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hunting accident lawyer in west virginia

What Should I Do Immediately after a Hunting Accident?

Hunting season is coming up, and this means millions of West Virginians will soon be out braving the elements to pursue all types of game. We hunt to bond with family and friends, to enjoy the great outdoors, and to (hopefully) bag some game to bring home and cook up. And when we go out, we hope and expect that everyone will follow the proper safety procedures, so we can all get home safely.

Most of the time, we all make it back from our hunting trips unscathed. However, there is always a chance of something going wrong and someone being injured in a hunting accident. This can happen for a number of reasons, some of the most common include:

  • Misfire/Shooting Accidents: Accidental shootings where one hunter fires the gun in the wrong direction or fires the gun without meaning to and hits another hunter is the one most people think of when they hear the word “hunting accident”. These types of accidents can occur because of miscommunication between the hunters, carelessness or recklessness (sometimes related to alcohol), stray bullets from other hunting parties, and weapon defects/malfunctions.
  • Slips and Falls: Hunters frequently have to cover some rough terrain and often in adverse weather conditions. This alone increases the likelihood of slips, trips, and falls. Sometimes there are additional hazards, however, such as broken-down fences and other types of debris that may be covered by brush and difficult to see. Broken-down and/or poorly maintained tree stands is another major hazard that hunters need to be careful of (more on this later). Property owners have a responsibility to take reasonable measures to warn hunters of any potential dangers on their land.
  • Tree Stand Accidents: Those who do not hunt may be surprised to learn that tree stand accidents are the leading cause of hunting accident injuries and fatalities in the U.S. and Canada. Back in 2015, the Mayo Clinic reported on a study done by the International Hunter Education Association (IHEA) which found that 300-500 hunters are killed and approximately 6,000 hunters are permanently injured in tree stand accidents annually. The study went on to say the one out of every three hunters who use a tree stand will experience a fall at some point during their hunting career.

What to Do Immediately After a Hunting Accident

If you have followed all the appropriate safety rules and procedures but still end up in an accident, there are some things you should do right away to make sure you and anyone else that may be hurt is properly treated and that your rights are protected:

Seek Medical Attention Immediately

The first priority after a hunting accident is to make sure everyone is okay. With some types of accidents (such as when a tree stand collapses) several people could be injured. Call 911 right away so a medical team can be quickly dispatched to your location. If you are in a remote area, it might take a while for medical help to arrive, so make the call as soon as you are able.

Take Multiple Photos of the Incident

Assuming you are physically able, take as many photos of the accident scene as possible. The more photo documentation you have, the better you will be able to remember what happened later on. And if legal action ever becomes necessary, photos are among the best forms of evidence to help show exactly how the accident occurred.

Write a Report of What Happened

If you have access to a pencil/pen and piece of paper, write down in as much detail as you are able what happened. It is best to document the incident as soon as possible after it occurs, so the events are fresh in your mind. If you do not have a writing utensil handy, you should be able to use the voice recorder on your smartphone.

Speak to Witnesses about the Incident

If anyone in your hunting party saw what happened, talk to them right away and record their statements. Again, it is best to get the statements of witnesses while everything is fresh in their minds.

Speak to a Skilled Personal Injury Lawyer

If you were seriously injured or a loved one was killed in a hunting accident, it would be in your best interests to contact an experienced accident injury attorney, so you fully understand your rights and options. Depending on the specific circumstances, another party may very well be responsible for your injuries. Possible at-fault parties may include another hunter, the landowner, the weapon manufacturer, or another third-party.

At Bailey, Javins, and Carter, we know that hunting is deeply embedded in our West Virginia culture, and we fully support and embrace it. However, when someone is injured or killed because of someone else’s negligence, we work hard to ensure that they receive just compensation. We have successfully represented countless accident injury victims over the years, including many who have suffered serious injury or fatality in a hunting accident.

Limousine Accidents - Who is responsible? - Bailey Javins & Carter

Who is Responsible for Accidents in Limousines?

Earlier this month, 20 people were killed in upstate New York when a limousine barreled through a T-intersection and crashed into an unoccupied vehicle. The crash killed all 18 occupants of the limousine (including the driver) and two nearby pedestrians, making it the worst tragedy in the United States in nearly a decade. The crash is still under investigation, but according to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the limousine had failed an inspection last month and never should have been on the road in the first place. In addition, the driver did not have the required commercial license endorsement to be driving the vehicle.

The recent tragedy in New York has helped shine the spotlight on a high-end means of travel that is assumed by most people to be safe. Many choose to travel by limousine for special occasions such as proms, weddings, concerts, and parties. In the case of the upstate New York crash, the passengers were in route to a birthday celebration at a local brewery. Knowing that alcohol was going to be involved, they did what they thought was the responsible thing and hired a limo to drive them, so they could all make it home safe. Sadly, the limo service provider failed miserably to live up to their obligations.

