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Get free information about your car accident, medical malpractice case, dog bite, personal injury and so much more now. The Miley Legal Group is here to provide you with the resources you need to better understand your situation and how we can help. Click on the drop down menu and select the topic to see what questions we may have answers for. If you have any additional question, please contact us by phone or fill out the contact form found on this page.
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Who should I call to report an animal attack?
After an animal attack, there may be several important calls to make to report the animal attack, such as to 911, police animal control, the owner of the animal, and a lawyer. Of course, this depends on the circumstances and uniqueness of the situation.
Calls You May Need to Make When Injured in an Animal Attack
Obviously, call 911 after an animal attack for help if you have injuries that are life-threatening. Animal attacks can cause severe internal damage and excessive bleeding. But there's also the risk of infection and other complications, so always seek medical assistance even if you don't need emergency care.
If you don’t call for an ambulance you will probably want to jump straight to this step, contacting the police. An example is when you're dealing with an uncooperative or belligerent animal owner.
You should also call animal control to report the animal attack. It's important you document what happened so there is a paper trail. In Clarksburg, call the Harrison County Animal Control office at 304-592-1876.
If you know the animal's owner, contact him/her. Explain that you will be filing a report and seeking medical attention. This isn't the time to engage in an argument about liability for a dog bite or other animal attack or to discuss a possible monetary settlement.
Finally, you may need to call an attorney. When the injuries are serious or fatal, it's important to have someone representing your best interests. Your attorney may help you with filing a claim against the animal's owner to recover compensation for your damages.
Other Steps to Take When Injured in an Animal Attack
Gather as much information as you can about the animal and its owner. Write down a description of the animal and any relevant details. Get the name and address of the owner. If you can, find out if there's a record of previous attacks.
Take pictures of all injuries, whether its:
- open wounds; or
- puncture marks.
Also, photograph any torn or bloodied clothing. Keep track of all medical bills and other expenses. Collect your medical records to help show the extent and severity of the injuries. If there were any witnesses to the attack, make sure you get their contact information.
Contact the Miley Legal Group in Clarksburg for more information about filing a claim and the evidence you'll need. Call us at (304) 931-4088.
In the case of an out-of-state death, do I still file a claim in West Virginia?
The city of Clarksburg is relatively close to Maryland and Pennsylvania, so residents might travel to other states rather often. If a person was in another state at the time of a wrongful death, you would usually file the claim in the state where the death occurred.
So in the event of an out-of-state death in Pennsylvania, the family must generally file the claim based on Pennsylvania laws because the death occurred in that state.
However, there are exceptions to this rule that may allow a family filing a wrongful death claim to file in a state other than the one where the death occurred.
When might I be able to file a claim in a state other than where it occurred?
You may also file a claim in the state where the defendant resides. For example, if your loved one – a West Virginia resident – was riding in a vehicle driven by a friend – also a West Virginia resident – who caused the fatal accident in Pennsylvania, you may file a claim in West Virginia because the defendant is a resident of the state.
So while in most cases the defendant will reside in the state where the death occurred, that’s not always the case as evidenced by the example described above. This can be rather confusing for families still grieving a loved one’s death, so speak with a lawyer about your legal options to recover damages from the responsible party.
Get Help from an Attorney at Miley Legal Group
Talk with an attorney at the Miley Legal Group in Clarksburg about the venue where you must file a wrongful death claim following a loved one’s out-of-state death. Call us at (304) 931-4088 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with an attorney.
Can a co-driver be liable for a truck accident?
Co-drivers can bear liability for a truck accident in Clarksburg in certain cases. Although fault most often applies to the driver, there are circumstances in which both have acted negligently and contributed to the truck accident.
Examples Where Co-Driver Liability Might Apply
One example where a co-driver might be liable for a truck accident is when the co-driver’s distractions interfere with the safe operation of the truck. If the co-driver is horsing around in the cab, distracting the driver or even directly causing an accident – like bumping the steering wheel – then the co-driver could be liable.
