Personal Injury Law Blog

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

Safe Driving Tips for Teenagers

October 17th, 2014

Teen Driver Safety Week runs from October 19-25 this year. For parents, the weeklong observance highlights the importance of setting rules for teens before they hit the road. This event is also a good opportunity to remind Charleston families of the serious impact being found responsible for a car accident can have.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched a campaign called “5 to Drive,” a set of five rules parents can adopt to keep kids safe while driving. Each of these rules is intended to curb some of the leading causes of car accidents such as:

Under West Virginia law, a parent is generally only liable for a minor child’s conduct if the child acted with “malicious and willful” intent. However, if the victim’s attorney can prove that the teen was a known danger behind the wheel and the parents didn’t take steps to stop the reckless behavior, the parents could also be considered negligent for letting their child continue to drive.

The best solution for keeping your teen driver safe is to make sure they understand and follow the rules – your household rules and the law. You could help your child avoid a car accident and save your family a substantial amount of financial and emotional turmoil.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by a reckless driver of any age, 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 victims in Charleston and other areas of West Virginia.

Posted in Auto Accidents, Car Accident | Comments Off

Comparative Negligence in Truck Accident Cases

October 1st, 2014

If you were hurt by someone else’s carelessness, you might be surprised and even upset to learn that a defense attorney could try to claim that you were at least partially responsible for the injuries you sustained. Comparative negligence is a common defense tactic our Parkersburg attorneys have faced in truck accident and other vehicle collision cases.

When the plaintiff and defendant are both found to be partially responsible for damages in an accident, comparative negligence rules divide fault between the two parties. West Virginia follows a modified comparative fault rule where the victim must be less than 50% liable in order to recover damages.

Plaintiffs in West Virginia who are found to bear equal responsibility (50%) for an accident lose the ability to seek restitution for their injuries. If your share of the fault is less than 50%, you can still seek damages but your recovery will be diminished by the proportion of liability you share.

The defense in a truck accident case might attempt to devalue your potential recovery by claiming you engaged in negligence such as:

  • Speeding
  • Reckless driving
  • Failure to signal at an intersection
  • Not wearing a seatbelt

Matters of comparative negligence can even impact high-profile cases. In its response to Tracy Morgan’s truck accident lawsuit, Walmart claimed that injuries sustained by the comic and three other passengers stemmed “in whole or in part” from not wearing seatbelts during the June crash that put Morgan in the hospital and left another victim dead.

Qualified representation is the best way to strengthen your claim and counter efforts by the defense to pass blame. To begin building your truck accident case, 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 at our office in Parkersburg, WV.

Posted in Auto Accidents, Truck Accidents | Comments Off

Who Is Liable in a Slip and Fall Accident?

September 24th, 2014

Many people who trip and fall might feel inclined to blame their own clumsiness for the tumble. However, unsafe conditions on a property are often the fault of the party who owns or maintains the premises, not a visitor. If you were hurt in a slip and fall accident, our Morgantown personal injury attorneys can build an effective case on your behalf.

According to the legal theory of premises liability, homes, apartment buildings, businesses, and other spaces must be kept safe for appropriate public use. To determine liability in your slip and fall accident claim, our lawyers will investigate key aspects including:

  • The cause of the danger
  • Whether or not the owner or an employee should have reasonably known about the hazard
  • Safety and maintenance measures, if any, to protect visitors
  • The existence of protocols for regular cleaning and maintenance

Depending on the circumstances, multiple parties could be held liable in a dangerous premises claim. For example, a store owner in a shopping mall could fail to warn customers about a leaky pipe dripping water on the floor, but the damaged pipe could be the responsibility of the management or landlord of the mall itself.

If more than one party failed to exercise reasonable care, our legal team will work quickly to gather critical evidence. Photos of the scene at the time of the accident, witness reports, and other information can demonstrate the level of negligence on the premises and how unsafe conditions led to your accident.

Please contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, or call 1 (877) 526-5461 (1-877-JANJIM1) today to begin building your slip and fall accident case. Our experienced personal injury lawyers represent clients all over the state of West Virginia, including Morgantown and other cities.

Posted in Personal Injury, Slip & Fall Accident | Comments Off

Car Seats Save Kids’ Lives in Accidents

September 15th, 2014

National Child Passenger Safety Week runs September 14 to September 20. One of the key messages of this weeklong observance is the importance of securing children in an appropriate car seat should an accident occur. If you and your children are injured in a collision, our Parkersburg car accident attorneys can provide compassionate personal and legal assistance throughout the course of your case.

According to information released by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), car accidents are a major cause of death for children between the ages of 1 and 13. Proper use of a car seat could prevent such a tragic outcome for your child.

