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Are there any laws banning dog breeds in West Virginia?
Laws against owning certain breeds of dogs in West Virginia depend on the city and even the type of residence. Most banned breeds are those commonly considered by some to be dangerous.
Dog Breed Restrictions in West Virginia
Barboursville has restrictions on wolf hybrids and pits bulls under Section 505.09 of the Barboursville Codified Ordinances. The law requires a leash no longer than six feet and a muzzle when walking the dog. Owners must keep the dog in a locked kennel or pen that has a covered roof when the dog is outdoors. If indoor, the owner must not leave the doors or windows opened, and must post ‘Beware of Dogs’ signs.
Section 3-32 of the Bluefield Code of Ordinances also requires these restrictions on pit bulls and wolf hybrids in the city. The town of Credo prohibits ownership of pit bulls. And in Wheeling pit bull terriers have been declared vicious.
It’s important to recognize that some condo and homeowners associations may also place restrictions on certain breeds of dogs. It could also be an issue for someone renting in an apartment complex if the owner has restrictions in place.
Other Dog Laws in West Virginia
Despite the breed, any dog known to be vicious or is in the habit of biting/attacking people could be deemed dangerous. As a result, a judge would have the right to order its destruction if the dog injures or kills someone.
The owner could also be responsible for damages such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and more. If you were hurt by a dog and suffered injury and damages – regardless of the dog’s breed – talk to an attorney at The Miley Legal Group in Clarksburg about your legal options: (304) 931-4088.
Who represents my loved one if he or she is too injured to handle a truck accident claim?
If your loved one has been severely injured in a truck accident, a family member or another individual acting as a representative may handle and file the truck accident claim. However, this generally requires proof that the victim is incapacitated and unable to pursue the case. Of course, an attorney – likely hired by the victim’s representative – can offer legal representation for the victim.
What could constitute an individual as incapacitated and unable to handle a truck accident claim?
Whenever someone is incapable of making reasonable, sound decisions because of injuries from an accident, it may require someone else to file a claim and make decisions on the victim’s behalf.
One of the most common types of injuries that could qualify under these circumstances is a severe traumatic brain injury. If the effect is that the victim’s ability to process thoughts is compromised or recalling events or performing other necessary functions isn’t feasible, it could require someone else make legal decisions for him or her.
Another example would be if someone is in a coma. As long as there is sufficient reason to believe that the victim is unable to make decisions regarding a claim, someone else might have to handle the matter.
Who can make decisions for an individual whose been severely injured in a truck accident?
In West Virginia, a conservator or guardian must be approved by the court. It must be someone – like a family member – who has the injured person’s best interest in mind.
The court may consider a variety of factors when making this appointment, such as:
- recommendations by relatives;
- possible conflicts of interest; and
- the relationship of the potential representative to the victim.
The process for becoming a conservator or guardian is to file a petition with the clerk of the circuit court and attend a hearing where a decision is made. Get legal counsel when seeking to handle a claim on behalf of a loved one and discuss legal representation to handle the actual injury case as well. Call The Miley Legal Group to set up a consultation (304) 931-4088.
My deceased family member was a primary income earner. Can our family sue for loss of income?
When a family member was the primary income earner and died as a result of someone else’s negligence, damages for loss of income may be recoverable for the benefit of beneficiaries. To learn about rights to sue for income loss and other forms of compensation in a wrongful death claim, read on and contact an attorney.
Loss of Income in a Wrongful Death Case
Families can be left reeling after the sudden loss of a loved one not only emotionally, but financially as well. Already trying to cope with grief, make funeral arrangements, and facing an uncertain future, there can be a lot of concerns about the mounting medical bills and the knowledge that a primary income source is no longer available.
Wrongful death claims can address a variety of direct expenses, such as medical bills and funeral costs. But there may also be compensation for indirect expenses that arise, such as the loss of the deceased’s earnings.
According to West Virginia law, a claimant for wrongful death can seek compensation for reasonably expected loss of income. Determining what’s reasonable can pose some challenges because it may not only involve the deceased’s salary but other benefits such as retirement and pension plans.
There can be many factors that determine the value of lost income:
- life expectancy;
- retirement age; and
- wage rates.
It may also take into consideration the age of dependents, such as minor children. There isn’t a set formula to determine the worth of indirect damages such as these. The same is true for other forms of compensation that may be available such as loss of companionship for a spouse and loss of guidance for a child.
However, to ensure the amount provided is fair and full, it’s best to seek legal counsel. An attorney can evaluate the circumstances of the case and explain the types of damages that may be recoverable. Call The Miley Legal Group today: (304) 931-4088.
Can I claim damages if my pet was injured in a car accident?
Drivers may claim damages for a pet injured in a car accident. Much of this depends on who was at fault for the accident, so establishing liability is important.
How Fault Plays a Role When a Pet is Injured in a Car Accident
If another driver was responsible for the accident, his/her property damage liability would likely cover the pet. Even though the pet may be a beloved part of the family, injuries or death don’t fall under bodily injury liability. The pet is considered property.