If the driver was falling asleep at the wheel and the co-driver knew, both could be liable for an accident. The driver shouldn't have been driving drowsy and the co-driver shouldn't have ignored the dangerous situation that led to the accident.
Federal regulations allow a limited amount of time for an individual to drive. Going over those hours is a violation. But if the co-driver is aware of this and doesn't take over the wheel, he or she might bear some liability for allowing the driver to dangerously violate the hours of service rules.
Drivers have a huge responsibility when it comes to operating a truck. But co-drivers must be ready to take over when the circumstances warrant. Also, if co-drivers have knowledge of a threatening situation, they must take the necessary steps to avoid an accident.
How an Attorney May Help Establish a Co-driver’s Liability for a Truck Accident
Pursuing a claim against a truck driver comes with its own challenges. So adding to the mix a co-driver who is liable for the accident, along with federal regulations and other complex issues, it's important to seek legal advice. An attorney can help collect the evidence necessary that shows both drivers’ fault. Call the Miley Legal Group in Clarksburg at 304-931-4088 or use our online contact form to set up a consultation.
How do I file a wrongful death claim if my loved one was killed while traveling overseas?
Filing a wrongful death claim for a loved one killed overseas will depend on the circumstances and that foreign country's laws for liability. The first step should be talking with an attorney to learn if you have a case.
Determining Viability of a Wrongful Death Claim When Killed Overseas
No matter where the fatal injury occurs, a wrongful death case depends on negligence. It stems from the careless or reckless actions of an individual, business or entity.
Let's say a loved one is on vacation in another country and is injured in a car accident. He/she is rushed to the emergency room. The loved one receives life-saving surgery but when the surgeon closes him or her up, there is a bit of cotton used to soak up blood that is overlooked and left inside your loved one’s body. It’s not immediately detected and so by the time doctors stateside discover the infected cotton, it is too late to save your loved one.
Wrongful Death Laws and How They May Apply to a Case
In West Virginia, a personal representative can pursue legal action in the name of the deceased. This may or may not be a family member. So if your family member was abroad, you would follow the country’s wrongful death laws.
Examples of parties that may recover damages include:
- a surviving spouse;
- children (birth, step and adopted); and
Recovery may also apply to others who depended upon the deceased financially.
Damages could include:
- medical costs;
- funeral expenses;
- mental anguish; and
- expected loss of income.
Keep in mind that these are the laws for the state of West Virginia and apply to wrongful deaths that occur in the state. The laws could vary in other countries. It's best to consult with an attorney who can review that country's laws. The attorney can then determine not only if you have a case, but who can file and who can recover damages.
Consult the Miley Legal Group if you need an attorney to provide legal counsel in the Clarksburg area. Call us at 304-931-4088 or contact us online.
What is a logbook for truck drivers and how can it help my claim?
A driver logbook keeps track of the amount of time spent on duty, off duty and driving. It may help establish negligence when pursuing compensation for injuries caused by a truck accident.
How a Truck Driver Logbook Can Help an Accident Claim
Federal regulations determine how much time a driver can spend behind the wheel of a large truck. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enforces these regulations, known as the hours-of-service rules. To keep track of location and time spent both off and on duty, drivers use a logbook.
If the driver violates the hours of service rules, the logbook may help prove this. For instance, a trucker carrying property cannot drive more than 11 hours after spending 10 hours off duty, and may not drive beyond the 14th hour after coming on duty. If the logbook confirms the driver violated this or other rules, this could help establish that the driver was fatigued and liable for the accident.
One of the problems with record keeping is that the driver or the trucking company may fabricate or alter the information. This is true whether it's a paper logbook or an electronic onboard recording device. But other types of evidence could help show the length of time a driver was on the road.
For instance, if the driver had to check in at a particular destination such as a warehouse for unloading, this could help establish a time. Receipts from gas stations and records from a weigh station are other examples that could help prove a violation.
If you believe that fatigue or other factors indicating truck driver negligence led to a crash, it's important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. The trucking company must keep logbooks for a certain period of time. An attorney can help preserve that evidence by sending a letter of spoliation, which prevents them from altering, hiding or destroying relevant records.
