covid-19 and personal injury

Will I End up with a Lower Injury Settlement because of COVID-19?

The coronavirus outbreak has disrupted every area of society, and the legal world is no exception. The courts have been temporarily closed for most in-person proceedings, although many meetings and hearings are still being conducted remotely via teleconference or videoconference. Whenever the court resumes a normal schedule, there is likely to be a backlog of cases, which will cause some delays if you are in the middle of a personal injury lawsuit.

 

Because of disruptions to the court schedule and other issues that have arisen due to the coronavirus, many people are concerned about how long it will take them to receive compensation for their injuries and whether or not they will receive a lower settlement because of COVID-19. This is a valid concern, and in times like these, it is more important than ever to have an experienced attorney in your corner who has the proven ability to recover maximum compensation in even the most complex cases.

 

What COVID-19 Related Factors might Impact my Personal Injury Settlement?

In addition to court-related delays, here are some other issues that personal injury plaintiffs may have to deal with because of the coronavirus pandemic:

 

Delays in Medical Treatment

West Virginia and most other states put temporary holds on elective medical care in order to direct resources toward treating COVID-19 patients. West Virginia restarted elective procedures on April 28, but there is still likely to be some lagging delays as the state’s medical professionals get caught up on all of their appointments.

 

During normal times, it would never be a good idea to delay/postpone medical treatments. You are supposed to get prompt treatment for your injuries, not only to put yourself on the path to recovery, but also to fulfill your legal duty to mitigate your losses. Thorough medical documentation is also needed in order to prove the full extent of your injuries.

 

All that said, these are extraordinary times, and these could almost certainly be considered “extenuating circumstances”. While there is nothing you can do about medical care that was postponed because of a government order, it is still important to be diligent about keeping the appointments you have and following through on all of your doctor’s recommendations.

 

Insurance Claim Delays

The insurance companies are fully aware of the delays with the courts, and many of them are trying to take advantage of the situation by unnecessarily delaying injury claims. Insurance is considered an essential business, and insurers have been operating this whole time, although many of their employees are working from home. By dragging their feet on an injury claim, they believe they can pressure a claimant to settle for far less than they deserve.

 

Financial Problems for Plaintiffs and Defendants

Closely related to the previous issue, COVID-19 has created unexpected financial problems for millions of Americans. Sudden business closures and job losses have put a financial strain on countless households. For personal injury plaintiffs, this makes them highly motivated to receive their compensation sooner rather than later, and this could cause them to accept a lowball settlement offer from the defendant or their insurer.

 

For defendants, it could mean far fewer financial resources available to settle a claim. For example, if a plaintiff was in the middle of a premises liability lawsuit against a bar or restaurant that is suddenly out of business and on the brink of bankruptcy, they may find it much more difficult to recover the compensation they are entitled to. This factor is especially important in cases in which the plaintiff suffered losses that exceed the liability limits of the defendant’s insurance policy. In a case like this, there might not be as much available to recover as there was just a few months ago.

 

Contact Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. for Skilled Legal Guidance during Difficult Times

If you or someone close to you has suffered injury at the hands of another person or party, Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. is here to serve your needs. Even in these extraordinary times, we remain fully operational and committed to fighting for every dollar of compensation our clients deserve. We routinely go up against well-funded adversaries such as large insurance companies, and we are not intimidated by their vast resources. Over the past four decades, we have successfully stood up for the legal rights of those who have been injured through no fault of their own, and we are ready to go to work for you.

 

For a free, no obligation consultation with a member of our legal team, message us online or call our office today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979.

 

 

 

 

 

can I sue for coronavirus?

Can I Sue for COVID-19 Infection or Death?

The coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented event that our nation is still in the midst of, and we will not know the full extent of its consequences for quite some time. What we do know, however, is that hundreds of thousands of Americans have tested positive for the virus and tens of thousands have died from it. And because the vast majority of our population has not been tested yet, it is reasonable to assume that there are countless additional cases that we do not know about.

 

One of the important questions that a growing number of people are asking is what legal rights COVID-19 victims have. Can someone who contracts the virus because of another person or party’s wrongful actions bring a personal injury lawsuit against those responsible? Can the family of someone who died from the coronavirus bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party?

 

This is a rapidly emerging area of the law, and the legal system is still in the process of determining the answers to these questions and in what circumstances a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit would be appropriate.

 

Cruise Ships where the Coronavirus Spreads

One of the first places where massive outbreaks of COVID-19 began to affect Americans was on cruise ships. Large groups of people being in an enclosed environment for several days at a time causes the virus to spread very quickly, and to date, tens of thousands of passengers and crew members from cruise ships all over the world have tested positive for the coronavirus.

