Personal Injury Lawyers Serving West Virginia and Hagerstown Area
For over 25 years, the attorneys at Burke, Schultz, Harman & Jenkinson have been helping people in West Virginia’s eastern panhandle recover compensation for personal injury claims that occur in a variety of instances. A negligence tort claim arises when one party owes a duty to another to exercise reasonable care. A party who breaches that duty to another can be liable for all legal damages caused by an injury which occurs because of the breach. Legal damages include medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. There are many different ways in which one party can breach a duty owed to another:
- Car, Truck or Motorcycle Accidents – Drivers must exercise reasonable care with regard to other drivers on the road, as well as pedestrians. Drivers are expected to know and obey the rules of the road, to adapt their driving behavior to the current weather and road conditions appropriately, and to carry at least the minimum required amounts of liability insurance.
- Premises Liability – Property owners must maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition for their guests and others legally on the property. Any dangerous condition should be fixed as soon as it is discovered, or warnings should be given to people on the property. This duty includes promptly cleaning up food and drink spills in grocery stores and restaurants, as well as fixing broken steps or sidewalks and other similar situations. A property owner who does not correct a dangerous condition in a reasonable period of time can be liable for a slip and fall or other accident which occurs on the unsafe premises.
- Products Liability – Product manufacturers can be held liable for injuries caused by manufacturing defects or design defects, as well as by products that do not contain adequate instructions or warnings to enable their safe use. Under some theories of products liability, a manufacturer can be held liable even without proof that the product maker was negligent; sometimes the manufacturer is strictly liable simply for allowing an unsafe product to be sold.
- Medical Malpractice – Doctors and other health care professionals are held to a standard of care that reflects what is expected of a medical professional in their field. Doctors must be competent to begin with, and in addition must not be negligent in the care and treatment of their patients, from diagnosis and prescription of medications to performing surgery and everything in between.
- Dog Bites – An owner who allows a dog to run at large is held strictly liable for any harm caused by the animal. Other pet owners can be liable when their dog bites if it can be proved that they were negligent in controlling the animal or if they knew the animal was dangerous.
- Dram Shop Liability – Bars, taverns, and restaurants that serve alcohol have a legal duty not to serve alcohol to anyone who is visibly intoxicated. If alcohol is served to a person who is drunk, and that drunk person causes a wreck, an injured victim might have a case against the establishment where the drunk patron was served.
- Wrongful Death – When a party’s negligence or misconduct causes the death of another, the surviving family members can recover compensation for the harm they have suffered, including medical expenses and loss of income, care and assistance the deceased would have provided, and other damages associated with the loss of a loved one.
Proving a Personal Injury Case Requires Legal Knowledge, Perseverance and Effective Communication Skills
Even though all the elements of a personal injury tort may be present, the burden falls on the injured person to prove every element to a jury’s satisfaction. This means proving that the defendant breached a duty owed to the plaintiff, and that the breach caused the plaintiff’s injuries. The plaintiff must also be able to prove the amount of damages he or she is asking for, which must often be expertly calculated to account for future medical and other expenses. These facts must be persuasively communicated to the jury, often in the face of defenses and claims from the other side that the accident happened differently and that the defendant is not responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries. For instance, they may claim that you were not injured as seriously as you say you are, or that your injuries come from a pre-existing condition. They may also claim that your own negligence caused the accident, and therefore you shouldn’t be allowed to recover anything.
At Burke, Schultz, Harman & Jenkinson, our personal injury lawyers apply more than 100 years of combined experience toward providing the best representation for our clients in every case. If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligent or wrongful conduct of another, please contact us at our offices in Martinsburg. We serve clients throughout the eastern panhandle and in western Maryland and look forward to serving you.