Personal Injury Law Blog

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

Workers’ Compensation and Death Benefits

April 27th, 2015

A variety of different workplaces contain hazards that can be harmful to employees’ health and safety. Though workers’ compensation is designed to assist workers while they recover from their injuries, family members might also be eligible for benefits in the tragic event of the employee’s death.

Workers’ Memorial Day is held on April 28 each year. It is a time to remember the workers who passed away while performing their duties, as well as an opportunity for employees to push for safer working conditions.

Like many states, West Virginia’s workers’ compensation program provides benefits to the decedent’s spouse and dependent children. Death benefits include burial expenses and financial support in the form of a percentage of the worker’s average weekly wage.

When a loved one dies from injuries sustained on the job, no amount of money can bring the person back. However, the purpose of death benefits in workers’ compensation claims is to offset the financial toll on immediate family members who have lost the source of their household income – a substantial burden for people who are already grieving the loss of a loved one.

The laws governing workers’ compensation are complex. Furthermore, employers and insurance carriers can dispute or deny a worker’s claim.

For all of these reasons and more, it is very important for families dealing with the aftermath of an on-the-job injury to seek an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer who can fight for the employee’s rights.

If you were hurt or a loved one died at work, please call Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, at (304) 865-8530 for a no-cost consultation. Our Morgantown workers’ compensation lawyers serve working people throughout West Virginia.

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Don’t Answer: Avoid Distracted Driving Accidents

April 6th, 2015

Though technological advances have made it possible to answer the phone and even write a text message hands-free, research shows that these innovations haven’t resulted in improvements to driver safety. Distracted driving is still a leading cause of car accidents, no matter what form the distraction takes.

April is Distracted Driving Month. This year the National Safety Council is raising awareness to dispel the myth that hands-free technology is safer for motorists.

More and more of the clients who speak with our Morgantown car accident attorneys report that the driver responsible for the crash was focused on technology instead of the road. And texting isn’t the only technology-based distraction causing collisions. Others include:

  • Making phone calls
  • Checking voicemail
  • Browsing the Internet
  • Reading and responding to emails
  • Using social media
  • Switching tracks or changing the volume on an MP3 player or other audio device
  • Looking at GPS

Of course, distractions can take other forms, from chatty passengers to unruly pets. The goal of groups like the National Safety Council is to remind drivers that their first priority should be watching the road, not paying more attention to matters inside the car.

Distracted drivers see only about 50% of their surroundings. If you or a family member happened to be in the wrong half and sustained injuries as a result, our lawyers can pursue the compensation you deserve from the careless driver.

Please contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, online or call (304) 865-8530 for a no-cost consultation. Our Morgantown car accident attorneys are proud to represent victims of distracted driving and other forms of negligence.

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Staying Safe in Roadway Work Zones

March 25th, 2015

National Work Zone Awareness Week kicked off in Virginia on Monday. The start of spring effectively marks the beginning of outdoor construction season, which is why government agencies draw attention to the need for both workers and drivers to be careful at these sites in order to avoid construction accidents.

Expect the Unexpected” is the theme of this year’s National Work Zone Awareness Week. Construction workers know that any job site can be hazardous. However, road crews must also deal with the added danger of traffic moving through the zone.

Some of the biggest dangers for highway workers stem from the following careless behaviors drivers engage in when passing through a work zone:

  • Not paying attention to workers or equipment in the road
  • Failure to follow posted signs and signals
  • Exceeding the modified speed limit
  • Inappropriate lane changes
  • Distracted driving
  • Tailgating other vehicles

For road workers, being struck by a vehicle is a tragic occupational hazard. It can not only result in serious injury but also rob victims of their ability to earn wages to support their families.

Our Morgantown attorneys have extensive experience representing the victims of construction accidents, including those occurring in highway work zones. Please call Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, at 1 (304) 865-8530 for a no-cost consultation.

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St. Patrick’s Day Drunk Driving Accidents

March 16th, 2015

Communities across the country take St. Patrick’s Day as an opportunity to celebrate Irish heritage in America. Unfortunately, some revelers mistake the holiday as an opportunity to drink to excess. If you were hurt by a drunk driver on St. Patrick’s Day, our Morgantown car accident lawyers can pursue maximum damages for your injuries.

