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Signs of Nursing Home/Elder Abuse

At the age of 14, when other teens were hanging out at the mall, going to dances, and being social, I was visiting my father in a nursing home. When most people realize that I was only 14 and had a parent in a nursing home, they assume that my father was one of those new age senior citizens who have children well into their sixties. Unfortunately, that was not the case with my dad. He was only 41. His body was weak from two years of battling brain cancer and having multiple surgeries. We had tried taking care of him in-house, but it became too much for us. We decided that a nursing home was our best bet to give him proper care. It turns out we might have been wrong. I recall going to the nursing home one day to visit my father and I saw what would eventually be the beginning of the end.

Due to my father’s chemo, and the fact that had tumors in his brain, he was weak. He could not get in and out of bed on his own. One day in August we were visiting him. The nursing staff was helping my father back into bed when they didn’t give him proper care. Instead of laying him in the bed gently they let go early, and his head went crashing into the headboard. I was sitting next to the bed and saw it all happen. My father’s head hit on an edge of the headboard, near where he had surgery recently. Granted, this was 18 years ago, and I am no Doogie Houser, but I believe this impact caused my father’s shunt to quit working. Five months later we were planning his funeral.

What I described was a not typical case of Nursing Home Neglect, but it’s too painful for me to discuss some of the other things I witnessed. At the time, nursing home neglect was not as mainstream as it is now, and we were not the type of family to sue anyone. We had just lost the patriarch of our family after a very long and stressful two-year battle with a terrible disease. Now, in 2017, the Statute of Limitations has passed, and all I can really do is educate other people about the subject, and tell you what to look for with your loved ones.

Nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect are broad terms used to define a variety of offenses within the nursing home abuse. They can refer to something as simple as not attending to patients on a regular basis, to sexual abuse and rape. The subject is truly disturbing to talk about too.

Instead of examining specific cases of nursing home abuse, let’s look at things in a little more general fashion today. What are some signs of Nursing Home/Elder Abuse you should be on the look out for with your loved ones?

–      Emotional or social neglect, where the elder person is repeatedly ignored, left alone, or accidentally snapped at by an overstressed nursing home staff

–      Personal hygiene neglect, where patients do not receive adequate help with laundry, cleaning, bathing, brushing their teeth, or other forms of hygienic practices

–      Basic needs neglect, where the nursing home neglects to provide reasonable food, water, or a safe and clean environment

–      Medical neglect, where the nursing home fails to provide adequate attention, prevention, or medication for concerns such as bed sores, infections, cuts, diabetes, cognitive diseases, and mobility concerns

Warning signs of nursing home neglect include:

–      Sudden weight loss

–      Bedsores, or pressure ulcers

–      Injuries from nursing home falls

–      Dehydration

–      Malnutrition

–      Withdrawn elder behavior, or unusual changes in behavior

–      Changes in personal hygiene or appearance efforts

–      A growing lack of friendly interaction with the nursing home staff

–      A growing lack of friendly interaction with the other nursing home residents

–      Environmental hazards, such as poor lighting, slippery floors, unsafe mobility equipment, or unsafe furniture in the nursing home patient’s room

If you suspect a loved one is a victim of nursing home neglect or elder abuse, report it to the proper authorities. If you’d like to know more about your legal options, give us a call today for a FREE consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form, and we will get back to you.

Do I have to pay taxes on a Personal Injury Settlement?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The holidays are over, spring’s not quite here, and a lot of us are preparing for tax season and all the pomp and circumstance that accompanies this time of year. I’m a simple fella from Parkersburg, West Virginia. It only takes me about 30 minutes to complete my tax return. As a single person with no kids, I keep my expectations low regarding returns. If I am lucky, I’ll have enough money in my refund to buy some new bedding and possibly get some new sconces for my bedroom. Not everyone has it as simple as I do. For instance, my sister once won a “Rock, Paper, Scissors Contest” sponsored by Anheuser-Busch. Yes, you read that correctly. The result of her “championship” was a free trip for two to Las Vegas for the national Rock Paper Scissor Championship Tournament. Once again, this is all real. It was on TV and everything. Between the flight, hotel, and other prizes, the trip was valued at over $4,000. Come tax time, my sister had to count this as income and pay taxes on the prize. Luckily for my sister, she didn’t have to pay too much on a $4,000 prize. However, if you are awarded something like a new car, or a fancy vacation, or really, most prizes valued over a specific amount, you must pay taxes on the prize. This is why so many people forfeit whatever base model car they win on “The Price is Right.” Recently, a friend of mine asked me if she would have to count her personal injury settlement as income the way prize winners do. I honestly didn’t know, so I thought I’d dive into this topic deeper.

