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Why that Settlement Offer May Not Be in your Best Interest

Immediately following an accident you may be contacted by an insurance company adjuster who will be asking you to settle your claim for "x" amount of money. Your first instinct may be an apprehensive one. This is good, but often people don't follow this instinct. Trying to get accident victims to quickly settle is a tactic readily employed. As would stand to reason, the adjuster that you're speaking with is not looking out for your best interests, they are looking out for the best interests of their company.

It's important that you know that you have the right to reject any offer made by an insurance company. It's also important to remember that if you choose to go to court, numbers from settlement negotiations may not be mentioned. So if an adjuster offers you $10,000, you cannot mention that to a judge or jury.

Another important thing to remember is that the amount that an adjuster quotes you is simply their best guesstimate of what they may be able to settle you case for. No adjuster can guarantee what will happen if you choose to take your case to court. Taking a case to court is a complicated decision that should not be taken lightly. If you need help evaluating your case and figuring out what to do, call Colombo Law for a free case evaluation. 

Study Shows that Texting While Driving Bans Help Reduce Crash Related Injuries

Almost all states have laws against distracted driving, however those laws vary between states in regards to how strict the bans and penalties are and in terms of how the laws are enforced.

A recent study conducted by researchers from the School of Public Health at Texas A&M University aimed to find out whether traffic safety has improved in some of the states that have imposed texting bans, and found that there is a correlation between bans on texting while driving and the number of road traffic injuries. While previous research has examined the associations between texting bans and crash-related fatalities as well as texting bans and insurance collision claims, the researchers wrote that this may be the first study to examine the impact of texting bans on crash-related hospitalizations.

The study, titled “The Impact of Texting Bans on Motor Vehicle-Crash Related Hospitalizations”, found that the bans have a significant contribution for reducing crash-related injuries. The researchers analyzed crash-related hospitalizations in 19 states, comparing the number of hospitalizations before and after the bans were enacted. They took a look at hospital data from 2003 to 2010, and discovered that crash-related hospitalizations declined by 7 percent during that period in the states with texting bans, with a 9-percent drop among drivers aged 22 and older.

The findings cannot prove that texting bans caused the shift, said study leader Alva Ferdinand, an assistant professor at Texas A&M School of Public Health. But, she added, her team tried to account for the other factors that could explain the decline, such as laws on speeding, drunk driving, handheld cellphones and teen driving restrictions. In zeroing in on the impact of texting bans, as opposed to more general bans on the use of handheld devices while driving, the study found that even after controlling for variables such as population size, states with a texting ban experienced a decrease in motor vehicle crash-related hospitalizations. However, even though texting-while-driving bans were associated with a significant reduction in hospitalizations among people ages 22 to 64, only marginal reductions were found among adolescents and young adults, those ages 15 to 21.

They also found that the way that texting bans are enforced affected the prevention of distraction related accidents as well. “Our research indicates that adults in states with a primary texting ban stand to benefit the most in terms of potentially avoiding crash-related hospitalizations,” says Alva O. Ferdinand, assistant professor in the School of Public Health at Texas A&M University, one of the researchers who conducted the study.

This means that West Virginia residents have an added benefit since the use of all handheld devices was banned as a primary law in July 2013. A primary ban allows a police officer to pull a driver over for using a handheld device even if the driver hasn't committed another traffic offense. A secondary ban is different in that a police officer has to witness another traffic offense before they can stop a driver for using their handheld device.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 3,000 people were killed, in distraction-related accidents in the United States in 2013, while about 424,000 people were injured. Texting while driving greatly increases the risk of an accident. In fact, texting while driving is about six times more likely to cause an accident than driving while intoxicated. It can increase the chances of a crash by 23 times and slows a driver’s brake reaction speed by 18%.

This research aims to reveal the effectiveness of various types of texting bans across different states, so that lawmakers can see what types of distracted driving laws help improve traffic safety the most. This study was recently published online ahead of print in the American Journal of Public Health, one of the country’s most influential public health journals.

Car Drives Wrong Way and Causes Collision on Route 50

Harrison County 911 has reported that a woman in a Hyundai Sonata was driving west in the eastbound lane on U.S. Route 50 when she hit a pickup truck head on.

The collision occurred just before noon on Monday between the Downtown 2nd Street and Joyce Street exits.

