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.

Charleston Accident Attorney

The Kanawha Valley encompassing the capital city of Charleston is one of the most scenic cities in the US, situated in the Appalachian Mountains. With a population of just under 50,000, it’s a decidedly un-crowded city with one of the lowest crime rates in the US.

Charleston Accident Attorney

The state is home to several thriving industries, including:

·         Chemical manufacturing: providing more than 120,000 jobs, there are 140 chemical manufacturing companies, one of the largest areas in the world for the industry.

·         Biotechnology: including pharmaceutical companies, chemical companies, and agricultural feedstock

·         Energy: especially coal mining. The state produces about one-tenth of the nation’s coal and is a leading top interstate electricity exporter in the US. The state also has over 50 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale rock formation.

·         Aerospace: one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy, for two reasons: one, the large group of experienced workers, and two, the abundance of primary and fabricated metal products the industry needs.

·         Automotive: companies like Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Hino Motors, Gestamp, NGK Spark Plugs and Diamond Electric are located in West Virginia. The National Research Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines, and Emissions is also located here and does research on things like fuel economy, emissions, engines, and cars. West Virginia University’s National Alternative Fuels Training Center also does research on alternative fuels and advancements for the auto industry.

Metal and lumber production are also big West Virginia industries, as well as crops and livestock. One of the first industries in Charleston was salt mining when the West Virginia Salt Brines were found beside the Kanawha River in 1806.  Charleston’s economy began to prosper and was the leading producer of salt in the world. Coal mining then became one of the state’s predominant industries.

Tourism is also a busy West Virginia industry. There are numerous attractions and historic sites, as well as art and culture. From shopping at a Farmer’s Market to hunting, fishing, and skiing, West Virginia has something for nearly everyone.

Transportation

With so much to do, there’s also the matter of getting around. Of course, you can drive, but what if you don’t?  If you’re looking to fly somewhere, Charleston has one major flight hub, Yeager Airport.  You can take Amtrak if you want to travel by rail. The Kanawha Valley Regional Transit Authority covers Charleston’s public transportation needs. And as of 2016, you can now call Uber for a car ride.

West Virginia Celebrities

Did you know that West Virginia is home to a number of well-known famous people?

·         Don Knotts, actor

·         Chuck Yeager, Air Force General, and test pilot

·         Mary Lou Retton, Olympic gymnast

·         Peter Marshall, TV Host

·         Jon McBride, NASA astronaut

Charleston’s Accident Attorney

An accident of any kind can happen anytime, anywhere. Once the initial shock is over, and you’ve moved into recovery mode, there’s a lot to deal with. Don’t try to handle everything yourself. A personal injury case requires an experienced attorney to guide you through the process and make sure you’re treated fairly and get the compensation you need.

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 Nursing Home Attorney

“Nursing home” are two words no one ever wants to hear. But in some cases, a nursing home is the best option for an aging parent (or another relative) that can’t live safely at home anymore. Whether it’s a chronic illness or an aging issue like dementia or Parkinson’s, a long-term care facility may be the best option.

Charleston Nursing Home Attorney

But once you’re faced with that decision, the next question is, “where?” How do you find the ideal nursing home to care for and protect someone?

Researching Long-Term Care

Finding and researching options is easier than it used to be. Lists like this one from US News & World Report give you a place to start. Caring.com also offers a list of nursing home facilities, some with ratings.

A Place For Mom’s website offers a search tool to help you connect with different facilities.

Choosing the Right Nursing Home

It’s more than watching an ad on TV, reading the brochures or looking at a home’s website. You need to know what really happens inside a nursing facility before you bring your loved one there and drive away.

The first place to start is checking federal, state and local information on any nursing home you’re considering.

Visiting the facilities you’re considering before admitting your loved one goes a long way in making sure it’s the safe, comforting place you hope it is. What’s the food like? If it’s unpleasant, you’ll be told that they’re “not eating.” The AARP offers ten essential questions to ask before choosing one, and this Wall Street Journal article offers additional resources and information. This US News & World Report article offers additional questions you should ask when researching nursing homes.

A Place For Mom offers this advice:

To conduct a complete investigation, seniors and their families should:

  • Tour any listed location to confirm the accuracy of the community description
  • Confirm that the community offers services that are required for the senior’s specific needs and budget
  • ·Check additional licensing and state audit information.

Diligence is important even in the highest-rated facilities. Lapses in care and other mistakes may go unreported.