Who is Responsible in a Limousine Accident?

With Halloween parties happening later this month and the holiday season rapidly approaching, many West Virginians are making plans for celebrations with family and close friends. But with what just happened in New York, many are wondering if renting a limousine for these occasions is such a good idea. Most limo excursions do end safely. That said, it is important to perform your due diligence and check out the limo service before you hire them. Make sure they have the proper licensing and have a good record with the Better Business Bureau and other consumer organizations.

Some people also wonder who is responsible if they should happen to get into an accident as a passenger in a limousine. As the recent case shows, there is not always a definitive answer to that question. According to NBC News, it is still not clear if the crash was the driver’s fault, or if it was caused by a vehicle malfunction. In a typical case, the accident could be the fault of the driver, the limousine company, the vehicle (or vehicle part) designer, manufacturer, supplier, or distributor, or a combination of factors.

The driver could be at-fault if he/she was:

  • Speeding or driving recklessly;
  • Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
  • Driving while drowsy;
  • Driving while distracted (e.g., texting while driving).

The limousine company could be at fault if they:

  • Did not have the proper licensing to operate a limo service;
  • Deployed vehicles that are not properly maintained and are unsafe to be on the road;
  • Pressured drivers to work unreasonably long hours;
  • Overloaded the vehicle with too many passengers;
  • Hired drivers that were unqualified or did not have the proper licensing.

The vehicle designer, manufacturer, or other parties in the supply chain could be at fault if a faulty or defective product proves to be responsible for the limousine accident. Finally, the driver of another vehicle could be at-fault if their negligence or reckless actions on the road were the cause of the accident.

What to Do if you are Involved in a Limousine Accident

If you are involved in a limousine crash, there are some steps that should be taken right away to ensure that you and other passengers are protected:

  • Seek Medical Attention: The first priority is to make sure everyone who may have been injured (including yourself) is treated for their injuries. Call 911 right away to bring an ambulance to the scene. It is important to keep in mind that some injuries (such as whiplash and internal bleeding) are not always discovered right away. Even if you think you are okay, have a medical professional check you out just to be sure.
  • Document what Happened: Gather as much information as you can at the accident scene while everything is fresh in your mind. Take detailed notes of the incident and how it occurred. Take multiple photographs of the scene from various angles. And obtain the contact information of those nearby that may have witnessed the crash.
  • Obtain Strong Legal Representation: Limousine accident cases can be quite complicated. With multiple potential at-fault parties, it is not always clear which legal avenue is best to pursue. For this reason, it is very important to speak with a seasoned personal injury attorney who understands the complexities of these types of cases.

The experienced injury attorneys at Bailey, Javins, and Carter have over four decades of experience representing victims of all types of auto accidents in West Virginia. We have in-depth knowledge of this area of the law, and a successful track record obtaining full compensation for our clients and holding responsible parties fully accountable. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

Hurricane damage and power lineman

The Hazards of Working as a Power Lineman after a Hurricane

It’s hurricane season again, and we can expect several storms to hit the East Coast in the coming weeks. Hurricanes are a concern even in states like West Virginia, where remnants of these storms have been known to cause high winds and heavy rainfall; resulting in mass flooding, power outages, and similar hazards. Enduring a hurricane and its aftermath is hard enough but having to go out and work in the midst of the storm takes exceptional bravery and courage.

Most of us stay inside and hunker down during a major storm, but a few brave souls are called upon to help keep order, tend to those who are hurt, and repair the damage. These include law enforcement and military personnel, firefighters, emergency medical personnel, and power linemen/electrical workers. Even on a clear and sunny day, the job of a power lineman is extremely dangerous. When you add heavy rain, floods, downed lines, and downed trees tangled with the power lines to the mix, the hazards of this job are multiplied exponentially.

There are several extreme hazards power linemen face when working after a hurricane. These include:

Poor Driving Conditions

During and after a hurricane, utility workers often have to deal with heavy rains and flooding, causing slippery and hazardous roadways. As a side note, power linemen in Appalachia have to deal with snow and ice sometimes too, particularly when the remnant of the storm hits some of the higher elevations. Pressure to move quickly to and from downed power lines makes things worse and can result in motor vehicle accidents with severe injuries and fatalities.

Slips and Falls

Working in high elevations makes power linemen susceptible to serious falls during the normal course of work. When you add wet, slippery, or even icy and snowy conditions, the dangers of slipping and falling are vastly increased. There is also a greater danger of falling on slippery walkways even when they are on the ground.

Falling Objects

Downed lines, downed trees, and nearby structures that may be damaged combine with high winds to put utility workers in the crosshairs of dangerous debris that may be blowing around. Being struck by hazardous objects can cause a worker to fall from a high place. But even if they are hit while on the ground, this type of incident can cause a serious injury. This makes it all the more important for power linemen to be mindful of their surroundings and wear the proper safety equipment at all times.