Call the Miley Legal Group in Clarksburg for help filing a claim against a trucking company: 304-931-4088.
What is a structured settlement?
Whether you negotiate prior to filing a lawsuit or you reach an out-of-court settlement while pursuing a lawsuit, you'll have to decide how you receive the settlement funds. A structured settlement is one type of settlement received in a personal injury case. Instead of accepting a lump sum payment, the settlement amount is disbursed over a fixed period of time. The structuring of these payments can vary.
How a Structured Settlement Works in a Personal Injury Case
When reaching a settlement in a personal injury case, it's important to create a payment plan that best fits an individual's needs. There are many different ways a structured settlement can work. Let's say an accident victim needs a large amount of cash right away to pay for the medical bills incurred. The initial payment could be larger than future payments.
Other options may include delaying, increasing or decreasing payments. Many different factors will determine the best way to spread out the settlement. For instance, someone might want to ensure there's enough money for lost wages while recovering from injuries. Others might want to put money aside to pay for college.
Choosing between a Structured Settlement and a Lump Sum Payment
There are advantages and disadvantages to both, which is why it's important to seek advice from a financial expert if you reach a very large settlement. For example, a lump sum amount sounds tempting.
But if the claimant doesn't have the ability to discipline his/her spending, it could be gone in a short amount of time. An example of a disadvantage to a structured settlement is when a sudden need arises related to the accident injuries; the structured payments may not fully cover the expense.
Talking with an attorney can help in choosing the right type of settlement. But legal counsel can also help with negotiating the amount of the award. How the money is paid out will only matter once reaching a fair settlement. It's critical to make sure the settlement addresses all financial, physical and emotional losses.
Call the Miley Legal Group in Clarksburg for legal help and consultation. Contact us at 304-931-4088 or use our online contact form to set up an appointment.
How can I prove food poisoning if I already ate the food?
Proving you suffered food poisoning from a particular food can be a big challenge. Once eaten, there isn't physical evidence available. But this doesn't mean you don't have a case.
Establishing Liability When a Food Product Causes Illness
One issue that may arise is distinguishing between a common illness and food poisoning. It's important to get checked out by a doctor who can run appropriate types of tests to properly diagnose your illness.
Another issue is determining the source of illness. This is more difficult with a time delay between eating and becoming sick. It's hard to pinpoint which food was the direct cause. But when it affects larger groups of people, it may become much easier. Let's say there was an outbreak of food poisoning. A government agency may investigate and determine the source. Or in some cases the food manufacturer may issue a recall.
It's important to save anything that might help prove the food product was dangerous. Although you might have eaten it, the packaging it came in could be useful. If it was a packaged food and you have some remaining, save it. A government investigator may even ask for it. Otherwise, look for a receipt that shows you purchased the product believed to be the source of illness.
Seek Legal Advice When a Dangerous Food Product Causes Illness
Getting sick after eating something doesn't always mean it warrants pursuing legal action. But if it resulted in hospitalization and/or serious complications, this could warrant filing a product liability claim. Talking with an attorney will help you better understand your legal rights. An attorney can help determine potential liable parties, such as a manufacturer, retailer, or others.
Damages in a claim could address the medical costs incurred, wages lost while recovering and other losses. In a severe case that results in death, family may file a wrongful death claim. Call the Miley Legal Group in Clarksburg to review your case: 304-931-4088.
How do I pay my medical bills while I’m waiting for a settlement?
There are a variety of options to consider when it comes to paying medical bills while waiting for a settlement. However, it might be a good idea to discuss them with an attorney because some options could have potentially negative consequences.
How to Handle Medical Bills before Receiving a Personal Injury Settlement
If you have the means, the money can be paid out of your own pocket. Some people will use what’s in their savings account or make arrangements with the medical facility, like monthly payments, for their medical bill funding.
For those who have it, health insurance can be utilized for injuries relating to a crash or other injury. However, you still could be responsible for deductibles and co-payments. Additionally, with this type of medical bill funding, the insurer may want to be reimbursed once the claim has been settled.