I was hoping to find a simple yes or no answer when I started researching this topic. However, I realized I was dealing with both taxes and law, so I was a tad naïve to think anything would be simple. The quick answer no, you don’t have to pay income tax on your personal Injury settlement. So, you may be thinking, “are there exceptions to the rule? We’re dealing with the government, so, of course, there are exceptions.

The official statement from the IRS is as follows:

If you receive a settlement for personal physical injuries or physical sickness and did not take an itemized deduction for medical expenses related to the injury or sickness in prior years, the full amount is non-taxable. Do not include the settlement proceeds in your income.

If you receive a settlement for personal physical injuries or physical sickness, you must include in income that portion of the settlement that is for medical expenses you deducted in any prior year(s) to the extent the deduction(s) provided a tax benefit. If part of the proceeds is for medical expenses you paid in more than one year, you must allocate on a pro rata basis the part of the proceeds for medical expenses to each of the years you paid medical expenses. See Recoveries in Publication 525 for details on how to calculate the amount to report. The tax benefit amount should be reported as “Other Income” on line 21 of Form 1040. (read the entire IRS Publication here)

If you have received a settlement from a personal injury claim, and you’re not sure if you used any of your settlement for medical expenses, or if you just have general tax questions, it may be beneficial to consult an accountant. Keep in mind that many accountants focus on taxes just like we focus on Personal Injury Law. Another option is a step by step accounting program. Many of these pop up during tax season, and some offer live help either by text chat or video conference.

If you’d like to know more about the types of services we offer, or if you’d like to talk to someone about your personal injury claim, call us today for a FREE consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’re not available to chat now, fill out this form so that we may contact you at a later time.

IVC Filters Raise Concerns for Many

Blood clots are scary for everyone. I recall when I was younger, my father having issues with them in the hospital, and the list of what could happen if the clots were untreated left me sick to my stomach. If you haven’t suffered from a blood clotting issue, and you are like me, you probably assumed that all blood clots are the same. As it turns out, this is not true. Per the Cleveland Clinic, blood clots within the deep veins of the upper and lower extremities and pelvis are termed Deep Venous Thromboses or DVTs. While DVTs are not, in themselves, life-threatening, the condition can become deadly if the blood clot travels to the lungs and becomes a pulmonary embolism or PE, interrupting normal blood flow to the lungs.

For most people, the way a blood clot is initially treated is by way of blood thinners. This is fresh in my mind because I follow NASCAR racing, and a driver was sidelined because of his issues with blood clots. He was treated with blood thinners and was not allowed to race because of fear of injury. Essentially, a blood thinner, while good for treating blood clot issues, can cause excessive bleeding if you are injured. In this case, a race car driver, who is at high risk for injury, probably shouldn’t be allowed to race while taking blood thinners.

For individuals with reoccurring blood clots, or for those who don’t find success with a blood thinner, an inferior vena cava (IVC) filter may be used instead. Since I don’t have a medical background, I am going to let the folks from the Cleveland Clinic explain how this works. An IVC filter is a small metal device designed to prevent blood clots from traveling to the lungs. The filter is placed in the inferior vena cava (the large vein that takes blood back to the heart) typically just below the kidneys using a catheter type deployment device.

That description can be confusing. So, think of an IVC filter like a car’s engine oil filter. The oil filter is in place between the oil reservoir and the oil supply to the engine. The oil filter prevents particles and contaminants from making their way into the engine to harm vital parts. This is similar to how an IVC filter prevents blood clots from harming the lungs or heart.

In recent years, issues with IVC filters have become prevalent the FDA issued the following regarding the defective filters:

Since 2005, the FDA has received 921 device adverse event reports involving IVC filters, of which 328 involved device migration, 146 involved embolizations (detachment of device components), 70 involved perforation of the IVC, and 56 involved filter fracture. Some of these events led to adverse clinical outcomes in patients. These types of events may be related to a retrievable filter remaining in the body for long periods of time, beyond the time when the risk of pulmonary embolism (PE) has subsided.

The FDA is concerned that these retrievable IVC filters, intended for short-term placement, are not always removed once a patient’s risk for PE subsides. Known long term risks associated with IVC filters include but are not limited to lower limb deep vein thrombosis (DVT), filter fracture, filter migration, filter embolization and IVC perforation.