Burns and Explosions

When high voltage power lines are damaged, severed, and/or downed, there is a danger of explosions, fires, electrocution, and other hazards for those working to repair the lines. Again, having the appropriate safety and protective equipment is absolutely critical. It is also important that workers be properly trained to deal with these types of situations.

Stress from Long Hours

A major hurricane can cause thousands, even tens of thousands of consumers to be without power. Cleanup and power restoration can take weeks or months, and in some extreme cases, nearly a year. When this happens, a power lineman can expect to work long hours for an extended period of time. The stress of working massive amounts of overtime can wear on a body, making utility workers more susceptible to injuries and occupational illnesses.

Keeping Power Linemen Safe after a Hurricane

It is incumbent upon those who employ utility workers to take all legal and appropriate measures to ensure they are safe during and after major storms such as hurricanes. Unfortunately, these employers do not always put the safety of their workers first. When they fail to follow the law and take reasonable steps to ensure that their employees stay safe, they must be held accountable.

Power line workers have multiple potential legal options when they are injured on the job. The first step is to file a workers’ compensation claim. Beyond that, however, some states also allow you to sue your employer if their negligent actions placed the worker intentionally in harm’s way. If the injury resulted from a dangerous or defective product, or because of the negligent or reckless acts of a third party, they may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against a manufacturer, supplier, or distributor, or a third-party personal injury lawsuit.

If you or a loved one suffered severe injury or death while working as a power lineman/utility worker during a hurricane or another type of storm, it is important to understand your rights and options. As soon as possible, get in touch with a seasoned personal injury lawyer, preferably one who has specific experience with power lineman injury cases. These types of cases are highly complex and difficult to pursue, and you need a skilled attorney by your side who is able to explore all potential legal avenues toward recovering full compensation.

At Bailey, Javins, and Carter, we have several decades of experience representing workers injured in accidents resulting from another party’s negligence. We have been at the forefront of this area of the law for many years, and we have represented countless workers who perform dangerous jobs (such as power linemen). Our lawyers thoroughly understand the complexities of these types of cases, and we have the skills, resources, and dedication to successfully pursue full damages for our clients.

brain injury attorney

5 Common Causes of Brain Injuries

Brain injuries are a major cause of death and disability in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that traumatic brain injury (TBI) contributes to roughly 30% of all injury-related fatalities. The CDC report goes on to say that more than 150 people die from TBI every single day. In addition, over 2 million Americans seek emergency room treatment for TBI each year, and more than 5 million are living with a TBI-related disability.
Traumatic brain injuries can happen to anyone. The head is a very fragile area of the body, and even a seemingly minor incident can result in a severe head injury that affects the brain. These types of injuries can cause severe and lasting consequences, especially when they are not diagnosed and treated right away.
There are numerous ways a brain injury can occur. Here are five of the most common causes:
Falls
Approximately 40% of brain injuries in the U.S. are caused by falls. Everyone has fallen down multiple times in their lives, and most of the time, there are no lasting effects. However, when you fall hard and/or from a high elevation and hit your head, it can cause severe head injuries. This can happen due to slipping or tripping in a poorly maintained premises, at work, or any of a number of other places.

Falls can be especially dangerous for those who are most vulnerable, which include children, the elderly, and those who are disabled. Among those groups, the percentage of brain injuries related to falls is over 50%. This makes it especially critical for places like daycare centers, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes to be well-staffed and to have their staff adequately trained and able to ensure that those they are caring for do not suffer this type of injury.

Being Struck by an Object
Approximately 16% of traumatic brain injuries occur because the victim is struck on the head by a loose object. This type of injury is especially common on construction sites and other outdoor worksites, where heavy machinery is sometimes used recklessly, and loose objects are often floating around and hit workers in the head. This type of injury also occurs frequently in the military.

Motor Vehicle Accidents
Car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, boating accidents, bicycle and pedestrian accidents, and other accidents involving collisions with motor vehicles account for almost 15% of all brain injuries. These types of accidents are often characterized by swift jerks to the head, causing whiplash and related injuries. Brain injuries can also occur when the head is thrown into the steering wheel, dashboard, or windshield.

Assaults
About 11% of brain injuries happen because of an assault. People getting in fights at a bar, burglaries gone bad, and domestic assaults are just a few examples of incidents that can lead to a severe head injury that affects the brain. The worst assault-related injuries tend to happen to defenseless children as young as babies and toddlers.

Other Causes
Brain injuries can happen for a number of other reasons. Examples include birth injuries, gunshot wounds, explosions, medical conditions such as a stroke, and contact sport collisions.