If you cannot pay right away and a physician or hospital renders services to you, then the funding for your medical bills possibly could be paid with a lien that the medical provider files against your insurance company or personal injury settlement. Once a settlement has been reached, the medical provider will receive payment. But generally their first choice is to go through the debt collection process. In that case, you might be able to work out payment arrangements.
This is usually the last resort someone should turn to in order to pay for medical bills. Although some call it a medical bill loan, it’s really a means of providing the funds necessary until a settlement has been reached. There are usually substantial fees and other risks, which is why it’s critical to discuss this option with an attorney first.
Seeking Legal Advice When Faced with Medical Bills Caused by Someone Else’s Negligence
Because of the exorbitant medical costs that can be faced after a serious accident, it’s critical to have legal representation. When negotiating a settlement, you want to make sure that all current and future expenses are considered. But there may be other damages recoverable, such as lost wages, pain and suffering, permanent disability, and mental anguish. An attorney at The Miley Legal Group can calculate your losses and offer counsel. Fill out our contact form
Can I use physical force against a dog that’s attacking me?
Yes, you may be able to use non-deadly or deadly physical force against a dog that’s attacking someone. In West Virginia, if you are being attacked or your life is in danger, it is lawful to use physical force against the dog, including killing the dog.
Of course, if the dog was simply running at large and not causing any harm, then others may not kill the dog. If they do, they may be liable for damages to the dog's owner. Those who violate the law may be charged with a misdemeanor offense.
What if I was injured by the dog in the attack?
Dog owners are liable for injuries when the dog was allowed to run at large whether intentional or not. So if there was a failure to lock an enclosure and the dog escaped, if it goes onto someone else’s property and attacks, the owner could be responsible for damages inflicted and the victim or others may legally be allowed to use physical force against the dog.
If the dog owner tried to sue the victim for injuring or killing his/her dog, he or she likely wouldn’t have a case. There is also a one bite statute that may apply.
If it’s not a case where the dog was running at large, the owner could potentially be liable if:
- there was a violation of local leash laws;
- the dog had previously bitten someone; or
- the owner had otherwise acted in a negligent manner.
Again, this could be another situation in which the use of physical force (deadly or non-deadly) would be considered acceptable.
These types of cases can become quite complicated. It’s best to talk with an attorney who can explain how the different dog laws may apply to your particular situation. Call the Miley Legal Group in Clarksburg at 304-931-4088 or fill out our contact form to set up a consultation.
What is a spoliation letter?
A spoliation letter is one way that both hard copies and electronic evidence in a truck accident case can be preserved. Usually, your attorney will submit this letter to the trucking company, warning it of the legal ramifications for failure to comply.
How a Spoliation Letter Can Help Protect a Truck Accident Case
One of the advantages for a truck accident victim is access to evidence that isn’t normally available in a typical passenger car crash. For instance, the personnel file on a truck driver can provide much more information about the individual behind the wheel than you would usually discover. This may include driving history, training, results from alcohol/drug testing and citations.
Additionally, there could be relevant information surrounding the truck itself -- such as inspection reports -- that show a failure in maintenance. This may reveal faulty equipment was to blame for the accident. Records from the trucking company may illustrate clear violations, for example, when federal driving limits are exceeded or the employer allows an employee without a proper license to operate the truck.
Although these resources can be critical to a case, they can be tampered with or altered easily. Information might be erased; records could be changed, and documentation might be hidden. This is when a spoliation letter can help preserve evidence. Most of these letters will address specific types of documents that are to be kept intact.
Importance of Securing Legal Representation for Serious or Fatal Injuries
Protecting one’s claim and rights is best done with legal help. Truck accident cases can be complicated, with federal laws that may apply and different types of evidence that could help build a strong case. In addition, there are usually significant injuries or a wrongful death. An attorney will help ensure everything is handled in an appropriate and timely manner at The Miley Legal Group. Give us a call today: 304-931-4088.