If you Google the term IVC filter currently, you will likely see a bunch of results for law firms. The reason you will see so many search results for attorneys pertains to the increasing number of lawsuits filed because of complications resulting from the filter. Some IVC filters have been known to break, or cause damages to veins and organs. One such complication from a malfunctioning IVC filter involves Deep Vein Thrombosis. This is essentially a blood clot in one of the deeper veins in your legs. This can be very painful, and once again, if the clot breaks loose, it can seriously harm your heart, lungs, or other organs. Other complications include: Device-associated morbidity device migration, filter embolization, filter fracture, insertion-site thrombosis, perforation of the vena cava, recurrent DVT, recurrent PE, thrombotic complications, vena cava thrombosis.

If you’re reading this, you likely have some sort of history with an IVC filter. Perhaps you’ve had one implanted into your body. If that is the case, talk to your doctor or primary care physician about your concerns. He or she will be able to answer any questions you have regarding your device.

If you’ve had issues or complications with your IVC filter, call us. We’d love to explain your options to you and answer any questions you have about your legal rights. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk at this time, fill out this form, and we will call you at a better time.

Driving Tired: A Comprehensive Look at a Growing Epidemic Among Motorists

Recently while trying to kill some time before a social event, I played a game of Would You Rather with a group of friends. For those who may be unfamiliar with the game, participants are given two situations in which they have to decide which they’d rather do. For instance; would you rather have the ability to fly or would you rather be invisible. You have to decide which situations you’d rather have or do. Would you rather be 10 pounds lighter or 10% smarter? Sometimes the questions can get very specific and very difficult. For instance, would you rather spend an evening with the Kardashians in which you have to compliment themKardashin every six minutes, or spend 8 months in jail? There is no right answer to that question. However, I was asked a question during this game that was very difficult to answer. I believe my response was different than what most people would say. I was asked: would you rather be given an all new Dodge Challenger Hellcat with free insurance for life or be guaranteed a full nights rest every night for the remainder of your life. That was tough. It’s my dream car versus something I desperately need. I chose to be able to sleep easily the rest of my life.

Why would someone as materialistic as me choose sleep over the car I so desperately want? Truth be told, I have a reliable car already. While I’ll admit that an eleven-year-old Chevy Malibu isn’t going to be featured in the next Fast and Furious movie, it gets me where I need to be. Sleep is something that I rarely have. Full disclosure, if I get more than four hours of sleep per night, I consider myself lucky. I find that I am actually jealous of people who don’t have difficulty sleeping. I’ve tried medication before, but it either didn’t work, or it made me not function at all.

Some people might be asking why this is such an issue. Obviously, our bodies need sleep. That’s why we do it. But the lack of sleep is very unhealthy. WebMD States that lack of sleep can cause you to gain weight, become depressed, have impaired judgement, and possibly worst of all, and have bad skin.

sleepy dogIf I were to do an informal poll in any group, most people would agree that driving while intoxicated is wrong. Alcohol impairs your judgement, delays your reaction time, and makes it difficult to concentrate. Lack of sleep impairs your judgement, delays your reaction time, and makes it difficult to concentrate. So, those two symptoms are the same, yet, a lot more people will drive a car with lack of sleep than they will while intoxicated. And of course, driving while intoxicated is illegal while driving while sleep deprived isn’t. Or is it? It actually depends on where you live. Take Arkansas for instance. This state Classifies “fatigued driving” as an offense under negligent homicide- punishable by a class A misdemeanor- when the driver involved in a fatal accident has been without sleep for 24 consecutive hours.

How bad is it? Well, it’s much worse than you may think. The CDC is currently attempting to make the public aware of the severity of the problem. They shared this statistic on their website:  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths in 2013.4 However, these numbers are underestimated and up to 6,000 fatal crashes each year may be caused by drowsy drivers. In comparison, the CDC states that in 2014, 9,967 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes. So, while the number of deaths relating to intoxication is much higher than that of drowsy drivers, it’s still a major issue on our roadways.

This issue impacts far more drivers than we realize also. The CDC website also states that more than 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders. That number is staggering. In addition to individuals who have traditional sleep disorders, some people may be at risk if they are simply in a situation that is not traditional. Persons taking part in shiftwork, commercial/long haul drivers, and persons on road trips may experience issues with drowsy driving. Further, any person taking a new medication that causes drowsiness may be impacted too.

