Injuries happen unexpectedly and could lead to a victim sustaining significant disabilities. Injury victims are often left dealing with tremendous medical bills and other injury-related expenses. At Tiano O’Dell, PLLC, we are here to help when you need a Charleston, West Virginia personal injury attorney to protect your rights. We pledge to conduct a thorough investigation into your claim to obtain maximum compensation and have a proven track record of success in helping our clients. Contact our law office today at (304) 720-6700 to schedule your free consultation to discuss your legal options.
Why Choose Tiano O’Dell, PLLC?
After sustaining an injury caused by another party, you need to choose an attorney you can trust both personally and professionally to handle a complex case.
- Our West Virginia personal injury attorneys have more than two decades of experience handling all types of personal injury claims in and around Charleston, WV.
- Our law firm is dedicated exclusively to personal injury law. This specialized knowledge gives us an advantage over other law firms that practice in all different types of law.
- We have extensive resources at our disposal that we can use to conduct full investigations into all personal injury claims.
- Founding partners William Tiano and Tony O’Dell have earned recognition as Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the American Trial Lawyers Association and West Virginia Super Lawyers.
- We take all injury cases on a contingency fee basis, which means our clients pay no legal fees until after we secured the compensation they deserve.
Charleston, West Virginia Personal Injury Resources
- Types of Personal Injury Cases We Handle in Charleston, WV
- Do I Have a Personal Injury Claim?
- Common Injuries Associated With Accidents in Charleston, WV
- What to Do After an Accident in Charleston, WV
- What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Charleston, WV Personal Injury Case?
- Who is Responsible for Paying for Damages?
- Cost of a Charleston Personal Injury Attorney
- What is My Case Worth?
- West Virginia Statute of Limitations
- Locations We Serve in West Virginia
Types of Personal Injury Cases We Handle in Charleston, WV
The team at Tiano O’Dell, PLLC has extensive experience handling all types of injury cases. From coal mining accidents to dog bites, all kinds of accidents can lead to personal injury. Some of the cases that we provide legal representation for include the following:
- Motor Vehicle Accidents. Traffic collisions happen in a variety of ways in and around Charleston, WV. Causes of motorcycle, truck, and car accidents include distracted driving, impaired driving, failure to follow traffic laws, and more.
- Medical Malpractice. Most people do not realize that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the country, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins. These mistakes can include surgical errors, medication mistakes, misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, birth injuries, and more.
- Nursing Home Abuse. Estimates show that one out of every 10 individuals over the age of 60 will experience elder abuse every year, and this abuse often occurs in nursing homes. This can include physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional and psychological abuse, financial abuse, and neglect of basic necessities.
- Premises Liability. Property owners and operators have a duty to ensure that their premises are safe for those who have a right to be there. Unfortunately, there are times when the negligence of a property owner allows for unsafe conditions to arise that can harm guests.
- Product Liability. Defective products can be incredibly harmful to consumers. Products are often defective due to flawed designs, manufacturing errors, or problems with a product label.
- Wrongful Death. If an individual dies from an accident directly caused by another party’s negligence, his or her surviving loved ones may be able to file a wrongful death claim.
Do I Have a Personal Injury Claim?
A personal injury case describes a legal process where an injured victim of a preventable accident claims that another party caused it and is, therefore, legally responsible for resulting injuries and losses. The injured party (the plaintiff) files a claim against one or more at-fault parties (defendants) for damages. Damages is the legal term for the financial compensation recovered for accident-related losses.
Most personal injury cases in West Virginia are based on the legal theory of negligence. To have grounds for a personal injury claim, you must be able to prove the following four elements of negligence:
- Duty of Care: The defendant owed you a duty of care to act how a reasonable individual would have in a similar situation. For example, suppose your case is related to a car accident caused by another driver. Drivers in West Virginia are required to obey traffic laws and operate their vehicles safely to prevent harm to themselves and others on the road. A Charleston, WV car accident attorney can help you assess your legal options if a driver failed to operate their vehicle with proper caution.
- Breach of Duty: The defendant breached their duty of care. Returning to the car accident case example, a violation of care would be a driver breaking a traffic law resulting in a collision—for instance, texting while driving or drunk driving.
- Causation: Next, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s breach of duty directly caused their injury. There must be a direct link between the defendant’s alleged negligence act and your harm. For instance, evidence of causation could be medical records from the emergency care you received immediately after the car accident.
