I Slipped and Fell and was Injured in a Store. What Should I Do?

Most people do their shopping without any incident. But wet or wintry weather conditions can make any shopping trip a little more adventurous. Wet floors, ice, snow, and cracked floors or sidewalks add obstacles to an already busy day. An incident where you slip in a retail establishment can lead to serious injuries if there are dangerous conditions.

I Slipped and Fell and was Injured in a Store. What Should I Do?

Many slip and falls lead to a little bruising, including the ego. But broken bones, lacerations, concussions, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries can also come from a slip and fall accident.

Premises Liability

A slip and fall injury in a retail store comes under West Virginia’s premises liability laws. Under premises liability, the store’s owner, manager, and employees have a duty to exercise reasonable care to keep the place safe for anyone who is an “invitee.” This includes customers, employees, vendors and anyone else on the property for any legal reason. The law also concerns when a manager, owner or employee knew about the unsafe condition and had an opportunity to do something about it. Negligence is involved when someone knew about the problem but failed to remedy it.

Negligence of this duty of care can lead to conditions that can lead to conditions such as:

  • Wet or slick floors
  • Loose or missing handrails on stairs
  • Uneven or loose steps
  • Trip hazards
  • Inadequate security and dark walkways
  • Cracked or broken sidewalks
  • Holes not easily visible
  • Protruding objects in concrete

Any kind of condition that can cause a slip and fall may be negligence if someone failed to correct the condition. However, Virginia’s “open and obvious” doctrine excludes something that should have been apparent to anyone, such as signs warning off wet floors or hazardous areas where non-employees should not be walking.

After An Accident

Of course, you should immediately seek medical assistance, even if you don’t think you’re injured. Some injuries, such as soft tissue damage, may not show up immediately. If you plan to file a claim, you’ll also need medical records to back up your claim of injuries.

Keeping written timeline documentation, started right after your accident, is also helpful to keep all the details in one place.

If you have any damaged property, such as a broken watch, keep it somewhere safe for evidence later.

Use your phone’s camera to take pictures of the accident scene, and store them in Google Drive, Dropbox or another safe place. Pictures will come in handy when you speak with your attorney.

Get names and contact information from any witnesses who saw the accident.

Since video surveillance is very common in businesses, you (or your lawyer) should immediately ask the business to preserve any video taken of your accident. Many stores use video to disprove frivolous injury claims but may delete the video if they know you’re planning to file a claim. Make sure this evidence is preserved in the event you’re required to head to court.

Keep track of all your expenses, including medical expenses, lost wages and other out-of-pocket costs related to your accident.

Talk to an experienced West Virginia slip and fall personal injury attorney before speaking to anyone with any insurance company. You may unwittingly accept an unsuitable settlement, or admit fault without realizing it.

Caveat: Comparative Negligence

One defense against a slip and fall that a defendant may have is that you were at fault, or partly at fault, for your injuries. Known as “comparative negligence,” it means that you share in the responsibility for your injuries. If you’re assigned a percentage of fault in court, any settlement can be reduced by that percentage.

For instance, if you were talking on your phone and didn’t pay attention to the caution signs that warned everyone about a water spill, or walked into an employee-only area and were injured, you may be held partly responsible. If your settlement is $5,000, and the court finds that 15% is your fault, your settlement becomes $4,250.

Another factor is whether or not you were on the property legally. If you were injured while trespassing, breaking in, or otherwise should not have been there, you won’t be able to collect for your injuries.

Injured In A Slip & Fall? Call Us

The Love Law Firm is Charleston, West Virginia’s personal injury law firm with extensive experience handling slips & falls and premises liability cases. Call us today at 304-344-5683 or contact us online and schedule your free consultation. There’s no fee until we win your case, and our contingency fee arrangement means you won’t pay unless we win your case.

 

What Questions should I Ask When Choosing a Personal Injury Attorney?

If you’ve never hired a personal injury lawyer before, you probably have a number of questions. Should you get a referral, go online and search, or pick someone from the ads on TV?