Like drunk driving before it, drowsy driving is easy to prevent. Follow these easy tips to prevent drowsy driving:

  1. Plan a sleep schedule. It’s easy to do. Actually, a lot more adults are setting bedtimes In fact, it’s recommended to do this to keep your body on track. Going to bed at the same time every night will help you sleep better.
  2. Don’t let FOMO get the best of you. FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out, is impacting more people each year. I have a lot of issues with this. One of the reasons I can’t sleep is because I am using social media every night instead of sleeping. I don’t want to miss a good Tweet or a photo on Instagram. Snapchat has ruined my life because I follow so many interesting people. But, it can wait. Most doctors will actually recommend sleeping in a room without a television or a mobile phone. My personal doctor even stated that I shouldn’t eat in my bed. I didn’t listen of course, but it makes sense. Your mind should associate bed with sleep. If you are doing everything else in there, it will confuse your mind.
  3. When driving long distances, be sure to split the duties with someone else, or make other arrangements. There is nothing more fun than going on a road trip with some friends. Just make sure to split the driving shifts. I have a friend who really struggles to let other people drive when on a trip. It has something to do with him wanting to constantly feel in control. It’s quite annoying and actually unsafe. Let someone else take the wheel. I’ll be traveling early next month by myself. My trip is about 8 hours total. While I could easily drive that by myself, I am stopping part of the way through to spend the night in Charlotte. I will also do this on the way home.
  4. Keep your mind awake. Have you ever noticed that if you’re driving in your car with the radio off and the windows up, that it’s the perfect recipe for drowsiness? I have caught myself being less alert in these situations. Recently on a trip home from Pennsylvania, I noticed that I was starting to feel sluggish. I stopped by a local gas station, purchased a soda, and downloaded the entire 2nd season of the Serial Podcast. I was alert for the rest of the trip. The reason, the podcast was very interesting, and this helped me stay alert. Plus I learned a lot along the way. Even if podcasts are not your thing, listen to high energy music, or even roll the windows down.
  5. Take a nap at a rest stop. I think too often people are embarrassed to sleep in their cars at rest stops. That is one of the primary reasons they were invented. Pull over for a few hours and get some sleep. For me, that can be a little difficult because my car is small and I am not. But, I’d much rather take an uncomfortable nap than fall asleep at the wheel.
  6. Call for a ride. Two years ago I would have suggested calling a taxi, but there are so many more options now. Use a ride-sharing service like Lyft or Uber. Or if you really want to treat yourself, use UberBlack or UberLux. You should reward yourself for making a responsible decision. For the people who may complain about the cost of a taxi or Uber, it really beats the alternative…death.
  7. Don’t rely on driving aids. Cars are currently so advanced. They will help you park, they will let you know if there is someone in your blind spot, and some cars can even wake you up if you leave your lane. You might say that these driving aids are going to save a lot of lives. While it is likely that these systems have helped people avoid accidents, they don’t always work. Recently, while test driving a car equipped with a lane departure warning system, the system would not engage with the reprehensive was trying to demonstrate it for me. The popular Automotive Television show Top Gear also showed how these systems can fail on their program. So, you really can’t rely on a driving aid to avoid an accident. The best safety feature is an alert and active driver.

Overall, it’s really a difficult time to be a driver. In 2016, cars are much safe than before, but drivers are not. If you’re involved in an accident with a driver who was negligent because of a lack of sleep, the insurance may try to make things difficult for you. This is especially true if you have injuries as a result of the accident. Call us today for a fee consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’d rather contact us after hours, fill out this form, and we’ll call you at a more convenient time.

How Long after Your Social Security Claim is Approved Should You Expect Payments?

Your Social Security Claim is finally approved after years of waiting. You’re probably relieved because the past few years have likely been stressful. So you’re DSC_0175finally ready to relax. But, it’s been a while since you received your approval and you still haven’t received compensation. So, what’s going on?

Don’t forget that you’re dealing with a government agency, and they have to deal with a lot of red tape. Granted, if you filed a social security claim, you are probably well aware of that by now. I hate to waste time, and I love simple things. In my mind, if you are approved for your benefits, a few clicks of the mouse should send a check your way, but that is not how the SSA does things. In fact, there are a number of things you should know about the payment process after you’re approved.

