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Important Asbestos Information

WDTV released a story, “Asbestos: A Major Concern?”, which reported that West Virginia is one of only six states that has asbestos related death rates 50 to 100% higher than the national average. Specifically, between 1999 and 2013 West Virginia saw more than 2000 deaths related to asbestos exposure.

WDTV stated that asbestos in older homes and buildings is not something that people should be overly concerned about. This is because most of the time, it becomes a health risk when it is disturbed and asbestos dust is created. This is a common occurrence in some industries, where asbestos is used as insulation or in another capacity. However, for the person who will only come into contact with asbestos because of its presence in their home, risk of exposure can be diminished if proper precautions are taken during demolition or remodeling. Additionally, WDTV reported that it could take up to thirty years after exposure to develop asbestos related illness.

For more information about WDTV’s story, CLICK HERE.


 Additional information on asbestos exposure:

According to Asbestos.com exposure to asbestos is related to serious respiratory diseases and cancers: mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, among several others. Exposure occurs when asbestos dust, created when the substance is disturbed, is inhaled or swallowed. Typically, people who are more likely to suffer from the effects of asbestos are the ones who incurred heavy, repeated exposure.  Although this substance is naturally occurring, it is used in industries, like shipbuilding and construction, for almost 100 years. Furthermore, it was not until the 1970s when regulations and laws were finally put in place to protect people from asbestos and its effects.

Asbestos.com mentions that common sources of asbestos exposure are military work, products that are used in homebuilding and construction (drywall, insulation, tiling, etc.), occupations (electricians, firefighters, mechanics, and several others), and workplaces (shipyards, power plants, metal works, among others). To add, there are also risks of environmental release from natural disasters or mining, and secondary exposure from people who bring fibers out of the worksite accidentally. Additionally, this site mentioned that in West Virginia, the common source of exposure is coal mining, coal refineries, metalworking, and power plants.

Finally, this site states that inhaled asbestos fibers accumulate in people and cause scarring and inflammation, which can lead to further complications and diseases. This may take many years for diseases and other health concerns to develop from these fibers being trapped in the lungs and respiratory system.

If you think that there is a possibility that you have been exposed to asbestos, make sure that you see a healthcare professional for a medical evaluation. Additionally, if there is a possibility that asbestos may have been used in your home or the products in your home, be sure to consult a qualified professional who can determine how to prevent disturbing asbestos and any related exposure from occurring, especially before any remodeling or demolition.

The information provided in this blog was obtained from WDTV's news story and www.asbestos.com/exposure. Visit these sites for more information on asbestos and related health concerns.

If believe that you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos and have questions regarding your rights, contact our Colombo Law team at (888) 860-1414. We will meet with you and will answer any questions you may have and help you in any way that we can.

The Harrison County Humane Society

Colombo Law volunteered at the Harrison County Humane Society on Thursday, July 2. We got to spend time with so many wonderful animals who need a home and a loving family. We also got to meet Sweet Georgia Brown and Scruffy, the pets that Colombo Law is sponsoring this month.

We had such a great time working with the animals and seeing all the great things that the Harrison County Humane Society is doing for the community. If you are looking for a new addition to your family, make sure that you stop by this Humane Society and meet the animals they have there. The Harrison County Humane Society is open from 10:30 A.M. to 3:30 P.M. daily, so stop by sometime this week or this coming weekend to find your perfect pet.

If you are not looking for a pet to take home, but still would like to help out, you are able to volunteer. There are many opportunities for those interested in volunteering. The ways you can help out range from playing with the animals, working on public outreach, or contributing other skills or resources. The Humane Society needs the help of volunteers to make sure that all of the animals find a family and home.

For more information about volunteering or adoption, CLICK HERE for the Harrison County Humane Society’s website.

For more information about the pets Colombo Law is sponsoring, click these links: Sweet Georgia Brown  and Scruffy.

Watch Out! 4 Frightening Safety Hazards this 4th of July

The Fourth of July is a time for people to celebrate and spend time with friends and family. However, each year some celebrations turn into a nightmare because of the safety hazards that lurk behind every corner. Over the years, countless people have been harmed from preventable accidents. To help keep people safe this holiday weekend we have come up with a list of 4 hazards to look out for this Fourth of July.