- Damages: Lastly, the defendant’s negligence must have resulted in damages. If you did not suffer losses for which you require reimbursement, there is no case. Examples of damages include accident-related medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.
These four elements must be proven to be more likely true than not for your personal injury case to succeed. An attorney can help you by gathering solid evidence of fault, such as photographs, police or accident reports, medical records, witness testimony, etc.
However, depending on the facts surrounding your injury, it is possible that your case can be based on a different legal theory. For instance, strict liability is a legal theory under which defective product claims are often brought. A company or individual, such as a manufacturer, distributor, or seller, can be held strictly liable in these cases for harm caused by a product or activity that is inherently dangerous. Under strict liability, victims can pursue legal action without proving negligence or the at-fault party’s intent.
What Injuries Are Commonly Associated With Accidents?
At Tiano O’Dell, PLLC, we regularly help clients who have sustained severe injuries as a result of the negligence of another person. This includes the following types of injuries:
- Brain Injuries. Traumatic brain injuries usually occur due to a sharp blow to the head. A brain injury can leave a victim suffering from significant physical and cognitive disabilities.
- Broken Bones. When a victim sustains broken bones, they often are unable to resume normal activities for an extended period of time, and they may need rehabilitation in order to make a full recovery.
- Burn Injuries. Injuries caused by burns can occur in a variety of ways, and an estimated 450,000 burn injuries require treatment at the hospital each year across the United States.
- Spinal Cord Injuries. Injuries to the spinal cord can be catastrophic and leave a victim partially or completely paralyzed. Spinal cord injuries can also be incredibly costly for victims and their families.
What Should I Do After A Car Accident in Charleston, West Virginia?
The Charleston, WV personal injury attorneys at our law firm suggest that anybody harmed due to the negligence of another person take the following steps to ensure they receive compensation for their claim:
- Seek medical assistance as soon as possible after sustaining an injury.
- Report the injury to the appropriate authorities (police, employer, property owner, etc.).
- Notify insurance companies of the injury (if applicable).
- Do not give any recorded statements or sign over your medical records to any other party.
- Speak to a personal injury attorney in Charleston, West Virginia as soon as possible for a free consultation of your case.
How a Charleston, WV Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You With Your Claim
After an accident, you may be contacted by the defendant’s insurance company representative offering you money to settle the claim. It is never a good idea to settle an injury claim without first speaking to an experienced personal injury attorney. Insurance adjusters are aware that injury victims often do not know the value of their injury claim, so they typically try to settle claims quickly for an amount that does not fairly compensate them for their losses.
A personal injury attorney knows how to accurately value your claim and has the necessary resources and expert contacts. Our attorneys have a network of experts they hire to help with injury claims when necessary. Experts can be used to reconstruct accidents, evaluate injuries, and determine medical expenses you will incur in the future to treat your accident-related injuries. Valuing the total amount of your past, ongoing, and future losses is critical to helping you secure a financial recovery that covers all of your injuries and damages.
An attorney will also help with gathering and preserving evidence that supports your claim. Your attorney will handle all of the legal aspects of your claim, including filing and serving all legal paperwork, communicating with insurance companies, and participating in settlement negotiations. When you are represented by an attorney, you will be able to concentrate on your physical and emotional recovery while your attorney manages your case.
Will Your Charleston Personal Injury Case Settle Or Go To Trial?
Clients often want to know if we will get their case settled or go to trial. We cannot answer that question until we learn about your case, examine available evidence, and speak with defense attorneys. Even then, it is impossible to know for certain whether your case will settle or go to trial.
Additionally, you should be extremely cautious of attorneys who promise to settle your case. Some personal injury attorneys prefer to settle all of their cases, and unfortunately, this may not be in their clients’ best interests. In an effort to avoid a trial, some attorneys encourage clients to accept settlements that are lower than what they would likely win at trial.
Our personal injury attorneys settle many of our cases, but they do not advise clients to settle their claims for an amount that does not fairly compensate them. Our goal is to secure maximum financial recoveries for our clients, whether that means reaching settlement agreements or taking their claims to court.
As soon as we take on a personal injury claim, our attorneys begin preparing the case for trial. Being trial-ready ensures that our clients do not feel pressure to accept an inadequate settlement, and it also lets defendants know that we would rather go to trial than agree to an inadequate settlement. The defense is usually prepared to offer more to settle a claim if they believe it will help them avoid the time and expense of a jury trial.