Memory Care

There’s a specific genre of skilled nursing home care that’s specifically for residents with dementia, Alzheimer’s or other cognitive degeneration. Known as “memory care,” the staff is trained to work with people with cognition issues. Memory care units can be an entire facility or can be a specific wing or dormitory of an assisted living facility with dedicated 24-hour nursing care. The design and layout are created to offer a comfortable, safe environment with minimized wandering.

This doesn’t mean that residents should be restricted to their rooms—quite the opposite. Residents of memory care will still need the same kind of activity as other residents, they’ll just need more supervision to keep them safe.

Charleston’s Nursing Home Attorney

Putting your trust in someone to care for your loved one is always a difficult decision. Keeping your loved one safe, healthy and happy during a difficult time should be your primary goal. If you find that your loved one isn’t being properly cared for, or is having problems you can’t seem to resolve, 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 nursing home attorney. (You can also email us or use our convenient contact form.) We’re ready to be an advocate for our vulnerable elderly.

What does a Charleston, WV Car Accident Lawyer Cost? Can I Really Afford One?

If you’ve been in a car accident, you’re probably reading this wondering how to get a lawyer in West Virginia to represent you. And more importantly, what does it cost?

What does a Charleston, WV Car Accident Lawyer Cost? Can I Really Afford One?

It’s difficult to put an exact dollar amount on the question since every case is different. One case may net a huge settlement, while another case that looks similar may lose. Everything is in the details of the case.

Lawyers may employ a few different types of fee schedules. Before you agree to be represented by one, ask which one you’ll be agreeing to before you sign anything. A car accident is bad enough—you don’t need any more surprises! Make sure you understand how your lawyer will be paid at the outset of your case.

Hourly

This is where you literally pay your lawyer (and/or the law office staff) for each hour they work on your car accident case. Known as “billable hours,” it’s the actual time spent working on your case. You will generally receive a statement, invoice or some other type of documentation indicating how much work has been done in your case.

If you agree to an hourly fee arrangement, you’ll also need to ask if you will be responsible for paying these invoices every month. Many lawyers do require it, but again, you must specifically ask.

Flat Fee

If you’ve ever asked for an estimate on a home improvement project, or to have work done on your car, you’re familiar with this arrangement. You’ll be charged a specific amount of money to handle your case. Be aware that there may be additional charges such as court costs, filing fees, and costs to recover documentation from hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other places.

Are you going to be paying the fee upfront, and get billed for the extra charges? Will there be any additional fees taken out of your settlement? What happens if you lose your case?

Ask about these things, and what else might be required before you sign. If you agree to a flat fee arrangement, make sure you know what’s involved, and what you’ll be responsible for.

Contingency Fee Arrangement

Many lawyers who handle personal injury cases utilize this arrangement. The lawyer’s fee is a percentage on what you receive as a settlement, contingent upon winning the case. If the case is lost, you generally won’t owe a fee. Lawyers who take these types of arrangements will be choosy about which cases they pick, and they don’t generally take a case they don’t think they can win.

Modified Contingency Arrangement

This arrangement may be partly hourly or flat fee with part of the fees being contingent. Each attorney has his or her own way of doing it, so again, be sure to ask what happens if you settle, if you win, if you have to go to court, and if the case is lost.

Before You Sign

An agreement should have these elements:

·         Retainer—if you’re required to pay a deposit or a monthly fee for their services, this should be spelled out.

·         Hourly rate—rates you’ll be charged for any work done on your case, and by whom. It should also include when the invoice is due, and other associated terms.

·         Contingency fee—if your attorney uses this arrangement, everything will be detailed here.

·         Lawsuit related costs and fees—these are the out-of-pocket court fees and other associated charges that your lawyer will have to pay to work on your case. You may be required to pay these charges as they happen, or the lawyer may be reimbursed when your case settles. If you lose, you may be required to reimburse the lawyer for these charges.

·         Responsibilities—this defines who is responsible for what, (including you), which attorney and/or staff member will be working on your case, and what happens if your case requires an appeal.

Always Ask

If there is something you don’t understand, ask your attorney or their representative to make sure you know what to expect, and what’s expected of you. If an attorney proposes something that’s unclear, or that you’re not comfortable with, you’re free to decline, as long as you haven’t signed anything.

Need An Accident Lawyer? We’re Ready To Help

Do you need a car accident 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 personal injury 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.