First of all, the way in which payments are process starts our confusion. SSI payments are processed at your local SSA office. On the other hand, SSD payments are processed by way of National Processing Centers. These are generally pretty far away from people in rural areas. For instance, our firm is based in Parkersburg, West Virginia. We frequently deal with the processing centers in Philadelphia and Baltimore. Obviously, they aren’t local, and they can have issues that we might not be aware of back here.

It’s also important to note that the SSA is a large organization housing many different departments. These departments are usually not in sync. So, it makes total sense that you could receive a favorable decision, and not receive payment for 30 to 120 days. It also possible, but uncommon, that you could get a payment before you actually receive the decision. We see this more so in our VA Disability practice, but it is possible with social security too.

With social security, like most things in life, the less complicated the situation, the quicker it will be. If you just have a normal black and white social security claim, you likely won’t see many issues.  However, if you have a workers comp claim or retirement, or even if you’re getting both SSD and SSI, you’re more likely than not going to see delays.

We know how frustrating it can be at a time like this, but we’ve seen it a lot before, and we’ll likely see it more in the future. Once the processing is complete, the claimant will receive a Notice of Award letter detailing all the payment information such as monthly benefit amount, back pay amount owed, when monthly checks will start and how much was paid to the attorney, if you made use of one.

Finally, there are some miscellaneous items that can cause delays. For instance, if you were married or divorced during the time your claim was pending, this will likely cause a delay. The same is true if you returned to work during this same process. Delays should be expected there as well.

The disability process as a whole is very frustrating. It’s best not to fight it alone. That’s why so many people turn to the team at Jan Dils Attorneys at Law to get the benefits they deserve. From start to finish we have the people and the passion for getting you the benefits you deserve. Call us today for a free consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk right now, fill out this form, and a representative will call you at a more convenient time.

What is the Most Important Element of a Social Security Case?

What is the most important aspect of a Social Security case? Depending on who you ask, you’re going to get a lot of different answers. The Social Security Administration will probably tell you that work credits are important. They aren’t wrong, work credits are very important, and can make a big difference in your West Virginia Medical Malpractice Attorneycase. Lawyers will probably tell you that evidence is the most important aspect of any social security case. Can’t really argue with them, they’re lawyers, and they make a good point; the evidence is very important to prove a disability. But I don’t work for the SSA, and I’m not a lawyer, so what do I think is the most important part of a Social Security case? A disability case, like every aspect of life, can’t exist without communication. Today I am going to argue my point.

Before we really start, I must admit I have a biased view. There’s a piece of paper hanging in my living room from West Virginia University that says I think communication is so important, that I decided to study it at the graduate level. While learning about cultivation theory was a lot of fun, studying communications has helped me in numerous ways in my everyday life. Communicating effectively to me is almost like a super power. While I feel that I am an excellent communicator, I recognize that it’s a huge problem in the world of social security. So, why is communication so important to a social security case? Let’s find out.

DSC_0111When I started writing this blog I did a quick impromptu poll of my coworkers who work in our social security line of business. Most of them are non-attorney reps and have at least 4 years experience. About 90% of them stated that evidence was the most important aspect of a case. They’re so passionate about evidence that I’m afraid they may beat me up once this blog goes live. I will agree that medical evidence is the most important tangible aspect of a case. Medical records, written reports, and so on will make or break a case. However, the greatest medical evidence in the world means nothing if we can’t communicate with our clients. We will dive deeper into this aspect of effective communications later in this blog, but let’s break down the medical evidence argument first.

So, you say the medical evidence is important? Ok, how does an individual get medical evidence for a case? They have to visit a medical doctor or healthcare professional. Even if you go to the best doctor in the world, he or she can’t effectively treat you if you can’t communicate your problems to them. One of the fascinating things I studied in graduate school pertained to communication apprehension. Simply, communication apprehension is fear or anxiety associated with communication with another person or group of people.

Are you like me; do you hate going to the doctor? Do you also downplay your pain, injuries or disabilities? That is a textbook example of communication apprehension. It makes sense to fear to discuss medical issues with a doctor. After all, these are the people who diagnose individuals with life-threatening diseases and perform surgery. A lot of us allow this fear we have with doctors to keep us from telling them the extent of our pain or injuries. So, if you aren’t communicating with your doctor properly, then your medical evidence isn’t going to be that strong, and you’re likely going to have a harder time getting a favorable decision then if you were completely honest.

