Sep 22, 2019
Cindy Speaker: Good afternoon. My name is Cindy Speaker, and I'm your host today for the Biker Justice podcast. My guest is attorney Justin Lovely, and Justin is the managing partner of the Lovely Law Firm, based in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Justin is a personal injury lawyer, and relative to our conversation today, he handles a lot of motorcycle accident cases. In fact, I just learned that [00:00:30] he is not only a founding member but the president-elect of NAMIL, which is the National Academy of Motorcycle Injury Lawyers. So Justin, thanks for being with us today.
Justin Lovely: Thanks, Cindy. Thanks for having me.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah, absolutely. So Justin, tell us how you help bikers.
Justin Lovely: Yeah, well, so like you said, we're a personal injury and criminal defense firm here in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. And we help the biker community a lot down here, 'cause we have a big population of riders in this area. We have two large bike weeks every [00:01:00] year where our whole town turns into the Mecca for a motorcycle rider. And it's everything from a Harley rider to some people on a dirt bike to the crotch rocket street bikes. They all come down to celebrate and really get together. But we handle everything from speeding tickets, DUI as far as the criminal practice. And then the injury practice, obviously we handle workers comp, and then obviously if we have any kind of catastrophic motorcycle accidents, that do unfortunately occur down here during [00:01:30] the tourism season.
Cindy Speaker: I bet. Yeah. Now, are you just in Myrtle Beach, or do you handle all of South Carolina?
Justin Lovely: Well, yeah. So we're a statewide practice. Yeah, our main office is here in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah. So that's interesting. I didn't realize you had big events there in your area. So it's like a perfect place to be located. People are obviously going to need help following some of those activities that sometimes get a little out of hand.
Justin Lovely: [00:02:00] Yeah. So we have a large Harley rally in May, it's the spring rally. It's usually the first weekend of May. And that's, all the Harley dealerships sponsor it, and we get bikers from all across the United States. I mean, it rivals Daytona and Sturgis, then Myrtle Beach. It's a huge rally. And we have a fall rally coming up. It's July now, so we've got a few more months. In October will be the fall rally, and it's not as big as the spring rally, but we still get [00:02:30] a pretty large crowd.
Cindy Speaker: Okay. Wow, interesting. So let's back up a minute here. I'd like you to tell us about your success in representing bikers, both criminal and accident.
Justin Lovely: Yeah. So bikers get a bad rap. And especially if these rallies, or if they're just riding around town and go into like their local poker run or riding as a group, you know, they're going to get profiled by police, unfortunately. So they're [00:03:00] easy targets to get pulled over for a speeding ticket, to get pulled over for an allegation of DUI. And unfortunately, the cops are going to arrest them or give them that charge. And that's it. And a lot of these cases are bogus, and we obviously have to assert their rights and get them out of it. Now, as far as accident cases, that is a whole different animal than motorcyclists, I've found they truly don't understand.
Justin Lovely: [00:03:30] Amy and I actually wrote a book, and I give it to every rider I meet. It's the Motorcycle Rider's Guide to South Carolina's Motorcycle Laws. And we give that to everybody, we give it to groups, we give to everybody we see. And it kind of tells you from step one to settlement what you have to do, what to look out for, facts, figures, different kind of percentages that we've investigated through the National Highway Traffic Safety Association studies.
Justin Lovely: [00:04:00] But as far as successes, yeah, I mean, we handle everything from start to finish with a motorcycle accident. And a lot of times with these motorcycle accidents, the rider is found at fault, unfortunately. So we have to start our investigation, run our whole team through the process, and really get the true facts of what happened in a motorcycle accident. 'Cause a lot of times when the rider goes down he doesn't even remember what happened. So we gotta quick act as an investigation team that goes out there with my investigators and my staff. We get the biker's story, [00:04:30] and then work it from start to finish. And we've been getting some good results for our clients.
Cindy Speaker: Excellent. You know, Justin, it's interesting what you started with when you said bikers kind of get a bad rap. And I think I've definitely seen that. But do you find that there's instances where they are unjustly accused of being the one at fault when in fact that's not the case at all?
Justin Lovely: Yeah, I mean, biker prejudice is a big issue.
Cindy Speaker: Okay. I see, I see. Interesting. Talk to us a [00:05:00] little bit about the stages of a motorcycle accident case. You said it's kind of a different animal, but what are the stages that you go through in working with a client on a motorcycle accident case?
