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Dedicated Princeton Attorney Answers Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Personal Injury & Employment Law in West Virginia

For over 35 years, attorney Kay Bayless and the Bayless Law Firm have been helping people in southern West Virginia in serious personal injury and employment law matters. Below are answers to some of the questions we have encountered most frequently in our years helping people in Princeton, Charleston and surrounding areas. If you have other questions, or if you need advice and representation in a particular legal matter, please contact the Bayless Law Firm to speak with an experienced attorney dedicated to solving your problems and getting results.

What do I do if I have been in a car accident?

If you or others are injured, call 9-1-1. If you are able to help any injured persons, you should do so, except that you should never move an unconscious or immobile person unless it is absolutely necessary for their safety. While you are waiting for help to arrive, exchange information with the other drivers involved in the crash, including names, addresses, license plate numbers, driver’s license numbers, and insurance information. It is also a good idea to take pictures of the vehicles and the scene if you can. Do not admit any fault. Before you contact any insurance company, it is a good idea to first speak with an experienced West Virginia car accident attorney who can advise you how to proceed in your particular situation.

If the accident was partially my fault, can I still recover compensation?

West Virginia follows a comparative negligence rule that says so long as you were not 50% or more at fault, then you can still recover from a negligent defendant, although the amount you are awarded will be reduced by the percentage of negligence attributed to you. The insurance company lawyers will almost always try to shift as much of the blame as they can onto you, in an attempt to pay as little as possible or avoid any liability at all. It is critical to be represented by an experienced personal injury attorney who will fight to make sure you are not unfairly assigned any of the blame for the accident.

How long do I have to file a claim for medical malpractice?

In general, a lawsuit must be begun within two years from the date the injury occurred. However, there are many ways in which medical malpractice may not become known until months or years after the actual injury. For instance, surgeons may leave sponges, clamps or other foreign objects in the body after surgery, which are not discovered until some complication sets in. Or a doctor may miss a diagnosis which would have detected cancer while it was still treatable and completely curable. In these cases, the injured person has two years from the date the injury should have reasonably been discovered, up to ten years from the date of the injury.

Are nursing homes allowed to use restraints?

Under West Virginia law, residents may not be subjected to physical or chemical restraints unless authorized in writing by a physician for a specified and limited period of time, or under emergency circumstances. If the nursing home is using restraints as a means of discipline or control, it may be unlawful abuse or neglect.

What is a “Right to Sue” letter?

This is a letter sometimes sent by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at the conclusion of an investigation into workplace discrimination or harassment. The EEOC has the option to take action directly against the employer, which may include negotiating a settlement, going into mediation, or instituting litigation. If the EEOC chooses not to take any action, they will send you a right-to-sue letter, letting you know you are fee to sue your employer directly if you want.

Getting a right-to-sue letter from the EEOC does not mean that you have a good case or a bad case; it just lets you know you can take action directly if you choose. Your timeframe to file a lawsuit begins once you receive that letter.

I was fired after 20 years with the company because they couldn’t afford to keep me on. Now I learned they hired some new kid to replace me. Is that legal?

Workers who are 40 years old or older are protected from discrimination based on age by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). It appears that age may have been a factor in the decision to terminate you, and you should speak to an experienced employment law attorney to find out what options you may have.

I was injured and had to quit my job. Can I go back to work part-time and still receive Social Security Disability?

Social Security Disability (SSD) is only available to persons who are totally disabled from working; it does not apply to persons with short-term disabilities. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is very strict about their definition and will not qualify you unless you cannot do the work you did before, you cannot adjust to other work due to your medical condition, and you have a disability that is expected to last for at least one year or eventually result in your death. However, SSA does allow you to enter a trial work period to see if you are able to return to work or not. You can still receive SSD benefits during this trial period.

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