Alcohol is a constant of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Beer, whiskey, and other beverages cloud judgment and contribute heavily to poor decision-making. A driver who drinks too much takes an unacceptable risk by getting behind the wheel.

Common venues for over-consumption on St. Patrick’s Day include:

  • Bars and restaurants
  • Festivals
  • Parades
  • House parties

Under West Virginia law, vendors that serve alcohol to a noticeably intoxicated person can be held liable for injuries caused by the drunk individual in an incident such as a car accident. State law does not apply this same provision to social events hosted by a private individual, though.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 275 drunk driving deaths occurred on St. Patrick’s Day from 2009 to 2013. If you suffered serious harm or someone you care about was killed in a car accident in which alcohol was involved, you might be entitled to considerable compensation.

Please call Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, at (304) 865-8530 today for a no-cost consultation with one of our experienced Morgantown lawyers.

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Winter Weather and Truck Accidents

March 9th, 2015

A lawmaker in neighboring Pennsylvania is pushing for legislation that would require drivers of tractor-trailers to remove snow and ice from the tops of their rigs. Frozen debris can fall off of a semi onto nearby vehicles, resulting in truck accidents that could end in serious injury or even death.

According to National Public Radio, the trucking industry says laws requiring drivers to clear the tops of their rigs could be expensive and put operators at risk. Unfortunately, a truck driver’s failure to take other safety precautions during winter can also lead to accidents.

Other possible causes of truck accidents on cold weather roads include:

  • Failure to put chains on tires
  • Excess speed on slick or snowy roads
  • Not allowing extra room to come to a complete stop
  • Improper loading, which increases the risk of jackknifing or making the rig tip over in strong winds

Even in bad weather, truck drivers are expected to make tight deadlines. The need to be on time can cause some drivers to take risks that put themselves and others on the road in jeopardy. Reckless actions behind the wheel can become even more dangerous when ice, snow, and other hazards make driving conditions less than ideal.

If you or a loved one was seriously hurt because of the carelessness of someone in an 18-wheeler, our Parkersburg truck accident attorneys can build a strong claim on your behalf. Please call (304) 865-8530 today for a no-cost evaluation of your case.

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Brain Injury Treatment Options

March 4th, 2015

Starting this month, the Brain Injury Association of America is starting a three-year campaign with a moving message. March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, and the theme for 2015 to 2017 is Not Alone.

Millions of Americans suffer brain injury each year from many different types of trauma. As they recover, victims often face physical, mental, and emotional obstacles. Families, caregivers, and members of the community share this difficult journey with brain injury victims.

Emergency medical care is always necessary when serious head injury occurs. Once the patient is stable, treatment will focus on restoring function and preventing the onset of secondary conditions. Treatment options might include:

  • Drug therapy to combat seizures, reduce fluid buildup, manage pain, and regulate mood
  • Physical rehabilitation
  • Speech therapy
  • Mental health counseling
  • Developing coping strategies for cognitive disabilities

Treatment for brain injury is a long-term process. The aftermath of the trauma often compromises an individual’s ability to work, perform daily tasks, and enjoy life with friends and family. If someone you care about suffered brain injury due to the negligence or misconduct of another person, you and your loved ones are not alone.

At Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, we have substantial experience helping victims of brain injury pursue the compensation they deserve. For a no-cost consultation, please call (304) 865-8530 to speak with one of our dedicated Morgantown lawyers today.

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Damages in Railroad Injury Cases

February 23rd, 2015

Though fiery pictures of the derailment of a train transporting crude oil in Fayette County made national headlines this week, incredibly just one instance of minor injury was reported in the wake of the explosion. Many railroad accidents come to much worse ends with a significant number of serious injuries and even deaths.

According to the Charleston Daily Mail, two towns were evacuated after more than half of the nearly 30 derailed tanker cars caught fire, sending columns of flame and black smoke into the air. Concerns were also raised about oil spilling into a river near the accident site.

Train accidents often have a major impact on the communities that share space with a railroad. Passengers and other bystanders who suffer severe injuries in these catastrophic incidents might be eligible to recover compensation for:

  • Medical bills
  • Long-term care costs
  • Forfeited wages and lost earning ability
  • Destroyed property
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish

Some victims who suffer serious railroad injury tragically don’t survive. If a family member perished in a train accident, our attorneys can build a wrongful death case on your behalf to against the rail company and other negligent parties.

