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Understanding Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic Brain Injury occurs when a dramatic blow or blunt force occurs to an individual's head or body which causes the individual's brain to dysfunction. Not all blows to the head result in traumatic brain injuries. Instead, some forms of trauma lead to short-term symptoms similar to concussions. However, the incidents of traumatic brain injuries are startling and expose a major problem throughout the United States. In a year, approximately 1.7 million people suffer from traumatic brain injuries, of which:

  • 52,000 people die from their injuries.
  • An additional 275,000 are hospitalized
  • 1.365 million are treated in the emergency room department.

If you or your loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury at the negligence of another, contact Colombo Law today to determine your rights to compensation.

Common Causes of Brain Injuries

Domestic Violence: Each year, there are more than 10 million women and men who are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. This equates to 20 people per minute. Many domestic violence victims, especially women, have reported being repeatedly hit or kicked in the back of the head. For Susan Contreras, the unfortunate reality of being repeatedly hit in the head was a way for her abuser to hide the abuse by preventing bruises. According to the Journal on Family & Community Health, domestic assaults may cause traumatic brain injuries in at least 60% of survivors.

Sports Injuries: According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, sports contribute to 21% of all traumatic brain injuries among children and young adults in the United States. Football is the most common sport that may result in traumatic brain injuries, although many contact sports are likely to result in a traumatic brain injury. Other sports for which brain injuries are like to result include soccer, basketball, and baseball.

Car accidents: Another major cause of traumatic brain injuries is car accidents. Many traumatic brain injuries occur as a result of the head striking a steering wheel or windshield. These injuries are not only the result of serious accidents. In fact, some brain injuries occur even when victims are traveling at speeds that would be considered moderate.

While some brain injuries are short-term with regard to the effect of an injury, traumatic brain injuries are permanent. The dead brain cells do not have the opportunity to regenerate to become fully functioning.

Contact Colombo Law Today

The effects of a traumatic brain injury are devastating. If you or your loved one has been injured in an accident or incident which resulted in sustaining a traumatic brain injury, contact Colombo Law today. Our attorneys are experienced personal injury litigators who can assist you in filing a claim against a negligent party. During an initial consultation, our attorneys will engage in a thorough review of your claim and advise you of the probability of success of your claim as well as advise if there are any defenses that a defendant may assert regarding your claim.

Highway Safety: Proposed Legislation Impacts Trucks and Buses

Each year, there are thousands of fatal crashes that occur as a result of speeding. Although speeding is a major concern among all drivers, the United States is focused on placing a nationwide mandate on the maximum speed limit on all vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds. If the legislation passes, the maximum speed limit certain trucks and buses may be able to obtain could be 60, 65, or 68 miles per hour due to an installed mechanism that will not allow those vehicles to surpass the mandated maximum.

Arguments Against the Proposal

The proposed legislation is an attempt to curtail the large number of trucking accidents associated with speeding. However, speeding is not the only cause of fatal accidents in West Virginia and throughout the United States. While many are supporting the proposed law, others criticize the legislation for several reasons:

  • Opponents argue that the mandated maximum would create more of a hazard on the highway as other motorists will speed or engage in other dangerous behaviors to pass trucks and buses. Many have argued that it will present more of a safety hazard than currently exists making trucks susceptible to even more accidents than what currently occurs.
  • Those who are in support of the proposal argue that the proposal should be applied to all trucks and buses. They oppose the proposal for a more restrictive proposal which requires the safety mechanism on all trucks and buses weighing more than 26,000 pounds not just those which will be newly manufactured.
  • Many assert that speeding is not the only cause of fatal accidents in West Virginia and throughout the United States. Distracted driving are another major cause of many accidents, including accidents involving truck drivers. There are concerns that forcing truckers to drive slower may create a false sense of security for truck drivers to feel in more control, leading to an increase in multitasking while driving.


Contact Colombo Law Today

The damages that follow an accident or incident can be drastic, especially when caused by a speeding or distracted driver. When a truck or bus is involved in an accident, the damages are even more substantial, if not fatal. Damages suffered typically include lost wages, out of pocket medical expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium. These expenses can quickly cause financial strife or financial ruin. One of the main goals of the attorneys at Colombo Law is to restore your sense of security by rebuilding your financial wealth. 

If you or someone you know has been injured in a West Virginia trucking accident or incident, contact Colombo Law today. Colombo Law is a personal injury firm with experienced lawyers. Our firm handles cases in and around Morgantown, Fairmont, Clarksburg, Bridgeport, Kingwood, Grafton, Weston, Philipi, Buckhannon, Elkins, and Parkersburg, as well as Monongalia, Marion, Harrison, Preston, Taylor, and Lewis counties. For an initial consultation, contact our office today.