When Brain Injuries are Caused by Negligence

Some traumatic brain injuries occur because of unforeseeable accidents. Far too many, however, are the result of the careless or reckless actions of another party. When brain injuries occur because of another party’s negligence, injury victims who suffer damages deserve to be compensated.

Damages for traumatic brain injuries can be divided into three general categories:

• Economic: These are calculable and quantifiable damages the victim incurred. Economic damages may include medical expenses and loss of earnings (both present and future).

• Non-Economic: These are damages that are difficult to quantify, such as physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life.

• Punitive: These are damages meant to punish the responsible party and deter them from repeating the actions that led to the injury. Punitive damages are rare and usually awarded only in cases involving especially egregious conduct.

Brain injury cases can be complicated, and there are numerous factors that go into the success or failure of the case. For this reason, it is important to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer who has in-depth knowledge of the complexities of these types of cases. A strong traumatic brain injury attorney will be able to thoroughly assess your case and advise you on the best legal option to ensure you obtain appropriate relief.

car accident

How Difficult is it To Recover Damages After a Car Accident in West Virginia?

You are out enjoying a relaxing and scenic drive on a sunny West Virginia day, when another vehicle crashes into yours. Your car is totaled, and you also suffer some injuries. After visiting the doctor, you find out that your injuries are more serious than you initially thought. You are experiencing severe physical pain, and it looks like you may miss work for a while.

Being injured in a motor vehicle accident can turn your whole world upside down. Mounting medical bills and several weeks (or even months) out of work can put an enormous financial and emotional strain on you and your family. You already filed a claim with your insurance company, but you are not sure where to go from here. The question you keep asking is “how difficult is it to recover damages after a West Virginia car accident?”

When is a Car Accident Victim Eligible for Damages in West Virginia?

There are three general types of negligence laws states use to establish responsibility in a personal injury case; pure contributory negligence, pure comparative negligence, and modified comparative negligence. West Virginia uses modified comparative negligence.

Why is this important? Because in states (such as next door in Virginia) that use pure contributory negligence, an accident victim cannot recover damages at all even if they are just 1% at fault and the other party holds 99% of the blame. With pure comparative negligence, accident victims recover damages in proportion to the percentage they are at fault. Using this same example, the individual with 1% of fault is eligible to collect 99% of the damages, and the individual who is 99% at fault is eligible to collect 1% of the damages.

West Virginia’s modified comparative negligence law allows accident victims to collect damages if they are 50% or less at fault for their injuries. For example, if an individual suffers $20,000 in damages and is determined to be 49% at fault, they would be eligible to collect 51% of the damages, which in this case would be $10,200. This standard is much more favorable for victims of car accidents than the pure contributory standard Virginia uses.

Damages Available in West Virginia Auto Accident Cases

In car accident cases, there are two general types of damages; property damage and personal injury. Property damage means damage to the vehicle itself and to any personal property within the vehicle. Personal injury means injuries sustained by you and any passengers that were riding in the vehicle.

In most cases, accident victims are entitled to both economic and non-economic damages for the injuries they sustain. In addition to property damage, examples of economic damages include:

  • Hospital Bills
  • Rehabilitation and other Medical Expenses
  • Time Missed from Work/Lost Wages

Examples of non-economic damages include:

  • Pain and Suffering
  • Emotional Distress
  • Disfigurement and other Permanent Injuries
  • Punitive Damages (awarded only in rare cases of especially egregious conduct by the responsible party)

Non-economic damages are the most complex and challenging to value. For example, if an insurer agrees that their client is over 50% at fault for an accident, they may be willing to pay proportionally for the property damage, medical expenses, and lost wages. However, it may be far more difficult to convince them to pay the proper value for the pain and suffering and emotional distress an individual goes through after a car accident.

The Importance of Skilled Legal Representation

Many auto accident victims wonder if it is worthwhile to speak to a lawyer, or should they just accept whatever settlement the insurance company offers? Many insurance companies will tell you that you will receive the same settlement amount regardless of whether or not you retain legal representation.

The reality is that the insurance company is not acting in your best interests (even if you are dealing with your own insurer). The goal of the insurance adjuster is to save the company money, and this is accomplished by settling the case quickly and for as little as possible. So if you accept their offer, you are likely to receive only a fraction of the compensation you are entitled to.

If you have been injured in an auto accident in West Virginia, speak with a seasoned personal injury attorney before accepting any kind of offer from an insurance company. A skilled attorney can thoroughly evaluate the circumstances of your accident and give you a good estimate of what your claim is worth. This will allow you to make a more informed decision regarding what legal avenue it is best to pursue.

It is important to speak with an attorney sooner rather than later, however, because the statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim in West Virginia is only two years. Once that window of time has passed, you are no longer able to recover damages through the courts for your auto accident claim.