concerns which many people have about being exposed to this virus, it’s reasonable that many patients opted to reschedule a treatment appointment.  That’s especially true if you have under-lying medical conditions (such as a respiratory condition or ongoing treatment for cancer) which would make you especially susceptible to the virus.  There is no way for us to say exactly what the commission would deem to be reasonable but we would anticipate that a delay in treatment of a few weeks would not be considered to be unreasonable given the circumstances.  However, the longer the delay lasts, the greater the likelihood that non-treatment could be used as a means of cutting off your weekly disability checks.  Again, the most important thing is that you maintain good communication with your doctors.  We have already had a few clients who have had surgeries or injections delayed by their treating doctors.  Obviously, you have no control over what the doctor’s office decides to do in regard to scheduling treatments so this situation should not have any negative effect on your entitlement to disability benefits.

If a hearing request has been filed, there is also a good chance that there may be some delay in getting your case heard.  On March 21, the Workers’ Compensation Commission issued an advisory notice that there would be no live hearings (meaning hearings at a hearing site with lawyers and witnesses present) until at least May 1.  Per this advisory notice, the commission indicated that the commissioners will continue to hold some hearings using the Court Call video-conferencing program.  If you have a hearing which was set to take place before May 1, we are still waiting for guidance and decisions from the commission on whether they will proceed with the scheduled hearing using this technology.  Also, we will all have to be educated on exactly what will be involved with using this technology.  Your lawyer and case manager will keep you updated on this.  The commissioners have advised us that they will continue to review and approve settlement agreements.

To the greatest extent possible, we are working to keep moving forward with depositions and mediations in workers’ compensation cases using the technologies available to us.  At least for now, we have found that the insurance defense lawyers are very amenable to using these technologies to keep cases moving forward.

If your weekly benefits check has been terminated, please let your lawyer or case manager know this right away.  There have been many instances where we’ve seen workers’ compensation insurance companies refusing to start weekly disability benefits contending that the employee is not working due to a general lay-off caused by the coronavirus instead of by limitations related to the employee’s injuries.  Unfortunately, that is an issue which will have to get decided by our court system.  We are also concerned about whether the insurance companies will have proper measures in place to continue paying weekly disability benefits in a timely manner.  We’ll continue to push the adjusters (or defense lawyers) on this issue for you but we will likely have to file hearing requests on many cases where this happens.  We also know that some insurance companies have opted to pay several weeks of benefits at one time because they are concerned about having enough employees on hand to process checks on a weekly basis.  If you get one of those checks, note the last date it is paying you through, budget appropriately and let us know if the weekly checks are not continued once the last date paid has passed.

4.  Final thoughts

In closing, we know these are trying times for many of you.  At the Joye Law Firm, we obviously don’t have any magic answers about how to deal with many of the hardships created by this unprecedented situation.  However, we are here to help you deal with the stress which can be created by having an injuries claim.  Should you ever have any questions about your case, do not hesitate to call or email us.  In the meantime, we hope your family and you stay well and that you can find some healthy ways to deal with the isolation created by the safety measures all of us are having to follow.

                                                    Sincerely,
                                                    Ken W. Harrell, Managing Partner
                                                   Joye Law Firm

 

A Message from Attorney Ken Harrell

March 17, 2020

Dear Friend,

Like every other business in our country, our law firm is having to implement steps to ensure the well-being of our employees and of our clients to the greatest extent possible due to the current coronavirus situation.  Our top goal is to ensure that you continue to receive quality representation and that we continue to remain accessible to you for information about your case.

Some of the specific steps we are implementing include the following:

1.  Limiting face-to-face encounters – Unless there is some unusual reason why a face-to-face meeting is necessary, all communications with our clients will be by telephone or email.  Most of our client interactions already take place by telephone or by email.  However, from time to time, a face-to-face meeting is certainly helpful, both for the client and for the lawyer or case manager.  However, limiting these types of interactions as much as possible until this virus situation is under control will promote the safety of all involved – and it’s just good common sense.  If you have the capability to Skype or Facetime, we can certainly use that option with you.  This restriction on face-to-face meetings will also include meetings that have typically been done in person, including deposition, mediation and hearing preparation meetings.  If such a meeting is already scheduled, we will likely be contacting you to change it to a telephone conference.  For trial preparation meetings, your lawyer will decide on a case-by-case basis whether it’s necessary to meet face-to-face.  We will also be handling settlement disbursements remotely unless there is an unusual reason not to do the same.  There is no reason why your lawyer cannot mail or email your settlement documents to you and then explain them to you on a line-by-line basis over the telephone.  Our strong preference will be that we wire your net settlement proceeds to your bank.  Our law firm is willing to cover the cost of the wiring process and you will not be charged for the same.  If you prefer to receive a check, we will mail the check to you.

