Personal Injury Law Blog

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

This Memorial Day, Click It or Ticket

May 11th, 2015

With Memorial Day unofficially kicking off the start of summer festivities, it also kicks off one of the deadliest times of the year on our roads. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day we tend to see a rise in auto accidents. If you have been injured in a car accident due to the negligence of another, schedule a consultation with experienced Morgantown attorney at Jan Dils & Jim Leach, PPLC by calling (304) 865-8530.

With the nearing of Memorial Day each year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration holds their most successful seatbelt enforcement campaign, Click It or Ticket. This year the campaign will be held from May 18th to May 31st with law enforcement agencies taking their part with their own enforcement blitz on those not wearing their seat belts in order to help get the message out.

Buckling up during the busy summer driving season is critical to your safety with the increase in accidents that are seen on the roads. The NHTSA reports that 63,000 lives were saved between 2009 and 2013 by proper seat belt use. Research has shown that the use of a seat belts helps reduce fatalities by 60-70 percent and serious injuries by 50 percent.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident at no fault of your own, contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PPLC at (304) 865-8530 to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced Morgantown attorney.

 

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NFL Concussion Settlement

May 1st, 2015

A brain injury can range from mild to severe, but regardless, under no circumstance should they be taken lightly. When someone suffers from a brain injury, they can experience permanent neurobiological damage and a variety of other deficits. If you have suffered from a brain injury, contact our Charleston brain injury lawyers at Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC by calling (304) 865-8530 to schedule a free consultation.

Over the last few years there has been an increase in awareness of brain injuries in the NFL. Specifically, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which is a severe degenerative brain disease and has been linked to the deaths of two former football players.

Last month a settlement of $1 billion over the course of 65 years was reached with the NFL, entitling players with various qualifying diagnoses to payouts up to $5 million, though many of the players will be receiving less.

In what seemed to be the end of lengthy lawsuit, a number of players have now opted out of the suit due to the fact that behavioral symptoms associated with CTE were excluded from the settlement. Those who are suffering from this disease and are living with it don’t get any relief out of this current settlement given that the only compensation awarded is once death has already occurred and CTE has officially been diagnosed.

There have been some 200 ex-NFL players that have chosen to opt out, leaving the possibility of future litigation against the NFL. As of the moment, the concussion settlement has been met and there are no other pending litigations, but the possibility of a future lawsuit remains uncertain.

If you or a loved one has suffered from a brain injury, please call our Charleston brain injury lawyers at Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC at (304) 865-8530 to schedule a free consultation.

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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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