You Might Have a Case, Even if the Law Wasn’t Broken.

When a law is broken, most of the time negligence was involved. So it’s natural for people to think that’s the only way they have a case. In fact, even if the law wasn’t broken, you could still have a case.   In coal mining cases and tractor-trailer cases, you’re inevitably going to find a law or regulation that was broken and the courts allow the breaking of that law to be introduced as evidence of negligence. But there are many types of negligence where no law was broken.   For instance, if a doctor or dentist commits malpractice, it means that a standard of care was breached. In other words, the doctor failed to do what a reasonably prudent doctor in the same or similar circumstance would have done.   Negligence is violating a standard that is accepted by common law. We see it a lot in car accidents. There could be rain or snow on the road and a driver knowingly continues to drive at a dangerous pace, causing an accident.  A reasonably prudent driver would have slowed down.  This type of negligence, if we can prove it, can be used in court.   You need an experienced […]

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Experience Matters in a Catastrophic Injury Case

Every lawsuit has two parts to it. Liability– what happened and who is at fault? And damages– how badly are you hurt and how will that affect the rest of your life?   If your attorney doesn’t have enough experience with catastrophic injury cases, they won’t get you the amount of damages you need to live the quality of life you deserve.   Liability If you’re dealing with aviation, coal mining, certain train wrecks, or tractor-trailer wrecks, you’re probably going to work with an arm of the federal government. Along with that comes a whole load of complex regulations. You better have lawyer who understands those regulations inside and out.   Who messed up? Was the coalmine being managed improperly? Was the equipment maintained poorly? Was the tractor-trailer that hit you loaded incorrectly? An attorney with experience knows what regulations to use to prove to liability. And your lawyer will have to work with experts from all different types of industries to prove that liability to a jury.   Damages When it comes to damages, you might be thinking how complicated could that be? You’ve got some medical bills and some loss wages to recover. That’s it.   Well, sure,

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What Qualifies as Negligence?

Legal terms are often thrown around without people knowing exactly what they mean. One of those terms is ‘negligence.’ There are three basic types of negligence that can lead to catastrophic injuries- active, passive and reckless.   Active Active negligence might be the easiest to understand. It’s doing an act that leads to someone being catastrophically injured. If someone passes a school bus that is stopped with its red lights on and runs over a child, this is an act of tragic, active negligence. The person knew what the law was and passed the bus anyway.   But it doesn’t always have to be breaking a law. For instance, a pharmacy might give out the wrong mix of drugs for a prescription that ends up killing or injuring a patient. Well, there’s no law that says the pharmacist has to double-check his or her work, but it’s an industry standard. By breaking that industry standard, the pharmacist committed active negligence.   Passive Passive negligence is not doing something that you know should do and that lack of action leads to a catastrophic injury. Let’s say you’re driving on a road that has a thirty-mile an hour speed limit. Well, what

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The Benefit of Attorney-Client Privilege

One of the hallmarks of legal representation is attorney-client privilege. In order for a lawyer to help someone, he or she has to know the truth. It’s critical for an attorney-client relationship that the client knows whatever they tell a lawyer cannot be repeated without permission.   The attorney-client privilege basically says that what a client tells a lawyer in private cannot be repeated. For instance, if someone goes into a lawyer’s office and tells them they committed a crime, that lawyer cannot be required by a judge or a prosecutor to give them that information.   So how does that affect civil cases like the ones we do here at the Segal Law Firm? Well, we have to reveal a lot more information than in a criminal case, because the other side has to know a lot of information about you. But attorney-client privilege still applies and is relevant to what we do. Anything you say to me, from the first phone call to the last, stays completely private.   I’ve had folks call me up and tell me that their boss is putting them in dangerous situation. I give them my advice and sometimes they decide it’s not

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Real Cases: Benzene Leaves a Widow

One of the best ways to get to know us and what we do at the Segal Law Firm is to go to our webpage and hear it straight from our past clients and their families. One of those clients is a widow whose husband suffered from leukemia caused by exposure to Benzene and other solvents.   This gentleman worked at chemical facilities where Benzene and other solvents were used. He and his wife came to us a bit bewildered because he had developed this very rare form of leukemia.  Using our expert witnesses, we were able to determine this his leukemia was in fact the kind that is caused by exposure to Benzene. We then went back through his work history to figure out exactly where and how he was exposed.   Our client was alive for most of his case. Unfortunately, his leukemia came out of remission and took his life before we finished it. But because of the information we got from him, we were able to accomplish a nice settlement for his wonderful wife. We promised him before he passed that we would take care of her and we were able to make good on that

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How Soon Should I Call a Lawyer After an Accident?