Bicycle Accident With No Helmet? Here Are Some Legal Considerations

With spring on its way, people are ready to get out and ride their bicycles. In fact, Charleston is one of the top four cycling cities in West Virginia, hosting regular events like Bike To Work Day, where you can get free coffee and pastries. It’s an enjoyable pastime as well as an economical mode of transportation.

Bicycle Accident With No Helmet? Here Are Some Legal Considerations

But before put your ride on the road, make sure you’re familiar with the laws surrounding it. Like a motorcycle, you’re more vulnerable to serious injuries while you’re riding a bicycle.

A bicycle is, in West Virginia law, still considered a “motor vehicle” (even though you’re the “motor.”) Bicycles and motorcycles still must follow traffic laws, and be especially careful. Drivers don’t always see you, and may do anything from fling open a car door in front of you to change lanes and knock you out of yours. An accident between a car and a bicycle can result in devastating injuries that wouldn’t happen between two auto drivers. (West Virginia Chapter 17C, Article 11, governing bicycle riders, is available online.)

Among other safety requirements, lights are required to be on your bicycle for riding at night. Install both a white one for the front and a bright red one for the back, and turn them on when required. Cars, motorcycles, pedestrians and other cyclists will be able to see you.

Wear A Helmet Every Time You Ride

One of the most essential pieces of safety equipment for a bicyclist is a helmet. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics show that 700 cyclists die every year in crashes, totaling 2% of all traffic accidents.

Surprising research shows that cycling is the top sport for traumatic brain injuries—even more than football.  In children under 14, head injuries from cycling are double the number from football. While it might be more enjoyable to ride without a helmet, the risks outweigh the benefits.

New York Times health columnist Jane Brody is a strong proponent, after her own accident that could have left her with a serious brain injury had she not been wearing her helmet.

The NHTSA encourages every rider to wear a helmet regardless of experience since traumatic brain injuries and death are serious risks. Wearing a helmet increases your chances of survival by 88% while riding without one triples your chances of a fatal crash.

Helmet Laws In West Virginia

West Virginia law (§17C-11A-4) requires helmets to be worn by bicyclists aged 15 or under, whether they’re operating the bicycle (or tricycle) or riding as a passenger. It’s also illegal for a parent to permit their child or children to ride a bicycle without a helmet. Doing so can incur a $10 fine and/or two hours of community service in a child injury prevention program. There is no such state law for bicycling adults in West Virginia, but the city of Morgantown does require helmets for all ages since 1993.

The “freedom” and the decision to ride without a helmet comes with risks besides the ones of severe head injuries (and death.) West Virginia’s comparative fault clause that applies to car accidents can also apply to bicycling accidents. Just like a car accident, an insurance company may use the absence of a bicycle helmet to deny your claim, or at least get it reduced by a percentage.

Helmets are known to reduce brain injuries, and failing to wear a helmet could significantly impact your claim, thus reducing a settlement. You may still be able to make an injury claim, and it wouldn’t affect other bodily injuries. But without a helmet, you’ll have to work hard to prove that your injury could have happened even with a helmet.

You can deal with “helmet hair.” A traumatic brain injury lasts a lot longer. And if you’re unable to collect any damages because of comparative negligence, how will you be able to heal with a reduced settlement?

We Handle Bicycle Accidents Too

Even while wearing a helmet, you can be injured in a crash, but the helmet can save your life. It may not be your fault, and we can help you recover damages. Let us help you with your accident case so you can heal your injuries and get on with your life. Call The Love Law Firm at (304) 344-5683 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.

 

Should I Settle With The Insurance Company After My Car Accident?

One of the first phone calls you may receive after a car crash is from the other driver’s insurance company. They want to settle your case—fast. You may even receive that call the day of the accident.

Should you accept the offer? It’s great that they’re on top of it, but it’s probably not in your best interest.

Should I Settle With The Insurance Company After My Car Accident?

If your case is minor, and there were no injuries or serious damage to your car, it might be OK—consider carefully before you do. But if you and/or your loved ones were seriously injured, your car or other property was badly damaged, don’t sign away your rights to compensation you deserve.

Once you accept their settlement offer, your case is closed—and you can’t go back later to ask for more once you sign for the check. It may be time to contact a personal injury attorney to help you with your case.

Types Of Damages

Whether you’re a driver, a passenger or a pedestrian injured in an accident, you can pursue compensation for damages. What you can recover and the amount will depend on the types of damages involved, during and after the incident. These damages include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Car repairs
  • Disability or disfigurement
  • Pain and suffering

If you settle with the insurance company that quickly, you may walk away from damages that you’re entitled to.

