Personal Injury Law Blog

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

5 Steps for a Safer Super Bowl Sunday

January 29th, 2015

Super Bowl XLIX is this Sunday. Unfortunately, football’s biggest night is often disturbed by a sobering statistic: Nearly half of the car accident deaths that occur in this one-day period are due to drinking and driving.

Getting behind the wheel sober is the responsibility of each and every driver. Failure to do so can lead to catastrophic injuries and worse.

Each year, organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving release information on how fans can enjoy the game and keep each other safe. Here are five tips for a fun Super Bowl Sunday that reduces car accident risk:

  • Appoint a designated driver
  • Swap out alcoholic drinks with water and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Eat before the party, and continue to snack if you have a drink
  • Know your limits, and call a cab or take public transportation if you’ve had too much
  • Intervene if a friend tries to drive drunk

If you’re hosting a Super Bowl party, you can enhance your guests’ safety with some smart planning. Make sure to stock up on food and non-alcoholic drinks, put beer and liquor away when halftime is over, and anticipate inebriated guests’ needs by setting up guest room accommodations or arranging transportation to get them home safely.

Parkersburg attorneys Jan Dils & Jim Leach hope everyone enjoys the big game this weekend. If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, please call 1 (877) 526-5461 (1-877-JANJIM1) today for a no-cost consultation.

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Product Liability Cases: Who Is Responsible?

January 21st, 2015

When you purchase a product, you buy it with the assumption that the new item will function safely when used for its intended purpose. Unfortunately, errors on a company’s behalf can cause serious injury to consumers. If you or a family member has been seriously injured by a defective item, our Parkersburg product liability attorneys can pursue compensation on your behalf.

Liability in defective product cases will depend on which party (or parties) is responsible for the product’s failure. Our lawyers will perform a complete investigation in an effort to identify where negligence occurred in the chain of distribution.

Potential defendants in a product liability claim might include:

  • The manufacturer of the product
  • The company that shipped the product
  • Suppliers, distributors, and wholesalers
  • Retail stores

Sometimes a product defect arises due to the contributions of a company other than the manufacturer. If a component part fails, for example, the company that manufactured that part could be liable as well as the manufacturer of the product you purchased.

Product liability laws are complex, and might involve interactions with one or more large corporations. Our attorneys have experiencing protecting consumers’ rights in these cases, and we are committed to pursuing the full compensation you deserve.

For a no-cost review of your case, please call Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, at 1 (877) 526-5461 (1-877-JANJIM1) today. We are pleased to serve clients in Parkersburg and surrounding communities.

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Medical Malpractice and Birth Defects

January 14th, 2015

January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month. Although a variety of birth defects occur due to genetic issues, family histories, and environmental factors, others can be caused by negligence, including medical malpractice.

Most parents understand the importance of making healthy choices to protect mother and baby as the pregnancy progresses. Doctors, nurses, obstetricians, and other medical providers should share this commitment in order to make every effort to ensure the baby’s healthy delivery.

Unfortunately, if the standard of treatment declines during prenatal care or in the delivery room, it can pose a danger to the mother’s health and potentially result in birth defects and birth injuries stemming from:

  • Prescription medication errors
  • Misuse of delivery room equipment
  • Inadequate monitoring of the fetus
  • Failure to compensate for abnormal birth position
  • Oxygen deprivation during birth
  • Undiagnosed or untreated illness or infection passed from mother to baby

A wide range of complications can occur due to these unacceptable errors, including head trauma, brain damage, injury to the limbs, compromised function of internal organs, and more. Some children are able to grow up normally after a traumatic birth, while others tragically face physical and developmental disabilities that can last a lifetime.

Whether or not your family has a case will depend on the circumstances of your child’s birth. If you believe your baby was harmed due to a doctor or other provider’s negligence, our Parkersburg medical malpractice attorneys can take action on your behalf.

Please contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, or call 1 (877) 526-5461 (1-877-JANJIM1) today for a no-cost consultation at our office in Parkersburg.

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Avoiding Auto Accidents: Drive Safely, Save Gas

January 7th, 2015

Many areas of the United States are seeing a big drop in gas prices. While savings at the pump might seem like a plus, the increase in cars on the road and reduced necessity of efficient driving increases the risk of an auto accident significantly.

Research shows that the number of deaths in auto accidents tends to go up when gas prices are low, according to National Public Radio. This is due not only to more cars on the road but also the abandonment of good fuel economy practices that reduce the amount of gas used while driving.

