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Slip and Fall Accidents in the State of West Virginia

On a daily basis many individuals slip or fall in the privacy of their home or while out in public. Slip, trip, and fall accidents are the result of many different circumstances, some of which are no fault of anyone involved. However, there are some instances in which a business owner's negligent behavior causes individuals to slip and fall while on the business premises. In these instances, the business owner should be held responsible. If you or your loved one has been injured in a slip or fall accident due to another's negligence, contact Colombo Law today to determine your rights.

If you have suffered a slip and fall on the premises of a business, you may be entitled to monetary relief. It is important to understand that the slip and fall need not occur in one particular place. Common areas for slip and falls include:

  • Parking lots
  • Inside a store premises
  • Restrooms
  • Surrounding pool areas
  • Hallways
  • Stairwells

The location of the fall however is important to determine liability. For instance, the owner of an outlet mall may be responsible for a slip and fall in a parking lot. However, if the accident occurs inside a specific store liability may shift from the owner of the outlet mall to the owner of the store location.

Causes of Slip and Falls

Some common causes of negligence actions result from injuries related to:

  • Spills and Substances: Claims related to spills and substances are most frequently seen in grocery stores and department stores. Business owners have an obligation to ensure that their store premises are safe for customers. This requires the owners to ensure that there are no liquids or other substances on the property that may create a hazard.
  • Lack of maintenance or upkeep: Failing to properly maintain a premises creates a significant hazard both inside and outside of the premises. In parking lots, potholes and weather related accidents can cause individuals to slip trip or fall and sustain significant injury. Failing to properly maintain the property could result in an owner's liability.

After an Accident Gather Evidence and Preserve Your Claim

In personal injury actions, the burden of proving negligence is on the Plaintiff (the person bringing the lawsuit). Therefore it is important to gather any evidence that can be helpful in the event that a lawsuit is necessary. After an accident be sure to obtain copies of any incidents reports filed. Also, take pictures and notes of the type of substance that caused you to slip and fall. Any notes should describe whether the substance is sticky, slick, or gritty.

Finally, you want to be sure you preserve your claim. In West Virginia, there is a two year statute of limitation on personal injury actions. After an accident many individuals express feelings of being overwhelmed as there are many increased obligations including adding doctor's visits and other appointments to preexisting work and familial obligations. Although the increased obligations make it easy to fail to tend to other responsibilities, you want to be sure to contact an experienced attorney at Colombo Law who can assist you in your legal action before your claim expires.

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Dog Bites in West Virginia

There are millions of pets that reside in homes across the country. While pet ownership is a major responsibility, many are glad to care for the pets they own as these animals become part of the family. Dogs are no exception. Often known as “man's best friend,” dogs offer companionship, loyalty, and affection to the owner and everyone else in its presence. However, there are instances in which dogs create dangerous situations.

Each year, there are thousands of individuals bitten by dogs. This is the result of a multitude of factors including the lack of training by owner, fear or anxiety of the dog, or because the dog feels the need to protect someone or something. If you or someone you know have been bitten by a dog, you deserve compensation. Call Colombo Law today to speak with an experienced attorney.

Types of Liability for Dog Bites

  • Strict Liability: The West Virginia Code governs liability of owners for dog bites. The Code Section provides that any owner who allows a dog to run at large will be liable for any damages that results to a person or property if caused while the dog was at large. The statute creates strict liability to the owner in these circumstances. Although the statutes specifically limits strict liability to instances in which a dog is “at large,” the statute does not identify the criteria that meets the definition. At Colombo Law, our attorneys look at the facts and circumstances surrounding the dog bite to determine whether strict liability will apply. If strict liability does not apply, our attorneys will also advise whether any other actions may be initiated based on the facts and circumstances of your case.
  • Common Law Negligence: Generally, if a dog was not roaming at large, strict liability will not apply and a Plaintiff will be required to prove that the owner acted negligently. However, West Virginia will also impose strict liability if an owner had prior knowledge of a dog's violent tendencies. In addition, if a dog has bitten another person in the past, strict liability will be imposed.

Compensation for Your Injury

After a dog bite, damages may be made to cover property damage, lost work, or significant medical expense. Under strict liability, compensation is recoverable for any damages sustained as a result of the dog roaming at large.