The Pool

While pools are the centerpiece for many parties this Fourth of July, it is also potentially dangerous. The CDC reports that around ten people die each day due to accidental drowning and even more people are taken to Emergency Rooms for water related injuries. Many of those affected are children or adolescents.

To prevent injury and death because of swimming pools this Fourth of July here are a few safety recommendations:

  • Make sure an adult supervises kids at all times when using the pool.

  • Don’t swim alone

  • Make sure those who do not swim well have the proper floatation gear.

  • Do not dive into shallow water.

  • If you or someone else is tired, take a break.

  • If you have had too much to drink, don’t swim.

Alcohol

Many accidents each July 4th are due in part to alcohol consumption. A major part of preventing injury and accidents from occurring is the responsible use of alcohol. Some useful tips for alcohol and the holiday are:

  • Never light fireworks if you have had too much to drink.

  • Make sure that there are sober adults at picnics and get-togethers to supervise minors and to respond to any issues that may arise.

  • Never swim when you have had too much to drink.

  • Never provide minors with alcohol.

  • ALWAYS have a designated driver or boater.

Fireworks

It would be hard to imagine the Fourth of July without fireworks. However, this tradition is not without its hazards. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that on Independence Day, there are typically thousands of people injured because of fireworks. The NFPA encourages people to refrain from using fireworks because of the risk. For more information about the risks of fireworks, watch the video below from the NFPA.

If, however, you decide to use fireworks this Independence day make sure to follow the proper precautions to avoid injury. Some helpful tips that will help you and your family and friends stay safe this year are:

  • Store fireworks in a safe location away from children and anything that could potentially spark these fireworks by accident

  • Make sure the fireworks are fully extinguished and no longer hot before picking them up and throwing them away

  • When lighting fireworks, make sure that you are a safe distance away from people, houses, cars, trees, bushes, or other things that could catch fire easily, and have a hose or extinguisher nearby

  • Remember to follow all the laws and regulations regarding firework usage

Boating

For those who are headed out on a boat this holiday weekend, it is important to remember there are many dangerous situations that can be prevented with the proper planning and preparation. The US Coast Guard reports that each year many people are killed or injured from preventable boating accidents.

Here are some things to do before getting out on the water this Independence day:

  • Make sure that all passengers will have a life vest and that they wear them while boating.

  • Make sure all the safety features, especially the lights, on your boat are functioning properly.

  • Make sure your Safety/Emergency Kit and First Aid Kit are fully stocked.

  • Designate an adult who knows how to operate the boat and will stay sober. This will help ensure that all passengers will make it back to shore safely.

  • Review this information on Carbon Monoxide (CO) from the US Coast Guard to prevent injury or death from this deadly substance: http://www.uscgboating.org/recreational-boaters/carbon-monoxide.php 

  • Look at the weather forecast before leaving and continue to check the most recent models while you are boating. Don't go out on the water if it isn't safe to do so and head back to shore if the weather starts to become hazardous.


Remember to take the proper precautions this weekend to keep you and your loved ones safe during your holiday celebrations.

From all of us at Colombo Law, we wish you and your family a safe and happy Independence Day.

What You Need to Know About ATVs Now

WBOY reported on June 16, that West Virginia leads the nation in ATV accidents. West Virginia currently has the highest death rates due to ATV accidents. It is important to note that many injuries and deaths can be prevented by taking the proper precautions

Hearing of an ATV accident and the tragedy that results is something that happens too frequently in West Virginia. WBOY reported that, many injuries and deaths from ATVs are from children riders. WVU Safety and Health Extension’s ATV safety awareness course, mentioned in the report, provides ATV education services and curriculum to 4-H that teaches people to operate these vehicles safely. Additionally, WVU Safety and Health Extension states that many of these accidents can be prevented if parents supervise children under 16 at all times while on an ATV. On WVU Safety and Health Extension’s ATV Safety webpage, there were several things that they stated that adults need to check on and make sure their children have certain things before letting them go out on an ATV:

  • [The child] is the appropriate size for the machine he or she will use.

  • Has an ATV that is working correctly.

  • Does not operate the machine after dark or in poor weather conditions.

  • Wears a U.S. Department of Transportation-approved helmet with eye protection.

  • Wears long pants and long sleeves.

  • Carries a cell phone to call an adult in case there is a problem.