If you do come in for a meeting, please do not be offended when we forego the traditional handshake.  That’s for your well-being and ours.  Also, if you have a meeting scheduled at one of our offices and you are experiencing ANY symptoms consistent with the coronavirus (coughing, fever, body aches, etc.), PLEASE cancel the meeting.  Instead of coming to see us, go see your doctor.

We love our clients and it seems unnatural to us to have to limit our face-to-face meetings – and physical contact – with you.  However, this situation is uncharted territory for all of us and we all need to be as prudent as possible.

2.  Some JLF employees working from home – in an effort to protect our team members, we are going to have some of our employees working from home until the coronavirus has been effectively contained.  There’s no way to know when that will happen although most scientists (and that’s who we should all be listening to right now) believe that this situation is likely to last for months, rather than weeks.  Fortunately, our employees can complete the vast majority of their work tasks from any location as long as they have computer access to our case management systems (and we won’t allow someone to work remotely without such access).  With that being the case, our employees should be able to provide you with seamless service, including responding to your emails and telephone calls.  Providing responsive service is one of our law firm’s hallmarks, not just during a crisis situation.  If you are having trouble getting a timely response from your attorney or case manager, feel free to contact me by calling me at (843) 725-7171 or emailing me at kharrell@joyelawfirm.com.

Obviously, this is a stressful time for everyone world-wide.  Part of our job is to reduce the stress you’re feeling as the result of your accident injuries, or whatever legal situation you’re dealing with.  We are working hard to make sure that it is business as usual for our law firm despite the challenges created by this virus.  We appreciate your understanding as we do the same and we again thank you for choosing the Joye Law Firm.

Sincerely,
                                                    Ken W. Harrell, Managing Partner
                                                    Joye Law Firm

Scholarship Deadline Extended

Due to school closures from COVID-19 we are extending the deadline for our 2020 scholarship indefinitely to allow for students to apply and submit the required transcripts.

 

General Info About (COVID-19)

More and more information about the virus is coming out daily. Please stay up to date on information and symptoms by checking the CDC’s website.

This virus spreads easily and sustainably! You can get COVID-19 “by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.” It is thought that you are most contagious when you are displaying symptoms, however, you can be contagious before you even show symptoms. 

Symptoms of Coronavirus

Here are some of the major symptoms of the virus:

  • Respiratory Tract Infection – shortness of breath 
  • Fever/chills 
  • Cough
  • Flu-like symptoms  
  • Fatigue
  • Pressure in the Chest
  • Headaches
  • Muscle or Body Aches
  • Sore Throat 

Please note that carriers of the virus may not be displaying symptoms and that you are still at risk and may be carrying the virus and not know unless you are tested.

Contact Joye Law Firm

Obviously, this is a stressful time for everyone world-wide.  Part of our job is to reduce the stress you’re feeling as the result of your accident injuries, or whatever legal situation you’re dealing with.  We are working hard to make sure that it is business as usual for our law firm despite the challenges created by this virus.  We appreciate your understanding as we do the same and we again thank you for choosing the Joye Law Firm.

Local Resources

Resources For Children During School Closures

We care about our community and understand that during this time while schools are closed and stores are low on supplies some students may be experiencing food insecurity. We have compiled a list of places where students can receive meals in the counties surrounding our offices below.