The simplest answer to that question is as soon as possible. If you are in an accident, my advice is to call us as soon as you are released from the hospital. If you are going to be in the hospital for an extended period, have a family member call for you.   Evidence Disappears I tell my young lawyers in the office all the time that evidence doesn’t get better, it disappears. The sooner we investigate your case, the less likely it is that this will happen.   We recently had a woman come to us who had been paralyzed in a car accident. She first contacted another law firm and they didn’t really do much. When she called us I asked her where her car was and she said she didn’t know. We found out later that the car was just two days from being permanently destroyed when we found and purchased it. Had we not gotten that vehicle, our client would have no proof of how she was paralyzed in that car accident.   Getting Involved in the Investigation Coal mining accidents, railroad accidents, airplane and helicopter accidents, and many more will involve investigations by the federal

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Who You Should and Should NOT Speak to After an Accident

We deal with accident cases every single day at The Segal Law Firm of all different types and in all different industries. The thing that they all have in common is who you should and should not be speaking to.   Who you should be speaking to is pretty simple: me. You need to call me right away to get all of your questions answered about your case, even if you’re not sure you have one. I can come to your hospital, rehab center, your home or we can have that conversation over the phone. We also always welcome you to our offices where we can sit down and discuss your accident over a cup of coffee.   You want to talk to a lawyer immediately so that evidence that may be critical to your case doesn’t disappear. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to protect your family’s rights.   You should also be talking to your doctors, therapists and other medical providers. In some instances, you should also talk to state and federal investigators. If you’re in a car wreck and you are still conscious afterward, you’ll have a duty to cooperate with state and city police. For

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What are My First Steps if I’ve Been Hurt in a Railroad Accident?

A railroad accident case is going to be one of two scenarios. Either you are a worker who got hurt on the railroad or a civilian hurt because of a derailment or explosion. In both cases, we’re going to start by meeting with you to get to know your case and explain your legal rights.     Our first meeting can be in our office, your home, or in the hospital or rehab center in which you’re recovering. You need to get your questions answered at this time. Ask us about experience with cases like yours. Make sure we know what we are doing and how to use the legal system to protect you.   You’ll also see a contingency fee contract make its first appearance at this meeting. If you decide that I’m the right lawyer for your case, then we’ll both sign this contract that says that I only get paid attorney’s fees if I win you a settlement or jury verdict. You’ve got to make sure you hire a lawyer who has those agreements in writing. As for where we’ll file your case, that depends a bit more on the circumstances of the accident. If you are

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How Will My Oil Rig Accident Case Begin?

Oil rig accidents cause some of the most severe injuries we see at The Segal Law Firm. If you or a family member has fallen victim to one of these accidents, we encourage you to call us and ask us how we handle cases like yours.   The First Meeting A case like this usually begins with a meeting between you, your family, and one of us from The Segal Law Firm, typically me. Unfortunately, because of the nature of these accidents, many of these first meetings begin in burn centers. We welcome clients to come to our office to meet us and see where their case will be handled, but we are more than willing to meet you or a family member whenever it’s convenient.   Contingency Contract If you decide that I am the right lawyer for your case, we’ll write up a contingency fee contract. It’s a document that we both sign that guarantees you will only pay us attorney’s fees if we win you money. It’s really important that you get all of your agreements in writing from the very beginning.   Filing an Oil Rig Case After the federal or state authorities investigate the case,

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Injured Out of State Workers

There are plenty of folks who come to West Virginia from out-of-state to work. Unfortunately, sometimes accidents happen on site that cause severe injury and even death.  So what legal recourse do these workers have in our state?   In addition to worker’s compensation rights, here in West Virginia we have what are called deliberate intent cases. If you can prove the company you were working for violated a safety regulation that they knew was putting you in danger, you can sometimes bring a lawsuit against them. It’s important you explore that option as an out of state worker before assuming you have no options here.   You can also occasionally sue a third party that hurt you. For instance, you may be on the job, but get injured by someone who isn’t an employee of your company. Let’s say you’re working on a gas rig as a welder, and an equipment truck runs over you, but another service company employs them. Well, in West Virginia, you have a right to sue the third party service company that ran you over.   My advice to out of state workers who are injured on the job is to always call us

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