In many cases, a homeowner's insurance policy will cover incidents related to dog bites. Prior to accepting any settlement from a dog owner's insurance company, speak with an experienced attorney as you may be waiving your rights to future compensation.

Contact Colombo Law for Representation After a Dog Bite

If you or your loved one has been attacked by a dog, promptly seek medical attention to ensure you receive proper care and treatment. After obtaining medical treatment, contact Colombo Law to get answers to any of your questions regarding liability, compensation, and representation. At the end of your consultation you will have information you need to determine whether to file a claim.

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The West Virginia Helmet Truck at Playworks

The West Virginia Helmet Truck provided helmets to PlayWorks and Variety the Children’s Charity this past week. PlayWorks has teamed up with Variety the Children’s Charity, the organization that provides bikes to children with special needs. Since these children cannot ride a bike without a helmet, the West Virginia Helmet Truck made sure each child had a helmet and could ride their new bike.
On May 21, 2016, the West Virginia Helmet Truck will be at “Yes We Can Ability Ride” on the rail trail in Star City. This event is hosted by PlayWorks. At this event, children with special needs will ride their bike down the trail. We are excited to have the opportunity to participate in this event and look forward to seeing the community come together for an excellent cause. Remember to come out and support the "Yes We Can Ability Ride" on May 21. 

Tips for your Teen Driver on Prom Night

Prom night is an exciting time of year for high school seniors and parents alike. Prom night represents the kick off of graduation festivities and events and signifies the successful completion of a teenager's final year of school. Although this night is often a fun and memorable time for the vast majority of teenagers, it is also a night that ends in tragedy for many families. Unfortunately, the night that ends in tragedy is not just one bad dream; instead, the tragic aftermath continues in the months or years following the accident. If you or a loved one has a teenager that will be attending their school's senior prom in the upcoming months, Colombo Law asks that you take the time to remind your child about driving safety and the dangers that often accompany many teenagers on prom night. Speak with your child about the importance of the following:

  • Do not drink and drive and do not ride in a vehicle with someone who has been drinking. In 2013, the Center for Disease Control reported that 17% of teenagers acknowledge that they drove in a vehicle with someone who had been drinking and driving. While drinking and driving impacts individuals at every age, teenagers who drink and drive are much more likely to be involved in an accident given the lack of experience driving.
  • Eliminate Driving Distractions: Many teenagers travel in groups to prom. This creates many distractions to the individual who drives the motor vehicle. Be sure to warn your child about excessive noise, such as music and communication. Also, remind your child that photographs and video recordings can wait until the teenagers reach their destination.
  • Remain Alert: Driving at night time is more difficult than daytime driving as fatigue sets in combined with the darkness which impairs an individual’s ability to see. Many accidents involving teenagers occur between 3:00 p.m. and midnight.

In reality, teenagers have momentary lapses in judgment despite the countless discussions regarding safety behind the wheel. To ensure that your child does not act negligently behind the wheel, require your child to take transportation provided by the school. Otherwise, explore alternative transportation options such as reserving a limousine service that can transport your child to and from the facility where prom will occur.

Colombo Law: Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys

The attorneys at Colombo Law are experienced personal injury litigators who seek to right the wrongs of those who act negligently, causing personal injuries to another individual. Our attorneys meet on a daily basis with those who have suffered from an injury or another type of tragic accident. We know the impact an injury can have on families. Colombo Law wants to see that your child has a exciting and memorable prom night that is safe for everyone involved.

Photo Copyright: enterline / 123RF Stock Photo 

The Importance of Gathering Evidence After a Motor Vehicle Accident

Once an accident occurs, the scene can quickly become chaotic. Things tend to escalate quickly as witnesses, medical personnel, and others emergency personnel arrive at the scene of the accident to ensure the safety of everyone involved and move toward prompt cleanup. While things tend to be over in what feels like an instant, it is important to keep focused as the scene of the accident is the most valuable time to obtain evidence. After an accident, be sure to gather the following types of evidence:

Witness Statements

Eyewitness testimony is invaluable in cases where the fault of each party is not clear. At the time of an accident, take note of whether there are any eyewitnesses that can provide an account of what took place. If so, it is important to obtain a written statement from any individuals present while the details are still fresh in one’s mind. Details that will provide information  as to the fault of any involved parties are key including how the accident occurred, whether any warning signals were given such as a car horn, flashing hazard lights or high beam lights. You should also be sure to obtain the name, address, email address, and telephone number of any individuals who provide statements.

