Personal Injury Law Blog

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

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.

Posted in Car Accident | Comments Off

Alzheimer’s and Nursing Home Abuse

November 12th, 2014

November is designated National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. More than 5 million Americans suffer from this heartbreaking disease, which often requires families to place aged and incapacitated loved ones in nursing homes to receive the round-the-clock care they need.

Unfortunately, nursing home abuse can affect any family. Staff members who victimize an elderly resident might be even more likely to target someone with Alzheimer’s because the victim’s diminished mental state makes it more difficult for the abuser to get caught.

The symptoms of Alzheimer’s can make it hard for family members to detect signs of abuse or neglect. Typical symptoms patient experience include:

  • Memory loss, especially short-term memory
  • Forgetting people and events
  • Confusion about where they are, what day or year it is, and what’s happening around them
  • Difficulty with verbal and written communication

Patients with Alzheimer’s also experience changes in temperament, including anxiety and depression. If your loved one seems agitated or withdrawn, it’s important to be aware of what might be causing the change. Keep an eye out for physical signs of abuse, unclean or unsafe conditions, or staff mistreating other residents.

If you believe your family member is in danger, it’s important to get grandma or grandpa to safety as soon as possible. To begin building a nursing home abuse case, please contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, or call 1 (877) 526-5461 (1-877-JANJIM1) today to speak with our experienced Charleston lawyers.

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Drowsy Driving: Keep Your Eyes Open and On the Road

November 5th, 2014

November 2 through November 9 is Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. Though it might not seem that dangerous to hit the road if you’re feeling tired, fatigue creates dangerous driving conditions, with car accident risk increasing the longer you’re behind the wheel without sufficient rest.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 20 hours without sleep is equivalent to having a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 – the legal limit for driving while intoxicated. Drowsy driving diminishes the ability to drive safely by increasing the risk of reckless behavior such as:

  • Drifting from your lane
  • Inattention to the road, signs and signals, exits, and more
  • Longer reaction time
  • Tailgating
  • Wandering thoughts
  • Nodding your head and shutting your eyes, even for a second

Before driving for a long distance, try to get enough sleep so you can feel refreshed. A traveling companion can also help you stay awake, watch the road, and relieve you of driving duties if you’re too tired.

If you’re in the middle of a long drive and you start to feel drowsy, get off the road as soon as possible. Many people fail to realize they’re on the verge of falling asleep at the wheel until it’s too late and they end up causing a car accident.

Please contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, or call 1 (877) 526-5461 (1-877-JANJIM1) today to speak with our Morgantown car accident attorneys if you were injured in a wreck caused by a drowsy driver.

Posted in Car Accident | Comments Off

Pedestrian Danger High on Halloween

October 27th, 2014

According to AAA, Halloween is one of the leading days for pedestrian injuries. Kids are also four times more likely to be hit by a car. If your trick-or-treating ended in trauma due to a reckless driver, our Parkersburg personal injury attorneys can build a case against the party responsible.

Even when they happen at low speeds, pedestrian accidents can cause critical injuries. Children are especially at risk due to their small size and undeveloped sense of danger. The excitement from candy and costumes only increases the likelihood of a child getting struck by a vehicle.

Drivers should exercise special caution on Halloween when driving at night or through residential areas. If you’re a parent supervising trick-or-treating, you can also reduce the risk of pedestrian accident injuries by:

  • Reviewing the need to stay on the sidewalk and be careful when crossing the street
  • Setting a safe path the kids can follow from house to house
  • Dressing the kids in light-colored costumes or using reflective tape to make them more visible in the dark
  • Making sure masks and other accessories aren’t obstructing their vision
  • Altering costumes so capes or other attire won’t be a tripping hazard

It can be difficult to wrangle excited children while trick-or-treating, but preventing them from wandering or darting into the road could make all the difference in getting the little ones home safely.

If you or a family member was injured in a pedestrian accident involving a vehicle, 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 with our Parkersburg personal injury attorneys.

Posted in Auto Accidents, Personal Injury | Comments Off

Treatment for Whiplash

October 22nd, 2014

One of the most common injuries we see in many types of accidents is whiplash. If you sustained whiplash or other injuries because of another party’s negligence, our Morgantown injury attorneys can pursue compensation on your behalf.

Whiplash is a neck injury where the head is forced forward and then jerked backward. The sudden snapping motion hyperextends muscles and other soft tissue in the neck, causing stiffness, pain, and other symptoms.

A doctor could recommend several different treatment options depending on the severity of your whiplash symptoms, including:

  • Painkillers (OTC or prescription)
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Alternating hot and cold compresses
  • Physical therapy exercises

In the past doctors would immobilize the necks of whiplash patients using a soft cervical collar. Nowadays this treatment is only recommended for short periods of time to alleviate discomfort when the injury is relatively new. Wearing a neck collar long-term after whiplash can cause muscles to lose strength and prolong recovery time.

Although whiplash can sometimes be treated with home remedies, more severe injuries could require costly physical therapy. Some victims begin experiencing chronic pain after a car accident or other injury resulting in whiplash.

To schedule a no-cost review of your whiplash case, please contact Jan Dils & Jim Leach, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, or call 1 (877) 526-5461 (1-877-JANJIM1) today. Our attorneys serve neck injury clients in and around Morgantown.

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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

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Your understanding of the information on this web page about personal injury law does not constitute a formal legal relationship with the personal injury lawyers at Jan Dils & Jim Leach Attorneys at Law, PLLC. Please do not assume this content to be formal legal advise. If you would like to know if you have a valid personal injury claim, please contact a West Virginia personal injury lawyer today for a complimentary consultation. Serving the Charleston, Huntington, Morgantown, Parkersburg, and Wheeling, West Virginia and Athens and Belpre, Ohio.

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