Personal Injury Law Blog

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

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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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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