Much like hiring an employee, you should ask questions of the attorneys you are considering. Hiring a personal injury attorney may be the biggest decision you’ll make in the case.

What questions should I ask when choosing a Personal Injury attorney?

So what do you ask an attorney to assess his or her skill, ability and suitability for your accident case? Once you get past a greeting and initial pleasantries, here are some questions to get you started interviewing attorneys.

Do You Specialize In Personal Injury Cases?

Some attorneys handle a myriad of things, including personal injury. Others do nothing but personal injury. If you have a serious personal injury claim, you want an attorney who understands the complexities of personal injury and stays on top of new developments.

How Long Have You Handled Personal Injury Cases?

The more experience the attorney has in PI cases, the better your chances of a successful settlement.

Who Will Be Handling My Case?

You may interview with a partner in the law firm, but much of the work will likely be done by non-legal staff with junior attorneys attending the hearings. It’s important to ask, and also to find out who your point of contact will be when you call.

Do You Actually Try Lawsuits In Court? How Often?

Some attorneys are ready to take a case into court; others aren’t. It’s important to know who will and who won’t. Insurance companies take this very seriously and want to know who is representing you. If you hire an attorney who takes every case as a potential court case, you’ll receive a better settlement. If your attorney prefers to settle rather than go to court, you won’t receive as much.

Please Explain Your Contingency Fee Arrangement

Many attorneys will offer this, and you’ll owe a fee “contingent” upon winning the case. However, there are other expenses in a case besides an attorney’s fee. Filing fees, court costs, medical reports, expert witnesses and other costs involved in preparing your case may be billed directly to you while the case is ongoing. Other law offices may take them out of your settlement in addition to the attorney’s fees. These charges will happen win or lose. It’s important to ask so that you are not surprised with bills while you’re trying to recover from an accident.

Do Your Own Research Too

One of the best ways to research an attorney is one of the three online websites:

All three are peer-reviewed directories that will give you additional insight into an attorney you are interviewing or plan to hire.

Accident information website Enjuris offers a free PDF and additional information on interviewing and hiring a personal injury attorney.

Should you have a question about an attorney’s disciplinary history, the West Virginia State Bar also has a website.

Take Precautions Against Chasers

You may receive solicitation letters from attorneys offering to represent you immediately after your accident. They may be of the high turnover variety that will get you a “quick check” but not negotiate for your needs. If you decide to talk to one of them, always commit to due diligence before signing anything.

The Love Law Firm Is Ready To Help

Do you need a personal injury lawyer, but aren’t sure what to expect? Call The Love Law Firm today at (304) 344-5683 and schedule your appointment with one of our attorneys. We’ll discuss your case with you, explain your options and what to expect in a personal injury settlement. We can offer you a free consultation, and a contingency fee arrangement to make it easier for you to afford a strong legal representation. There’s no fee if we don’t win your case.

Bicycle VS Vehicle Accidents In Charleston, WV. What Should I Know?

Charleston is at the center of some of the best bicycling in the US and is one of the top cycling cities in the US. From a short ride at Little Creek Park to one of the many renovated railroad “Rail Trails,” there’s no shortage of places to ride your bicycle. The City of Charleston also has a master plan for both bicycling and hiking trails. You can also find additional riding trails here and here.

Bicycle VS Vehicle Accidents In Charleston, WV. What Should I Know?

If you ride your bike as an alternative to your car or truck, you’ll quickly become aware of the increased danger of riding around passenger vehicles. In addition to being slower than a car or truck, you’re also very unprotected. If you come in contact with an oncoming car, the results can be devastating.

West Virginia is one of the safest states for bicycling (with Florida as the deadliest state for riders.) But accidents do happen, like this recent one in September, where the driver thought he hit a deer.

If you’re lucky, you may walk away with scraped knees and elbows. But frequently, bicycle accidents leave the rider with severe, and possibly fatal, injuries. If you’re hit by a car while riding, you could suffer more serious injuries, like:

  • Broken bones
  • Lacerations
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Other head & neck injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Nerve damage
  • Joint dislocation
  • Soft tissue damage
  • Jaw and dental injuries

Safety equipment (like helmets) and safe riding can help you reduce the chance of an accident as well as increase your chances of surviving one.

