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Defending Your Company From Unfair Competition (Slander/False Accusations)

You’ve worked hard to build your company. Deceptive and wrongful business practices can cause economic injury to your business. The law of unfair competition protects companies from fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices. Companies can recover losses resulting from these practices. 

Our experienced South Carolina business attorneys handle complex business tort cases like unfair competition claims. We are seasoned trial lawyers with extensive experience litigating business torts to protect our clients’ business interests. If your company has been damaged because of slander, false allegations, or other deceptive business practices, contact our office to speak with an attorney. 

Understanding Unfair Competition

Unfair competition can crush a small business, making it impossible for the business to compete in the marketplace. Companies engage in many forms of unfair competition, including trademark infringement, fraud, interference with business relationships, and theft of trade secrets.

Slander and false accusations are another form of unfair competition. Defamation is false communications about your business that are likely to result in damage to your business’s reputation and economic loss. Slander is a type of defamation that occurs when someone makes false statements with malicious intent to cause harm to your business. For example, your competitor creates negative reviews about your company online or tells people your company is being investigated for defective products. 

The South Carolina Unfair Trade Practices Act gives businesses a framework for bringing action against companies and individuals who use slander and false accusations as unfair methods of competition. However, these claims are complex and require an experienced business defamation lawyer to handle the case. 

Identifying Slander and False Accusations

A defamatory statement is a false allegation that can severely disrupt business. The elements of slander and false accusations are:

  • A person or company made a false statement about your business
  • The statement was spoken or written to a third party
  • The party acted with negligence or intent to harm
  • The statement damaged your business

There is a difference between legitimate competition and unfair practices. Companies make statements to convince consumers to use their services or purchase their products. However, when a company fails to verify statements and accusations as accurate, they could be negligent. Likewise, intentionally making false accusations to hurt a company reveals malice and aforethought. 

Legal Remedies for Allegations of Unfair Competition 

Slander and false accusations against your company can damage your reputation, decrease your customer base, discourage new customers, lower employee morale, and decrease your bottom line. You have the right to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for damages and other remedies. Damages a business could recover from unfair competition include:

  • Injunctive relief to stop the party from continuing to make defamatory and slanderous statements
  • Compensatory damages for actual losses 
  • Attorney’s fees and expenses for the filing of the action

The court may also award treble damages if the party willfully and knowingly violated the law by making statements to harm your business intentionally. 

Preventative Measures for Businesses

It can be difficult to prevent unfair competition because you cannot control what another company or person says or does. A company can use contracts to prevent unfair competition by including non-disclosure clauses and confidentiality agreements. However, these contracts only apply to vendors, employees, and third parties engaging with the company. 

A company can try to protect itself from accusations of wrongdoing by never misleading customers, misrepresenting a product or service, making false guarantees, engaging in price switching, or concealing pertinent information. However, the best way to protect your company from unfair competition is to retain a South Carolina business lawyer as soon as you suspect wrongdoing or fraudulent behavior. The sooner you stop unfair competition, the less your business may suffer. 

Contact Us for a Free Consultation With a South Carolina Business Attorney

The best way to protect your business from slander and false accusations is with the help of an experienced South Carolina business attorney. At Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA, our legal team fiercely defends you and your company against unfair competition. We pursue claims against the responsible parties to recover compensation for the damages and losses your business sustained. Schedule a consultation today to discuss how we can help you protect the business you’ve worked hard to establish.

Empty crosswalk in road

What to Do if You’ve Been a Victim of a Pedestrian Accident

Pedestrian accidents have been on the rise for decades. The Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA) estimates that 7,508 pedestrians were killed in 2022, the highest number since 1981. From 2010 to 2021, pedestrian traffic deaths increased by 77%, while all other traffic deaths only increased by 25%. Thousands of people are treated for non-fatal pedestrian accident injuries each year. 

Our South Carolina personal injury attorneys discuss what to do if you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident.

Immediate Steps After a Pedestrian Accident

The moments following a pedestrian accident are chaotic. If you or a loved one are injured in a crash with a vehicle, call 911 to report the accident and request emergency medical services. The 911 operator will also dispatch police officers to the accident scene.