Richland County

Richland county schools listed below will be serving breakfast 8:30-10:30 AM, Lunch 12:30-2:30 PM

  • Carver-Lyon Elementary School
  • Rosewood Elementary School
  • Webber Elementary School
  • St. Andrews Middle School
  • Southeast Middle School
  • A.C. Flora High School
  • Eau Claire High School
  • Lower Richland High School
  • The Colony Apartments
  • Bayberry Mews Apartments
  • North Pointe Estates Apartments

While school is closed, free bag breakfasts and lunches for children up to age 18 will be made available.  In the effort to support social-distancing practices, the meals cannot be consumed on-site. The meals will be distributed through pick-up lines outside of the school buildings at the following locations:

  • Bridge Creek Elementary
  • Dent Middle
  • Joseph Keels Elementary
  • Killian Elementary
  • Longleaf Middle
  • North Springs Elementary
  • Polo Road Elementary
  • Rice Creek Elementary

Lexington County School District One

The school district will offer free food to children 18 years and younger. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., children can receive a “grad and go” bag containing lunch and the next day’s breakfast.

The following locations will serve as food program “grab and go” sites:

  • Carolina Springs Middle School
  • Forts Pond Elementary School
  • Gilbert Primary School
  • Oak Grove Elementary School
  • Red Bank Elementary School
  • Rosenwald Community Learning Center
  • White Knoll Elementary School

The program runs Monday through Friday throughout the district’s closure due to COVID-19.

Lexington County School District Two

Drive-up for brown-bag lunches from 11 a.m. -1 p.m. at Cayce Elementary, 515 Bulldog Blvd., Cayce.

Lunch will be available at all elementary schools from 11 am until 1 pm. Students will be able to pick up a brown bag lunch and then breakfast for the next day.

On weekdays, lunch and breakfast pickup will be available form 11 am until 1 pm at:

Airport High School
Cayce Elementary School
Riverbank Elementary School
Wood Elementary School.

Horry County Schools

According to district spokesperson Lisa Bourcier, Horry County Schools will serve breakfast and lunch Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the following locations:

  •  Aynor Elementary
  • Green Sea Floyd’s Elementary
  • Homewood Elementary
  • Loris Elementary
  • Myrtle Beach Elementary
  • Myrtle Beach Middle
  • North Myrtle Beach Middle
  • Palmetto Bays Elementary
  • Socastee Elementary
  • Waccamaw Elementary

Dorchester County Schools

Dorchester School District Two will provide a grab and go lunch along with the next day’s breakfast at six school sites. These meals will be available for pick up between 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Monday through Friday for any student, 18 and younger.

These schools are:

  • Alston-Bailey Elementary
  • Fort Dorchester High
  • Flowertown Elementary
  • Oakbrook Elementary
  • Spann Elementary
  • Reeves Elementary

Charleston County Schools

Schools in the Charleston area have offered to keep their kitchens open for essentially drive-thru service for ‘Grab and Go’ meals. This runs between 11am-1pm Monday – Friday, and will allow each student age 18 and under, 2 meals per day. The children do not have to go to their specific school to get these meals, just drive over to one of the below schools and pick them up.  This is a great service that is being put on, so please make sure that your clients are aware of it to take some of the financial burden off of them.

The following sites have been designated for meal distribution:

  • Carolina Voyager Charter
  • Charleston Charter for Math and Science
  • Charleston County School of the Arts
  • Charleston Progressive Academy
  • Chicora Elementary School
  • E.B. Ellington Elementary School
  • Goodwin Elementary School
  • Harborview Elementary School
  • Haut Gap Middle School
  • Ladson Elementary School
  • Laing Middle School
  • Sanders Clyde Elementary School
  • St. James Santee Elementary School
  • Stall High School
  • West Ashley Middle School

Berkeley County Schools

A drive through pick up service will be set up at the locations below. The locations will be open from 11 am until Noon, Monday through Friday. Students will not be permitted to enter the building or eat on site. This is open to ALL Berkeley County children.

The locations are:

  • Berkeley High School
  • Boulder Bluff Elementary
  • Cainhoy Elementary School
  • Cane Bay High School
  • College Park Middle School
  • Cross Elementary School
  • Devon Forest Elementary School
  • Goose Creek High School
  • Hanahan Elementary School
  • H.E. Bonner Elementary School
  • J.K. Gourdin Elementary School
  • Sangaree Elementary School
  • St. Stephen Elementary School
  • Timberland High School

For updated information about these and other South Carolina school lunch programs, find your school on the SC Department of Education website. https://www.ed.sc.gov/districts-schools/schools/school-directory/?activetab=search

*This page was written with the most up to date information and this information is subject to change as more information about the virus is released & found.

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