The Increased Dangers

Let’s face it—a passenger vehicle is bigger, faster and more dangerous than a bike. And the impact is a lot worse for you than it would be for the driver. So the burden is on you to keep watch for drivers who are:

  • Speeding
  • Texting
  • Turning corners faster (or ignoring stop signs)
  • Don’t bother looking around

Wearing A Helmet

If you don’t wear a helmet while riding, you should. West Virginia has no helmet requirement except for riders under 15. However, wearing one at any age increases your chances of surviving an accident by 88%. A helmet is one of the best pieces of safety equipment you can wear.

Additional safety gear can include:

  • Padded shorts to help prevent road rash and soft tissue injuries
  • Padded gloves to protect hands in the event of a fall
  • Reflective clothing and bike lights, to enable drivers to see you better at night

Because West Virginia’s personal injury law includes comparative fault, if you ride helmet-free, you could be assigned some fault for your injuries. Therefore, riding without a helmet can significantly reduce your settlement.

After The Accident

If you’re involved in an accident while riding, medical care is imperative, especially for severe injuries. You will also need to give a statement to the police.

Much like a car accident, you can collect damages from the negligent party such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain & suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Property damages

If you’re contacted by the other party’s insurance company, do not sign anything without consulting with a bicycle accident lawyer. You could sign away your rights, and lose out on money you need to take care of yourself.

Charleston’s Bicycle Accident Lawyer

A helmet can save your life, even with other injuries. You may not be at fault, and we can help you recover damages after someone else’s negligence.  Call The Love Law Firm at (304) 344-5683 (or use our online contact form) to schedule your free consultation. We’ll talk with you about your case and discuss your options. We work on a contingency fee basis, so there’s no up-front expense.

I Suspect My Parent Is Being Abused In The Nursing Home. What Should I Do?

Moving into a nursing home is difficult for everyone, but most especially for the individual who will live there. Many are reluctant to leave their homes for the confines of a medical facility. But if they need more medical care than you can provide, a nursing home may be the best answer.

nursing home abuse is serious and not tolerated

Of course, you’ll always be concerned about your parents. You put your trust in the caretakers and staff where your parent will live. Most people eventually get settled and comfortable with their new environment. But if your loved one is having a hard time adjusting, or just doesn’t seem comfortable in their new home, pay attention. It may not be separation anxiety—it could be abuse.

Changes In Attitude May Be A Sign

While you certainly don’t want to think of your parent being mistreated, it’s important to be observant of anything that seems out of character with them. Frequent visits will alert you to these changes, and to other evidence of abuse and/or neglect.

Some elders, especially those with cognitive issues such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, may not be able to tell you what’s happened to them. If you see evidence of:

  • Sudden depression, anxiety, or other mood changes without any obvious causes
  • Sleeplessness
  • Appetite changes for no apparent reason
  • Unable to speak around others, including staff members
  • No interest in speaking to visiting family members
  • Sudden unexplained injuries, such as broken bones, lacerations, black eyes, etc.
  • Injuries that are related to restraints
  • Damaged property (clothes, glasses, etc.)
  • Resident always in the company of a caretaker and never left alone
  • Reports of a resident struck by an employee

Your loved one may be the subject of nursing home abuse. (A complete list of possible abuse signs is available here.) But even if you don’t find evidence of physical abuse, financial abuse is also a possibility. Keeping an eye on your loved one’s finances is the best way to keep others out of your parent’s financial affairs. If you’ve seen:

  • Changes to bank or other financial accounts
  • New names on signature cards or other financial documents
  • Abruptly updated wills
  • Overdraft charges for NSF checks
  • New loans, mortgages or contracts
  • Services that are unnecessary or unexplainable
  • Forged signatures
  • Lost property
  • Any new, unusual and/or questionable financial arrangements that you’re not involved in

What To Do

If you suspect or find evidence of abuse, contact West Virginia’s Adult Protective Services immediately.

