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.

Charleston Premises Liability 101: What Property Owners Should Know

If you spend any time with managers or owners of businesses who do business with the public, there’s one phrase you’re likely to hear at least once, in one form or another: “I just don’t want a lawsuit.”

As a property owner, manager or responsible employee, you’re probably aware that keeping your home or business safe for your employees, family, as well as guests and customers, is extremely important. But it’s more than just that.

Charleston Premises Liability 101: What Property Owners Should Know

What Is Premises Liability?

It’s the area of personal injury law that covers accidents and injuries that happen on someone else’s property, usually (but not always) a business. As a property owner or manager, you have a “duty of care” to provide a safe place for anyone who enters. Once you are made aware of a danger, it’s your duty to either repair it or place warning signs around to prevent anyone from unknowingly walking over it and becoming injured.

An injured plaintiff is required to prove that the owner knew, or should have known, that the hazard existed, and failed to do anything about it. Anything from slippery floors to bad walkways to dark halls can be a hazard that causes injury.

If you have workers on the property, you are also responsible for keeping safe conditions for these workers. West Virginia recognizes two groups of people, “trespassers” and “non-trespassers,” meaning that a premises faces additional exposure to a lawsuit should anyone become injured.

Injuries

Premises liability injuries can include:

  • Slip & Fall injuries (including water leaks and snow & ice incidents)
  • Defective conditions due to inadequate maintenance (such as broken sidewalks)
  • Elevator, stair and escalator accidents
  • Toxic fumes and chemicals
  • Fires
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Amusement park ride accidents
  • Workplace injuries
  • Insufficient premises security that leads to assault or other injuries
  • Dog bites

Open And Obvious

For many years, West Virginia had a clause called “open and obvious.” That is, someone injured by something that was obvious to everyone else could not hold a property owner/manager liable. The property owner still has a duty to warn visitors about a dangerous condition.

But in 2013, the state Supreme Court abolished “open and obvious,” with Hersch v. E-T Enterprises, Ltd. et al.  The plaintiff in the case was a shopper who fell on a staircase without a handrail, a safety violation. Because this hazard was obvious to anyone using the staircase, the plaintiff was barred from filing suit. The majority of the court disagreed, because despite the missing handrail being “obvious,” it still didn’t preclude the owner or manager from remedying the condition.

The state legislature reversed this in 2015 with Senate Bill 13, and Governor Tomblin signed it into law. The Code of West Virginia §55-7-27 reinstates “open and obvious,” and reads in part:

(a) A possessor of real property, including an owner, lessee or other lawful occupant, owes no duty of care to protect others against dangers that are open, obvious, reasonably apparent or as well known to the person injured as they are to the owner or occupant, and shall not be held liable for civil damages for any injuries sustained as a result of such dangers.

As a property owner/manager, you are still liable for a danger that you are aware of that isn’t obvious to a guest or visitor, as well as a condition that is clear to anyone who passes near it. But a party who ignores a danger may also be barred from suing or have any settlement reduced due to comparative negligence.

Statute of Limitations

West Virginia gives plaintiffs two years to file a claim. After that period, with rare exception, most lawsuits will be thrown out.

Premises Liability Defense?

The Love Law Firm is Charleston, West Virginia’s personal injury law firm with extensive experience handling premises liability cases. Call us today at 304-344-5683 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.

Charleston Premises Liability 101: What Visitors Should Know

When you visit someone’s house, a place of business, or a public venue, you don’t think about the possibility of slipping and falling. But in many places in Charleston every year, it happens—someone trips on stairs, on a broken sidewalk, on something slippery in a grocery store or falls over a trip hazard in a nightclub. Do you know what to do if you’re the next slip and fall victim?

Charleston Premises Liability 101: What Visitors Should Know

Premises Liability

The area of law that governs slip and fall cases is called “premises liability.” That is, the legal liability that the owner, manager or employee of the business on the premises bears to keep a place safe for guests and/or members of the public.

This means if you’ve suffered an injury or other damages because a property owner or other responsible individual should have either taken care of a dangerous condition but didn’t, and you were injured, you may be able to recover damages.

Get Medical Care Immediately

If you’re injured, you should see a doctor right away, even if you don’t think it’s serious. Some injuries aren’t immediately apparent, and an emergency room physician can give a solid diagnosis. If you don’t see a doctor immediately, your claim of an injury may be dismissed or reduced.

There are a number of different types of ways you could become injured in a premises liability accident:

  • Slippery floors can cause dangerous slip & fall accidents
  • Dangerous conditions at a construction site or workplace
  • Hazards in buildings, such as uneven walkways or stairs without safety railings
  • Lack of security resulting in dangers to personal safety

And so many others.

You Also Have A Responsibility For Your Own Safety

Even if a dangerous condition exists, you as a visitor have a duty to pay attention to any warning signs and abide by them. If you’re in an area where you shouldn’t be and get injured (such as an area marked “employees only”), you won’t be able to recover compensation. This is also true if you were trespassing on private property.

West Virginia also has a clause commonly called “open and obvious.”  (Code of West Virginia §55-7-27) That is, if you ignore a danger that everyone else wouldn’t, the property owner won’t be held liable. The law reads:

(a) A possessor of real property, including an owner, lessee or other lawful occupant, owes no duty of care to protect others against dangers that are open, obvious, reasonably apparent or as well known to the person injured as they are to the owner or occupant, and shall not be held liable for civil damages for any injuries sustained as a result of such dangers.

