MLG Cases of Interest

26 YEAR OLD WOMAN HIT BY SHERIFF’S DEPUTY THEN BY DRUNK DRIVER

Our client was driving home from work when a Sheriff’s Deputy lost control of his vehicle, flipped his marked SUV on its side, then crossed the center line hitting the front of our client’s car.  Following that collision, a drunk driver came from behind and hit the backside of our client’s car.  Our client suffered serious injuries to her left side, arm, shoulder, hip, leg and back.

WOMAN STRUCK BY SUV WHILE WALKING IN PARKING LOT

Our client was walking in the parking lot toward her condominium building when a distracted driver of an SUV backed out of its parking space, knocked her down and ran over both of her legs. Both of our client’s legs and ankles were fractured in the incident.

WOMAN SUFFERS SEVERE 3RD DEGREE FACIAL BURNS ON AIRBAG

Our client was traveling home from work when a man crossed the center line striking her head-on.  In addition to suffering a traumatic brain injury, lacerated liver and spleen, fractured leg, fractured L5 vertebrae, fractured left tibia and fibula, she also suffered severe 3rd degree burns to her face caused by the vehicle’s defective airbag.  Our client has endured 6 reconstructive facial surgeries, multiple procedures to remove dead tissue, disfiguring scars on more than 50% of her face, impaired vision, had to have a blood transfusion, and still has daily intractable pain.

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MLG Cases of Interest

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47 YEAR OLD MAN WALKING ALONG ROAD HIT BY DRUNK DRIVER

Our client was walking 10-15 feet off the road with a friend when he was struck by a drunk driver.  The intoxicated individual had been drinking at a local bar just before his truck struck our client, causing him to be thrown approximately 50 ft. and to suffer serious brain damage

VEHICLE T-BONED BY WOMAN RUNNING STOP SIGN

Our client was traveling on Route 57 when the truck he was traveling in was t-boned by a woman that failed to stop at a stop sign.  Our client’s injuries include severe head injuries, including having his head de-gloved (yes, that means he was scalped) as a result of his head being drug against the pavement, injuries to his jaw and mouth area, deep cuts to left arm, left ear detachment, temporary hearing loss, continued vertigo, and extensive wound care including surgery 6 months later to undergo more debris and glass removal from his scalp.

INCAPACITATED YOUNG MAN SUFFERS 2ND DEGREE BURNS DUE TO BEING LEFT IN SCALDING WATER

Our client with severe cerebral palsy (non-verbal, without the ability to use his arms or legs) was being taken care of by an in-home caregiver.  He was being assisted with a shower and severely burned when he was not able to summon for help due to his disability.  Our client was transported to West Penn Burn Center for skin debridement and grafting.

How to Hold Voyeurism Accountable

The word “voyuer” (French, literally: one who sees) does not appear in the West Virginia Code.  West Virginia, like most states, has yet to create a law that makes voyeurism, video or otherwise, a felony.  Even the Federal government has struggled to keep up with this high-tech violation of privacy.

The Video Voyeurism Prevention Act of 2004 (18 U.S.C. § 1801) amended the Federal criminal code to “”prohibit knowingly videotaping, photographing, filming, recording by any means, or broadcasting an image of a private area of an individual, without that individual’s consent, under circumstances in which that individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy.”  However, it is still a misdemeanor, which is a crime punishable by less than one year in prison.

Michael Barrett, convicted this spring of stalking ESPN reporter Erin Andrews and videotaping her through the peephole of her hotel rooms, will serve only 2½ years in prison (less with good behavior).  Despite the fact that the videos, depicting Andrews nude, are widely available on the internet, Barrett’s fine was a meager $7,366.00.  Andrews had requested $335,000 in restitution.

If the criminal justice system falls short, what are your options if you have been victimized by a voyeur?  West Virginia’s civil law recognizes violations of privacy as invasions that give rise to an action for damages.  “To hold otherwise,” says West Virginia’s Supreme Court, “under modern means of communication, hearing devices, photography, and other technological advancements, would effectively deny valuable rights and freedoms to the individual.”

