Saturday, December 14, 2013
The legal process involved in filing a personal injury lawsuit may deter some people from seeking damages regardless of the severity of their injury, but, having an idea of what you can expect at each stage of the process can help you determine if legal action is the appropriate route to take in your particular situation. An experienced personal injury attorney can counsel you as your case develops, and fight for your rights in the courtroom if necessary in order to achieve the outcome that's most favorable to you.
Regardless of how you were injured, there are certain steps that everyone who is in an accident or has been injured in some other way should take if they think they may have a personal injury lawsuit. The tips below provide an outline of what to keep in mind in the days, weeks and even months following your injury to ensure your potential personal injury claim is on solid legal ground.
A variety of situations can lead to injury, such as a slip/trip and fall, a car accident, a defective product, or a dog bite, among many others things. Following the suggestions below can help protect your right to file a claim for your injury in the near future, and will likely allow the filing process to run more smoothly than if you don't take these early preparations.
Put everything in writing.
Take notes on all the details of your injury. These don't have to be formal statements, just jotting down everything you can remember about the circumstances immediately before, during and after your injury can be a big help when it comes to filing your claim and jogging your memory. This sort of anticipatory preparation could mean the difference between your claim being invalid and you collecting all of the benefits to which you are entitled. It's even important to write down the conversations you had with others who may have been involved in the accident or injury claim, even if they were just a witness. Make sure that your physician or the hospital you visit for your injury notes the circumstances surrounding your injury in their records.
If possible, take pictures of your injuries and the scene of the accident as soon as you can following an accident or injury. Focus on any visible cuts, bruises, burns, swelling or other marks on your body. Don't just take one picture, make sure you capture the injury and the scene from a variety of angles. This approach will hopefully result in some detailed pictures you can later present to the insurance company as evidence supporting your claim.
Obtain copies of your medical records.
Medical records can be an integral part of your claim, and have the power to make or break your case. Whether your medical records just serve to help you seek medical treatment from a specialist or if you need them to support your claim that your injuries were in fact caused by this accident and not a pre-existing condition, it's important to contact your physician and get copies of all records that may be pertinent to your case.
Sunday, August 25, 2013
Be Wary of Carbon Monoxide Levels During Winter
If you live in cooler climes, winter is a time to take precautions against carbon monoxide poisoning. Residents of the northern parts of the country are starting to seal up their homes to keep them warm over the winter, which can increase the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, carbon monoxide poisoning is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States. Rates of injury and death are highest in the winter and among residents of the Midwest and Northeast United States. To minimize risk, it is important to understand the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and how to prevent it in your home and other sealed locations like your car and garage.
Carbon monoxide is a dangerous gas that you cannot see, smell, hear, taste or feel. Without detection equipment, your first clue that carbon monoxide is present may be symptoms of poisoning in yourself or a loved one. Many household appliances produce carbon monoxide, including oil- and gas-burning furnaces, portable generators and charcoal grills.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
A person with carbon monoxide poisoning may exhibit flu-like symptoms, such as:
- Chest pain
- Nausea and vomiting
Pets as well as humans can exhibit these symptoms. If anyone in your home shows these signs, it is important to immediately:
- Provide fresh air, either by leaving the premises or opening all doors and windows
- Put distance between the victim and the likely source of the carbon monoxide
- Call 911 and state that you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning
- Get medical attention for the victim
- Have your home inspected before returning (your local fire department or police department should be able to help with this)
Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide can easily be fatal if untreated, especially among children and the elderly,. Increase your family’s peace of mind by taking the following steps to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Install CO detectors outside every bedroom and in the basement or where your oil or gas-powered appliances are.
- Get regular service for appliances that use oil or gas.
- Do not use appliances to heat your home that are not built for that purpose, such as portable camping stoves, lanterns, charcoal grills or your oven.
- Never sleep in a room heated by a gas or kerosene space heater.
Taking these simple steps can keep your family safe from CO poisoning throughout the winter months.
Thursday, July 25, 2013
The seatbelts in cars are not designed with children in mind. In a car accident or during a sudden stop, a child who does not use a booster seat is vulnerable to serious injury because the seatbelt is not positioned to properly restrain the child. In fact, a seatbelt can actually cause additional injury to the child during an accident – for example, by cutting across the child’s stomach.
Booster seats are designed to elevate your child to a position where the seatbelt is positioned properly and will properly protect your child in case of a car accident or sudden stop. Booster seats are not specially made for different types of vehicles, even though the seats and seatbelts are shaped and positioned differently in different models of cars, trucks, SUVs, and minivans.