Many of the fatalities that occur in West Virginia, both children and adults, happen on public roads. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Highway Loss Data Institute, West Virginia has the highest rate of death among people who ride their ATV on public roads.On the WBOY interviewed Lieutenant Forbes of the Granville Police Department, and he stated that ATVs were not intended to be used on the roads. For this reason it is important to avoid riding and ATV on the roads.

It is important for anyone who wants to ride a motorcycle to receive the proper training, abide by the rules for ATVs, and to always wear a helmet. Remember that taking safety precautions and knowing how to operate the ATV can prevent accidents and save lives.

For more information on WBOY’s story click here.

SAFE SUMMER PLEDGE

At the beginning of June Attorney Dino Colombo spoke with WBOY about the dangers of distracted driving, this danger is especially prevalent during the summer months. In effort to keep all drivers safe and secure this summer, Colombo Law is having the Safe Summer Pledge.

Distracted driving claims too many lives each year, and those who sign this pledge are helping to make the roads safer by bringing awareness to the dangers of distracted driving. Hopefully, by spreading the word about our pledge, we can help prevent distracted driving from claiming any more lives and keep people safe on the roads. 

In addition to spreading awareness, if you sign this pledge before midnight on August 31, 2015, you will be automatically entered to win a $100 Visa Gift Card!

Click here to sign the Safe Summer Pledge

If you missed Dino Colombo on WBOY Click Here for the full story and more information on how you can help save lives this summer.

What to do after a boating accident.

Boating accidents, like auto accidents, are traumatic experiences. If you are ever in a boating accident, would you know what you should do? It is better to know what to do ahead of time, before an accident, so that you are better prepared to protect yourself and your rights. Remembering the following steps is essential to knowing what to do in the event that you or a loved one is a victim of a boating accident.

  1. Stay calm and don’t leave the scene.

  2. Immediately call 911:
    • Call for medical help if someone is injured.
    • Call the police. They will document the accident and gather facts and evidence for legal purposes. If the police are not called it is your word against the other person’s.

  3. Use your cell phone to take photographs of the accident scene and any injuries.

  4. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the accident.

  5. Remember not to discuss the accident with anyone or blame anyone or yourself, before consulting with an attorney.
    • Any statement you make can be used against you.
    • Do not speak with the at-fault party’s insurance company before consulting with an attorney because they could use any statement you make against you.

  6. If another boat is involved in the accident, be sure to exchange information with the other parties.
    • Addresses
    • Phone numbers
    • Boat registration number
    • The make, model, and year of the boat
    • Boater license number
    • Insurance information

  7. Get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses.
    • Remember, the passengers involved in the accident are not considered witnesses.

  8. Again take pictures of the accident. Take plenty of pictures to that you can effectively describe the accident.
    Photograph:
    • The damage to the boat
    • The area around the accident
    • Any injuries
    • Other parties involved in the crash
    • The registration number on the boat

  9. Collect any physical evidence that is around the scene of the accident that you think could help your case.

  10. Take notes on the details of the accident:
    • What happened
    • The weather conditions
    • The date and time
    • Draw a diagram of the accident
    • The location of the accident (include any landmarks)
    • Or any other information that you feel is important

  11. Call an attorney
    • The longer you wait to speak with an attorney, the harder it is to prove your case.
    • Remember to get legal advice before signing any papers from the insurance company or agreeing to a settlement.

A boating accident is never something that people expect to happen. However, taking safety precautions and knowing these steps ahead of time can help you protect yourself in the event of an accident. If you have been involved in a boating accident, call Colombo Law at 1-888-860-1414, and we will assist you in your case.

Are you affected by the Takata Airbag recall?

Vehicle occupants rely on airbags to protect them and keep them safe from injury when in an accident, however the recent airbag scare is shaking some people's confidence in the trusted device. With the recalls on the Takata airbags increasing, it is important that you make sure your car is not affected by the the defective product.

While the cause of the product defect is up for debate, it is clear that the effects of the defective Takata airbag are costly and frightening. According to the NHTSA, millions of vehicles have been recalled to fix the product. The safety concern surrounding this product is that it could repel pieces of metal at the vehicle’s occupants, if the airbag is deployed during a crash. This is particularly frightening since the IIHS states an airbag could be deployed at a speed of 200 mph. Furthermore, as recent news reports have indicated, there have been multiple fatalities and injuries associated with the Takata airbags. Making it extremely important for you to make sure your car is not equipped with the defective airbags. 

