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Personal Injury Law Blog

West Virginia and Ohio Personal Injury Legal Topics by Jan Dils & Jim Leach

How Are Damages Determined in a Personal Injury Case?

April 11th, 2014

No two injury cases are exactly alike, and the potential compensation available to a given plaintiff can also vary from one claim to another. A qualified, experienced Parkersburg personal injury attorney can evaluate the details of your case and pursue the damages you deserve from the party responsible.

When trying a personal injury case, our lawyers investigate the matter thoroughly in order to determine the level of harm a client suffered and how much compensation it would take to make the client and his/her family whole again.

Factors that could affect the type and amount of damages you might be entitled to will include:

  • The type and extent of physical injuries you sustained
  • Economic losses you suffered due to time missed from work
  • Whether or not you’re eligible for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering
  • The nature of the incident that caused your injuries
  • The defendant’s actions; if the court finds that the defendant’s conduct was especially reckless or malicious, you might be able to recover punitive damages

One element that could potentially diminish the value of your case is your own role, if any, in the accident that caused your injuries. West Virginia has implemented a comparative fault rule where the damages sought by a victim can be cut by up to 49 percent depending on the level to which the plaintiff is found partially responsible for the accident.

To begin building your personal injury case, please contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, or call 1-877-526-5461 today to schedule your no-cost consultation. Our lawyers serve clients in and around Parkersburg, West Virginia.

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Car Accidents Caused by Cell Phone Use

April 4th, 2014

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, a time to bring attention to the dangers of cell phone use behind the wheel. If you were injured in a car accident because of a distracted driver, it’s important to know that you have legal recourse: Our Morgantown lawyers can pursue the compensation you deserve.

In an attempt to curb car accidents due to the distractions stemming from mobile devices, West Virginia has instituted laws against cell phone use while operating a motor vehicle. Key details of the law include:

  • Drivers are prohibited from texting, making or receiving calls, surfing the Internet, or using other functions on a handheld device except in emergency situations; hands-free operation is allowed
  • If a police officer sees a driver using a cell phone, he or she can be pulled over without violating other traffic laws
  • Fines begin at $100 for a first offense

The most recent data available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that more than 400,000 people were injured in a single year from car accidents involving a distracted driver. No matter how strict state laws are against cell phone use while driving, some drivers will still value access to technology over safety.

If you were hurt because the driver in another vehicle didn’t put down the phone, you might be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and more. Please contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, or call 1-877-526-5461 today to schedule a consultation with our committed Morgantown car accident lawyers.

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How Soon Should I Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer?

March 28th, 2014

If you’ve been injured because of the negligence or misconduct of another person, it’s always better to contact an attorney sooner than later. Our experienced Parkersburg personal injury lawyers can perform a no-cost evaluation of your case and begin a thorough investigation immediately to help you pursue the compensation you deserve.

West Virginia law requires that all personal injury claims be filed no later than two years after the date the injury occurred. Though this is the absolute “deadline” for your case, you should plan on consulting an attorney as soon as possible after the accident that caused your injuries.

Seeking legal counsel early will benefit the strength of your case in a number of ways, including:

  • The scene of the accident will be relatively unchanged
  • Witness accounts are clearer and more consistent
  • The police report and other key documents will be readily available
  • Your lawyer can evaluate and advise you on any settlement offers from the party at fault

After sustaining severe injuries, your quality of life could be affected in a number of ways. A dedicated personal injury lawyer can build a strong case on your behalf while you focus on recovery. Our attorneys will fight for any and all damages you’re entitled to, including medical costs, lost income and diminished earning ability, pain and suffering, and more.

Please contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, or call 1-877-526-5461 today to begin building your personal injury case. Our lawyers serve clients in or around Parkersburg and other areas of West Virginia.

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Who Can Be Held Liable in Defective Vehicle Cases?

March 21st, 2014

General Motors recently announced the recall of 1.5 million vehicles, according to Yahoo! Autos. Encompassing multiple makes and model years from 2008 to this year, issues include unsafe airbags and even fire danger. Our Charleston attorneys have extensive experience in defective product cases. If you or a loved one was injured because of a faulty car, truck, or SUV, we can investigate thoroughly and build an effective case on your behalf.

Auto manufacturers like GM are usually the parties you hear about in product liability cases involving defective motor vehicles. However, any party that introduces a defect into an automobile can also face liability if the flaw causes injury to a consumer.