Cases involving trains can be complex, which is why it’s important to find experienced legal counsel capable of handling your claim. Please call Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, today at (304) 865-8530 for a no-cost review of your railroad injury case. Serving Charleston and the surrounding communities.

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What Is Traumatic Brain Injury?

February 16th, 2015

Any type of serious injury is cause for concern. However, due to the sensitivity of the affected area and the many effects trauma can cause, brain injuries often take the harshest toll on accident victims and their families.

A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is far more than just a simple bump on the head. Damage to the brain can seriously affect not just physical and mental function but fundamentally change aspects of the victim’s personality. Coma, intracranial bleeding, and other complications can arise without timely treatment.

When a patient presents with a suspected TBI, doctors will evaluate the site of the injury and gather as much information as possible on what caused it. Traumatic brain injuries are divided into three categories based on severity:

  • Mild: Often referred to as a concussion, symptoms are usually temporary and heal with time, though monitoring is necessary
  • Moderate: Loss of consciousness and physical and cognitive impairments more pronounced; rehabilitation likely required
  • Severe: Prolonged loss of consciousness and significant impairment

Regardless of the severity of a TBI, any injury to the head should be taken seriously. Patients who suffer a light concussion might not even be aware they’re hurt, but the impact of even a minor brain injury can be significant without diagnosis and proper care.

If you or a loved one sustained a brain injury due to another party’s negligence, please call Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, today at 1 (877) 526-5461 (1-877-JANJIM1) for a no-cost consultation with our Morgantown attorneys.

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How Many Lives Do Safer Cars Save?

February 9th, 2015

Researchers at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently arrived at a first: They identified not one but nine different car models with no driver deaths stemming from car accidents.

All of these zero-fatality vehicles were 2011 models. Six of the nine cars were sport utility vehicles. Toyota manufactured two of the models, the Sequoia 4WD and Highlander hybrid 4WD, while the other cars were made by Volvo, Subaru, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Kia, Honda, and Audi.

The IIHS study estimates that stability control features, automatic brake sensors, and other technological innovations have saved nearly 8,000 people from perishing in car accidents within the last 30 years. This is a substantial decrease, but it’s only a fraction of the lives that are still lost each year in collisions.

More than 30,000 people are killed in car accidents every year. Though road features, vehicle defects, and other factors account for some of these deaths, many are the result of driver error.

Speeding, distracted driving, and alcohol use are just a few of the factors that can make drivers behave carelessly behind the wheel. Inattentive behavior not only puts the lives of drivers and their passengers in danger, but also makes the occupants of other cars more likely to be hurt or killed, too.

If you lost a loved one to a negligent driver, our Morgantown car accident lawyers can provide aggressive representation and compassionate support through each step of your claim. Please call Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, at 1 (877) 526-5461 (1-877-JANJIM1) today for your non-cost consultation.

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Malpractice in the Operating Room

February 2nd, 2015

Any type of surgery requires a high level of care to be completed successfully. If you suspect your loved one suffered severe injury or tragically passed away due to malpractice, our Morgantown attorneys can build a strong case on your family’s behalf.

One high-profile example of surgery gone wrong that has made headlines since last year is the passing of comedienne Joan Rivers after complications occurred during an endoscopy. Melissa Rivers, Joan’s daughter, recently filed a malpractice lawsuit against the clinic and the medical personnel who performed the procedure.

Negligence in a medical malpractice case involving surgical errors can take many different forms before, during, and after the procedure, including:

  • Preoperative: Inadequate patient screening, failure to assess medical history, not obtaining informed consent, etc.
  • During surgery: Poor communication among members of the surgical team, wrong-site surgery, anesthesia error, misuse of instruments and equipment, etc.
  • Postoperative: Infection, failure to monitor the patient or perform followup care, internal bleeding or blood clots, premature discharge, etc.

Hospitals and clinics are often represented by large legal teams and medical malpractice lawsuits are governed by complicated laws. If your family is reeling from the injury or loss of a loved one and you suspect negligence in the operating room, our experienced lawyers can take action on your behalf so you can focus on healing alongside those most important to you.

Please contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, online or call 1 (877) 526-5461 (1-877-JANJIM1) today for a no-cost review of your malpractice claim by our committed Morgantown attorneys.

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