According to EMS on scene, two people were transported by EMS from the scene with non-life-threatening injuries. The Clarksburg Police Department, Clarksburg Fire Department and Harrison County EMS responded to the scene, while the Clarksburg Police Department will investigate the accident.

Colombo Law Receives A+ Rating from the Better Business Bureau

Colombo Law announced today that it has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and received an A+ rating, the highest possible score. Dino Colombo, founding partner of the Colombo Law said, “We were pleased to receive the BBB accreditation and the A+ rating. We work hard for our clients and always looking for the little extra we can do to deliver excellent service and outstanding outcomes. The BBB A+ ranking is one more recognition of our commitment to our clients.”

According to the accreditation, the “Better Business Bureau (BBB) has determined that the Colombo Law meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints.” The BBB rating is based on information the BBB is able to obtain about the business, including complaints received from the public. The BBB seeks and uses information directly from businesses and from public data sources.

BBB assigns ratings from A+ (highest) to F (lowest). In some cases, BBB will not rate the business (indicated by an NR, or “No Rating”) for reasons that include insufficient information about a business or ongoing review/update of the business’s file. The BB looks at 13 critical factors in its accreditation review.

The rankings done by the Better Business Bureau help consumers make informed decisions when weighing professional services. Mr. Colombo noted that, “The Better Business Bureau has an outstanding record for protecting consumers and encouraging good business practices, and we’re delighted to now be an accredited Better Business Bureau member.”

 

I-79 Closed for 7 Hours Friday After Fiery Wreck

A tanker hauling 4,500 gallons of diesel fuel rolled over and burst into flames at just before 2 p.m. just north of Morgantown.

Emergency officials reopened all four lanes of Interstate 79 around 9 p.m. Friday night.  Three hours after the wreck had traffic at a standstill, the fire was finally out.  Police then began to reconstruct the accident scene.  Emergency officials opened one southbound and one northbound lane at that time.

One person was taken by helicopter to a Pittsburgh hospital.  Investigators didn’t immediately release the name of the victim.

Morgantown Utility Board scientists and engineers were monitoring waterways after being notified the wreck may have caused a chemical spill into Scott’s Run.

MUB released the following statement Friday evening:

“This stream empties into the Monongahela River at a point roughly 200 yards north of the Star City Bridge. This point is approximately six miles downstream of the water intake at the Morgantown Water Treatment Plant on Don Knotts Boulevard. Morgantown Lock and Dam is also between the spill site and the Water Treatment Plant intake. This spill is NOT a threat to our local raw water supply or drinking water.”

Police had a difficult time getting close to the fire initially because of the hazardous situation.

For more information see http://www.wtrf.com/story/29017126/tanker-truck-catches-fire-along-i-79-in-monongalia-county-closes-i-79 and http://www.wdtv.com/wdtv.cfm?func=view&section=5-News&item=UPDATE-I-79-Reopens-After-Fiery-Diesel-Truck-Accident-23041

Attorney Dino Colombo Receives Lead Counsel Rating

The Lead Counsel Rating was established in 1997 as a quality assurance tool consumers and businesses can use to quickly and easily evaluate a prospective attorney's ability and credibility.

When you see the Lead Counsel Rating, Lead Counsel professes that you can be assured the attorney has met strict qualification standards that include:

  • Professional Experience
  • Peer Recommendations
  • Spotless Disciplinary Record

Lead Counsel performs an annual review to ensure an attorney's eligibility for the Rating. Should the attorney no longer meet eligibility standards, the rating is immediately revoked.

Notably, attorney Dino Colombo was also named a Super Lawyer by West Virginia Super Lawyers in 2015.  Colombo Law is proud to announce that Attorney Dino Colombo is now Lead Counsel Rated.  

This Attorney is Lead Counsel Rated. Click here for more Information.

Attorney Travis Mohler Receives Lead Counsel Rating

The Lead Counsel Rating was established in 1997 as a quality assurance tool consumers and businesses can use to quickly and easily evaluate a prospective attorney's ability and credibility.

When you see the Lead Counsel Rating, Lead Counsel professes that you can be assured the attorney has met strict qualification standards that include:

  • Professional Experience
  • Peer Recommendations
  • Spotless Disciplinary Record

Lead Counsel performs an annual review to ensure an attorney's eligibility for the Rating. Should the attorney no longer meet eligibility standards, the rating is immediately revoked.