 

Several lawsuits have been filed against cruise ship companies, including a class-action suit against Costa Cruises, a subsidiary of Carnival Cruise Lines. Experts warn, however, that these lawsuits face an uphill battle because of liability limits that are hidden in passengers’ paperwork, maritime laws, and the fact that many of the cruise ship companies are based in foreign countries.

 

Hospitals and Nursing Homes that Fail to Protect Patients from COVID-19

The first major coronavirus outbreak on US soil was at a nursing home in the state of Washington, where dozens of patients died. While it may be difficult to hold the very first facilities that had outbreaks liable for the spread of COVID-19, it is a different story for those that have been infected by the virus after these facilities knew (or should have known) about the risks and failed to follow proper safety protocols.

 

Businesses that Fail to Protect Employees and Customers from the Coronavirus

Earlier this month, Walmart was sued by the family of an employee who died of COVID-19 after contracting the virus while working at one of the company’s Chicago area stores. The suit alleges that managers of the store failed to alert employees after several of them began showing symptoms of the coronavirus. The 51-year-old victim is said to have informed a store manager in mid-March that he was having symptoms, but that the manager ignored him. On March 25, he was found dead in his home.

 

The circumstances that triggered the Walmart wrongful death lawsuit are a prime example of what can happen when a business fails to implement proper safety protocols to protect their employees and customers. If it can be shown, for example, that management knew (or should have known) that an employee was infected and/or their product was contaminated by COVID-19, those who become seriously ill or die as a result should be able to hold those who are responsible fully accountable.

 

Individuals Who Spread the Coronavirus

What about an individual who knowingly spreads COVID-19 to others? For example, a person tests positive for the coronavirus and fails to self-quarantine. Instead, they go out to the grocery store and expose countless others to the virus. Unfortunately, there are those who are not taking this situation as seriously as they should, and this could result in other individuals becoming seriously ill or dying from the virus. A person could be held liable for this provided you could prove that they knew they had the coronavirus and continued to expose others to it.

 

Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. is Here to Help

There are a lot of questions that are yet to be answered about liability for illness or death from the coronavirus, and as this area of law develops, we will gain a clearer picture of when and under what circumstances it would be appropriate to sue someone for a COVID-19 infection or death. That said, if this has happened to you or a loved one, we recommend getting in contact with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to review your case. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will become to successfully pursue a claim.

 

At Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C., we have over four decades of experience standing up for those who have been injured by the negligence or reckless actions of others. We have a successful track record with even the most complex cases, and we have been at the forefront of many emerging areas of the law. While our country continues to deal with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, we continue to be fully operational while taking all the safety precautions and observing social distancing guidelines.

 

For a free, no obligation consultation with one of our attorneys, message us online or call our office today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979. We look forward to serving you!

 

pedestrian accidents in West Virginia

Pedestrian Accidents Could Increase During Coronavirus Shutdowns

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken our country to its core. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have tested positive for the virus, and tens of thousands have died from it. Millions more have moved home for the time being as countless non-essential businesses have been forced to temporarily close or limit their offerings.

 

Along with most other states, West Virginia has issued a “shelter in place” order, which limits movements outside of homes to only essential activities. Citizens have been asked to stay in their homes, and when they do need to go out, they are supposed to keep at least a 6-foot distance from others.

 

With most of us spending a lot more time at home, there are fewer vehicles out on the road. There are more big rig trucks and delivery vehicles out there, but there are far less people commuting to their offices. At the same time, however, there are quite a few more people going out for walks.

 

Walking is one activity that is allowed under the state’s “shelter in place” order, and with gymnasiums closed, it is one of the best ways for West Virginians to get their exercise. Going for a walk is also a great way to get some fresh air and enjoy the Spring weather.

 

The increase in walking traffic in West Virginia neighborhoods does pose a risk of more pedestrian accidents. And because pedestrians are not protected by a steel cage like motorists are, they tend to end up with more severe and catastrophic injuries. Because of this risk, it is very important for both drivers and pedestrians to be extra cautious and do everything possible to avoid this type of crash.

 

Tips for Avoiding Pedestrian Accidents

 

For Drivers

 

  • Avoid Distractions: Motorists have more distractions than ever these days, particularly those who are addicted to their smartphones. Texting while driving and similar activity is extremely dangerous, because it distracts drivers visually, manually, and cognitively. This can cause them to miss important details, such as a pedestrian crossing in front of them. Put your phone away when you drive, it is not worth risking a life to send or receive a text.