In many cases safe driving also uses less gas than more aggressive alternatives. So, being careful behind the wheel reduces your accident risk and is also easier on your budget.

Here are six ways you can drive safely and save money while driving:

  • Obey the speed limit
  • Avoid driving faster than 50 mph when possible
  • Maintain an even pace – don’t alternate between accelerating and braking
  • Reduce the weight of your vehicle by removing unnecessary cargo from your trunk, back seat, and roof rack
  • Keep your tires properly inflated and visit the shop for scheduled maintenance
  • Select travel times when you won’t hit traffic

A combination of safe driving and commonsense fuel economy strategies can not only keep your car running for less but also help you avoid collisions with other vehicles. But if another driver behaves recklessly and causes an accident, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Please contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, or call 1 (877) 526-5461 (1-877-JANJIM1) today for a no-cost consultation with our experienced Parkesburg auto accident attorneys.

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Drunk Driving Accidents and New Year’s Eve

December 29th, 2014

New Year’s Eve is unsurprisingly one of the busiest nights for bars. Unfortunately, this also means that the risk of a car accident increases substantially due to the number of impaired drivers on the road.

Police in West Virginia and other states have launched a “holiday blitz” to catch drunk drivers before they cause a collision. Unfortunately, a crackdown by law enforcement agencies won’t be enough to prevent drunk driving accidents entirely.

Here are four steps New Year’s Eve revelers can take to celebrate the holiday safely:

  • Identify a designated driver for the night
  • Use public transportation, such as cabs and buses, to get to and from home or to go to the next bar or party
  • Don’t drink on an empty stomach and alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic ones
  • If an impaired friend tries to drive, calmly try to talk them out of it and confiscate their keys

Sober drivers should stay alert for signs that another person might be drinking and driving. Behavior like drifting across lanes, sudden stops, and irregular speed could signal that you’re sharing the road with an impaired driver.

Our West Virginia attorneys wish you a Happy New Year. If you’ve been injured in a car accident because of someone else’s irresponsibility, please contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, 1 (877) 526-5461 (1-877-JANJIM1) today for no-cost evaluation of your case.

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Avoiding Motorcycle Accidents in Winter Weather

December 15th, 2014

Icy roads are a danger to any type of vehicle. However, the risk of motorcycle accidents can increase substantially in the winter months for a variety of reasons.

Motorcycles are completely exposed to the elements, which makes it important for riders to ensure that their bodies are not. Along with a helmet, wearing a heavy coat, gloves, pants, and boots will insulate your body from cold temperatures, wind chill, and freezing precipitation. Dressing in layers can also provide additional protection in the event of a crash.

Other steps motorcycle riders can take to avoid accidents this winter season include:

  • Modify your speed when taking corners or riding over patches of road that look wet or covered with deicer
  • Don’t brake or turn the handlebars too quickly
  • Check your tires for sufficient tread, and warm tires up for better traction
  • Maintain a safe following distance from passenger vehicles – make sure your bike is visible in other drivers’ mirrors
  • Never ride while impaired

Checking the weather forecast before you ride can reduce the risk of encountering snow, ice, and more. Staying indoors and avoiding slippery roads, minimal visibility, and other dangers might be the safest solution for bikers who aren’t confident about riding in poor conditions.

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, please contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, or call 1 (877) 526-5461 (1-877-JANJIM1) to schedule your no-cost consultation today. Our attorneys know the risks facing riders in Morgantown and other areas of West Virginia.

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Honda Airbag Recall Tops 5 Million

December 10th, 2014

It’s a tragic reality that the parts of a vehicle intended to keep passengers safe can sometimes backfire. This has been reaffirmed several times by the growing defective product recall issued for 10 years of car models outfitted with faulty airbags.

According to Reuters, Honda has issued a nationwide recall for 5.4 million cars manufactured between 2001 and 2011. Defective airbag inflators supplied by the Takata company are at risk of exploding and launching shrapnel into the vehicle’s interior.

The recall was initially confined to parts of North America with a hot or humid climate, but the motor company has since expanded the effort to get unsafe Honda and Acura models off of roads throughout the United States.

Defective safety features can prove just as dangerous as vehicle defects that affect the operation of a car. Poor design or faulty manufacturing can result in:

  • Seatbelt defects such as excessive slack or faulty buckles
  • Airbags that preemptively deploy, or don’t deploy at all
  • Failure of seat components
  • Poorly attached or reinforced side doors

Though not a part of a vehicle, defective child safety seats can also cause severe injury to children. Like any feature in your vehicle, it’s critical to secure car seats properly and make sure all of the parts are in good working order to minimize risk to everybody in the car.