Photographic Evidence

It is also important to take photographs of the accident scene. Photographic evidence is a powerful tool that can paint a picture of the accident and serve as evidence in the event you file a personal injury claim. The attorneys at Colombo Law recommend taking pictures of any injuries to yourself and passengers, as well as any damage to the vehicle. Photographs help document every change in your vehicle such as:

  • Dents and dings;
  • Shattered windshields;
  • Deployment of airbags;

You should also be sure to obtain photographs of anything that will show what the weather conditions were like at the time of the accident. It is imperative that you understand the importance of photographic evidence. Photographs have helped substantiate the extent of the damages, helping to settle cases in many instances.

Evidence of Damages

If a lawsuit is initiated, successful parties may be able to collect general and special damages. For this reason, it is important to keep record of your damages. After an accident you should seek medical treatment to determine the extent of your injuries. Unfortunately, many individuals are injured in an accident but are unaware until the days and weeks following the accident when aches and pains begin to appear. Take detailed notes of what occurred during doctor’s visits, therapy sessions, and other appointments. If you miss any work as a result of the accident, you should also keep a detailed account of this information.

Colombo Law: Your Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact Colombo Law. Our attorneys are available to help walk you through the process of a personal injury claim and help assist make the best decision for you and your family.

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Obtaining Compensation for Your Workplace Injury

Employers are required to ensure that their employees work in an environment that is free from any hazards which may lead to an injury. Workplace injuries range in severity, but can be minor in nature or lead to fatalities. If you have been injured in a workplace accident, contact an experienced attorney at Colombo Law. Our attorneys are equipped to handle all of your needs and assist you with your legal needs arising from a workplace injury.

Causes of Workplace Injuries

Many workplace injuries are a result of inattentiveness, inexperience, or the lack of adequate training. However, some workplace injuries occur because of unfortunate circumstances that are of no fault of the injured party. Some common causes of workplace injury include:

  • Defective Equipment or Machinery: In many instances individuals are injured by defective equipment due to improper maintenance or lack of maintenance. Employers assume in all too many instances that the equipment is working properly if there are not any open recalls. However, companies should have all equipment checked regularly not only for the safety of consumers, but for employees as well. Defective equipment due to the lack of maintenance can lead to a range of problems for different business including brake failure on motor vehicles and commercial trucks, breaks and tears on belts in machines, and commercial range malfunctions.
  • Lack of Safety Equipment: Individuals who engage in physical labor are often required to wear safety equipment such as safety goggles, hard hats, work gloves, steel toe boots, and other protective equipment. Unfortunately, in many cases individuals are injured because the employer did not provide them with safety equipment. These injuries are unacceptable as these accidents could have been prevented. Workers are entitled to be protected against exposure to dangerous work conditions.

Types of Compensation

After a workplace accident, you may be entitled to workmen's compensation. This is important as in many cases an injured party experiences a huge financial strain as they experience an increase in medical bills, a decrease in wages (as a result of lost work), and an increase in stress. Be sure to notify the appropriate individuals and file a workers compensation claim as soon as you become aware of its necessity. It is best to have the assistance of an experienced attorney with your workmens compensation claim as individuals are often denied workmen’s compensation without valid reason.

You may also be able to recover against an employer if you are able to prove that your workplace injury was a result of:

  • A specific unsafe working condition existed;
  • Employer was aware of the unsafe condition prior to your injury;
  • Employer violated a safety statute or a state or federal law or they deviated from a standard practice within the business;
  • Employer intentionally exposed you to the danger; and
  • As a result of Employer’s action, a serious injury or death occurred.

Need More Information?

If you or someone you know have been injured in a workplace accident, contact Colombo Law today for answers to all of your immediate questions. 