Do not discuss the accident with bystanders other than to ask them for their names and contact information. You do not want to say something that could be construed as admitting fault. If you can, and it is safe for you to do so, take pictures and make a video of the accident scene.

Seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries. Delays in medical care could reduce the chance of making a full recovery. It could also create problems for a personal injury claim and make it more challenging to recover compensation for your injuries and damages. 

Understanding Your Rights

Drivers in South Carolina have a duty of care to avoid a collision with a pedestrian. However, pedestrians must follow all traffic control devices and obey pedestrian laws.

South Carolina is an at-fault state. If a driver hits a pedestrian, the driver can be held liable for damages. Pedestrians can recover compensation for their economic and non-economic damages. Damages in a pedestrian accident include:

  • Past and future medical bills
  • Impairments and disabilities
  • Lost wages and reduction in earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Emotional distress and mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life and diminished quality of life
  • Long-term personal and/or nursing care

Before you can recover compensation for a pedestrian accident claim, you must prove the driver was negligent or intentionally caused the accident. 

The Role of a Personal Injury Attorney

Proving fault for a pedestrian accident might not be simple. The insurance company for the driver may fight the claim. It might try to blame you for causing the accident or contributing to the cause of your injuries. 

A personal injury lawyer investigates how the crash occurred. They gather evidence proving causation, fault, and damages – the elements you need to prove to win a pedestrian accident claim. A pedestrian accident attorney also handles the insurance company and files a lawsuit to protect your rights when necessary. 

Navigating the Claims Process

Most pedestrian accident claims begin with filing an insurance claim with the driver’s insurance provider. The company assigns an insurance adjuster to investigate the claim to determine if the insured driver caused the accident. The adjuster works for the insurance claim and gathers evidence to protect the company from liability.

Therefore, it is best to allow your lawyer to handle all matters related to the insurance claim. Adjusters often try to get accident victims to say something that could be twisted to suggest the victim was partially to blame for causing the accident. If you are partially to blame, you will not receive the total amount of your damages, and you could even lose the right to receive any money for your claim. 

Once you complete medical treatment, your lawyer prepares a settlement demand package outlining your injuries and damages, the legal basis for a personal injury claim, and a demand for settlement. Your attorney negotiates with the insurance company for a fair settlement. If the company disputes liability or challenges damages, your attorney files a lawsuit and takes the case to court. Even if your attorney files a lawsuit, your case could be settled before trial. 

Contact Us for a Free Consultation With a South Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer 

You deserve compensation for the pain, suffering, and financial losses caused by a negligent driver. Our South Carolina pedestrian accident lawyers at Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA, can help you recover a fair settlement amount. Contact our law office today to schedule a free case evaluation to discuss your situation with an attorney.

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What Are the Components of a Product Liability Claim?

Product liability refers to the legal responsibility of a manufacturer and/or other parties for damages caused by a defective product. Filing a product liability claim is the first step in seeking compensation for injuries caused by a defective or dangerous product. Our South Carolina personal injury attorney discussed the components of a product liability claim in this blog, including the damages you can receive for a claim. 

What Are the Elements of a Product Liability Claim in South Carolina?

South Carolina law holds sellers and other parties liable when they manufacture and sell dangerous or defective products that cause injuries or harm to consumers. As the injured party, you must prove the legal elements of a product liability claim by a preponderance of the evidence. 

You can sue a party for product liability under general negligence, strict liability, or breach of warrant. Negligence claims require that you prove the party failed to meet the standard of care required under the reasonable standard. The reasonable standard is what a reasonably prudent party would have done in a similar situation. 

Additionally, negligence claims require that you prove the manufacturer, designer, or other party knew or should have known the product was defective or unreasonably dangerous. However, they distributed the product without taking any corrective action. On the other hand, breach of warranty and strict liability claims do not require you to prove negligence. 

Regardless of the cause of action used to sue for injuries caused by a defective product, you must prove the following components of a product liability claim:

  • The product was unreasonably dangerous and defective;
  • The defect existed when the product was in the control of the seller, manufacturer, or designer;
  • The product was not modified after leaving their control;
  • The product was being used for its intended purpose; and,
  • The defective was the proximate cause of the victim’s injuries.

