hit and run accident lawyers in west virginia

What to Do If You are the Victim of a Hit and Run

Being involved in a hit-and-run accident can be a very unnerving experience. In addition to the injuries and property damage that you and your vehicle may have incurred, you may also be feeling angry, or have anxiety or fear about what will happen next. Indeed, without a driver against whom to file a claim, how you will pay for your damages may be up in the air. If you are hit by a driver who flees the scene, here’s what you need to know about what to do next.

  1. Report the Accident to the Police

The first thing that you should do if you are hit by a driver who does not remain at the scene of the accident is report the accident to the police, preferably within moments of its occurrence. Provide the responding police officer with as much information as you can about the accident, including any details you can remember about the other vehicle’s make, model, color, license plate number, and driver. The more information that you can provide to police, the more likely they will be able to apprehend the driver.

  1. Review Your Insurance Policy and File a Claim

If you are a driver in West Virginia, there is a very good chance that you carry car insurance; after all, it’s the law. Unfortunately, however, the type of car insurance that is required in West Virginia–property damage and bodily injury liability coverage–is designed to pay for damages that you cause to others in a crash, not damages that you incur as a result of other people’s actions. If the driver who hit you has gone missing, you will not be able to file a claim with their liability coverage.

However, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is also required in West Virginia, and this coverage type can help to pay for your losses in the event that the at-fault driver cannot be located (or is found but does not have insurance, or does not have enough insurance to pay for your losses). As such, if the driver at fault for your crash is a hit-and-runner, you can file a claim with your own insurance policy’s uninsured/underinsured coverage.

You may also be able to turn to your own policy if you carry other coverage types, such as collision coverage or medical payments coverage.

  1. Contact an Attorney

Ideally, you will not have to turn to your own insurance company because the hit-and-run driver will be located, and will carry enough insurance to pay for the total value of your losses. Either way, however, contacting a knowledgeable attorney who has experience finding hit-and-run drivers and negotiating hit-and-run claims with an insurance company is advised. Even if you have the coverage types listed above, your insurance company may not be eager to give you the compensation you deserve – it is the job of an insurance adjuster to save the insurance company as much money as possible. As such, the extent of your injuries and damages may be disputed, and having an attorney on your side who can rebut these claims and negotiate for a fair settlement significantly increases the chances of you recovering your maximum compensation award.

Contact Our West Virginia Car Accident Lawyers Today

At the law offices of Bailey, Javins, & Carter L.C., our West Virginia car accident lawyers know that being the victim of a hit and run opens the floodgates to dozens of questions and worries about how you will pay for your injuries. Our legal team has experience handling hit-and-run claims, and is here to advocate for you. To schedule a free consultation, please call us at 800-497-0234. You can also send us an email, or drop in our office if you’re in the area.

nursing home abuse

5 Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Elderly persons, especially those living in nursing homes or who require care on a daily basis, are a particularly vulnerable subset of the population. In fact, those who live in a nursing home may be so frail that they are unable to engage in self-care, requiring constant assistance to bathe, move, eat, or treat any medical conditions.

The fact that these residents are in a nursing home specifically because they require a high level of care is part of what makes nursing home abuse so shocking and disturbing. Despite how appalling nursing home abuse is, the National Council on Aging reports that an estimated one in 10 elderly Americans (age 60 and over) have experienced some form of elder abuse, a percentage of which occurs within a nursing home setting. If you have a loved one who is living in a nursing home, it is important that you know the five most common signs of nursing home abuse listed below–

  1. Signs of Physical Harm

Some of the most common signs of abuse are physical signs, such as bruises, cuts, lacerations, restraint marks (around wrists or ankles), scratches, or bite or burn marks. Any of these may be an indication that the nursing home resident is being physically or sexually abused.

  1. Emotional Changes

Another common sign of abuse is a change to an elderly person’s emotional state, such as new depression, anger, anxiety, or withdrawal. While these emotions and changes can be symptoms of many things, including certain health conditions, they are strongly associated with abuse. If a resident appears fearful of the nursing home or a particular staff member, this could be an additional indication that abuse is occurring.

  1. Physical Changes

Excluding obvious signs of physical abuse listed above, changes in a nursing home patient’s physical condition may also be a sign of abuse. Physical changes to look out for include an overall deterioration in condition, weight loss, or worsening of a health condition. If a resident doesn’t look like they are receiving proper care, chances are they’re not. You should also keep an eye out for bedsores, as these are completely preventable and are often a sign that a nursing home resident is not receiving the care they are entitled to and deserving of.

  1. Major Financial Changes

One form of nursing home abuse that isn’t talked about as often, but which certainly occurs, is financial exploitation. Financial abuse happens when a nursing home staff member takes advantage of a nursing home resident’s condition or position for financial gain. If major financial changes have occurred in your loved one’s life, such as taking out a loan, changing a will, opening new credit cards, or big cash withdrawals, financial abuse may be occurring.

  1. Poor Staff-to-Patient Ratio or High Turnover

Another thing to watch out for in a nursing home is a poor staff-to-patient ratio, or high turnover rates of staff members. While these things do not always mean that abuse is occurring, constantly training new staff members may mean that there is not a person who knows your loved one’s needs well, and that your loved one is not getting proper care as such. A poor staff-to-patient ratio also means that staff is constantly busy, and that supervision may be lacking; both of these factors increase the risk of neglect or abuse.

Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Near You

If you do suspect that nursing home abuse is occurring, you should report the abuse to the nursing home manager or supervisor immediately, and seek more information about how to report the abuse to the proper state agency. If your elderly loved one has suffered harm, bringing forth a nursing home abuse claim may also be a consideration.

At the law firm of bailey, Javins, & Carter L.C., our West Virginia nursing home abuse attorneys are passionate about protecting the rights of elderly persons in our state, especially those who are relying on nursing home care. If abuse has occurred, we will advocate for your family, helping you and your loved one to recover the compensation that’s deserved. Please visit our lawyers in person today, send us an email, or call us directly at 800-497-0234 to schedule your free consultation.