Justin Lovely: Yeah, so the first thing that we do when we're retained on a motorcycle case is, we get our investigators on the scene. We're going to get the accident report when we first sign up a client, and that's pretty much all we have to go on. So at that point in time it's critical that we secure the scene if we can, secure any witness statements, [00:05:30] and gather affidavits if we can. Any roadside videos of the intersection or place where it happened. Then what we have to do is get the client's medical treatment set up and make sure that medical billing is being properly placed, whether that's on the health insurance, if they have it, or if we have to utilize my network of doctors and get them treated on what's called a letter of protection.
Justin Lovely: From there we let the client treat. And hopefully they get better, as best as they can be. And eventually, on down the road, there's going to [00:06:00] come a time when the doctor says "Hey, this is as good as you're going to get." At that point in time we gather medical records and bills, and we can start trying to negotiate the settlement.
Cindy Speaker: Okay. Explain what a letter of protection is.
Justin Lovely: Yeah. So unfortunately everybody does not have health insurance in this world. It's a sad fact. And you know, that's a different, that's for a different podcast. But yeah, a letter of protection, we have a network of chiropractors, orthopedic physicians, physical therapists, primary care [00:06:30] doctors, depending on what the client needs. So we've developed a network over the years of doctors who understand that this person needs treatment and they don't have health insurance, but they agree to accept that letter of protection, which essentially is a letter from my office that says "Health care provider, the Lovely Law Firm agrees to protect your interests out of the settlement funds that come your way so that my client can get the treatment they need and ultimately work their case up."
Cindy Speaker: Oh, excellent. Yeah. Well, now let's talk a minute about [00:07:00] insurance coverage. Because, so when a biker is injured, is it their health insurance that covers that?
Justin Lovely: Well, and here's a good little tidbit in South Carolina. We have what's called the collateral source rule here. So I always tell my biker clients, if they have health insurance I want that to be the primary payor. And the reason I want that, Cindy, is these health insurance providers have contracted prices with the healthcare providers. So they may be paying 20 [00:07:30] cents on the dollar for what the actual full bill is. But with that collateral source rule, when I go to settle the rider's claim, I'm able to present full damages. So if it's a $100 bill and their health insurance paid $20 on it, I'm able to say "Hey, my biker client has $100 of damages," it's not the 20. Now, your health insurance may put a lien on the potential recovery. But we also negotiate that down at the end as well. And that's part of what we do for the bikers.
Cindy Speaker: [00:08:00] Okay. That is very interesting. You know, Justin, when you're talking about this, honestly I think it's so imperative that someone that's in an accident like this get an attorney. Because the reality is, these are not commonly known things.
Justin Lovely: You're absolutely correct. And what people do not know can ruin them financially in one of these accidents. I mean, your ER bill alone when you fall [00:08:30] on a motorcycle is catastrophic. I mean, a lot of times I'll see these bills and it's more than people's homes. I mean, it's just crazy. So yeah, and you've got to remember, do you have not only your health insurance, but do you have coverage on your first party policy? You know, oftentimes you may be calling your insurance company and you're just trying to get the [00:09:00] cheapest insurance, or you think you have full coverage. That's the classic line. "Hey, I've got full coverage, Mr. Lovely." Well, then I research it and they are not adequately protected. And what they did is, they put their all eggs in one basket with the insurance salesman and they weren't adequately protected.
Cindy Speaker: Okay. So kind of give us a scenario of what you recommend as the optimal situation in terms of insurance.
Justin Lovely: Right. Now, what you need, especially as a motorcycle rider, [00:09:30] you have to get what's called underinsured motorist coverage. And what that is, that's referred to in South Carolina as UIM coverage. Now uninsured coverage is required in South Carolina for $25,000, but underinsured coverage is not required. So to save money, you might be sold a policy that is not going to protect you in the event that someone is not adequately insured. Now, you can't count on the guy who's going to hit you to be able to pay all your medical [00:10:00] bills. I preach that to all my biker clients. You have to get this UIM coverage. Now, your salesman or your company, your insurance company, has to make you what's called a meaningful offer of this coverage. But I always recommend, get as much as you can possibly afford. Another thing I always recommend is personal injury protection coverage, PIP coverage. That's no-fault coverage that will cover your accident, your injuries, even if you're at fault. And I always recommend, whatever your health insurance deductible is, get that in PIP, and then obviously [00:10:30] be adequately protected with your UIM coverage.
Cindy Speaker: Okay. Now, the PIP coverage that you speak of, is that relevant to ... And motorcycle insurance policy, I'm familiar with that for auto accidents, but is there PIP in the motorcycle policies as well?
Justin Lovely: Right, so again, that's an optional coverage, Cindy, and you can buy that for your motorcycle coverage.
Cindy Speaker: I see. Okay. Okay, interesting. Justin, tell us some of the issues that can actually hurt an accident claim.
