Personal Injury Law Blog

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

6 Tips to Help Avoid Summer Boating Accidents

July 27th, 2015

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As we make our way through summer and the weather starts getting hotter we see more boats making their way out into the water. Though most people think of boating as a fun recreational activity, there is a greater responsibility that goes along with it. Boating accidents lead to property damage, injury, and in some cases death. If you have been involved in a boating accident it’s important to contact an experienced lawyer. Contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC by calling (304) 865-8530 for a case evaluation.

In 2014, there were 4,064 recreational boating accidents. The results of this were 610 deaths, 2,678 injuries, and nearly $39 million in property damage. That is a 0.05% increase in accidents since 2013. Even more worrisome is that the number of deaths increased 8.9% since the previous year, and the number of injuries saw a rise of 2.2%.

To help prevent the occurrence of a boating accident this summer, follow these boating safety tips:

  • Don’t drink and boat – Boating under the influence is against the law and can dramatically increase the odds of getting injured, as well as the odds of a boating fatality by 34 percent.
  • Don’t speed – The water has speed limits and if speeding you can be cited just as you would in a vehicle.
  • Maintain your boat – It’s important to keep up with regular maintenance to ensure your boat runs efficiently. If someone is injured or killed due to improper maintenance, you could be sued for negligence.
  • Be prepared in case of emergency – Make sure your boat is equipped with safety equipment that is in good working order, and that you know how to properly use it if it comes down to it.
  • Know your life jacket laws – Regardless of what state you are in, children under 13 are required to always wear a Coast Guard approved life jacked on moving boats.
  • Take a course of boat safety – The best way to understand boat safety and procedures is to take a safety course. If it has been some time, it is recommended to retake a safety course as a refresher.

If you are have suffered injuries due to a boating accident, our Morgantown lawyers at Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attoryneys at Law, PLLC can help you recover the compensation that you deserve. Contact us at (304) 865-8530 to schedule your consultation today!

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National Grilling Month

July 20th, 2015

With summer in full swing, July is when we celebrate National Grilling Month, and appropriately so with July being the most popular month for grilling. The next time you gather with friends and family, don’t forget to keep grilling safety in mind to help prevent any injuries.

Each July, emergency rooms see a spike in the number of patients who are there due to injuries involving grills. To help in the prevention of injuries, our Parkersburg attorneys would like to remind everyone to practice safety precautions with the following tips:

  • Always use your grill outdoors in a well ventilated area, away from buildings, overhead combustible surfaces, brush, and dry leaves.
  • Make sure your grill is on a flat surface that is stable so that it can’t be tipped over.
  • Use long-handled utensils to help avoid burns or splatter from handling food to close to the fire.
  • Don’t wear clothing that has frills, strings, or any other hanging parts that can easily catch fire.
  • Never leave a grill unattended.
  • Do not let children or pets near a hot grill.
  • Keep the fire under control and put out any flare-ups. In case the flames become uncontrollable, have a garden hose or bucket of sand accessible so that you can quickly extinguish flames.

Even when all precautions have been taken, there is always a chance of getting burned. For severe burns, seek medical attention immediately.

If you have suffered from a burn injury due to  the negligence of another, contact the  experienced Parkersburg attorneys at Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PPLC by calling (304) 865-8530 for a free case evaluation.

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Pool Safety

June 10th, 2015

With spring in full swing and summer rapidly approaching the idea of a day by the pool to avoid the heat is becoming more and more desirable. Although a swimming pool can make for a great day, those with young children need to practice safety to help in the prevention of injury or death. A drowning loss is devastating to all parties involved. If you or someone you know has suffered from the drowning loss of a loved one due to the negligence of another, contact a Parkersburg attorney at (304) 865-8530 for a free case evaluation.

Due to the their lack of swimming ability, children are the most frequent victims of swimming pool accidents. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention lists drowning as the leading cause of accidental death for children between the ages of 1 and 4, and the second leading cause for those ages 4-14. If visiting a public pool, make sure to follow these safety tips:

  • Always supervise your children if at a pool with no lifeguard on duty
  • Make use of lifejackets if children are unable to swim
  • Get certified in CPR in case it is ever necessary

In addition to the tips given above, these are some additional tips that should be followed if you have a pool at home:

  • Drains should have anti-entrapment covers to prevent swimmers from being suctioned and getting stuck at the bottom of the pool
  • Pools should be surrounded by a fence equipped with a self-latching gate that is child proof

Having to experience the loss of someone is a tragedy, especially if it’s your child and it was a situation that could have been prevented. If you or someone you love has lost a child to a drowning accident, contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PPLC at (304) 865-8530 to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced Parkersburg attorney.

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Feds Wrap Up Investigation of Mental Health System in West Virginia

June 3rd, 2015

The U.S. Department of Justice has concluded their year-long investigation of West Virginia’s mental health system for children. Their findings reported that the system violates the Americans with Disabilities Act due to their reliance on facilities such as psychiatric hospitals.

In an open letter addressed to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta stated:

West Virginia fails to provide services to children with significant mental health conditions in the most integrated settings appropriate to their need in violation of the ADA. The State has needlessly segregated thousands of children far from family and other people important in their lives.”

The report declared that there is a violation of civil rights for those children who were unnecessarily segregated due to mental health conditions. Additionally, the state’s fiscal resources’  are being wasted, with $67.5 million being spent on facility placements during the 2012 fiscal year, $20 million of it on out-of-state placements.

West Virginia has been found to fail at engaging the families of children with mental health conditions to help them effectively develop strategies to support children in their homes and communities.

In order to avoid federal action, the state of West Virginia will have to cooperate with the Department of Justice on a remedial framework to address current concerns and ensure compliance with the ADA.

If you or a loved one have experienced medical negligence in the care of your child, contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PPLC at (304) 865-8530 to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced Parkersburg malpractice attorney.

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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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