Call The Love Law Firm

The Love Law Firm is dedicated to protecting the health and wellbeing of our most vulnerable citizens. We can help when you can’t.

West Virginia has a two-year statute of limitations for you to file a lawsuit on behalf of your loved one. If you believe your loved one has been mistreated by someone in a nursing home, and you can’t get help, it’s time to call us. Contact The Love Law Firm today at (304) 344-5683 to schedule your free consultation with a Charleston, WV nursing home attorney.

Do I Need a Lawyer for an Uber or Lyft Accident in Charleston, WV?

One of the hottest new trends for getting around is ride sharing. Instead of calling a taxi, you use a smartphone app to call someone to give you a ride. Everything is done on the app, including payment. You get where you’re going and someone else is earning money driving their car. What’s not to like?

Do I Need a Lawyer for an Uber or Lyft Accident in Charleston, WV?

Millions of Americans have taken to these app-based on-call ride services, and they all get where they’re going, every day, whether at home or out-of-town. Convenient, less expensive than a taxi, But occasionally, like anyone who drives anywhere, accidents happen. Now what?

Uber And Lyft

If you’ve ever given a ride to a friend or picked them up when they called, you’ll understand what ridesharing is. These two ridesharing companies employ people nationwide to give folks a ride in their own cars. Quick, convenient and on the spot.

Uber arrived in Charleston in 2016, and Lyft arrived a year later. Both employ people to pick up and deliver people for pay. But like any taxi ride, there is just as much of an accident risk as there is when you drive yourself. And that’s where it can get complicated.

Independent Contractors

In the event of an accident with a company vehicle, you might have to deal with a company insurer. But rideshare drivers are independent contractors (aka “freelancers”), not employees, and aren’t generally covered by a company’s insurance policy except in limited circumstances. CDLs (commercial drivers’ licenses) are generally not required as they are with taxi, limo, and big truck drivers, so the rules are different.

There are three phases of the driver’s time:

  • On their own time, not driving. Any accidents are paid out of their personal insurance policy
  • When a driver is available and going to pick up a rider after being notified
  • When a driver is taking the individual to his or her destination. When the ride ends, the driver is again “available” and on their own time, and is called out for another pickup.

Insurance

Uber’s drivers are required to have their own personal insurance. Most drivers also have a separate insurance policy for when they are working as a rideshare driver. The premiums come out of the driver’s pockets.

Uber also has its own $1m company policy through James River Insurance, which covers accidents while a driver is working and transporting a passenger in their vehicle. If the driver going to pick up a passenger and is “available” in the app at the time of the accident, the driver’s own insurance is responsible, and Uber’s policy picks up part of it. If the driver is on his or her own time, and not working, the driver’s personal insurance covers the accident as it normally would.

Uber has its own process for handling accidents that involve their drivers. You may also be contacted later to give a statement. (Uber’s website has drivers’ instructions that one can check out.  )

However, Uber is a business, like any other. They will try to avoid making any payouts for crashes or other accidents.

Do I Need A Lawyer?

Chances are, you will. Just because a driver has insurance doesn’t mean things will go well. Additionally, Uber and Lyft have been notorious about leaving their drivers hanging after an accident, without any help. Like any other insurance company, you may be offered a small settlement to settle your case completely.

Call The Love Law Firm today at (304) 344-5683 and schedule your appointment with one of our attorneys. We’ll discuss your case with you, explain your options and what to expect in a car accident injury settlement. We can offer you a free consultation, and a contingency fee arrangement to make it easier for you to afford a car accident lawyer. There’s no fee if we don’t win your case.

How do I Get Compensated if My Spouse was Killed in a Mining Accident in Charleston, WV?

Mining is one of the top industries in the state. Even with continuous improvements in safety processes and equipment, it’s still one of the most dangerous. West Virginia still leads the US in mining accidents and fatalities. Despite the country’s dependence on coal, the mining part is still dangerous enough that on average, 70 people a year die in mining accidents.

How do I Get Compensated if My Spouse was Killed in a Mining Accident in Charleston, WV?