Justin Lovely: Yeah, the big ones that I'll always see are [00:11:00] giving a statement to the liability adjuster. Oftentimes, again, we spoke earlier about the biker prejudice. They're going to try to put the blame on the biker, and it may not be the biker's fault. So I always tell my clients never give a statement. If we're ever going to give a statement, it's going to be for settlement purposes only. It's going to be in my office. I'm going to be sitting right next to you. Or it's going to be at a deposition if we had to try the case. Okay? 'Cause we're not going to let them put words in your mouth and use it later [00:11:30] on to deny or delay your claim.
Justin Lovely: Another thing that I see is not seeking treatment. Let's face it, as bikers we try to be tough. It might be a small accident, but you never know. I see on these small accidents, someone who'll say, they're complaining about neck and back pain, take ibuprofen. A couple of months down the road they've got a slipped disc. Okay, if you don't seek that treatment and get that documented, then all an adjuster and an insurance company is going to say is "Well, that wasn't caused by your wreck. That was a [00:12:00] degenerative issue, that was caused by something else." So it's very important that they seek treatment immediately and don't be tough. Tell the doctor everything, every little thing that's hurting you.
Justin Lovely: One more thing is witness gathering. And this is so important too. You may fall, there may be other people around, and we can't wait on that. I mean, that's why an attorney needs to be hired immediately, because we get our investigators to talk to these witnesses, get the affidavits in hand [00:12:30] that we can be able to use later. Because memories fade. Let's face it, you may have saw something catastrophic, and then if I talk to you a month later you can't really tell me everything, or you can't remember all the facts. So the quicker I can get my investigators to talk to them, the quicker I can talk to them, the better the story can be worked up for the client.
Justin Lovely: And then finally, Cindy, I know I'm long-winded.
Cindy Speaker: No, that's great.
Justin Lovely: But thinking they can do it themselves. I mean, again, we all try to be loners on our motorcycle. We want to [00:13:00] be the tough guy. But you can't handle this on your own. Talk to a lawyer, and if it's me I'd be great to help you. But you definitely need some representation when you've got a motorcycle accident.
Cindy Speaker: Well, and I think that's very clear based on this conversation, honestly. 'Cause as I said before, I mean, the average person is not gonna understand the nuances of all of this. Just in the beginning when you talked about health insurance and the value of using your health insurance initially, I mean, the average person is not going to know that. And the [00:13:30] ability for you to get an accident investigation team out there to solidify the fact that if in fact the motorcycle rider was not at fault, that you can prove that.
Justin Lovely: That's vital to any kind of accident.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah. Yeah. Excellent. Well, tell us about your involvement in the rider community, 'cause I know you're pretty involved.
Justin Lovely: Yeah. So all my lawyers and my whole staff, we talked earlier, we spoke about those bike weeks. We participate in those, and [00:14:00] we go out and we hang out with the bikers for a week. We usually go to the local Harley-Davidson dealership. We have a legal guide that I told you about, the South Carolina Rider's Guide to South Carolina Laws that Amy and I written a few years back. And we give that to everybody. I'm actually working on an update that I'm gonna give out again, that'll probably be done by the end of the year. I've got VIP cards that we give away through NAMIL that really explains the rider's rights, and hopefully [00:14:30] they keep that on them and hope they never fall. But if they do fall, that'll be right there at their hip and they're able to utilize that in the event of an accident. You know, NAMIL's doing this motorcycle giveaway. So we've been involved with the motorcycle community, really promoting that. They can get a brand new Harley FXDR model if they win that. I think NAMIL's giving that out in October of this year.
Cindy Speaker: Wow. How do they enter for that?
Justin Lovely: Oh yeah, so you just go [00:15:00] to, well, if you're in the local Myrtle Beach market, just go to bikerswin.com/MyrtleBeach, and they simply just sign up, and we're going to give it away to one lucky biker.
Cindy Speaker: Wow, that's cool. I want you to clarify one other thing. I know who Amy is, but explain who Amy is, 'cause we've mentioned her a few times. Let's clarify who she is.
Justin Lovely: Oh yeah, let's clarify, 'cause she's probably the best rider here in this office at least. Yeah, Amy ...
Cindy Speaker: That's great.
Justin Lovely: Amy is my wife and she's my law partner. She handles all the civil [00:15:30] rights and criminal defense caseload here in the docket, and we started this law firm in an 8X10 office, and we've grown it to five lawyers and 12 staff and over 400 cases. And we've been helping bikers all along. And actually, Cindy, that was our first personal injury case, was a motorcycle case.
Cindy Speaker: How about that.
Justin Lovely: Yeah, we both grew up riding. She grew up riding dirt bikes and so did I. We've got two little boys, so we kind of backed off a little bit of hardcore rider, 'cause ... But we're starting to get back into it, 'cause they're getting older.