When shopping for a booster seat for your child, how do you tell if the booster seat is a good fit? Highway safety research tells us that there are three important measurements to consider when purchasing a booster seat for your child:
- The child should be able to bend his or her knees easily over the edge of the booster seat. If the child can’t comfortably bend his or her knees over the edge of the booster seat, he or she might slouch, which might cause the lap belt to ride up onto the child’s stomach
- The lap band of the seatbelt should lie across the child’s upper thighs and hips. It should not lie across the child’s lower or upper stomach, or across the child’s lower thighs.
- The shoulder band of the three-point seatbelt should cross the child’s shoulder midway between the outside edge of the child’s shoulder and the child’s neck. The seatbelt should not cross too close to the child’s neck or too far down the child’s shoulder or arm.
What are the dangers of a booster seat that does not fit properly? They can be very serious, and in fact some doctors refer to the following common injuries as “the seatbelt syndrome.”
- If the shoulder belt cuts too close to the neck or too far down the shoulder or arm, it can be uncomfortable. The child may learn to tuck the shoulder belt behind his or her head, leaving the upper torso unprotected in a car accident. Increased forward and backward movement during a car accident increases the likelihood of brain injury, neck injury, and spinal cord injury.
- If the lap belt is positioned across a child’s stomach instead of across his or her lap, a car accident will cause sudden tightening of the belt across the vulnerable stomach area. Serious injuries to vital organs or the child’s spine are very common in car accidents where the child’s lap belt is positioned across the stomach.
Various consumer safety organizations rate specific models of child booster seats for how well they fit a standard 4- to 8-year old in a variety of vehicles. The follow sites offer insight into considerations when choosing a booster seat:
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Be sure to check out the safety rating of booster seats before you buy one for your child.
Monday, February 25, 2013
5 Tire Safety Hazards
Proper maintenance of your vehicle is an important step toward ensuring your safety on the road. Tire failures at high speeds can result in vehicle rollovers, serious injuries and death. Below are five safety hazards to watch out for; the presence of any of these conditions can indicate that your tires should be repaired or replaced – before it is too late.
Tires Not Inflated to the Proper Air Pressure: Incorrect tire pressure compromises both the comfort and safety of your ride. Improper pressure affects braking, cornering, stability, mileage and tire life. Furthermore, tires that are not inflated to the proper pressure face a higher risk of catastrophic failure resulting in a serious accident. Low tire pressure causes increased friction and can overheat the tire, causing tread separation. The recommended tire pressure is always less than the maximum allowable pressure stated on the tire itself. Your vehicle’s recommended tire pressure can be found in the owner’s manual, or the label on the car’s driver’s side door, glove compartment or gas tank door.
Worn Tread: If the tread on your tires has worn down, you are at an increased risk of a blowout or hydroplaning accident. Additionally, worn tread may indicate a more serious problem, such as improper balance, suspension or alignment. Finally, tires with worn tread are more likely to be underinflated, affecting steering, braking and mileage, and causing further safety risks due to improper air pressure.
Tire Repeatedly Loses Air Pressure: If you often notice that one of your tires seems low, despite the fact that you have inflated the tires to the proper pressure, this could indicate a leak. There may be a small puncture in the tire’s tread, perhaps caused by driving over a nail, or it may be caused by a poor seal between the tire and rim or a damaged valve. These problems can often be repaired, rather than having to replace the tire. Ignoring the problem can lead to a sudden drop in tire pressure while on the road, which can result in a blowout or loss of control.
Bulge in the Sidewall: Any budge, regardless of size, indicates that the tire’s integrity has been compromised and the tire should be replaced immediately. This could be due to an impact with a curb or pothole. When such a bulge occurs, the steel belts inside the tire have weakened and can no longer ensure safe operation of the vehicle. Care should also be taken to ensure that the impact that caused the tire bulge did not also cause damage to the wheel itself.
Old Tires/Vehicles in Storage: If your tires are old or the vehicle has been immobile for a lengthy period of time, the tires may be affected by a form of “dry rot.” Regardless of how climate-controlled the storage environment is, tires that sit for extended periods will weaken over time until they are unsafe for travel. Similarly, old tires will show signs of degradation. You can identify this problem by examining the tire for small cracks in the tire’s sidewall. If any cracks are present, the tire should be replaced.
The Stealey Law Firm is based in Parkersburg WV and serves the surrounding counties of Wood, Jackson, Wirt, Roane, Doddridge, Pleasants, Tyler, and Ritchie in the legal area of Personal Injury.