Not communicating with a doctor is one way in which I can argue that communication is the most important part of a Social Security case, but I want to further my argument. Speaking of arguments, can you guess which profession, besides doctors, has a big issue with communication apprehension? People view attorneysPi Photo Shoot 1 099 the same way they view doctors. That means that a lot of people, especially individuals pursuing social security, are going to be apprehensive when interacting with their attorneys or with their support staff. The reason for this comes from the media. When most of us think of attorneys, we think of the characters we see on TV. Most people recall scenes from A Few Good Men, or Law & Order. Those productions tend to be highly dramatic and exaggerate the courtroom setting. In reality, the attorneys you deal with in a social security case are far more approachable than you would find in a murder trial. It’s a completely different type of law. After all, we are trying to help people. Eventually, our clients realize this after they’ve interacted with us a few times, but it can be difficult at first.

Communication apprehension can be an issue for us if a client is hesitant to inform us about their disabilities. Here is an example that many can relate to: Let’s say that you’re filling out your initial application with your intake specialist. In this situation, you’re stating that your back is the reason you can’t work. When the intake specialist asks you to describe how your back affects your ability to work, you downplay your pain or give very short answers about your work history. We especially see this with male clients. We understand that you are likely nervous about your claim, but the more we know about your case, the better we can assist you.

DSC_0175Let’s now look at how communication impacts a social security case from the opposite end of the spectrum. You can have the best evidence in the world, but if you choose not to communicate with your attorney or the SSA, you’re going to lose. Too often we have issues getting in touch with our clients. This is especially true when it gets close to time for a hearing. We need clients to show up to hearings so that we can effectively argue their case. If we can’t get in touch with you, and if you don’t show up, then you’re going to lose.

What if you needed one great evaluation from a doctor to get approved by a judge, and didn’t let us know that you had received it recently? We can’t request records if you don’t let us know that you went to the doctor. So that great evidence is rendered useless if it can’t be submitted. Jan Dils Attorneys at Law has been representing individuals for social security claims since 1994. In that time we have learned a few things about client services. We try to make the process on our end as easy as possible. Clients can stay in touch with us numerous ways. Of course, you can call or stop by the office. But you can also email us, you can leave a message with our after-hours answering service, and you can even report updates directly to our website. We even make use of outlets like Facebook and Twitter to stay in touch with our clients.

In conclusion, I will agree that evidence is one of the most important aspects of a case. However, if you aren’t communicating with your representative, your evidence may never make it to the SSA. If you’d like to know more about what the team at Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law can do for you, call us today for a free consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’d rather be contacted at a later time, fill out this form, and a representative will contact you at a more convenient time.

Dash Cam Confessional: The Truth About How Dash Cams Impact Your Personal Injury Claim

It wasn’t long ago that the only modern technology in our cars was a tape deck. Jamming out to both sides of the latest REO Speedwagon cassette was pretty high-tech in the late 80’s and early 90’s, but the game has changed. Cars can play your music from your iTunes account, not with the push of a button, but rather with the sound of your voice. On some cars, you can gesture to open the doors or even turn on the radio, and the current line-up from Tesla even allows the car to steer on its own. However, no cars are currently offered from the factory with a dash cam.
Dash cams aren’t really new technology; police officers have been using them for decades. Also, they’ve been quite popular in Russia for quite a while. Even I’ll admit that I’ve spent way too much time watching dash cam videos from Russia on YouTube. However, dash cams are just starting to catch on in the United States. But, how can they impact a Personal Injury claim?

While dash cams are great for a lot of reasons, keep in mind that they aren’t some sort of miracle device. Simply having footage of your wreck alone won’t prove fault, and won’t necessarily help you get a settlement. For instance, if you were involved in a rear-end collision, and your dash camera was pointing out the front of the vehicle, it’s not going to show much of your accident other than the moment of impact. This footage will not likely show the driver who impacted you, what they were doing to cause the accident, or if they were at fault.
This is not to say that a dash cam can’t do a lot to prove fault in your accident, though. This is especially true if you have a good angle of what occurred. Take for instance the video we have featured here. This person actually had both front and rear cameras in their vehicle. In this accident, the vehicle with the dash cam was hit from behind. While rear-end collisions generally place fault with the driver of the trailing vehicle, a few unique things happen in this particular wreck that may help prove the extent of injuries for the driver of the lead vehicle. For one, the driver was texting and driving. In fact, he does not lay his phone down for quite a while after he impacts the van. So, that footage could be used to say the driver of the truck was being negligent. It’s also possible the footage could be used to cite the driver of the black truck for multiple violations. For instance, the driver of the black truck was not wearing his seatbelt. Now, where the real unique part of this video comes in into play is when the driver of the truck collides with the van. He actually hits the accelerator relatively hard. So, there is the initial impact, and then the secondary impact of the truck pushing the van. The black truck weighs at least 10,000 pounds. So, if the driver of the van was injured, an attorney could argue about severity based on the footage.
As time progresses, and as the public becomes more aware of dash cams, we will start to see more and more of these videos come into play in personal injury cases. If you are going to install one in your car, make sure that you’re not violating any state laws, and make sure that they are not obstructing your view. Dash cams come in all shapes and sizes, so they can be a little tricky to set up the first time.
If you’ve been involved in an accident and are seeking legal representation, call us today for a free consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. You can also fill out this form now, and a representative will call you at your convenience.