Official information regarding this recall can be found online at http://www.safercar.gov/rs/takata/index.html. On this webpage you will be able to find a list of recalled makes and models, recent news regarding the recall, and find a service that will quickly check your vehicles VIN to make sure that your car is safe to drive.

If you or a loved one has been harmed by a defective product and are wondering what rights you have regarding that matter, call Colombo law at (888) 860-1414. Our legal team will assist you in finding the answers to any questions you may have.

West Virginia's new DUI regulations

A new law went into effect Tuesday, July 17 in the State of West Virginia that affected the punishments for driving under the influence.

WBOY reported that this legislation was introduced in response to two deadly DUI crashes that occurred in 2009 and 2011.The law makes a DUI that is responsible for the death or serious injury of another person a felony offense. Additionally, those who are responsible and convicted a DUI that killed someone will face a prison sentence that could range from 3 to 15 years.

The increased penalties should make people think twice before deciding to drive after drinking. For more information regarding this law Click Here to read WBOY’s story.

West Virginia's New Auto Insurance Laws

A new law went into effect June 11 that allows motorists to use electronic proof of insurance when they are pulled over. This law took the place of the prior regulation that drivers have to have a paper proof of insurance.

This law will make it okay for drivers to have proof of insurance on their smartphone in the event that they are pulled over. West Virginia drivers will be able to utilize the apps that many insurance companies have for motorists to access their insurance information on the go.This change will make it easier for people to carry proof of insurance and will provide drivers with options to convey that information to an officer.

To find more information about this law follow the links below to the stories posted on WDTV and WBOY’s websites:

http://m.wdtv.com/wdtv.cfm?func=view&section=5-News&item=Proof-of-Insurance-Can-Now-Be-Digital-23720

http://www.wboy.com/story/29300837/new-law-utilizes-electronic-proof-of-auto-insurance


Do motorcyclists have the proper insurance?

Motorcycle season is underway and with the increased number of motorcyclists on the road, it is important to make sure that everyone has the proper insurance coverage.

In the state of West Virginia, the insurance minimum required to get a license is liability coverage with a 20/40 limits. Meaning the insurance liability coverage has a limit of $20 thousand per person or $40 thousand for the total accident. Typically, motorcyclists are interested in obtaining just enough coverage to meet the minimum requirements to ride a motorcycle, and they do not think about the need for Underinsurance Motorist Coverage (UIM coverage). Underinsurance Motorist Coverage is insurance coverage purchased by the motorcyclist to cover him or her in the event they are injured by another driver that has inadequate insurance coverage. This is extremely important coverage and UIM coverage is something that every motorcyclist needs.

There is no such thing as a small motorcycle accident. More often than not, the medical expenses for the motorcyclist involved in an accident will be tens of thousands of dollars. We have seen cases where the medical expenses alone exceed $100 thousand. This does not include lost wages or compensation for pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.  If the person at fault in an accident only has 20/40 coverage, an injured motorcyclist will not receive the money necessary to cover medical expenses or the other damages that go along with these types of injuries. If the medical expenses alone are $75 thousand and the person at fault has only $20 thousand of insurance coverage, how are you going to survive if you are out of work for six months or have sustained a permanent injury? What would happen to your family if you were killed on a motorcycle? These are the difficult questions that need to be answered now before a tragedy strikes. Having Underinsured Motorist Coverage can provide additional protection in the event of an injury sustained from a crash.

Motorcyclists should buy as much underinsured motorist coverage as possible. However, people cannot insure themselves for more than they insure others. Therefore, if they want their underinsured coverage to cover more than $20 thousand for an individual or $40 thousand for a total accident, they have to increase their liability insurance to beyond the 20/40 minimum. Our recommendation is for people to have at least $100 thousand in liability coverage, which would allow $100 thousand in under insurance coverage. Making sure that you have the proper insurance coverage that can protect you in the event of an accident is an important part of saving your financial life if you sustain an injury during a crash.

Finally, in addition to proper insurance coverage, motorcyclists should remember always to obey the rules of the road and wear the proper protective gear. If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident make sure to call our team, we will be sure to assist you in all of your legal needs. From all of us at Colombo Law, we wish you safe travels.