Proving liability for a product liability claim can be challenging. A product liability lawyer may consult experts to gather evidence proving a product was defective, and the defect caused your injury. 

What Damages Can I Receive for a Product Liability Claim in South Carolina?

Injured victims can recover compensation for their economic damages (monetary losses) and non-economic damages (pain and suffering). Examples of damages for a defective product claim include:

  • Medical bills and expenses
  • Pain and suffering from mental anguish, physical injuries, and emotional distress
  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Impairments, disabilities, scarring, and disfigurement
  • Reduction in earning capacity

Carefully documenting damages increases the value of your claim. Other factors impact how much a product liability case is worth, including the severity of your injuries, the strength of the evidence proving liability, and the parties involved in the case. Our attorneys work to maximize the value of damages to recover a fair settlement or jury verdict for your case. 

Schedule a Free Consultation With our South Carolina Personal Injury Attorney 

If a defective product injured you, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA, to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced South Carolina product liability attorney. Our legal team has extensive experience handling defective product claims. We will help you seek the maximum compensation available for your claim.

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Rectifying a Case in Breach of Fiduciary Duty

A fiduciary owes a duty of care to someone to act in their best interests to benefit them financially. Fiduciary relationships are common in business. A business relationship can create a fiduciary duty to act with full disclosure, fair dealing, and good faith. A party may owe the other party the duty to act with loyalty and confidentiality. Our South Carolina business attorney discusses how parties breach their fiduciary duty and how you can rectify a breach of fiduciary duty.

Examples of Breaches of Fiduciary Duty in South Carolina 

Many business relationships create a fiduciary duty. Examples of parties who may have a fiduciary duty include:

  • Accountants 
  • Employees
  • Guardian or conservator
  • Personal representative 
  • Attorney
  • Trustee
  • Power of attorney 
  • Corporate officer
  • Principals 

A fiduciary is held to the highest standard of conduct when executing their duties. They must act in good faith to do what is in the other party’s best interest. The fiduciary must keep the party’s money and property separate from the fiduciary’s assets. They must also keep accurate and complete records and work to manage the person’s property with care.

Examples of breaches of the fiduciary duty include:

  • Failing to disclose relevant facts and information 
  • Acting in the best interest of a competitor adverse party
  • Denying access to documents by shareholders, clients, or partners
  • Sharing trade secrets and confidential information 
  • Failing to disclose a conflict of interest
  • Acting in the fiduciary’s best interest and/or making side deals
  • Embezzling money from a trust, estate, or client account
  • Negligent management of assets and income 
  • Failing to keep accurate books and records
  • Exposing a partnership to liability because of malfeasance or negligence 
  • Failing to follow the terms of a trust or a Will

The above list is not an exhaustive list of the ways a fiduciary could breach their duty of care. Breaches of fiduciary duty occur in many ways. If you believe a fiduciary breached their duty of care, talk with a lawyer as soon as possible about rectifying a case of breach of fiduciary duty.

What Should I Do if I Suspect a Breach of Fiduciary Duty?

If you believe a person of trust has breached the fiduciary duty they owe to you, investigate the matter immediately. Gather as much information and documentation as you can regarding the matter. Then, seek legal advice from a South Carolina business attorney.

Your attorney may advise you to take one or more actions to protect your best interests and rectify the breach of fiduciary duty. For example, suppose an employee breaches their fiduciary duty. In that case, your attorney may advise you to terminate the employment and take steps to mitigate the damages caused by the breach of duty.

You may need to file a lawsuit to rectify a breach of fiduciary duty. Generally, you have three years to file a lawsuit under South Carolina law. However, you should not wait to consult an attorney. Your lawyer will need to gather evidence proving you had a fiduciary relationship, the other party breached their duty, and you sustained damages because of the breach. 

Schedule a Free Consultation With Our South Carolina Business Attorney 

It can be financially and emotionally devastating if you trust another party and they breach their fiduciary duty. Contact our South Carolina business attorney to discuss how you can rectify a breach of fiduciary duty. You may be entitled to compensation for your damages and financial losses.