Wrongful Death

This type of case is filed when an individual dies as a result of another’s negligence. In a mining environment, negligence can result in:

  • Defective equipment (improperly maintained, etc.)
  • Surface mining accidents
  • Explosions of methane gas
  • Electrocutions
  • Collapsing of coal stockpiles

As with any wrongful death suit, the case hinges on finding the cause of the wrongful death and the individual behind it. Another factor is showing who suffered as a result of the wrongful death. Generally, the surviving spouse, children, parents and other dependents are awarded compensation after a mining accident that results in a wrongful death ruling.

While no amount of money will replace a loved one, a wrongful death award after a mining accident can help compensate a family that has lost their main source of income.

Safety And Coal Mining

Even though safety has improved since the first days of mining, danger and negligence still exists in the industry. Defective equipment, safety rules that aren’t followed, and other unsafe working conditions are common as employers attempt to evade MSHA regulations.

In many cases, the fault of a mining accident can be traced back to equipment manufacturers, oversights on the part of the mining companies or even other employees. Some of these accidents are caused by:

  • Lack of maintenance for equipment
  • Toxic chemical exposure
  • Explosions
  • Employee error—failure to report dangers like unsafe conditions or follow company processes
  • Falling roofs
  • Electrocution
  • Toxic chemical exposure (including inhaling silica dust and other dangerous substances)

In order to file a wrongful death case, you must prove deliberate intent on the part of the employer. Like any workplace accident, proving a mining accident is the fault of the employer requires demonstrating a “willful, wanton, and reckless misconduct” on the part of the employer.

Compensation And Damages

If your spouse was killed in a mining accident, there are several forms of monies you can collect under the law:

  • Medical bills
  • Funeral, burial, and related expenses
  • ·         Lost wages and benefits of the deceased
  • ·         Lost household services of the deceased
  • ·         Loss of the deceased’s companionship
  • ·         Mental anguish and solace suffered by deceased’s plaintiff surviving family members

As a surviving spouse or other relative you will have only two years to file your lawsuit or lose your right to do so.

West Virginia’s Mining Accident Attorney

Chad Love has 20 years’ experience working with personal injury victims, representing miners and victims of mining accidents.  The Love Law Firm is Charleston, West Virginia’s personal injury law firm with extensive experience handling mining accident cases. Call us today at 304-344-5683 (or use our online contact form) and schedule your free consultation. There’s no charge for the first visit, and our contingency fee arrangement means you won’t pay unless we win your case and recover money for you.

What’s The Best Way To Handle A Slip-And-Fall Accident in Charleston, WV? 

Injuries from slipping and falling can be debilitating and painful—especially if due to another’s negligence. Like any kind of accident, you must be careful what you do afterwards—both from a medical perspective as well as a legal perspective, especially if you need to recover damages.

What’s The Best Way To Handle A Slip-And-Fall Accident in Charleston, WV?

Medical

Get medical attention immediately. Visit your doctor, an urgent care center, or an emergency room if the injuries are serious. You’ll do two things: first, get treated, and two, begin documenting your case. Make sure to follow instructions, get necessary tests and prescriptions, attend follow-up medical visits and start the healing process.

Report It

You should also inform the facility’s owner, manager or employee of your accident and injuries, and get the details in writing. In addition to keeping your own notes, you should request a copy of their written report before you leave.

Legal

There are a number of things you should do to prepare for filing your claims and possibly filing a lawsuit.

If you are able at the time of the accident, use your cell phone to take pictures of the accident scene. (If you aren’t, a friend or witness may be able to help you.) This includes the surroundings, what caused your accident, your injuries, and any property that you may have had with you that was damaged or broken (jewelry, a watch, a phone or tablet, torn clothing, etc.) Store these damaged items in a safe place after you take pictures of them. Take as many pictures as you can to be able to give to your attorney.

Document everything, including the location of the incident and business name. Get names, addresses, emails and phone numbers of any witnesses to be contacted later if it becomes necessary to file a lawsuit. Write down every detail you can; don’t rely on recall, especially if you’re going to court.