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Medical Malpractice in West Virginia

There are hundreds of thousands of instances of medical malpractice each year which vary in nature because of the broad range of practice areas and specialties. In general, the number of personal injury claims has steadily increased in the recent years, which has made the legislature and juries skeptical about awarding damages. While there are some measures that have been made, our attorneys believe that every individual should obtain the full amount of compensation they deserve. At Colombo Law, our attorneys work to ensure that our reputation of honesty and integrity is maintained in all cases which is why our clients obtain the maximum relief possible in medical malpractice cases. For experienced representation, contact Colombo Law.

Common Medical Malpractice Claims

The following lists frequent causes of medical malpractice claims in West Virginia and throughout the nation:

  • Failure to Diagnose or Misdiagnosis: Failing to diagnose or diagnosing a patient with the wrong illness is all too common as many illnesses have common symptoms. Malpractices arises because the delay in treatment often results in injury to the patients as their undiagnosed illness progressively worsens. In addition, providing medications to treat a patient for an illness they do not have usually causes unintended consequences by creating an imbalance in the body and putting the patient at even more risk. In these cases liability may result if another reasonably prudent doctor would have considered the illness with the same or substantially similar circumstances present.
  • Surgical Errors: Many medical malpractice claims are a result of surgical errors. Surgical errors often stem from performing surgery at the wrong location such as performing a surgery on the left arm or right leg instead of the intended arm or leg, performing the intended surgery on the incorrect individuals, leaving surgical tools in a patient, and other errors during a surgical procedure causing damage to a patient’s nerve, organ, or bodily function. Surgical errors are often unnoticed until several weeks or months later when their patient starts experiencing complications.
  • Medication Errors: Medication errors are particularly dangerous and damaging to patients. If a medical provider administers medication, that provider must consider any known allergies or medications that may conflict with medications which are already being administered. Also, doctors must ensure that the correct dosage is listed on the prescription. Otherwise, an overdose may occur and cause a fatality. Prescription errors are also common, exposing many doctors to malpractice suits because of inattention to detail and lacking knowledge of the interplay between medications.

Contact Colombo Law for Your Medical Malpractice Needs

If you or someone you know have suffered complications due to the medical malpractice of another you deserve compensation. Contact an experienced attorney at Colombo Law to determine what your rights are. During an initial consultation, one of our attorneys will review the facts and circumstances surrounding your claim to determine whether you have a valid claim. If you have a valid claim for recovery, you will leave our office with an understanding of the process for filing a medical malpractice claim.

Damages Recoverable in Personal Injury Actions

After an injury, clients often have a multitude of concerns with varying levels of urgency. Although most are immediately concerned with their health and the immediate need for financial stability, at some point victims are concerned with additional relief that can be obtained and the different types of compensation available. Damages is a tort law remedy which allows an injured party to obtain monetary compensation. All elements of a claim must be met before damages are awarded. There are three different types of damages: compensatory, general, and punitive damages. If you or your loved one is involved in an accident and you believe the individual is entitled to damages, contact Colombo Law for a review of your claim.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory Damages are damages awarded to reimburse an injured party for specific losses. Compensatory damages are damages which can be subject to an exact calculation. Some examples of compensatory damages include:

  • Lost wages: An injured party may seek compensation for missing days of work as a result of the injury including, but not limited to, doctor’s visits, bed rest, therapy, and/or tending to other appointments and affairs. Lost wages are not limited to a particular time period; instead, it can include past, present, and future lost wages.
  • Out of pocket expenses: Any out of pocket expenses that are proximately caused as a result of the accident or incident may be claimed by an injured party. These out of pocket expenses are also subject to a sum certain.

General Damages

Unlike compensatory damages, general damages are damages that cannot be subject to an exact calculation. Generally, these damages are difficult to measure and the amount awarded is determined by a jury. General damages include:

  • Pain and Suffering: Pain and suffering are general damages awarded to compensate not only for the aches and pains endured after a tortious encounter but also for things such as mental health treatment. 
  • Loss of consortium: Loss of consortium is a claim brought by family members where there is injury to and limitation on activities that the injured party performed prior to the accident. A loss of consortium claim may be brought where the injured party is not able to cook, clean, or engage in recreational activities. It may also be claimed by a spouse where is intimacy is affected as a result of the injury.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are those damages put in place to punish a wrongdoer. These damages serve as the state’s intention of imposing a monetary fine to deter future action. Damages are capped at a certain amount to avoid excessive fees. Punitive damages are generally awarded in cases where gross negligence occurs or an intentional act is committed.

Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys

At Colombo Law, our focus is to ensure that you have skilled representation so that you have the best chance to obtain the maximum amount of recovery for your injury. For a review of your claim and advice as to your potential recovery, contact Colombo Law today to schedule initial consultation.

Nursing Home Neglect: What You Should Know About Bedsores

Each year more than 20,000 causes of bedsores are diagnosed. Bedsores are most common amongst individuals over the age of 60 who are not as mobile as they should be, usually because of health complications or other factors relating to health. Bedsores are often present amongst the nursing home population as these individuals often do not have the specialized care and attention they deserve. If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with having bedsores while in the care of a nursing home facility, contact Colombo Law for representation to assure that your loved one gets the medical attention to promptly resolve the issue.

Warning Signs of Bedsores

Bedsores present different signs as it progresses through the different stages. Initially, you should note that bedsores commonly develop in areas in which there is a thin layer of skin in close proximity to a bone. Some examples of common areas for bedsores include one’s heels, ankles, hips, tailbone, and elbows. The following are signs of bedsores at each stage:

  • Stage 1: Patients who experience stage 1 bedsores may describe having pain on the outer layer of their skin. The skin may appear to be red or simply discolored on the area in which the bedsore is developing.
  • Stage 2: During its second stage,the skin will break open. The pressure sore appears as a cut, abrasion, or a blister. If the cut or blister seems unexplained, you should have it examined to determine whether a bedsore exists.
  • Stage 3: This stage is particularly severe as the bedsore has gone through the skin and layers of soft tissue. Fat may be exposed at this stage since it has formed an open wound that begins to pierce through multiple layers of skin.
  • Stage 4: In its final stage, the bedsore appears as a large open wound in this stage and is usually described as a large crater like wound.

Bedsores Linked to Negligence

Bedsores are often linked to negligence on the part of a nursing home facility as it shows that a patient is not obtaining the proper care and attention. It is easily preventable by ensuring that patients who are bedridden or confined to a wheelchair are moved and repositioned frequently to reduce the amount of pressure on specific areas of the body. At the onset of bedsores, proper care and treatment is required to ensure that the condition does not worsen. Proper cleaning of the wound is also necessary to prevent a bacterial infection from developing. If a nursing home is aware of your loved ones bedsores but have failed to act promptly to remedy the situation, contact Colombo Law for an experienced attorney today.

Colombo Law: Your Experienced Attorneys

At Colombo Law, our attorneys care about you and your family. We recognize that your everyday life is busy and you may not be able to provide the care and attention your loved one deserves. That is why you made the hard decision to place your loved one in a nursing care facility. If your loved one is not receiving the care and attention they deserve, contact Colombo Law today. 

The West Virginia Helmet Truck Visits The Randolph County 2016 Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs Expo

Colombo Law teamed up with the WVU Medicine Trauma Center to take the West Virginia Helmet Truck to the Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs (HOFNOD) Expo on Saturday April 2, 2016 at Elkins High School.  HOFNOD aims to prevent drug and alcohol abuse by promoting healthy lifestyle choices.

While this is the 10th year that Colombo Law has provided free child photo IDs to parents to help in the event a child is lost, it is the first year that Colombo Law has partnered with the West Virginia University Medicine Trauma Center to provide children with free bike helmets and information on bicycle safety. We are happy to announce that we gave out 288 helmets and 260 child photo IDs this weekend at the HOFNOD Expo.

We loved having the chance to participate in the HOFNOD Expo this past weekend. Colombo Law has provided thousands of child photo ID throughout the years at this event and we are pleased to have opportunity to have provided helmets to children in North Central West Virginia. We look forward to continue supporting the mission of HOFNOD to help end drug and alcohol abuse.

Colombo law is committed to keeping the children in our community safe. That is why the West Virginia Helmet Truck will be making visits throughout the next several months to ensure that the children in our community can stay safe while riding their bikes.

On Saturday, April 9, the West Virginia Helmet Truck will be at the WVU Medicine Children’s Kids Fair at the Morgantown Mall from 10:00AM to 3:00PM giving out bicycle helmets. Make sure to stop by this weekend to get your children a bicycle helmet to make sure they stay safe while they play.