Cindy Speaker: That's [00:16:00] great. You know, it's interesting, Justin. I rode as a young person, I rode for years, and finally my nephew decided he wanted to ride. And he came over, he was asking to ride my bike, and I thought "Okay, I gotta sell it. 'Cause I can't say no to him, but I do not want him ..." He was still young. He was just too young, I didn't want to take the risk.
Justin Lovely: Yeah. Every time I tell my mom about a ride or an event we did to this day, she still tells me get off the bike, get off the bike. But when you're a rider, once you're sucked in, you gotta [00:16:30] have that wind therapy.
Cindy Speaker: Oh, that's great. Wind therapy, I like that. Tell me a little bit about NAMIL. And interesting, hey, that's really cool that you're the president-elect. Tell us about that group and why you joined it.
Justin Lovely: Yeah, so I'm a member of some other groups, and I've met an attorney, his name is Ken Hardison. He was a lawyer, he's an older lawyer, he used to have a big practice out of Raleigh, North Carolina. And we've kind of been talking and getting together, [00:17:00] and we got this small group together. And we decided "Hey, let's see if we can get together a specific motorcycle group." So he got up, he said "Well, it's gotta be something good, 'cause everybody's got to participate. And we gotta try to get what's the best of the best for these bikers." And what I mean by that is, what's working in a market may not work in another. Or what kind of trial strategy is working right now? What kind of pre-litigation strategy is working? So we all started getting together talking, and he kind of formed a group.
Justin Lovely: It's a good group of lawyers, [00:17:30] we're from all across the country, 100% committed and representing motorcycle riders. And these are the cream of the crop personal injury lawyers in the whole United States. So these kind of guys, they need to show competency in motorcycle law. They gotta show substantial experience in handling these cases. Can't just be a young buck straight out of law school. It's gotta be somebody who knows what they're doing. We're all recognized by our peers as a leading attorney in the motorcycle injury field. And then we've got to demonstrate substantial involvement in the community with these [00:18:00] riders. And that basically will improve our practice, elevates the standards, and advances the cause, and protects motorcyclists' rights all across the US.
Cindy Speaker: Wow. Fantastic. Now, where can you find this online? Because I'm thinking, actually we want to send them to your website, but I'm interested in understanding more about NAMIL. Is it NAMNIL.com, or how do they find that?
Justin Lovely: Yeah, it's NAMIL-law.organization.
Cindy Speaker: Okay.
Justin Lovely: [00:18:30] And that's N-A-M-I-L, the National Academy of Motorcycle Injury Lawyers.
Cindy Speaker: Okay.
Justin Lovely: That can get you to that site.
Cindy Speaker: Okay. Now for South Carolina, Justin, tell us about where you're located, how to reach you in case someone has questions about a motorcycle accident.
Justin Lovely: Yeah, so we're located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We're in a new office here at 1053 London Street. We're in the financial district off 38th Avenue and Grissom Parkway. And you can call me anytime, [00:19:00] (843) 839-4111 or simply go to my website, JusticeIsLovely.com. And we're available 24/7 for the rider community. They can call me. Feel free to stop by, I'll go over their insurance policy for free. I always can see if the riders are adequately protected, that way hopefully they never have to call me again for legal services. But at least I can meet with them, I can even ride with them, and then we can develop that relationship.
Cindy Speaker: That's awesome. That's awesome. Just great information. I think [00:19:30] it's really helpful. I do want to ask one more thing.
Justin Lovely: Sure.
Cindy Speaker: There's no cost associated with calling you, is there?
Justin Lovely: No, I'll talk to you for free. I'll sit down. Whatever legal problem you may have, the Lovely Law Firm, we never charge a consultation fee.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah. Excellent. Excellent. Well, listen, we really appreciate you taking the time to talk to us today.
Justin Lovely: Yeah, Cindy. I appreciate it.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah, that's great. Well, listen, to those of you that are listening, if you have questions or comments, Justin just told you how to reach his firm, reach him online. I know [00:20:00] that you can call him any time. Reach out to him, and his team is very responsive, and I know they'll be happy to help. Well, thanks everybody. Be safe and enjoy the ride.
The Lovely Law Firm represents clients in Myrtle Beach and surrounding areas with criminal and personal injury cases.
Firms past performance and experience does not guarantee future results. No fee if no recovery. Injury cases are handled on a contingency fee calculated before expenses from gross recovery. Costs are paid by the client regardless of outcome.
The Lovely Law Firm is located at 1053 London St., Myrtle Beach, SC 29577 Justin M. Lovely