To keep your child safe in the family car, take the following steps:

  • Know the law: West Virginia requires that children under the age of 8 and 4 feet 9 inches or shorter must be secured in an appropriate car seat
  • Find the correct car seat: Buy the right safety seat for your child’s age and size
  • Use the car seat correctly: Make sure all harnesses and belts are securely fastened and the seat is facing in the right direction
  • Register the car seat: By visiting the NHTSA website, you can search manufacturers and provide pertinent information to be notified of safety defects or recall notices

Car accidents can tear entire families apart, especially if one or more of the vehicle’s occupants aren’t secure in their seats. By taking the time to research, purchase, and use the right car seat, you can help protect your precious cargo should you have the misfortune to be in a crash. And, if you’re an adult, don’t forget to buckle your own seatbelt before hitting the road.

If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident, don’t suffer the aftermath of the injuries alone. Contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, or call 1 (877) 526-5461 today to schedule a no-cost review of your case. Our lawyers serve clients in Parkersburg and throughout West Virginia.

Posted in Car Accident, Children's Injuries | Comments Off

Do I Have a Food Poisoning Case?

September 10th, 2014

The CDC estimates that one in six Americans will get sick this year because of some form of food poisoning. If you or a loved one was injured by tainted food, the Morgantown product liability attorneys at the law firm of Jan Dils & Jim Leach have the experience and resources to take action on your behalf.

Like any product, the food you might buy at the market can be improperly manufactured, packaged, or shipped. When edible items are mishandled, they can be exposed to any number of foodborne illnesses.

Contaminated foods have resulted in outbreaks of serious illnesses like salmonella, E. coli, and listeria. According to a recent report by CNN, an estimated 3,000 people die annually after ingesting tainted food.

If you were harmed by contaminated food, time is of the essence. Our attorneys will work quickly to investigate key elements of your case such as:

  • The food item that made you sick
  • The foodborne illness you or your loved one contracted
  • Whether or not a recall has been issued for the item in question
  • Damages you incurred from food poisoning, such as medical expenses
  • The party responsible for the contaminated food

Depending on the circumstances, our Morgantown lawyers might be able to file suit against multiple parties in the product’s “chain of distribution,” including the manufacturer, shipping company, and wholesaler or grocery store that sold you tainted goods.

To find out whether or not you have a product liability claim involving food poisoning, please contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, or call 1 (877) 526-5461 today for a no-cost consultation. We proudly represent victims in West Virginia communities including Morgantown.

Posted in Defective Products | Comments Off

Honoring Our Elders on National Grandparents Day

September 4th, 2014

West Virginia began celebrating Grandparents Day five years before it became a national observance. With Sunday marking more than 40 years of this holiday in the state, National Grandparents Day is a time to respect our aging relatives and keep them safe from a problem affecting millions of our country’s elderly: nursing home abuse.

Marian McQuade, the creator of Grandparents Day, hailed from Fayette County. Her extensive work with local seniors inspired Marian to campaign for a day to raise awareness of the lonely old living in nursing homes and bring generations of people together.

If you have elderly loved ones residing in a nursing home, a visit on Grandparents Day or any other day can be more than just a chance to see family. Regular visits are key protection against nursing home abuse and neglect.

During your visit, make a mental checklist of anything that seems off about the facility or your family member’s physical health and behavior. Pay especially close attention to:

  • Anxiety, depression, or other antisocial behavior your family member exhibits
  • Visible indicators of neglect or abuse on your loved one’s body, such as bruises, bed sores, etc.
  • Staff and administrator interaction with residents
  • Cleanliness and maintenance of the nursing home
  • Your relative’s hygiene and health, including prescription use

If your family has made the difficult decision to move an aging loved one into a nursing home or other care facility, your relative has the right to certain standards of care and being treated with respect and dignity. When staff members violate that trust and mistreat your loved one, your family might be entitled to compensation.

Please contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, or call 1 (877) 526-5461 for experienced legal guidance regarding a nursing home abuse claim. Our attorneys serve clients in Charleston and many other communities throughout West Virginia.

Posted in Nursing Home Abuse | Comments Off

Causes of Intersection Car Accidents

August 25th, 2014

Intersections are a common site for collisions. If you were seriously injured in an intersection car accident, the Parkersburg attorneys at Jan Dils & Jim Leach are dedicated representatives for those hurt by another driver’s carelessness.