Good Samaritan Laws in West Virginia

There are thousands of accidents occurring each year on West Virginia roadways, highways, and intersections. In many accidents, the seconds and minutes following an accident matter and can have an impact on the life and safety of all parties involved. Unfortunately, the help of emergency personnel is not always available as it takes time for law enforcement and others to arrive at the scene of an accident. Instead, good samaritans are often relied on heavily to report an accident to law enforcement and engage in other key necessities before emergency personnel arrive at the scene. The attorneys at Colombo Law thank all good samaritans for the courage and compassion exhibited under emergency circumstances. In addition, we want good samaritans to understand the potential consequences of their actions.

What is a Good Samaritan?

A good samaritan in the legal context refers to a person who provides aid and assistance to individuals in emergency encounters. Good samaritans usually do so on a voluntary basis as payment would take it out the realm of a good samaritan. Also, a good samaritan is someone who does not have a legal responsibility to act. In some states, it is a requirement to provide aid and assistance if you are involved in an accident or incident, such as a car accident, including the responsibility to report the authorities. The key difference is that a good samaritan is usually an innocent bystander who is in no way connected to the accident, but renders aid out of the impression that it is the right thing to do under the circumstances.

Civil Liability of a Good Samaritan

While many good samaritans want to help, one of the main factors causing hesitation is whether liability can arise if something were to happen to any of the victims involved in the accident. Fortunately, in West Virginia, a good samaritan cannot be held liable if he or she was acting in good faith. This means that any individuals who try to assist in emergency circumstances are shielded from any liability even if their actions unintentionally worsen the condition of the victim. The intent behind this is to encourage individuals to put life first by providing assistance when necessary.

Good Samaritans: Things to Do After an Accident

Good samaritans provide many types of assistance during an accident or incident. The different types of assistance good samaritans have provided include:

  • Reporting the accident to law enforcement
  • Providing medical assistance such as CPR
  • Directing traffic after an accident
  • Pulling victims out of /burning cars
  • Stopping blood flow from a particular body part

While it is beneficial to assist in any way possible, a good samaritan should properly assess the situation to determine whether it is best to leave a victim as they were found until medical personnel arrives. Sometimes this ensures that any injuries are not further injured due to a change in position. 

About Colombo Law

Colombo Law is a full service personal injury law firm located in Morgantown,West Virginia. Our attorneys assist clients who have been injured in an accident or incident in the state of West Virginia.

Intoxication Associated with the Sports Season

Football season has officially kicked off throughout the United States. While football is sure to provide months of entertainment and fun for the whole family, there is also an anticipation that there will be a rise in the number of drunk driving incidents that will occur in many communities in West Virginia. The concern in intoxicated driving is not one that applies only to the fans of this sport, but also to the players. Recently, a West Virginia starting guard was charged with Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol after he was found in an overturned vehicle from which he suffered minor injuries.

Despite the fact that dangers associated with drunk driving are well known and documented, hundreds of individuals underestimate their intoxication levels and get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle each day placing themselves and others in danger. If you or your loved one has been injured in an accident or incident involving a drunk driver, contact Colombo Law today.

Determining Liability

When determining liability for injuries associated with a drunk driving accident, the help of an experienced attorney is often invaluable. In many cases, a thorough review of police investigation and reports should occur to determine the cause of the accident, the place where the drinking occurred, and the individual(s) responsible for the accident. The mere fact that you or your loved one was hit by an intoxicated driver does not mean that the driver is the only responsible party. In West Virginia, a driver may be sued individually for the damages he or she caused as well as the insurance company. However, there are other legal avenues to pursue that many do not think of. For instance, an injured party may be entitled to sue the establishment that continued to serve the intoxicated individual despite the signs of intoxication.

While there may be recourse against an establishment, such as a bar, many of our clients ask whether there can be liability against a homeowner for allowing an adult to become intoxicated and subsequently leave the premises. This is a major concern during football season as many are known to host football viewing and Superbowl parties. West Virginia does not recognize social host liability. Therefore, you will not be able to recover from social hosts. Our experienced attorneys are trained to discuss all of the available avenues to allow you or your loved one to decide the best course of action.

Obtain Relief Against Drunk Drivers

Drunk driving accidents are serious and unfortunate encounters that impact the entire family. These devastating accidents take far too many lives each year and injure many others. Our attorneys want to help you and your loved ones rebuild your lives after tragedy strikes. When a tragic accident happens, you need to speak with an experienced attorney at Colombo Law to ensure you obtain the relief you deserve.