If you or a family member has been hurt by a defective product, please contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, or call 1 (877) 526-5461 (1-877-JANJIM1) today for a no-cost consultation. Our Charleston attorneys represent injury victims throughout West Virginia.

Posted in Defective Products | Comments Off

Tips for Older Driver Safety Awareness Week

December 1st, 2014

Started by the American Occupational Therapy Association, Older Driver Safety Awareness Week runs December 1 to December 5. The goal of the week-long observance is to help seniors and their families adapt to transportation needs with age and help elderly drivers avoid auto accidents.

While it’s important to respect our elders, it’s also important for senior citizens to respect and abide by the rules of the road. The effects of aging can increase the risk of auto accidents involving seniors by compromising the key faculties needed for safe driving.

Getting older is different for everyone, and some seniors can be on the road safely well into their golden years. However, all elderly drivers and their families should be aware of potentially hazardous declines in:

  • Vision: The risk of serious eye conditions like cataracts and glaucoma increases with age, as well as decreased visual acuity and problems with night vision
  • Hearing: Hearing loss can make it difficult to hear car horns, sirens, and other audio cues to changes in traffic and driving conditions
  • Muscles and joints: Weakened bones and sore, inflamed soft tissue can make physically operating a car difficult and diminish reaction time
  • Focus: Drivers who develop confusion and other cognitive impairments have trouble processing a continuous stream of information while behind the wheel
  • Memory: Disorders like dementia can gradually undo years of safe driving skills, familiarity with one’s surroundings, and more

Certain medications also carry physical and mental side effects that could cause difficulties with driving. If you believe your loved one is a danger on the road, talk to them before a catastrophic crash occurs.

If you’ve been injured in an auto accident caused by a reckless driver of any age, you might be entitled to compensation. Please contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, or call 1 (877) 526-5461 (1-877-JANJIM1) today for a no-cost consultation with our Morgantown attorneys.

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Bicycle Accident Fatalities on the Rise

November 24th, 2014

Research by the Governors Highway Safety Association shows that the number of cyclists killed in motor vehicle accidents has increased 16% in just two years. Car crash deaths, meanwhile, have increased only 1% in the same time period.

The study found that rider carelessness was a leading factor in fatal bicycle accidents, specifically failure to wear a helmet and riding while drunk. West Virginia law states that bikes enjoy the same privileges and are subject to the same responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles.

Not every bicycle accident is the fault of the cyclist, but it pays to be safe and prepared. Steps you can take to reduce your risk of serious injuries in a collision with a vehicle include:

  • Wear a helmet and other safety gear
  • Place a light on the front of your bike and a reflector on the back to make you more visible at night (required by state law)
  • Stay on the shoulder of the road or in designated bike lanes
  • Avoid alcohol before a bike ride – don’t drink and pedal
  • Use a bell and appropriate hand signals to alert other drivers when you turn or perform other actions

Bicycling has many benefits, so it only makes sense to keep your ride enjoyable and safe. If you take all precautions but still get hurt due to a driver’s recklessness, you might be entitled to recover compensation for your accident injuries.

Please contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, or call 1 (877) 526-5461 (1-877-JANJIM1) to discuss the details of your accident claim in a no-cost consultation.

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Is the Driver Always at Fault in a Single-Car Accident?

November 19th, 2014

When a car crash involves only one vehicle, the driver of that vehicle is usually considered liable for passenger injuries, property destruction, and other damages. However, this isn’t always the case, which is why it’s critical to speak with experienced Morgantown car accident attorneys who will listen to your account of events and represent your best interests.

All drivers are expected to follow the rules of the road. If you were speeding, not paying attention, or driving recklessly at the time of the accident, claiming that you weren’t responsible will probably not be a successful defense.

However, some circumstances can reduce the driver’s fault in a single-car accident, including:

  • Sudden failure of key components due to a vehicle defect
  • Reacting to avoid collision with a driver behaving carelessly
  • Wildlife darting into the road
  • Poor road maintenance or insufficient signage to indicate a hazard
  • Sudden onset of bad weather

The presumption that a driver is at fault for a car accident in which only his vehicle was involved can be difficult to overcome, but our Morgantown lawyers will investigate thoroughly to determine the potential liability of any other parties.

If you were in a single-car accident and you believe the crash wasn’t your fault, please contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, or call 1 (877) 526-5461 (1-877-JANJIM1) today to schedule your no-cost consultation. Our lawyers serve clients in and around Morgantown.

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