Multiple lanes of traffic, not to mention pedestrians, bicycles, and other vehicles, often converge at intersections, making them a high-risk area for car accidents. Carelessness on the part of one or more drivers within the intersection only increases the danger, with the following commonly causing crashes:

  • Exceeding the speed limit
  • Running a stop sign or red light
  • Not adjusting for road and weather conditions
  • Failure to signal, observe right of way, or follow other rules of the road
  • Making a phone call, texting, and many other forms of distracted driving
  • Drunk or drugged driving

Though a vehicle defect can sometimes contribute to a car accident, statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration  show that more than 95% of intersection collisions are caused by some form of driver error. The design of most intersections means that an accident can come from any direction, with potential injury happening in a rear-end, sideswipe, or head-on collision.

If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident in the Parkersburg area of West Virginia, please contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, or call 1 (877) 526-5461 today to begin building your case with a no-cost consultation.

Posted in Car Accident | Comments Off

Study: Medical Error a Major Cause of Death

August 18th, 2014

When a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional makes an unacceptable mistake, it can cause serious harm to patients. Tragically, many patients suffer life-altering consequences or even succumb to their injuries. If your family is reeling from a loss caused by medical error, don’t suffer in silence: Our Parkersburg medical malpractice lawyers can support you during this difficult time.

According to a report by ProPublica, approximately 400,000 deaths each year are caused at least in part by preventable medical mistakes made in hospitals. Errors committed by a health care professional can take many forms, with common examples of medical negligence including:

  • Inaccurate or delayed diagnosis
  • Prescription medication errors
  • Wrong-site and other forms of botched surgery
  • Infections caused by unsanitary conditions
  • Anesthesia error

Proving substandard care caused a loved one’s death can be difficult. That’s why you need qualified, dedicated representation to handle legal matters while you and your family cope with the tragedy.

If you were hurt or a loved one was killed due to medical malpractice, your family might be entitled to compensation. Our Parkersburg attorneys will investigate your case and take appropriate action against all negligent providers, possibly including the hospital, clinic, or other facility where your family member was treated.

To begin building your medical malpractice case, please contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, or call 1 (877) 526-5461 today. We offer no-cost consultations to clients in Parkersburg and other communities throughout West Virginia.

Posted in Medical Malpractice | Comments Off

7 Tips to Avoid Auto Accidents as a Pedestrian

August 11th, 2014

A collision between two cars can result in extensive damage, so a crash involving a vehicle and a person is bound to be even more serious. August is Pedestrian Safety Month, and Morgantown auto accident attorneys Jan Dils and Jim Leach would like to take the opportunity to remind walkers ways they can stay safe on West Virginia streets throughout the year.

Pedestrian accidents often result in catastrophic injuries. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce accident risk when you’re on foot:

  • Look both ways before crossing the street
  • Walk against traffic so you can see oncoming vehicles
  • Keep an eye out for posted signs so you know what to expect from traffic
  • Don’t let cell phones, MP3 players, and other gadgets distract you
  • If you’re out at night, wear light or brightly colored clothing to make yourself more visible
  • Avoid jaywalking – a driver should have a clearer view of the road in areas where pedestrians are expected to be
  • If you have children, teach them how to walk safely, too

Even if you have the right of way, not every driver is going to respect your safety. If you’re injured by a motorist, be sure to seek medical attention, file a police report, and contact experienced auto accident attorneys who can take action on your behalf against the careless driver.

Contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, or call 1 (877) 526-5461 today to begin building your pedestrian accident case. We are pleased to offer free consultations at our office near Morgantown.

Posted in Auto Accidents | Comments Off

Common Types of Motorcycle Defects

August 4th, 2014

Last month Harley-Davidson recalled more than 65,000 motorcycles. Though many bikers are injured due to collisions caused by a careless driver, defects can also result in severe harm. If you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle accident in or around Morgantown, our experienced attorneys can build a strong case on your behalf.

Only five crashes and two reports of minor injuries have emerged due to brake line problems in certain 2014 Harley-Davidson motorcycles affected by the recall. Unfortunately, many defective bikes and defective parts can hurt or even kill riders.

Serious injury often occurs in motorcycle accidents caused by defective parts and features such as:

  • Frame
  • Engine
  • Fuel tank
  • Brakes
  • Tires
  • Handlebars, particularly if they’re unbalanced and have a “wobbly” feeling

By design, motorcycles have fewer safety features than cars and other passenger vehicles. If your bike fails when you’re in motion, a helmet and heavy jacket can reduce your risk of major injuries, and taking the precaution could even save your life.

After receiving medical attention, our motorcycle accident attorneys can begin building a defective product case on your behalf. Depending on the nature of your claim, you might be able to win compensation from multiple parties involved in the design, manufacturing, and distribution of the faulty bike.

Contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, or call 1 (877) 526-5461 today to begin building your case. Our lawyers offer dedicated motorcycle accident representation to clients in and around Morgantown.

Posted in Auto Accidents, Defective Products | Comments Off

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