Our attorneys are personal injury litigators in West Virginia. We handle cases in and around West Virginia including in Morgantown, Fairmont, Clarksburg, Bridgeport, Kingwood, Grafton, Weston, Philippi, Buckhannon, Elkins, Parkersburg, as well as Monongalia, Marian, Harrison, Preston, Taylor, and Lewis county.

West Virginia Helmet Truck visits the Randolph County Fair

The West Virginia Helmet Truck made stops this weekend in Elkins, WV at the West Virginia Children's Home, and in Beverly, WV at the Randolph County Fair to provide free bicycle helmets to kids. 

Nearly 300,000 children are injured from bicycle related accidents each year. Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of a severe brain injury by 88%. Unfortunately, the majority of children don't wear a helmet while riding their bikes 

Colombo Law has partnered with the WVU Medicine Trauma Center to provide children with free bike helmets and information on bicycle safety. 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 North Central West Virginia between April and October to ensure that the children in our community can stay safe while riding their bikes.

So far this year, the West Virginia Helmet Truck has provided over 1000 helmets to kids at the following events in our community.

- Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs Expo
- WVU Medicine Children’s Kids Fair 
- Stonewood Lions Club Bike Safety Fair
- Yes We Can Ability Ride
- MedExpress Kids Day
- Doddridge County Fair
- West Virginia Children's Home
Randolph County Fair

You can see the Helmet Truck schedule here: 

http://www.callcolombolaw.com/information/west-virginia-helmet-truck/ 




Understanding Key Individuals in a Personal Injury Case

During a personal injury case, there are many individuals present in the courtroom who are connected to the case in some way. While some clients have a clear understanding of the different players in a personal injury action, others are unclear and overwhelmed by the number of people present on a day that is crucial to their future security. The attorneys at Colombo Law believe that it is important to have a clear understanding of the different roles people will play in a personal injury matter. If you or your loved one has been injured in an accident or incident within West Virginia and would like more information on your rights and responsibilities, contact Colombo Law today for a no-risk initial consultation.

Aside from the judge and the jury, who are undoubtedly the most important individuals in any personal injury matter because of their decision making authority, there are several individuals who play a major role in personal injury actions. These individuals include:

Plaintiff

A plaintiff is the party who initiates a personal injury lawsuit. Plaintiff(s) are typically one or more individuals who have standing to bring a claim due to injuries that caused damages or rules allowing the individual to bring a claim on behalf of another individual. In cases where the personal injury case is successful, the plaintiff will recover damages which are monetary in nature.

Defendant

A defendant is the individual(s) who are being sued in a personal injury action. In some cases, naming defendants becomes complicated as there may be several individuals who are responsible for the injuries caused to the plaintiff(s). It is important to note that a defendant is not always the individual who pays when they are found negligent. For instance, in a car accident, the person who hit your vehicle and caused damages may not be responsible for payment if they were insured and are covered for the full amount of your damages. In the case described above, the insurance company will be named as a defendant along with the at-fault party.

Witnesses

Witnesses are the most crucial individuals in a personal injury action. Witnesses are individuals who either have personal knowledge or specialized skill, training, or expertise to qualify the individual as an expert in a case. Witness testimony in a case is the most crucial evidence as eyewitness testimony often provides a jury with an unbiased account of what occurred. Expert witnesses vary vastly depending on the type of issues involved in the personal injury action. Medical experts are just one type of expert but are beneficial in explaining injuries caused as a result of an accident that would not otherwise be understood by a jury.

Contact Us

If you or your loved one has been injured in an accident contact an attorney at Colombo Law today for a no-risk review of your claim.

Frequently Asked Questions About Liability Waivers

In life, there is a certain amount of risk present in any activity completed. Many “hazardous activities” present thrills and fun for the whole family without accident or incident. However, in some situations, freak accidents occur leaving parents, children, and other loved ones with serious bodily injuries and in some cases, death. Owners of establishments that offer such activities seek to protect themselves by limiting their liability in the event of an accident by requiring that all individuals entering the premises and taking part in the activities sign liability waivers. Much confusion surrounds the signing of liability waivers and their effect. If you or someone you know has been injured after partaking in an activity for which a waiver was signed, contact one of our experienced attorneys for a review of your claim. 

What is a Liability Waiver?

A liability waiver is a document that is signed by all participants prior to engaging in an activity that could result in injury or death. Liability waivers seek to limit or eliminate the owner's responsibility for injuries that result from the activity. Liability waivers are frequently used in activities such as hockey, ice skating, skiing, jet ski usage, and in waterparks.