Parties involved in the following could also be held liable in a defective vehicle claim:

  • Design: For failing to correct a flaw in a vehicle before it was manufactured
  • Parts: Along with the car’s manufacturer, producers of individual components could face liability for faulty equipment
  • Shipping: If the vehicle was damaged in the move from the factory to the dealership, the company responsible for transit could be liable
  • Dealerships: In some cases, the sellers of new or used cars can be responsible for the defect that caused your injuries

If the vehicle defect led to a serious car accident, the negligent driver who caused the collision could also be liable for your injuries.

To find out more about how our attorneys can help you pursue compensation in a defective product case, please contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, or call 1-877-526-5461 today to schedule your consultation at our office near Charleston, West Virginia.

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How Long Do I Have to File My Injury Claim?

March 19th, 2014

Whenever you pursue a legal remedy in civil court, it’s important to be aware of your state’s statute of limitations. If you’ve been hurt because of somebody else’s misconduct, please visit our Parkersburg injury attorneys sooner rather than later.

The ideal time to consult a lawyer is as soon as possible after you’ve completed the initial medical treatment for any injuries you suffered in the accident. Our attorneys will begin building a case on your behalf so you and your loved ones can focus on your recovery.

All prospective plaintiffs in West Virginia should know the statute of limitations for civil matters like the following:

  • Personal injury and property damage cases must be filed no more than two years after the incident occurred
  • Product liability claims must be filed within two years of the date of the injury, or when the injury should have been reasonably discovered
  • Two-year window to bring wrongful death actions

When injury occurs due to the carelessness of a medical professional, plaintiffs have two years from the date of the trauma or the date when the injury should have been discoverable to initiate a medical malpractice case. If the injury victim is a minor, parents have two years or until the child reaches age 12, whichever allows more time, to file suit against the negligent health care provider.

Please contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, or call 1-877-526-5461 today to schedule a no-cost consultation with our Parkersburg injury attorneys.

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How Can I Tell If a Nursing Home Is Safe?

March 7th, 2014

According to a report released last year by the National Research Corporation, 88 percent of nursing home residents are satisfied overall with their facility. For families making the difficult decision to moved a loved one to a nursing home, though, it’s still important to evaluate any prospective care center diligently. If caregivers mistreat your loved one, our Charleston nursing home abuse lawyers can pursue the damages you and your family deserve.

Choosing a nursing home for an aging relative can be emotional, often requiring a great deal of faith in the professionalism and compassion of the staff. Steps you can take to vet the quality of care at a facility include:

  • Making multiple visits to the nursing home, varying day and time to see the facility at all hours
  • Assessing safety features, cleanliness, and other conditions
  • Observing resident behavior during free time and meals, as well as interaction with staff
  • Noting visible signs of nursing home abuse or neglect, such as bruising or bed sores
  • Speaking with the administrator about the ratio of caregivers to residents, staff turnover, and other issues that could impact quality of care
  • Contacting the long-term care ombudsman to learn more about nursing homes in the Charleston area

Once your loved one is settled, he or she should be treated with care and dignity. If members of the staff fail to provide the standard of care your family member deserves, our lawyers can begin legal action on your behalf.

To find out more about how our lawyers can help your family recover from nursing home abuse, please contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, or call 1-877-526-5461 today to schedule a no-cost evaluation of your case. Our attorneys serve clients throughout the Charleston area.

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How Are Dog Bites Treated?

February 28th, 2014

Though they can be faithful, loyal pets, animal instinct can also cause dogs to become vicious and territorial if they feel threatened. If you were injured by a dog bite, our experienced Charleston attorneys can help you pursue restitution from the dog’s owner.

The very first thing you should do after suffering a dog bite is seek medical attention. In addition to the initial trauma of the attack, dog bites also carry the risk of infection if not treated properly by a health care professional.

Initially, your doctor will examine the wound to gauge its severity. While dog bites might break the skin, they can also cause damage to underlying tissue such as muscles, tendons, or nerves. The caregiver might apply a local anesthetic to the site of the injury to ease discomfort during the exam

After assessing the bite, treatment might entail the following steps:

  • Cleaning the wound with saline solution to remove bacteria and dirt
  • Review of options on closing the wound with sutures or letting it heal independently
  • Surgical repair of severe skin or tissue damage, if needed
  • Antibiotics prescription for one to two weeks after the attack
  • Rabies vaccine, if deemed necessary

Once you’ve received treatment for your dog bites injuries, our attorneys can help you build an effective case. Please contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, or call 1-877-526-5461 today to set up a no-cost review of your claim at our office near Charleston.

