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Charleston WV Personal Injury Law Blog

1968 West Virginia mine tragedy led to vital federal law

A few days ago marked the 47th anniversary of the CONSOL No. 9 Mine disaster, which killed 78 West Virginia miners on Nov. 20, 1968. The sheer number of deaths would be shocking today. But at the time, this type of disaster was sadly all too common in the mining industry. In fact, a total of 311 coal miners died in the U.S. that year.

But this time, people, including widows of the victims, took action. Their lobbying efforts led to “profound changes in mine safety,” as the U.S. Department of Labor’s blog recently put it.

Scientists say their wireless brain implant can teach about TBI

To develop better treatments for traumatic brain injury, scientists must first learn more about how blows to the head affect the brain. Despite centuries of research, there is still so much we do not understand about the human brain, and what causes its workings to change after certain types of trauma.

Researchers at Purdue say they have developed a new way of measuring brain injury on laboratory animals. Their system involves implanting a “soft magnet” wireless sensor into the brains of lab rats. One of the professors who headed the study said their system is the first chance science has had to “measure brain deformation in real time wirelessly.”

Many train accidents are due to poorly maintained crossings

A large mismatch in the size of the vehicles involved in a collision usually means the occupants of the smaller vehicle are at much greater risk of injury. Few collisions involve as dramatic a difference in size as when a train crashes into a passenger vehicle.

Fortunately, such horrific accidents are rare. But when they do occur, it is often, if not most of the time, at a railroad crossing. Some of the time, the motorist is at fault, but other times, the driver may not even have reason to know that he or she is crossing over railroad tracks until it is too late.

Why do people drive while distracted?

With all the information we have proving that distracted driving is a terrible, dangerous habit, many people in West Virginia still do it. Thankfully, some of us have sworn to keep our hands on the wheel, and off our phones or similar distractions. Campaigns by nonprofits and various government agencies have tried to spread to word to the rest of the population, but so far, distracted driving is still a major safety hazard.

Why do so many people continue to drive while distracted? Distraction.gov, a website created by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, believes there are several reasons.

West Virginia man fired after workers' comp claim sues for damages

Unfortunately, some West Virginia businesses try to keep their workers’ compensation insurance premiums down by doing what they can to discourage injured workers from filing. Sometimes, this includes punishing an employee who files for workers’ comp, such as by demoting or firing him or her.

This is known as retaliation, and victims in West Virginia have the right to fight back against it in court. One resident did just that recently, when he sued the auto plant where he used to work for wrongful termination. He says that he was fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim, on the false pretext that he had engaged in some form of workplace violence.

How do expert witnesses help coal mine accident victims?

It is common in many civil lawsuits for one or both sides to enlist expert witnesses. Cases where a mine worker is severely injured on the job and seeks damages are no exception. Though an expert witness was not present at the time the injury occurred, he or she is knowledgeable and experienced enough on the subject to examine the evidence and support the injured worker’s claims.

One role an expert witness can play in a coal mining accident case is to help determine how much the victim is entitled to in damages. Some damages, like medical bills and lost wages, are pretty straightforward. But other, equally important forms of compensation are more difficult to calculate.

Polaris recalls 53K ATVs for potential fire hazard

All-terrain vehicles are known to carry a significant risk of rolling over or throwing riders and passengers, often causing severe injuries. Readers may not think of their ATVs catching on fire and burning them, but if they own a Polaris ATV, they may just be at risk of this unexpected type of accident.

Polaris Industries Inc. announced recently that it was recalling about 53,000 of its ATVs due to a manufacturing defect that might cause fires. The company has received at least two reports of fires in its ATVs, though Polaris says it is not clear if the defect was the direct cause.

AAA study: hands-free auto devices are hugely distracting

Though most of the conversation about distracted driving has to do with cellphones, anything that splits a driver’s attention from the road can be dangerous. Even changing the station on the radio can lead to an accident, if the driver takes his or her eyes off the road and hands off the wheel.

Though many people in West Virginia and elsewhere have spent years campaigning against all forms of distracted driving, they still must contend with automakers putting distracting devices in their products that put the public in serious danger. This is according to AAA, which calls in-dash screens and similar hands-free technology hazardous distractions.

Fatigued truck drivers are a menace in West Virginia

Have you ever driven somewhere when you were exhausted? It’s very difficult to drive safely when you can hardly keep your eyes open. Or maybe you have seen another driver nodding off as their vehicle drifts out of its lane. Obviously, fatigued driving is a factor in many car crashes in West Virginia.

Now imagine if the exhausted person is driving a huge commercial truck, perhaps one hauling coal, timber or fracking sand on one of West Virginia’s narrow, winding roads. Even if the driver does not doze off, his or her reaction times are going to be significantly compromised, just as if he or she was intoxicated. He or she could lose control of the huge, multi-ton truck and cause a terrible wreck. Innocent people may get badly hurt.

Besides workers' comp, how else do workers get compensated?

Workers’ compensation exists to provide a way for victims of workplace injuries or illnesses an avenue for recovery, so that they need not suffer a financial burden on top of their disabling condition. It also helps employers limit their financial risk. Most of the time, an injured worker cannot both collect workers’ comp and sue his or her employer for damages.

In other words, workers’ compensation is an “exclusive remedy,” with one important exception: when a third party contributed to, or is solely responsible for, the victim’s injuries.

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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