What’s The Hurry?

Insurance companies want to get you and your case settled and off their books as soon as they can, for as little money as they can. They’re not concerned with your injuries and helping you get back on your feet.

But injuries aren’t always obvious on the day of the accident. That’s why it’s important to seek medical attention immediately after the accident, and again as needed. If you delay treatment, it could damage your chances of recovering anything.

West Virginia allows you a two-year time frame to file a claim, and if necessary, a lawsuit, to get the compensation you need for your injuries and damage to your property. If your injuries are delayed, you’ll have two years from the date of discovery to file your complaint.

This is where a personal injury attorney can help you.

What A Car Accident Settlement Should Cover

In addition to covering your car repair/replacement expenses, your medical expenses, lost wages and other expenses. However, if you’re severely injured, and possibly disabled, a quick settlement probably won’t take that into account. An insurance adjuster isn’t going to take these things into consideration, so be very cautious when talking with them, and don’t agree to anything you feel is inadequate, or don’t understand.

Negotiating A Settlement

Some websites offer tips for negotiating with insurance companies for settling claims. If at any point you’re unsure or need help, don’t hesitate to call The Love Law Firm.

Were You Assigned Fault?

West Virginia’s car accident laws allow fault to be assigned. That is, you could be assigned a percentage of fault for causing the accident. Should you be partially responsible, it could impact your settlement amount. But you should know if you are at fault, and by how much. For instance, if the other driver was 100% at fault for the accident, you’ll recover an awarded amount at 100%. But if you’re 20% at fault because a witness saw you look at your phone while the vehicle was in motion, your settlement amount will be reduced by 20%.

Ready To Settle? Call Us First!

Don’t accept a quick settlement without talking to us first. You could lose out with no way to recover. 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 offer contingency fee arrangements, and there’s no fee if we don’t win your case.

Who Is Liable When A Pedestrian Causes An Accident?

If you’ve been in a car accident, you’ve probably been through the process where the fault is determined and liability is established. And more importantly, who pays for everything. There may have even been a pedestrian involved.

But what if the pedestrian was the cause of the accident?

Who Is Liable When A Pedestrian Causes An Accident?

It Happens Frequently

The Centers For Disease Control found in 2008 that a pedestrian is injured every eight minutes, and one dies every two hours in the US from traffic accidents, about 11% of all traffic fatalities (according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.)  Since pedestrians don’t have the usual protection a car or truck would have, injuries from even an otherwise minor accident can be devastating.

Pedestrians normally always have the right of way, so many people believe that they can’t be at fault—but that’s not completely true. Drivers should yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and other intersections. Both drivers and pedestrians have a duty to “exercise reasonable care” on the road, and failure to exercise care as a pedestrian is considered negligent.

If you’ve ever seen someone walking down the street staring at their phone, you’ll understand how quickly a pedestrian accident can happen.

Negligence

It’s not common, but a pedestrian can be found “at fault” for an accident, although successful legal action may not be possible. Distractions (like a smartphone), carelessness, impairment (alcohol, drugs) or otherwise not paying attention to surroundings and traffic can play a part in pedestrian negligence.

Under WV State Code 17C-10-01, pedestrians are also subjected to state law and rules of the road, including using crosswalks and obeying traffic signals. Violations are subjected to fines of at least $100.

In order to prove negligence against a pedestrian, you’ll need evidence, such as witness statements, surveillance video, a police report and other pieces of evidence that prove the pedestrian’s negligence.

Using the NTHSA data from 2008, it’s important to note that time is an important factor in pedestrian accidents.

  • 38% of car/pedestrian fatalities involving drivers aged 16 or younger occurred between 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm
  • 48% of all pedestrian fatality accidents happened on Friday, Saturday and Sunday
  • 48% of the cases involved alcohol and/or inebriation as a factor with either the driver or the pedestrian
  • 36% of involved pedestrians involved in these accidents had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit
  • 13% of the involved drivers had a BAC over the legal limit.

Comparative Fault

It is possible, but somewhat unlikely, that you could pursue a claim against a pedestrian. It’s more likely that the driver will be sued in a personal injury claim by the pedestrian.

Both drivers and pedestrians can be found negligent and liable for an accident, either singly or together. West Virginia’s comparative fault rule means that if a pedestrian is found to be at fault for the accident, any settlement can be reduced by the percentage. If a pedestrian is found to be 25% responsible for an accident, he or she will see any settlement reduced by 25%. This is also true for a driver.