 

  • Follow Traffic Laws: Aggressive or reckless driving is a major contributor to many pedestrian accidents. When a motorist is driving too fast, for example, they have far less time to slow down or stop the vehicle to avoid a pedestrian. Running stop signs, going through red lights, and failing to yield the right-of-way are some of the other common causes of pedestrian crashes.

 

  • Stay Sober: Driving while chemically impaired slows reaction times and generally results in very poor driving behaviors, many of which put pedestrians in great danger. Refrain from drinking and driving at all times – the potential consequences of this behavior are just not worth it.

 

  • Look Out for Pedestrians: Motorists need to be mindful of the fact that there are more pedestrians out walking right now, and act accordingly. And as we touched on earlier, the bulk of this increase in traffic is happening in your local neighborhoods.

 

For Pedestrians

 

  • Be Visible: It is important to do everything within reason to make sure that drivers see you when you are out walking. This means wearing brightly colored clothing during the day and lightly colored or reflective clothing at night. Also, try to walk in areas where there is plenty of lighting, and try to make eye contact with vehicle drivers before crossing the road in front of them.

 

  • Be Alert: Smartphone activity can be a problem for pedestrians as well, and it can cause them to trip and fall and/or not see nearby vehicles. Having your headphones turned up too loud could also cause a pedestrian not to hear a vehicle that is behind them. Stay safe by limiting the use of your phone while you walk.

 

  • Follow the Rules: Be predictable and follow all of the rules wherever you are walking. Cross the road only at designated crosswalks or other places where crossing is legal, and always make sure that traffic is clear before you cross.

 

  • Stay Sober: Although the majority of alcohol-related pedestrian crashes involve a chemically impaired motorist, some also involve a pedestrian who is intoxicated. Alcohol impairs the judgment of both drivers and pedestrians, so do yourself a favor and stay sober when you walk.

 

Injured in a Pedestrian Accident in West Virginia? Contact Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. for Assistance

If you or a loved one suffered injury in a pedestrian crash in West Virginia, you may be entitled to compensation. Seek medical attention immediately and get in touch with an experienced attorney at your earliest convenience. Even during the midst of COVID-19, it is still very important to have your case evaluated so you fully understand your legal rights and options.

 

At Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C., we have over four decades of experience successfully representing West Virginians who have been injured in pedestrian accidents and those who have suffered all other types of personal injuries. We are taking all the precautions and following all social distancing guidelines brought on by the current pandemic, but we are still open, fully functional, and ready to serve you.

 

For a free consultation with one of our attorneys, message us online or call us today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979.

how does social media impact your personal injury case

The Dangers of Using Social Media During an Accident Injury Claim

The vast majority of Americans use social media. Many of them regularly access popular platforms like Facebook and Instagram multiple times daily, using it to post photos and status updates, keep up with what their family and friends are doing, and stay current on the news. Under normal circumstances, being active on social media is not likely to cause any major problems, but when you are involved in a personal injury claim, this is not the case.

If you have suffered injury at the hands of another party and you are pursuing a claim for damages, your social media activity could be very damaging to your case. For example, let’s say you were at work on a construction site and you fell from a high elevation and got seriously injured because a contractor working nearby spilled a slippery substance on the platform you were on.

This being a major event in your life, you might be tempted to post some photos of the accident scene and make some comments about what happened. And since you will probably want to reassure your loved ones that you will be okay, you might make overly optimistic statements about your injuries without really knowing their full extent.

All of this might sound like normal social media activity – and it is – but posts and comments like these can be used by the other side to undermine your claim. Here are just a few of the ways your social media posts might damage your personal injury case:

  • Comments Taken Out of Context: Whatever you say on a social media post can be twisted and turned around by the other side. For example, just an innocent update telling your family and friends that you are “feeling much better” could be taken to mean that your injuries were not really as bad as you made them out to be.
  • Posted Photos Used to Misrepresent Your Condition: While recovering from your injury, you might want to do something relaxing with your friends, like go to a spa and enjoy yourself. But be careful about posting photos of you laughing and enjoying yourself with others, because they can also be used particularly to diminish claims for noneconomic losses like pain and suffering and emotional distress.
  • Comments and Photos Posted by Friends and Family used Against You: Maybe you didn’t post any comments or photos, but others in your circle did. And some of these might involve you, such as photos you are tagged in and comments about your injury or something else you are doing. These could also be uncovered by the other side and used against you.