The One That Got Away: How I Learned That All Insurance Agencies Aren’t the Same

Insurance is one of those things I really hate paying for each month until I have to use it. After being involved in a recent accident, I was really glad I was covered, Pi Photo Shoot 1 008and that my insurance company was willing to work with me to get my car fixed. I have been with the same insurance agent for most of my adult driving life. I have a local dealer that knows me by name, and they are a part of a large national insurance brand. Everything with them goes pretty well. It wasn’t until I was involved in a hit and run accident a few years back that I realized not all insurance companies are created equal.

Way back in the day, before I wrote blogs for a living, I worked in a small office selling satellite dishes. I just started graduate school, so I worked mostly in the evenings. This meant that I worked alone, and the office did not receive very much traffic at night. One day a young fella in a very large pickup truck stopped by our office to pay his bill. We talked about the weather briefly and genuinely had a nice conversation. It was just nice to have someone to talk to that day. I was alone for hours, and a friendly voice was just what I needed to make it through the rest of the night. As the customer left, he told me to “be careful out there,” and then he climbed into his truck.

Snow had fallen earlier in the day, and the parking lot was covered. As this person backed out of his parking spot, he smashed the throttle to make his vehicle break traction. This was fun for him, and I am sure he got some sort of enjoyment out of it…until he backed into my car. I watched it all unfold from my desk. When I walked into the parking lot, he became very irate and left the scene of the accident. In his mind, the action of him backing into my car was my fault. Though my car was clearly in an assigned spot, he was mad at me. Perhaps it was my fault for simply existing.

I had all of his information, so I called the police. I made an accident report, and did everything you’re supposed to do after an accident. Because I followed the rules I thought everything was going to be fine, but I was wrong.

Problems started a few days later when I contacted his insurance company. While I can’t name a specific brand, let’s just say his insurance company was cut rate at best. They would not return my calls, and they wouldn’t give me anything to cover the cost of the damage to my car. Eventually my insurance provider had to cover the accident under my under insured/uninsured policy. I remember thinking back then how thankful I was that I wasn’t in the car, and how I wasn’t injured. I can’t imagine trying to deal with a discount insurance company while injured. These people wouldn’t even pay for my fender; imagine if I had a broken leg.

While researching this blog I decided to do some investigating on underinsured and uninsured drivers. I was ignorant. I thought that all states required this type of coverage for their citizens. I couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact, I was so wrong, that I decided that my next blog will be all about this topic. Trust me; you will want to educate yourself on this subnect. I consider myself somewhat educated, and in under three minutes I was shocked out how little I knew. After this hit and run, I was glad that the state of West Virginia required me to have underinsured motorist coverage.

It’s important to remember that every insurance company is different. However, discount insurance companies often don’t have your best interest in mind. Even my well known insurance provider wasn’t able to get the other driver’s company to pay for the damage he did to my car. So, if you’re involved in something far more serious than an unoccupied fender bender, fighting the insurance company alone will be very difficult. That is why so many people turn to a Personal Injury Lawyer like Jan Dils to help them get the settlement they deserve. In fact, Jan will be the first to tell you that even the name brand insurance companies will try to undercut your injuries. While most modern insurance companies have fun commercials with likable spokespeople, we can’t forget that they are businesses, and their main purpose is to make money. Jan Dils has battled government and insurance giants for more than 20 years, and she knows how to get results.

If you’d like to know more about our personal injury services in West Virginia or Ohio, or if you’d like to talk about your case with a representative, call us today. Our toll free number is 1-877-526-3457. Or, fill out this form now to be contacted at a later time.