Some of the damages that may be recoverable include:
- veterinarian visits;
- hospitalization; and
- cost to replace a pet.
However, if the pet owner was at fault for the accident, the ability to claim injuries or death will depend on pet owner’s insurance. Sometimes collision automatically covers pets. But since West Virginia doesn’t require this coverage, if the driver doesn’t have it he or she cannot make a claim for the pet.
Some auto insurance companies offer separate pet injury coverage. In that case it’s likely that this coverage would cover any damages sustained in a car accident. This is different than pet illness and injury insurance, though, which covers illness or injury. Make sure you fully understand what pet insurance covers and any limitations of this insurance.
Talk to an Attorney about Car Accident Damages
If an accident caused someone to sustain severe, disabling or life-threatening injuries, then the injured party may pursue a personal injury claim or lawsuit. Along with damages related to the driver’s medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, drivers may also seek compensation if a pet is injured in the car accident. Learn more about your options based on your particular circumstances – call The Miley Legal Group at 304-931-4088 to set up a consultation.
What are the laws governing accident liability on private hunting grounds?
Hunting on private grounds is one luxury afforded to landowners in West Virginia. But those who wish to hunt on private hunting grounds—such as a neighbor, friend or others—must obtain not only a license but also permission from the property owner. Owners who wish to keep others off the land should post notices at 500 foot intervals.
What West Virginia laws govern hunting accidents on private grounds?
Of course, many fear that allowing others to hunt on one's private property could open the owner up to the risk of liability if someone is injured in a hunting accident; not only in a shooting accident but other types of hunting accidents, such as someone falling out of a tree stand.
But, in general, if landowners allow others to use their private property for recreational purposes without charging a fee, they can’t be liable for someone’s injuries. In fact, there is no duty of care to warn those who use the property of a known, obvious hazard, though they may have to warn of hidden dangers.
In fact, the person who accesses private hunting grounds is essentially a trespasser, even though the landowner granted permission to use the land for recreational use. Just as in most cases landowners can’t be liable for a trespasser’s injuries, they are not liable if they charge no fees for use of the property.
When can a landowner be liable for injuries on private hunting grounds?
Once a landowner charges a fee for others to hunt on the land, those individuals are now invitees. Therefore, a duty of care exists to correct hazardous conditions or post appropriate warnings.
Only injuries caused by a failure to provide adequate duty of care are a landowner’s responsibility. Some accidents, such as a hunter accidentally shooting him/herself wouldn’t be the owner's fault.
If you were injured while hunting – whether on private or public grounds – and are unsure if another party is liable, contact The Miley Legal Group for legal representation.
If the product that injured me has a class action lawsuit pending, should I join the class or seek individual damages?
An individual who has suffered losses after an injury caused by using a defective product may be better off seeking individual damages than joining a pending class action lawsuit in the following circumstances:
- The injured person has suffered significant and extensive losses. A plaintiff may recover compensation when joining a class action lawsuit, but it may not cover the full extent of damages if they are significant and extensive. If the individual has suffered great damages, he or she may be better off filing a separate lawsuit.
- The injured person has suffered losses different than those suffered by the members of the class. Some individuals may suffer different losses than the members of the class. In such a case, there are chances that the Lead Plaintiff in the class action lawsuit may not satisfactorily represent the interests of the injured person in question. In such cases, the injured person may file for damages independently.
- The injured person does not want to receive a coupon for a replacement product. In cases where the injuries of the members of the class are not severe, companies are known to provide coupons which the plaintiffs can use to exchange their defective products. But if an injured person does not want a replacement product from the same company, then he or she should file an independent lawsuit.
- The injured person wants to exercise more control over the case. A class action lawsuit does not allow an injured person to exercise control over the case like he or should would if filing an independent lawsuit.
- The injured person’s case is more convincing than that of the class. The injured person should file claims for damages separately if he or she can build a case that is more convincing than that of the class.
If you are unsure whether joining a class action lawsuit or filing your own injury claim is the best choice for your particular circumstances, talk to an attorney. Call The Miley Legal Group today for assistance.
My child was attacked while bothering a neighbor’s dog. Can I file a claim?
If your child was the victim of a dog attack while bothering the dog, you may still be able to file a claim for compensation. The following circumstances may be applicable to establishing owner liability:
- The dog was running at large. According to dog bite laws in West Virginia, the owner of a dog that was not properly secured and was allowed to run at large may be held liable for the damages inflicted by the animal.
- The owner of the dog violated the “dangerous dog” law. West Virginia enforces the “vicious dog” or “dangerous dog” rule. According to this rule, it is the responsibility of the owner of a vicious dog to adopt measures to ensure the pet is properly confined and cannot injure anyone. Some cities automatically qualify certain breeds as dangerous regardless of previous behavior.
- The owner of the dog did not possess a license to keep a vicious dog for protection. An individual is required to obtain a special license from the state authorities to keep a vicious dog for protection.