Additionally, West Virginia law also uses “comparative fault.” This means that if you bear any of the responsibility for your accident, your settlement could be reduced by the amount of responsibility you’re assigned.

You Have Two Years To File

West Virginia allows you to file a claim for two years after the date of your accident. Don’t wait too long, or you won’t be able to file. If you’ve been waiting to file, don’t—call us today.

After a serious injury due to someone else’s negligence, you need help getting back on your feet. Medical expenses lost wages, and other expenses are part of what you need to get there. Chad Love has been helping people in Charleston for over 20 years, and he’s ready to help you.

The Love Law Firm is Charleston, West Virginia’s personal injury law firm with extensive experience handling slip & fall premises liability cases. Call us today at 304-344-5683 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 Is Nursing Home Abuse And What Legal Recourses Do I Have In Charleston, WV?

Nursing home abuse is one of the most under-reported crimes in the US and can happen anywhere, at any time. While some of the more serious cases are publicized, many crimes go unreported to either the police or in the media. Victims usually can’t fight back or defend themselves, and requests for help may be ignored completely. But in Charleston, you do have some recourse if you discover it.

What Is Nursing Home Abuse And What Legal Recourses Do I Have In Charleston, WV?

Most abuses are:

  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional/verbal abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Financial exploitation

Any abuse should be reported to the facility administrator, the State of West Virginia, and possibly law enforcement.

Legal Protection

Nursing home residents are protected by both federal and state laws. The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 is the federal law establishing a list of an individual’s rights as well as protections for nursing home residents against abuse. (An abridged description of the law is available here.)

West Virginia’s Adult Protective Services provides important information in the event you need help reporting nursing home abuse.

Much like domestic abuse victims, many nursing home abuse victims are afraid to report anything for fear of retribution when everyone is gone for the day. As a visitor, you can get up and leave, but a resident lives there full time, and can’t always help themselves. Residents with cognitive issues like dementia or Alzheimer’s may not realize they’ve been the target of abuse, or may not clearly remember details enough to explain it to you or to law enforcement.

Indications of Abuse In A Nursing Home

Changes in an individual’s living arrangement will nearly always cause some upheaval and confusion. Over time, most people settle in and get used to their new environment. But if you are seeing some of these indicators in your loved one, it might be time to do some investigation.

  • Damaged clothing, glasses or frames
  • Inability to speak around others, including employees
  • Family member never left alone, always in the presence of a facility employee
  • Suddenly uninterested in speaking with friends and relatives
  • Depression, anxiety and/or sleeplessness without a clear cause
  • Abrupt changes in appetite or mood
  • Broken bones, skin lacerations or other sudden unexplained injuries
  • Rope burns or other indications of restraint
  • Welts, bruises, black eyes or other obvious injuries in various stages of healing
  • Resident report of being hit, slapped or otherwise abused

Any of these should be reported immediately to Adult Protective Services.

Financial Abuse

Even if a nursing home resident isn’t showing any of the signs of physical abuse, financial abuse is also a possibility by both employees and family members. Signs to look for include:

  • Sudden changes in wills, powers of attorney and other important documents
  • New names on signature cards, bank accounts or other financial documents
  • Unexplained changes in banking, i.e., large withdrawals or transfers by a non-family member
  • Forged signatures
  • Missing property
  • Overdraft fees and insufficient funds in bank accounts
  • New contracts, loans or mortgages
  • Unnecessary services
  • Relatives who were uninvolved appearing to lay claim to the elder’s property or monies
  • Any other new, unusual or questionable legal and/or financial arrangements

The West Virginia Department of Health & Human Services contains a wealth of information with more on Adult Protective Services. A PDF file with a more complete list of signs of abuse and neglect is available here.

Filing A Complaint of Abuse

If you have evidence or have personally witnessed mistreatment of someone in a nursing facility in Charleston, WV, file a complaint with the state immediately. Call West Virginia’s 24/7 Health & Human Resources hotline at 800-352-6513. Take pictures and document all evidence, including injuries. Health & Human Resources Centralized Intake offers additional information on their website, and what data to have on hand when you call.

Anyone can file a complaint of abuse or neglect, but some individuals are mandated to file a report under WV Code §49-6A-2, including:

  • Childcare/foster care workers
  • Clergy members, “religious healers,” including Christian Science practitioners
  • EMTs
  • Medical, dental or mental health providers
  • Law enforcement
  • Social workers

These individuals are required to file a complaint within 48 hours as part of the Adult Protective Process. A complete list of mandated reporters is available on their website. Any individual making a report of abuse is immune from civil or criminal liability.

One More Option: Hire A Charleston, WV Nursing Home Attorney

There is a two-year window of time to file a lawsuit on behalf of your loved one. If you believe your loved one has been abused, neglected or in any way mistreated by a nursing home employee, and you can’t seem to get any answers, don’t try to manage the situation yourself. Contact The Love Law Firm today at (304) 344-5683 to schedule your free consultation with a Charleston, WV nursing home attorney. We’re ready to be an advocate for the Charleston vulnerable elderly.