Intoxicated or otherwise impaired pedestrians who fail to follow the rule of law may be responsible for a higher fault percentage, and may not be eligible to recover damage and/or compensation.

Defend Yourself

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.

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 You Need A Commercial Truck Accident Lawyer For A Charleston Wreck

For many people, truck driving is a way of life and a livelihood. You may not like being too close to 80,000 pounds, so you try to pass them, or just stay out of their path. A commercial truck accident can be much more lethal than a car accident, and you need to be sure you’re covered as the driver.

You see trucks on the roads, transporting the goods we all take for granted. The Oil & Gas industry has improved, increasing the number of trucks on West Virginia roads.

Why You Need A Commercial Truck Accident Lawyer For A Charleston Wreck

The Trucking Industry

Drivers and their companies are, by law, held to a higher safety standard than passenger drivers. Every journey requires recordkeeping, including maintenance and repair records.

Operators of commercial trucks have extensive training before getting a commercial driver’s license (CDL) as well as a system of regulations to follow behind the wheel. The shortage of qualified drivers, coupled with new electronic logging device mandate (ELD) means drivers may be more stressed than before. Some companies have tired drivers to drive longer, take heavier loads, or drive faster to get a shipment on time, contributing to a devastating accident.

It’s bad enough to be in a wreck with another car. But it’s a lot more complicated with a truck. Your injuries are likely to be more severe, but their legal teams and insurance companies will try to push you to agree to a quick—and inadequate—settlement. Don’t settle. Contact a lawyer who can help you navigate a commercial truck accident case.

Braking

We don’t think about our brakes unless they’re making noise or not stopping correctly. But for large trucks, braking is a process. Braking is immediate when you touch your car’s brake pedal. But for a semi, the air brakes take a full 1.5 seconds to engage, taking two to three times longer to stop—and more if the load is heavy.

Exercise Caution Driving Near Big Trucks

It’s sensible to be extra careful around a semi, even when everything works properly. Other ways to stay safe around trucks include:

  • Leaving more than adequate distance between you and a truck behind you after you pass
  • Allow big trucks the room to make right-hand turns adequately, since they have to turn from the left or middle lane to avoid jackknifing
  • Passing only on the left, never on the right, where they have a “blind spot” and the driver can’t see you
  • Don’t pull in front of a truck, where they can’t slow or stop quickly.

Inadequate Maintenance And Other Factors

Most companies are fastidious about maintenance, compliance, and keeping their employees as well as other motorists safe. But failures do happen, and some of the reasons accidents happen include:

  • Driver fatigue
  • Driver distraction (texting, etc.)
  • Inadequate equipment maintenance
  • Driver not following pre-trip checks and other company policies
  • Impaired driver (alcohol/drug use)
  • Company negligence

Be Careful Who You Talk To

Trucking companies have their own insurance companies and law firms to assertively defend them against claims and lawsuits.

They may call you after your accident, asking for a statement, which will likely be recorded. Don’t give them one—refer all questions to your truck accident lawyer. These teams work hard to discredit you and do anything they can to avoid responsibility.  You could say something benign that will be used against you, and possibly deny you any kind of settlement.

They may also attempt to convince you to accept a quick settlement for your medical bills. Again, refer these calls to a qualified truck accident lawyer. Accepting their first settlement may leave a lot of money on the table that you’re entitled to for your injuries.

Don’t Let Time Slip By

While you’re recovering from injuries, you may be unaware of the time limit you have to file a claim. You’ll have just two years to file a lawsuit against the driver, the company, and their insurance companies to help you recover. Medical bills, lost wages, and other incurred costs are part of the compensation you need to move forward.

Insurance claims should be filed right away, as soon as you are able. If you (or your attorney) can’t reach a settlement, you’ll have time to file a lawsuit if necessary.

Don’t Give Up Your Rights—Fight!

If you’ve been hurt by a negligent truck driver, or due to the negligence of a trucking company, we’re here to help. A truck accident case calls for aggressive representation to protect your rights and help you get the compensation you need.

We’re experienced in handling truck accidents of all kinds, and we understand how complicated it can be. Call us today at (304) 344 5683 for a confidential and FREE consultation. You can reach also reach us by filling out our online form.

Your consultation is free, and we only collect after we win your case and get you the settlement you need. Don’t wait!