Can I File a Lawsuit if I have Signed a Liability Waiver?

Determining whether a lawsuit can be filed in circumstances where a waiver exists is difficult without a review of the particular facts and circumstances present in your case. Generally, a waiver preludes a party from recovering for injuries covered in the waiver. However, there are some cases where a waiver will not prevent a lawsuit from being filed, such as:

  • Where there was gross negligence by the owner;
  • Cases where the injury was not a foreseeable result of the activity;
  • Where misrepresentation or certain warranties were made by an owner or agent of the owner;

To determine whether the liability waiver signed in your case was effective, arrange an initial consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today.

How Long are Liability Waivers in Effect?

Liability waivers are effective for the time period specified in the waiver or during the date in which you partake in the activity. If the signed liability waiver does not cover the date in which your injury occurred, you may be entitled to file a personal injury suit and recover for damages sustained as a result of the accident or incident.

Contact Colombo Law Today

Colombo Law is a full service personal injury law firm that seeks to help every victim of an accident or incident recover damages for their injury to the extent it is legally possible, regardless of  how big or small the claim is. We assist clients located in and around West Virginia including in Morgantown, Fairmont, Clarksburg, Bridgeport, Kingwood, Grafton, Weston, Philippi, Buckhannon, Elkins, Parkersburg, as well as Monongalia, Marian, Harrison, Preston, Taylor, and Lewis county. If you have been injured in an accident or incident but are unsure of whether you have a personal injury claim, contact Colombo Law today for a risk-free initial consultation.

Uninsured and Under-Insured Motorists Coverage in West Virginia

While rules relating to uninsured motorists coverage varies from state to state, West Virginia requires that all drivers obtain and maintain automobile insurance for every vehicle operated within the state. While many individuals are in compliance, there is an alarming number of individuals who do not comply with the law. Unfortunately, many motorists' failure to comply goes unnoticed for several months or years until the individual is pulled over or is involved in a devastating accident. When an accident occurs, there may be criminal consequences for failing to obtain insurance and the at-fault party may be cited as a result of the incident. However, the criminal citations will not assist the victim in payment for property damage, physical injury, or added medical expenses.

The state of West Virginia's solution is to require all motorists to carry uninsured motorist coverage, in an attempt to protect those individuals who are injured by an uninsured driver. They also make under-insured motorists coverage available within the state. While all policies cover uninsured motorists and there are options for under-insured motorists, many do not understand the difference between the two coverages. If you have been injured in an accident within the state of West Virginia, contact Colombo Law today to determine your rights to compensation.

Uninsured Motorists Coverage

West Virginia requires that all insurance policies contain uninsured motorists coverage. The minimum amount of coverage required is $20,000. Uninsured motorist coverage is beneficial in that it protects you and your loved one from the damage and injury that occurs after an accident, regardless of whether the at fault driver is insured or not. Although the protection is given, you or your loved ones are not required to file a claim against your own policy when an uninsured motorist causes property damage or injury to you or your loved ones. If circumstances suggest there is a feasible alternative, such as bringing a civil claim against the at-fault party, all alternatives should be explored prior to filing a claim against your own insurance policy.

Underinsured Motorists Coverage

Underinsured coverage protects you and your loved ones from circumstances in which the at-fault party did not maintain enough insurance to cover your damages. West Virginia requires that all drivers maintain the state required amount of minimum insurance policy limits. Frequently, this is not enough to cover the expenses that arise after an accident or incident.

In contrast to uninsured coverage, motorists are not required to carry underinsured motorists coverage. However, insurance companies must offer underinsured motorists coverage in insurance policies. If you have obtained underinsured motorists coverage, you may be able to recoup up to the full amount of the difference between the amount of coverage and the amount of damages.

Contact Colombo Law Today

Many individuals tend to falsely believe that nothing can be done when hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver. While it is certainly advantageous to bring a lawsuit against the insurance company who provides coverage to the driver, there may be other options in your case. To obtain specific legal advice relating to the facts and circumstances of your case, speak with one of our experienced attorneys.

Contingency Fees in Personal Injury Actions

After an accident or incident that causes injuries, financial security is a major concern for many families. Added medical expenses, lost income, and continuing monthly expenses present unique issues that many families cannot financially adjust to. In addition, many individuals injured in accidents seek assistance from personal injury litigators. However, these individuals cannot afford the advice and representation they receive. This is a common occurrence in personal injury actions in the state of West Virginia and throughout the United States.