There is No Expectation of Privacy on Social Media

Many people look at what we have said so far and think, “that won’t affect me, because I have strict privacy settings on my social media profiles”. Don’t be so sure about that. Defense lawyers and insurance companies have vast resources, and they employ investigators who are very tech savvy and have creative ways of finding information about you from social media. For example, someone working for the insurance company could become a friend of your friend, and you might inadvertently accept their friend request not knowing who they are but thinking it is someone your friend knows.

Even if none of that happens, all of your electronic correspondence is discoverable in a legal proceeding and it could be subpoenaed by the other side if they decided to take it that far. So, with this in mind, you should never post anything on social media that you do not want the whole world to see.

When you are involved in a personal injury case, the best practice is to suspend your accounts while the case is ongoing and restart them when it is over. If you are not able to quit social media cold turkey, at the very least, refrain from posting anything or commenting on anyone else’s posts. Also be sure to change your settings so you cannot be tagged in someone else’s post. In other words, only use social media as an information tool and nothing more.

Suffered a Personal Injury in West Virginia? Contact Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C.

If you or someone close to you got injured through no fault of your own, you will need an experienced attorney to help guide you through the claims process and avoid common pitfalls like using social media while the proceeding is ongoing. If your injury occurred in West Virginia, Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. is here to help. Message us online or call our office today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979 for a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

drowsy driving and truck accidents

Drowsy Driving and Truck Accidents

Over the road truckers have one of the most stressful jobs in the marketplace. They are away from their families for several days at a time making deliveries, and they are typically out on the road for many hours each day.

Much of their driving takes place during the evening and overnight hours, when there is less traffic on the road, and many drivers are also under so much pressure to keep unrealistic deadlines that they are tempted to push the limits and drive longer than they should. Under these types of conditions, it is no wonder that many truck drivers are susceptible to getting fatigued and even sleepy when they are behind the wheel.

Drowsy Driving Among the General Population

Drowsy driving is extremely dangerous, and it is far more common than most people realize. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), drowsiness is responsible for more than 70,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 fatalities each year. These are just the official numbers, however, and they are most likely underestimated.

Many drivers do not tell the police that they were sleepy right before an accident, because they do not want to get blamed for it. As a result, the CDC says that the number of annual fatalities that are caused by drowsy driving may be as high as 6,000.

While we are not sure about the number of drowsy driving-related fatalities, what we do know is that there are a lot of motorists out there who are driving while they are tired or fatigued. In fact, in one survey mentioned by the CDC, one out of every 25 drivers over the age of 18 admitted to having fallen asleep behind the wheel within the past 30 days.

One of the things that makes drowsy driving so dangerous is that drivers often have difficulty realizing at what point they cross the line between being tired and falling asleep. No one knows the exact moment when that happens, and sometimes it can sneak up on you.

Falling asleep while driving can clearly result in catastrophic consequences, but even if that does not happen, the effects of drowsiness still make it more likely that a driver might cause an accident. Drowsy drivers have slower reaction times, and they may not be able to hit the break or turn the steering wheel in time to avoid an adverse situation that may arise.

Sleepy or fatigued drivers also have a more difficult time staying focused on the road, often blinking repeatedly just to stay awake. As they become more tired, their ability to multitask becomes severely diminished. This may cause them to miss important details, such as a vehicle entering their blind spot or a bicycle or pedestrian crossing nearby.

Drowsy Driving in the Trucking Industry

The CDC lists commercial drivers among the groups most likely to drive while drowsy. This not only includes long-haul tractor-trailer drivers, but also those who drive buses, tow trucks, and other commercial vehicles.

As mentioned earlier, commercial truck drivers work long hours, often alternating between day and night shifts. This can cause a lack of sleep and make it more difficult to adjust their bodies to being awake at different times of the day and night. In addition, it is estimated that nearly one third of all big rig truck drivers have sleep apnea, which is another major risk factor listed by the CDC.

These factors combined with the stress of the job and the temptation to violate federal Hours of Service regulations to deliver their loads on time put truckers in a position where it is difficult to avoid driving when they are tired or sleepy. Given the major risk of truck accidents caused by drowsy driving, it is incumbent upon trucking companies to put the safety of their drivers ahead of profits by taking steps to ensure that they have an adequate amount of rest before getting out on the road.

Injured in a Drowsy Driving Accident in West Virginia? Contact Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. for Assistance

Drowsiness and fatigue are major contributors to many trucking accidents, and these types of accidents can happen with standard passenger vehicles as well. If you or someone close to you suffered injury at the hands of a drowsy driver, you deserve to be fully compensated. If your accident occurred in West Virginia, contact Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. for legal help. Message us online or call our office today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979 for a free consultation and case assessment.