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Improper Loads in Truck Accident Cases

February 25th, 2014

Trucking companies and truck drivers are subject to a number of federal regulations on how rigs should be loaded, maximum weight limits, and the frequency of load inspections. Failure to follow these rules can lead to devastating consequences for nearby drivers if the cargo comes loose or isn’t properly placed in the truck. Our Charleston truck accident attorneys can help you pursue the compensation you deserve for injuries sustained due to the mishandling of freight.

Along with a maximum weight limit of 80,000 pounds when fully loaded, truck drivers are required to ensure loads are secured before beginning a haul and periodically check on the load’s stability during the trip. It’s mandatory for truckers to inspect loads within the first 50 miles of a trip, followed by reexaminations every three hours or 150 miles, whichever comes first.

Improper loads make trucks dangerous for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Cargo can become dislodged and collide with other vehicles, or create hazards on the road
  • Imbalanced weight, potentially making the truck overturn or jackknife when turning corners
  • Poorly distributed weight puts uneven pressure on brakes, which can wear them down and cause overheating

Though each case is different, multiple parties could be liable for your injuries, including the truck driver, freight company, and/or shipping company. Our attorneys will thoroughly investigate the accident and build a strong case on your behalf.

If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, please contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, or call 1-877-526-5461 today to set up your no-cost consultation. Our attorneys proudly represent clients in or around Charleston, West Virginia.

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Does West Virginia Limit Medical Malpractice Damages?

February 12th, 2014

Having to seek medical attention for a serious illness or injury is difficult enough without a doctor, nurse, or other health care professional failing to provide adequate treatment. If you or a loved one sustained injuries because of a health care provider’s reckless conduct, our Charleston medical malpractice attorneys can help you through every step in your fight for restitution.

Malpractice occurs when medical professionals fail to uphold an adequate standard of care, encompassing multiple circumstances including misdiagnosis, disregarding proper procedures, and neglecting to warn patients about potential side effects. Depending on the specific nature of your case, you might be entitled to economic damages such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Long-term care costs
  • Lost wages

Economic damages are compensation for injuries that have a definable dollar amount attached to them. West Virginia law places no limit on the economic damages a plaintiff can win in a medical malpractice case.

Depending on the circumstances, you might also be awarded non-economic damages. Non-economic damages can be more difficult to assign a specific monetary cost, but nonetheless cause harm to the plaintiff. Examples include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Impaired quality of life

Though the impact on you and your family can be no less devastating, West Virginia law does cap non-economic medical malpractice damages to $250,000. If the court determines that the injuries were particularly catastrophic, such as permanent disability, disfigurement, or wrongful death, this award could be increased to $500,000.

To begin building your medical malpractice claim, please contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, or call 1-877-526-5461 today to set up a no-cost review of your case. We proudly represent clients in or around Charleston.

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Who Can Be Held Liable in Burn Injury Cases?

February 5th, 2014

February 2 through February 8 marks National Burn Awareness Week, an observance dedicated to educating people on ways to avoid becoming one of the estimated 2.4 million burn injuries Americans suffer each year. If you live in West Virginia and you sustained burn injuries because of somebody’s careless behavior, Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, can help you pursue the compensation you deserve.

The irresponsible conduct of another party can often lead to serious injuries, including burns. Our attorneys will diligently investigate the incident to determine the party or parties at fault for causing your injuries.

Personal injury claims can encompass a wide variety of cases. Depending on the nature of your burn injury case, potentially liable parties might include:

  • A reckless driver who caused a car accident
  • The company responsible for designing, manufacturing, or selling a defective product
  • Property owners who fail to keep the premises safe, such as not installing or maintaining functional smoke detectors
  • Employers who expose workers to hazardous conditions

Burn injuries often require a lengthy period of healing, and even after the initial recovery victims can suffer from ongoing pain, complications, and scarring. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you might be entitled to damages for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, to name a few examples.

To begin building a claim for your burn injuries, please contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, or call 1-877-526-5461 today to schedule your no-cost consultation. We serve clients in or around the Parkersburg, Charleston, and Morgantown areas of West Virginia.

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Your understanding of the information on this web page about personal injury law does not constitute a formal legal relationship with the personal injury lawyers at Jan Dils & Jim Leach Attorneys at Law, PLLC. Please do not assume this content to be formal legal advise. If you would like to know if you have a valid personal injury claim, please contact a West Virginia personal injury lawyer today for a complimentary consultation. Serving the Charleston, Huntington, Morgantown, Parkersburg, and Wheeling, West Virginia and Athens and Belpre, Ohio.

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