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Charleston WV Personal Injury Law Blog

Congress passes bill provision suspending truck safety rule

In our last post, we began to talk about the current hours-of-service rules, particularly the 34-hour restart rule. As we noted, the new rule placed restrictions on truck drivers which were not welcomed by the industry when they passed. At that time, the objection was that the changes were based on a flawed cost-benefit analysis in connection to the rules.

Since the new rule went into effect, the trucking industry has continued to express dissatisfaction with the impact of the changes on the industry, particularly the negative impact of the new restart rule on productivity and the concern over whether there has even been a benefit from a safety perspective. Improvement in highway safety is, of course, a major purpose of the hours-of-service rules. 

Hours-of-service rules and trucking safety

Trucking safety is an important issue from whatever angle you look at it. Because commercial trucks usually carry heavy loads and are much heavier than other vehicles on the road, their potential to cause significant damage to other drivers places upon commercial truck operators and their employers a significant responsibility in terms of safety.

Among the issues in trucking safety that has been getting more attention in recent months is truck driver fatigue. The issue came into greater discussion especially after the fatal New Jersey accident involving Tracy Morgan. It has also been in the news more lately due to the trucking industry’s increased opposition to the so-called 34-hour restart rule, which was passed in 2013. 

Obtaining an appropriate amount of damages in personal injury litigation, P.2

In our last post, we began looking at the issue of how personal injuries can result in varying degrees of economic loss depending on the nature and severity of the injuries, and especially how those injuries impact the accident victim’s means of livelihood.

We've already briefly noted that, because there are no statutory limitations on economic damages in West Virginia, those who suffer great economic losses—whether because of the injuries themselves or the specific impact of injuries upon the victim’s livelihood—need not worry about their ability to request the amount of economic damages appropriate to their situation. 

Obtaining an appropriate amount of damages in personal injury litigation, P.1

Readers may have heard of the recent motor vehicle accident in which Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was involved. The accident apparently occurred on Tuesday in Charlotte, North Carolina, though details as to how the accident occurred are still under investigation.

The result of the crash was that Newton suffered injury to his back which affects the spine and the nerves. Commentators have said that the pain resulting from the injury may leave Newton unable to play for a period of time, though it isn’t clear yet how long he will be out of commission. Assuming that Newton is not found to have been at fault for the accident, it will be interesting to see how much compensation he is able to obtain in personal injury litigation, if he chooses to pursue it. 

Teenager tragically dies in auto collision

Friends of a 16-year-old girl who tragically died in a car accident on Nov. 23 were stunned by the loss. West Virginia police have few details about the single vehicle auto collision that saw the vehicle she was riding in submerged in water. The driver of the vehicle has apparently not been charged with a crime as of this report. 

The report is somewhat unclear in terms of the details of the accident, but it has been confirmed that the victim and another man, who has not been identified, were driving together in the afternoon when the vehicle suddenly left the road. Police believe the couple were going "mudding" or off-roading intentionally, but the vehicle then flipped into a creek where it became partially submerged. The male driver was able to escape the vehicle, but the girl was not so lucky. 

Is it time for people to rethink their views on senior drivers?

Most people might not have realized it, but this past week was actually Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, a time set aside each year by the American Occupational Therapy Association to highlight the importance of transportation and mobility to America's seniors.

While the more cynical among us might scoff at the notion of encouraging older people to get behind the wheel of a car, claiming they present an elevated risk of car accidents due to their dangerous driving habits, a recently released study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows this mindset is actually quite mistaken.

To illustrate, consider some of the following findings:

  • Roughly 90 percent of motorists age 65 and older reported no involvement in car crashes or no moving violations over the last two years.
  • 65 percent of motorists 75 and older reported never using a cell phone while behind the wheel and 48 percent of motorists between the ages of 65-69 reported never using a phone while behind the wheel.

2 dead following serious auto collision in West Virginia

Local authorities have confirmed that two people died in a car wreck on Interstate 81, according to news sources. West Virginia police responded to the auto collision, which occurred the night of Nov. 23. As the driver of the offending vehicle was killed, no charges have been filed. 

Police records indicate the 22-year-old male driver was traveling north when he apparently lost control of the vehicle. His vehicle crossed the median strip into the southbound lanes and into the path of a tractor-trailer. The force of the impact knocked both vehicles back into the northbound lanes where they caught fire. The driver of the tractor-trailer escaped his rig and was taken to a local hospital for treatment of unknown injuries. 

When trucking companies ignore maintenance, disaster can ensue

When things go wrong when a commercial truck is traveling along the roads here in West Virginia, the results can be utterly disastrous. Traffic accidents involving commercial trucks can cause massive amounts of property damage, injure innocent victims and cost lives. Thus, one would hope that the prevention of truck accidents would always be among the highest priorities of trucking companies. Unfortunately though, instances sometimes occur in which trucking companies cut corners safety-wise in order to save time or money.

One type of such corner-cutting is not putting sufficient effort and resources towards keeping trucks properly maintained. There are all manner of different rules West Virginia and the federal government put on trucking companies when it comes to vehicle maintenance. A description of some of these rules can be found on our faulty truck maintenance page. Despite how important these rules are, trucking companies sometimes ignore them, potentially endangering innocent people.

West Virginia woman sues rental company for its role in crash

Car accidents can involve a wide variety of circumstances in terms of who causes the accident and who can be held accountable. In some cases, the accident is caused by two fully insured drivers who own the vehicles involved in the crash. In other cases, only one party is insured and owns the vehicle while the other driver borrowed the car from a friend or family member. In yet other cases, one of the vehicles is rented by the driver. In cases where the driver of a rental vehicle is at fault for an accident, the accident victim may have the ability to sue the rental company for its role in causing the accident.

A woman from Mason County is doing just that, following an October accident with an individual who rented a vehicle from Enterprise Rent-A-Car. The car accident, according to the crash victim’s complaint, occurred when she was struck from behind by the rental vehicle after having slowed down and moved to the right side of her lane in order to avoid an oncoming semi truck. She accuses the rental car driver of following her too closely and at too great a speed. For its part, Enterprise Rent-A-Car is targeted in the lawsuit for both compensatory and punitive damages because it entrusted the rental vehicle to an individual who was not qualified. 

Investigation paints dismal picture of mining safety

Mine safety is a topic which is close to home for many of our West Virginia readers. Mining is an important part of this state’s economy, and ensuring the safety of mine workers is important for the integrity of the industry. National Public Radio recently ran a story about the state of safety in mining operations nationwide, and from the looks of it, there is definitely room for improvement.

The story detailed the findings of a joint NPR and Mine Safety and Health News investigation, which looked at 20 years of federal mine data. The data showed that there are currently 2,700 mining companies which have avoided paying tens of millions of dollars in penalties for failure to abide by federal safety standards. Interestingly, the data showed that mines which do not pay their penalties have more worker injuries than mines which do pay their penalties. 

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Office Locations in Charleston, Logan and Summersville, West Virginia

Office Locations in Charleston, Logan & Summersville, West Virginia

213 Hale Street | Charleston, WV 25301 | Local: 304-932-4639 | Toll Free: 1-800-889-5851 | E-Mail Us| Map & Directions

116 Stratton Street | Logan, WV 25601 | Local: 304-932-4639 | Toll Free: 1-800-889-5851 | E-Mail Us | Map & Directions

704 Professional Park Drive | Summersville, WV 26651 | Local: 304-461-4733 | Toll Free: 1-800-889-5851 | E-Mail Us | Map & Directions

Fax Number for All Offices: 304-345-0375