Collect any documentation related to your injuries and the accident.  This can be anything from a police report, medical records, including prescription and testing records, X-rays, etc..  If you’ve missed a significant amount of work because of your injuries, this should all be documented as well, even if you have to keep them in a notebook or journal.

Scan these documents and store them in a cloud-based service platform, and give copies to your attorney. You can also give him or her copies of these documents on a flash drive. Always keep your originals; if your attorney requires originals, make sure you keep at least one copy.

Do NOT Give Statements

No matter who should ask, politely decline to give statements over the phone or in person to the property owner, any insurance company or their attorney until you’ve spoken to one yourself. Be calm and polite to the property owner, of course, and don’t post anything on social media.

Statute Of Limitations

West Virginia has a two-year statute of limitations for you to file any claims related to an accident.  If you do not file your claim two years from the date of the accident, you will not be allowed to file.  Any filings will be dismissed by the court.

Caveats

West Virginia also has a comparative fault statute for nearly all accidents.  This means that if were partially responsible for your accident, you’ll probably be assigned a percentage of fault.  If you are assigned a 25% were shown of your accidents responsibility, any settlement you receive will be reduced by 25%. In other words, if you would have received $10,000 as an accident settlement, but you are partially responsible for your Slip-And-Fall, your settlement will be reduced and $2500, and will only receive $7500.

Injured? Call Us

The Love Law Firm is Charleston, West Virginia’s personal injury law firm with extensive experience handling slips & falls and premises liability cases. Call us today at 304-344-5683 (or use our online contact form) and schedule your free consultation. There’s no fee until we win your case, and our contingency fee arrangement means you won’t pay unless we win your case.

 

Pedestrian Accident Statistics In Charleston, WV

In January of this year, a pedestrian was struck and killed by a motor vehicle and Dunbar.  The accident happened on Roxalana road, and then person was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that fatal accidents in the state of West Virginia outnumber accidents every other state. And the Post And Courier cites Charleston as one of the most dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists in the state. From 2011 to 2015, there were 26 pedestrians and bicyclists killed or severely injured in vehicular accidents.  Kanawha County leads the state in pedestrian accidents; Cabell County is second.

Pedestrian Accident Statistics In Charleston, WV

Pedestrian deaths have increased 16% since 2007, according to a study by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association. West Virginia’s rate is 1.56 per 100,000 (as of 2016.)  The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration statistics show a 9% increase in pedestrian fatalities nationwide from 2015 to 2016.

Non-automotive travelers are at a higher risk for injuries even from the most minor of accidents. Most roads are designed strictly for automotive traffic and don’t allow for pedestrians. People who walk and bike to work (or bus stops) find themselves at greater risk for injuries by drivers who are speeding or not paying attention.

Changes For Charleston Pedestrians

The City of Charleston has recently implemented new urban plans, including the People Pedal Plan, aimed at increased pedestrian and bicycle safety for residents.

Previously, The Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester City Of Governments’  2017 Walk and Bike Plan has already established specific infrastructure upgrades for the area, which includes 117 miles of new sidewalks for pedestrians and 55 miles of new bicycle lanes.

While these improvements will take time, pedestrians will, in the future, have more road space to walk safely.

Take Precautions

Morning and afternoon rush hours are the most dangerous periods for pedestrian accidents, with accidents commonly between 5 pm and 7 pm. As a pedestrian, you have an increased duty of care to protect yourself.

Of course, paying attention is paramount. Smartphones are one of the biggest distractions for both drivers and pedestrians. Putting them out of reach and ignoring them while walking is important to keeping your attention on your surroundings.

If you’re listening to music or a podcast, use only one earbud at a normal volume to be able to hear traffic.

Cross at designated crosswalk areas. About 82% of pedestrian accidents occur away from intersections and crosswalks.

When crossing a street, look left, look right, and then left again. Vehicles travel fast, and you’ll see it if you look left again.

Do not assume a car will stop—many drivers are also distracted, and won’t see you.