Personal injury lawsuits are costly. They often require extended litigation, especially when a case proceeds to trial. Fortunately, most personal injury cases are taken on a contingency fee basis, which minimizes the expenses involved in a personal injury claim. When it comes to an accident or incident, you need competent representation that will get you the compensation you deserve. If you or your loved one has been injured in an accident or incident, contact Colombo Law today for assistance with your claim.

What is a Contingency Fee?

When a case is taken on a contingency fee basis, an attorney agrees to take your case without recovering any amount of monetary compensation up front to obtain representation. The attorney who takes on the claim for you or your loved one will only recover funds if you win your lawsuit against the wrongful or negligent party. This is beneficial to all parties involved. The contingency fees is deducted from the total amount of the settlement or jury award received.

What is the Average Amount of Contingency Fees?

Contingency fees vary depending on the firm from which you seek assistance. Contingency fees in the state of West Virginia must comply with the Rules of Professional Conduct. On average, the contingency fee rates vary from between 33% and 40% of the amount recovered. Contingency fees are collected as a payment for services rendered and do not include additional expenses for other services like expert who are necessary in your matter. The amount of the contingency fee will typically be set forth in your contingency fee agreement. Any specific questions you or your loved one has regarding a contingency fee should be discussed with an attorney and agreed upon before entering into the contingency agreement.

Colombo Law: Experienced Personal Injury Litigators

When you have been injured in an accident or incident in West Virginia, you deserve compensation. The attorneys at Colombo Law want your primary focus to be your health and maintaining financial security. At Colombo Law, we handle cases on a contingency fee basis. 

Our office is a full service personal injury law firm that wants to make the process as simple as possible while obtaining the amount of compensation you and your loved ones deserve. We assist clients located in and around West Virginia including in Morgantown, Fairmont, Clarksburg, Bridgeport, Kingwood, Grafton, Weston, Philippi, Buckhannon, Elkins, Parkersburg, as well as Monongalia, Marian, Harrison, Preston, Taylor, and Lewis county. For a no-risk initial consultation, contact Colombo Law today.

Reasons to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit After an Accident

Deciding whether to file a personal injury action can be difficult. In many cases, an individual who suffers an accident or incident has his or her life thrown into an uproar. Many of our clients who file lawsuits simply wish the accident or incident had not occurred and that they did not have to attend the added appointments, telephone calls, and court dates. While everyone understands the frustration that accompanies the additional responsibilities after an accident or incident, legal action or lawsuits are sometimes necessary in cases where there is damage. If you or your loved one has been injured in an accident or incident, you should speak with an experienced attorney so that you have the information you need to determine if you should file a personal injury claim.

A personal injury action is not for everyone. However, important consideration must be given in each case. You or your loved one may be interested in filing a personal injury claim if:

  • You have suffered damages. In order to be successful in a negligence cause of action, you will need to prove damages. Damages are the consequences suffered as a result of the accident or incident. One of the main reasons for filing for a custody action is to seek compensation for damages obtained. Damages can include harm caused to your person or property. When you experience pain and discomfort from an injury, you deserve the maximum amount of compensation. You also deserve reimbursement for all added expenses that would not have occurred if the accident had not taken place.
  • You cannot obtain crucial information. Sometimes, parties to a personal injury matter sometimes deliver informal discovery in an effort to further settlement discussions. However, many litigators are hesitant to convey any information that will harm their case. If there are concerns that all the relevant information has not been provided, your attorney will likely recommend that a personal injury action be initiated to ensure, at the very least, all relevant discovery is obtained.
  • Settlement is not possible. Although many personal injury actions settle, settlement is just not possible in some cases. While this can occur for a variety of reasons, a trial is necessary to resolve the issues in dispute where settlement is not possible. To maximize your probability of success an experienced litigator should handle your personal injury lawsuit.


Contact Colombo Law Office

When you are injured in an accident or incident you need an attorney who will zealously handle your personal injury claim. Colombo Law has effectively handled thousands of personal injury claim for our clients. While many of our cases have settled, we have also handled cases and advised our clients when settlement was not the best outcome in specific cases.

We are a full service personal injury law firm that wants to make the process as simple as possible while obtaining the amount of compensation you and your loved ones deserve. We assist clients located in and around West Virginia including in Morgantown, Fairmont, Clarksburg, Bridgeport, Kingwood, Grafton, Weston, Philippi, Buckhannon, Elkins, Parkersburg, as well as Monongalia, Marian, Harrison, Preston, Taylor, and Lewis county. For a no-risk initial consultation, contact Colombo Law today.