This means that a voyeur can be made to pay for any and all emotional, physical and financial trauma caused by their acts.  There is no limit or cap on such damages.  Moreover, West Virginia’s civil law permits punitive damages to punish particularly egregious acts.  Examples of acts warranting punitive damages might be:

  • Acts that involve children
  • Publishing photos or video (on the internet or otherwise)
  • Acts where the perpetrator abused a position of trust (parent, step-parent, babysitter, employer, etc.) to gain access to the victim.

If you or a loved suspect you have been the victim of a voyeur, make sure you contact an experienced trial attorney.  The Miley Legal Group provides free case evaluations.

FAQ: Can I Still Receive Compensation for My Injuries?

Q: I was recently hurt in a car accident that was caused by the other driver.  Unfortunately, my auto insurance lapsed before the accident.  Can I still receive compensation for my injuries?

A: While it is unlawful in West Virginia to drive without it, not having insurance does not impact your ability to recover damages (money) from the person who caused the crash.  If the accident was the fault of the other driver, you can still file a claim with his or her insurance company.  You may be able to obtain compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, and other damages associated with the collision.  Rest assured, though, that it is not going to be easy to work with the insurance company.

Taking a Trip This Holiday Season Beware of Scams!

The holiday season is a great time to spend time with family and friends, many Family’s travel long distances to spend that time with their loved ones. With the up coming holiday season an estimated 41 million people expected to be travelling. Unfortunately, it’s also a busy time for holiday travel scams. The best way to keep yourself from being duped is to be aware of some of the common tactics and “special offers” that crooks use to take advantage of you.

According to a recent CBS News report, here are some scams you might encounter:

  • You make plans to travel to Europe and track down a travel website that offers you an unbelievable rate on a hotel room. For payment, though, the site wants a bank or wire transfer and won’t let you pay with a credit card – definite signs of scam.
  • You receive an e-mail that indicates you’ve won a free stay at a Caribbean hotel. Once you call the number to get your prize, you find that you have to book your airfare through the agency which is handling the “winners,” which may cost you a couple thousand dollars. If you actually go through with the trip, you may find that the hotel is not even close to the beach or that you are subjected to high-pressure timeshare presentations.
  • An e-mail arrives that supposedly is from one of your friends who is travelling to Europe. The “friend” says that his wallet was stolen and that he can’t pay his hotel bill. Guess what happens next? You’re asked to wire money. Don’t do it.
  • Your favorite college football teams lands a spot in a big bowl game. You find a great package deal to the game, pay your money and then make the trip. One small problem – your travel package included airfare and a hotel, but it didn’t have any tickets to the game and you now end up watching the big game in your hotel room!

Travel scams continue to happen for one reason – they work sometimes. Don’t let yourself or your loved ones become a victim.

FAQ: What of I am in an Accident and the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance.

A: Don’t be shocked if this happens to you.  The reality is that many people, especially in an economic downturn, do drive without insurance.  If you have an accident with an uninsured driver, you should be able to collect compensation for your injuries and the damage to your vehicle from your own underinsured motorist (UM) coverage.  That is why you have UM coverage and why the State of West Virginia requires every registered vehicle to have bodily injury UM coverage of at least $20,000 per person and $40,000 per occurrence as well as property damage coverage of at least $10,000 per event.  Most people do not carry nearly enough UM coverage, though, to protect themselves and their loved ones in the event of a serious accident.  If you have questions about your UM coverage, or any other coverage, please call our office and we’ll be glad to help.

School Bus Safety

With the start of school just around the corner it is time to review school bus safety with your children. Not only is it vital your child abides by the school bus rules while riding on the bus, the rules they should follow outside of a bus could save their life.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA) , school buses are the safest way for kids to get to school (nearly 8 times safer than passenger vehicles), but there are still dangers for children, especially when getting on or off the bus.

The NHTSA has the following tips to help parents teach their kids how to be safe around buses:

● When getting on the bus, stay away from the danger zone and wait for the driver’s signal. Board the bus one at a time.

●When getting off the bus, look before stepping off the bus to be sure no cars are passing on the shoulder (side of the road). Move away from the bus.

●Before crossing the street, take five “giant steps” out from the front of the bus, or until the driver’s face can be seen (A). Wait for the driver to signal that it’s safe to cross.

●Look left-right-left when coming to the edge of the bus to make sure traffic is stopped. Keep watching traffic when crossing.