Notably, attorney Travis Mohler was also named a Super Lawyer Rising Star by West Virginia Super Lawyers in 2015.  Colombo Law is proud to announce that Attorney Travis Mohler is now Lead Counsel Rated. 

This Attorney is Lead Counsel Rated. Click here for more Information.

Colombo Law Attorney Travis Mohler Named 2015 "Rising Star" by West Virginia Super Lawyers

The West Virginia Super Lawyers 'Rising Stars' list recognizes the top up-and-coming lawyers in the state. West Virginia Rising Stars honorees are selected based on nominations by other West Virginia attorneys. To be eligible, lawyers must be 40 years old or younger or in practice for 10 years or less. Less than 2.5 percent of West Virginia attorneys are chosen for this honor. The West Virginia Rising Stars list is published in the West Virginia Super Lawyers magazine.

This is an exclusive list of up-and-coming lawyers recognizing no more than 2.5% of lawyers in the state.


About Super Lawyers 

Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process, which results in a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

The Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in their practice of law. For more information about Super Lawyers, go to SuperLawyers.com.

About Colombo Law 

Since its inception in 1999, Colombo Law has established itself as one of West Virginia's preeminent personal injury and medical malpractice law firms.The firm’s attorneys include seasoned courtroom advocates with combined courtroom experience spanning over 50 years. Our dedication to service is reflected by the fact that many of our current clients were referred to us by other satisfied clients whom we helped in the past. Moreover, we are trusted by other professionals to handle complex cases and lend them the attention and expertise that they deserve. Other attorneys, doctors and, even insurance company employees have referred friends and family members to our office, confident that our exceptional team of professionals would handle their claims competently and successfully.

If you have suffered a personal injury, as a result of a car accident, a truck accident, a defective productmedical malpracticedistracted driving, or a work related injury in Morgantown or anywhere in north central WV, call or contact us today for a free legal consultation with the experienced injury lawyers at Colombo Law.

Visit http://www.callcolombolaw.com for more information.

Now What?

Unfortunately you have been involved in an accident. You were lucky enough to return home but have suffered some sort of injury. Surely there are a million questions flying around your head. Why Me? What do I do now?

The first thing to do is to try to stay calm. Many people have had unfortunate accidents in the past, and unfortunately many also will in the future. Truth be told, even well-known people suffer the misfortune of unexpected accidents. These things happen, but it is important to understand that how you handle the aftermath can make the difference in whether you are rightfully compensated for your misfortune.

The next thing you're going to want to do is to find an experienced attorney that can assist you in settling the matters that have arisen out of your incident. Excellent representation is extremely important. At Colombo Law, through diligent and skilled representation we will work with you to move your case forward in the litigation process.

After finding a lawyer, the litigation process will begin with the filing of pleadings in your case. This is the time where both sides lay out on paper what they think has happened. Once this has occurred, the discovery process will then begin. Discovery is where both sides gather and organize the facts of what has happened. Once the facts have been effectively established your case will generally take one of three trajectories: mediation, settlement or go to trial. 

Why You Should Buy Underinsured Motorist Coverage

You’ve just been in an accident; it’s not your fault, but you’re injured. Fortunately, you pay your car insurance premiums faithfully. However, in West Virginia, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are as protected as you may need to be. 

In West Virginia, there are mandatory car insurance coverages that the law requires you to buy. You must carry Liability Coverage, which protects your personal assets in the event that you’re in an accident and at fault. You must also carry Uninsured Motorist Coverage, which protects you in the event that you’re in an accident, the other driver is at fault, and the other driver doesn’t have any insurance. But, what if you’re in an accident, and you’re injured, but the other driver only has minimum Liability Coverage? 

In West Virginia, the law requires you to purchase minimum Liability Coverage amounts of $20,000 maximum per person, $40,000 maximum total per accident, and $10,000 property damage. As the cost of insurance is directly correlated with coverage, many West Virginians buy as cheap as possible to save money, which means there are a lot of minimum coverage drivers on West Virginia’s roads. 

It’s easy to see the benefits of having Underinsured Coverage in a scenario where your medical bills alone total $30,000, and the other driver’s insurance company can only pay you a maximum of $20,000. Unfortunately, that scenario is far too common. Your damages can add up fast following an accident. Do yourself and your loved ones a favor, and buy Underinsured Motorist Coverage. It could mean protecting your financial well-being if you’re in an accident.