What Damages Can I Recover In a Charleston, WV Personal Injury Case?
If you or somebody you love has been injured due to the actions of another person, you may have a right to various types of compensation. The total amount of compensation awarded in these cases will vary depending on the factors related to each case. However, the personal injury lawyers at Tiano O’Dell, PLLC are regularly able to help clients recover the following:
Compensation for verifiable financial losses, such as:
- Medical Bills: Coverage of all medical bills related to their injuries, such as emergency care, hospital stays, physical therapy, outpatient procedures, prescription medications, in-home medical care, rehabilitation costs, etc.
- Anticipated future medical expenses.
- Property repair or replacement.
- Lost income if they are unable to work while recovering
- Loss of future earnings or earning potential caused by a disability
To recover economic damages, you must be able to provide physical documentation of the expenses.
Compensation awarded for subjective losses rather than specific monetary losses, for instance:
- Pain and suffering: Compensation for the physical pain you have and will endure.
- Emotional distress: Compensation for any psychological harm caused by the accident (e.g., depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc.).
- Loss of personal enjoyment: If you are no longer able to do the things you used to enjoy before the accident.
- Loss of consortium: Compensation a spouse can recover for loss of marital relations, companionship, services, etc.
- Physical impairment (e.g., disability, loss of a limb)
- Unjust hardship
These losses and their value are much more challenging to prove since they are not associated with an actual financial loss.
Punitive damages may also be available against an alleged negligent party. However, this type of compensation is rarely awarded. Instead, it is reserved for cases that involve a defendant who acted with an extremely reckless disregard for the safety of others. Punitive damages are then awarded with the intent to punish the defendant and deter others from committing similar harmful acts.
Who is Responsible for Paying Damages Once a Settlement is Reached?
In West Virginia, any party that caused your accident is responsible for paying for any resulting damages once you reach a settlement. Under the state’s negligence laws, each party that contributed to a personal injury accident is assigned a percentage of fault. Therefore, more than one party may be responsible for damages. As long as you are found 50% or less at-fault for your accident, you can recover compensation from the liable parties.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Charleston, WV Personal Injury Attorney?
Most Charleston, WV personal injury attorneys accept cases on a contingency fee basis. That means they do not charge an upfront fee or make you pay for any case-related expenses out-of-pocket. A personal injury lawyer will advance all costs related to pursuing your case, and whether they get paid will depend on if you win. In other words, if you do not recover compensation in a settlement or award, you do not have to pay for their legal services or representation. If you do win, most firms will deduct a third (33.3%) of your compensation as payment plus court costs. However, that percentage can vary by attorney, and some lawyers will increase or lower their contingency fee based on the amount of work involved in your case. For example, 30 percent if your case settles quickly, and 40 percent if they must represent you at trial. As a result, contingency fee agreements make it much easier for injury victims to secure skilled legal representation with very little to no out-of-pocket risk.
How Much is My Case Worth?
Each personal injury case has a unique set of circumstances. Therefore, there is no precise answer to how much your case is worth. However, an attorney can help you estimate its value worth considering the following factors:
- The severity of your injuries.
- How your life has and will be impacted by your injuries.
- How much income you have lost from being unable to work.
- How much income you will lose in the future due to your injury.
- The anticipated length of your recovery.
- Whether there were aggravating factors present, for instance, if the defendant exhibited gross negligence.
- The strength of evidence against the at-fault parties.
- Whether there is evidence that you were partially to blame.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you come up with the minimum amount of compensation you should settle for to fully cover all of your medical care, accident-related losses, and future needs.
West Virginia Statute of Limitations
In West Virginia, there is a time limit placed on how long victims in these cases have to file lawsuits against an alleged negligent party. This time limit is called the statute of limitations and requires victims to file a lawsuit against an at-fault party within two years of the date the injury occurred. Failure to file a lawsuit within this time limit will likely result in the victim being unable to recover compensation for their losses.
Areas We Serve in West Virginia
Our skilled Charleston personal injury attorneys are licensed to practice in West Virginia, and we are happy to take cases anywhere in the state. While our office is located in Charleston, additional cities we serve include but are not limited to:
Contact a Charleston, West Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of another person, seek legal advice and information as soon as possible. At Tiano O’Dell, PLLC, our qualified and experienced Charleston, West Virginia personal injury lawyers are ready to get to work investigating your injury claim so we can secure full compensation on your behalf. You can contact our law firm for a free consultation online or by or calling (304) 720-6700.