- The dog had previously bitten a person. West Virginia imposes the “one-bite” rule for dog owners. This means that the owner of a dog not officially considered dangerous may not be held strictly responsible the first time the animal bites someone. But the law may hold owner strictly liable for subsequent bite incidents.
Contact The Miley Legal Group for Help with a Dog Bite Injury Case
Plaintiffs who wish to file claims for dog bite incidents should hire the services of an attorney who can gather the requisite evidence, interpret the law as it applies to specific incidents, and build a convincing case.
Contact The Miley Legal Group at 304-931-4088 for help and to discuss case-specific information and how West Virginia’s dog bite laws apply to your case.
Will the commercial trucking company attempt to destroy truck accident evidence?
It is possible that a commercial trucking company will attempt to destroy truck accident evidence to avoid liability. The legality of this, however, will depend on other factors such as the required amount of time records are to be preserved and whether or not the company received a spoliation letter from the accident victim or his/her attorney.
Impact of Records Retention with Regard to Truck Accident Evidence
One important issue is the amount of time that a commercial trucking company is expected to retain records. These rules are mandated by the Federal Highway Traffic Safety Administration (FMCSA) and vary depending on the type of record.
For instance, any supporting data for the following need to be kept for a minimum of six months:
- reports of accidents;
- hours of service; and
Because of the potential to lose valuable information if the company destroys its records, it’s important to act quickly.
Impact of a Spoliation Letter with Regard to Truck Accident Evidence
One way to prevent a trucking company from destroying evidence is by having an attorney send a spoliation letter. This informs the company that a claim is being filed and all evidence must be preserved.
Once the company receives the notice, it must not tamper with evidence. This includes destroying it and making alterations. Most letters will outline specific types of evidence that are to be kept intact, such as those mentioned above as well as the truck itself and other data including the driver’s qualification and personnel files.
Contact an attorney from The Miley Legal Group to learn more about rights of victims of truck accidents and the steps that need to be taken in order to protect them. One of the most important is securing evidence as soon as possible, so don’t delay seeking legal advice. Get started today – call 304-931-4088.
What is loss of consortium in a wrongful death claim?
Loss of consortium occurs when a spouse is deprived of the love, support and physical relations that are a fundamental part of a marriage. When one spouse is injured, disabled or suffers an accident at the hand of another, they can typically collect damages for loss of consortium if they decide to take legal action.
In some states, if a spouse dies because of another person’s negligence or error, his or her surviving spouse may file a wrongful death claim and seek loss of consortium damages as well. West Virginia is one of these states.
Loss of Consortium in Wrongful Death
The surviving spouse can seek damages for loss of consortium both before the death (if they were injured and unable to interact physically with their spouse) and for the loss of consortium they are currently facing after their loved one’s death.
Loss of consortium damages are hard to quantify. No judge or jury can fully grasp the emotional and personal effect a loss has had on a person, so the total damages a surviving spouse can get from loss of consortium varies greatly from case to case.
Typically, the following losses will be considered when determining total loss of consortium damages:
- sexual relations;
- emotional support;
- love; and
Often, loss of household services will also be lumped into this area, and judges will consider any:
- lost childcare;
- cooking; and
- other services that the deceased spouse provided when determining damages.
More on Loss of Consortium
Not every case lends itself to loss of consortium damages. Any individual who has lost a spouse to another person’s negligence or error should always speak to an attorney before seeking legal action. An attorney will be best equipped to evaluate the case and determine whether loss of consortium damages are a viable option. Victims in Clarksburg should contact the team at The Miley Legal Group today to get started.
Are there other ways for me to get car accident compensation from a negligent motorist other than his/her insurance?
In addition to a motorist’s insurance company, there are other ways that car accident compensation may be recovered. When there is a dispute and a settlement cannot be reached, it’s important to consider other options.
How Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage Provides Car Accident Compensation
Drivers in West Virginia are required to carry uninsured motorist coverage, in minimum amounts of:
- $20,000 in injury coverage for one person;
- $40,000 total in injury coverage for an accident; and
- $10,000 property damage.
If it turns out that another driver’s negligence was the cause of a crash but he/she doesn’t carry auto insurance, this helps cover medical costs and repairs to the vehicle.
Although not required, drivers who also choose underinsured motorist coverage might utilize this form of insurance in the event the other driver has insurance but it’s not enough to cover damages. Of course, this would be up to the limits of the policy.
Filing a Lawsuit after a Car Accident
If an injured person doesn’t qualify to use uninsured coverage and doesn’t have underinsured coverage, or the losses are higher than what’s available through coverage, another option is to file a lawsuit. However, this would only be possible if the other driver was at fault for the crash.
Seek legal counsel when pursuing a lawsuit. There can be a lot of complicated issues that come up, both in proving fault and establishing the type of damages that have been sustained. This is especially true if it’s determined the plaintiff was partially responsible for the accident. This could impact one’s ability to pursue the lawsuit or the amount of car accident compensation that is recoverable.
To learn more about one’s rights and options after an accident, contact The Miley Legal Group. We can help clients filing an insurance claim or pursuing a lawsuit against the other driver.