Avoid alcohol if you need to walk home—especially after dark.

If you must walk after dark, wear brightly colored clothing to be seen.

The Help You Need Now

We stand ready to protect your interests and help you get back on your feet after an accident. We’ll examine all the facts in the case, the police report, and advise you on how to proceed.

You may be able to recover compensation for your injuries, including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain & suffering

If you’ve been involved in a pedestrian accident, contact us at The Love Law Firm, or call us at (304) 344 5683. Your consultation is free, and we only collect if we win your case.

Why Do I Need a Charleston, WV Motorcycle Accident Attorney?

If you’ve been riding a motorcycle for any length of time, you not only understand why people enjoy it, you also see the dangers in motorcycle riding. Most riders are careful and respectful while riding, and wear protective gear despite the perception that riders do so dangerously.

Why Do I Need a Charleston, WV Motorcycle Accident Attorney?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that while 20% of car accidents result in injuries or a fatality, 80% of motorcycle accidents have them. One estimate puts accidents with motorcycles at 11% annually. Car accident fatality rates are decreasing, but motorcycle rates are increasing. With more motorcycles on the road than ever before, your chances of an accident markedly increase.

Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Some of the causes of accidents include:

·         Drivers who are:

  • Speeding
  • Changing lanes incorrectly
  • Turning without looking first
  • Texting while driving
  • Running through red lights
  • Smoking, eating and/or drinking while driving
  • Engaging in illegal activities behind the wheel
  • Generally not paying attention (“didn’t see him”)

·         Potholes

·         Road debris and other hazards

·         Defective roads

Any one of these risks can turn your next ride into your last one for a while.

A Motorcycle Accident Attorney Will Defend Your Rights

There’s a general presumption—both by the car-driving public and by insurance companies—that motorcycle riders are at fault for their accidents. Some drivers will tell you that motorcyclists drive “dangerous.” However, statistics tell a different story. While some motorcyclists are at fault, the majority of accidents involving motorcycles are due to automobile driver negligence.

Because motorcycles are smaller and more agile, they aren’t always as obvious to a driver—especially one not paying attention to their blind spots, or abruptly change lanes without looking. Even if you’re riding safely and following the law, you’re more vulnerable to bad driver habits and severe injuries in a crash situation.

Even a new bike can have problems. Although we believe our bike is safe, there are occasions where design flaws, substandard materials or parts or workmanship can cause an accident.

Additionally, road construction, strewn debris and other obstacles that don’t affect automobiles can be highly dangerous to a motorcycle. Was a road incorrectly repaired, or even neglected?

All these things can contribute to a motorcycle accident. Finding out exactly what went wrong can be half the battle. If it indeed wasn’t your fault, how will you prove it?

Beware of Insurance Companies

Even if you have some of the best motorcycle insurance available, understand that your insurance company wants to settle your claim quickly. They’re not concerned for your welfare. If you settle with them quickly, you will probably not have enough money to recover, or repair your bike. An investigation may not find in your favor (remember that bias against motorcyclists) and you could end up with less than you need, or even nothing.

Insurance companies act quickly to minimize payouts, conquer evidence and find ways to deny claims. With a two-year window of time to file (called the “statute of limitations”), your insurer may try to drag the case out so that your time runs out.  Having an attorney that can work for you to deal with insurers will help protect your rights, your interests, and get the compensation you deserve.

Charleston’s Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

We hope you’re never involved in a motorcycle accident. It’s usually a lot worse—and more expensive—than a car accident. We understand the difference, and the intricacies of these cases. With experience handling motorcycle accidents, we’ll fight for your compensation. We can take care of insurance companies, the courts, and the rest of your case so you can heal.

The Love Law Firm is ready to help you through a motorcycle accident. Call us today at 304-344-5683, or use our online contact form to schedule your appointment with one of our attorneys. We’ll discuss your case with you, explain your options and what to expect in an accident settlement. Our contingency fee arrangement means that if we don’t win your case, you won’t owe us a fee.

5 Things to Know Before Calling a Charleston, WV Car Accident Lawyer

After a car accident, you’re dealing with a number of different things. Car repairs. Medical appointments. Missed work. Insurance claims. Lots of paperwork and forms. All while you’re trying to heal yourself and get back on your feet.

Insurance companies don’t care what you need—they want your case settled and off their books quickly. Give in, and you’ll lose out on compensation you need to heal.

5 things to know before you call a Charleston, WV car accident lawyer

You may be thinking it’s time to find a lawyer to help you through the difficult process of the aftermath of a car accident. Before you pick up the phone, here are a few things you should know.

·         Have all the accident information available—to get started, you’ll need the relevant information from your car accident: the time, date, the location, the other parties involved, their insurance company and any injuries sustained. You should also have:

  • Related medical bills
  • Information on injuries, including pictures
  • Police report
  • Photographs of the accident scene (if you’re able; most cell phones now have full camera functionality)
  • Names and contact info for any witnesses
  • Road hazards that could have contributed to the accident
  • How much work and/or wages you’ve missed due to the accident
  • Your auto insurance policy
  • Any possible automotive defects that could have contributed to your accident
  • Any other evidence you may have that’s relevant

Assembling this information before you call and hire an attorney will give him or her a good start on your case.

·         Be aware of the time constraints—West Virginia allows two years to file your claim for most cases. Known as the “statute of limitations,” if you wait until the end of the two years to get started, you may run out of time. The first ninety days after an accident are crucial for gathering important evidence and building your case. Hiring an attorney soon after your accident can help preserve important evidence as well.

·         Comparative Fault—West Virginia is one of the states that uses “comparative fault” when dealing with accidents. This means that if you’re found to be partly responsible for your car accident, your settlement could be reduced. For instance, if you were texting while you were driving, but weren’t a primary cause of the accident, you could be assigned 25% of the fault, reducing your settlement by 25%. If your settlement is $10,000, you’ll lose $2,500, bringing your settlement down to $7,500.

·         Be very cautious when talking to and dealing with insurance companies—again, insurance companies do not have your best interests in mind. Use extreme caution in what you say to an insurance company any time they call. Your call is most likely recorded, and saying the wrong thing that can be construed as admitting fault. An adjuster will work hard to use anything you say to dismiss your claim. Don’t sign anything without fully understanding what you’d be signing—you could be signing away your rights to compensation! Insurance companies have teams of lawyers working for them and against you—so it makes sense for you to be able to defend yourself. Finding the right car accident attorney at the beginning can save you from making mistakes like these.

·         Don’t pick your attorney from a TV ad—you’ve probably seen a number of ads on TV for attorneys begging you to “call today!” Sure, they talk a good game—but what about when it comes to your case? Many of the firms that advertise in heavy rotation are simply “settlement firms,” and rely heavily on bringing in new cases and getting them settled quickly. These firms may not get you the best settlement, and may even leave money on the table.

Talk To More Than One

You may not want to hire the first attorney you talk to. If you’re not sure, you can “interview” car accident attorneys before you hire one. You’ll want to find the right one, and one you can work with, so an interview works two ways. Word-of-mouth is an excellent way to find leads. But without meeting with them to discuss your case, you won’t know if you’re getting the right attorney for you.

If you’re speaking with an attorney who doesn’t adequately answer your questions, or you just don’t feel like it’s a good “fit,” don’t be afraid to keep looking. Review their websites, and find out what kind of experience they have with car accidents.

Most personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation, and will discuss your case with you with no obligation. After you’ve taken care of yourself and seen a doctor, the next person to see may be a lawyer—especially if you’ve been injured. Don’t wait.

Charleston’s Car Accident Attorney

The days after a car accident are filled with anxiety, confusion and a lot of quick decision making. Don’t risk making a wrong decision for your life and your future.

The Love Law Firm is ready to help. Call us today at 304-344-5683, or use our online contact form to schedule your appointment with one of our attorneys. We’ll discuss your case with you, explain your options and what to expect in an accident settlement. Our contingency fee arrangement means that if we don’t win your case, you won’t owe us a fee.