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Charleston WV Personal Injury Law Blog

Truck safety enforcement effort a reminder of importance of truck safety compliance

Every year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration supervise an effort to track safety compliance among commercial carriers. Each year, the enforcement campaign takes a specific focus. This year's enforcement effort, called Roadblock 2014, was conducted back in June and focused on hazardous materials and dangerous goods safety compliance. Shipments involving such goods are relatively small compared to other types of shipments, but involve special requirements.

According to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, the number of vehicles put out of service during the effort fortunately decreased from last year, but the number of driver-focused inspections slightly increased from last year. Hours of service violations fortunately decreased from last year and the year before, as well as the number of false logbook recordings. Interestingly, the increasing use of electronic logging devices is credited with these decreases. 

Injured employees should work with attorney to determine means of compensation

Workers’ compensation is an important benefit which helps injured employers with medical expenses, lost wages and other consequences of on-the-job injury. In most cases, injured employees receive workers’ compensation as the sole means of recompense in connection with an injury, though there are cases where employees are able to sue their employer for personal injury in connection with a workplace injury.

A lawsuit was filed last month in Charleston by a drilling company worker in connection with a 2013 accident which left him severely injured. According to the complaint, the worker was injured in an attempt to separate a winch line and clamp from its drum body, despite the fact that he was not trained to do so. In addition, the worker claims that no other employers were trained in how to perform the work safety and he was not provided safety equipment or intact equipment. These are all serious accusations, of course. 

New bill offers protection for sanitation workers

Car accidents are a risk not only for motorists, but also for anybody who uses the road in some fashion. This includes motorcyclists, pedestrians, cyclists, as well as construction and sanitation workers. The latter are particularly at risk because it is the nature of their job to constantly be on the roadway in the midst of traffic.

A new bill recently signed into law by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin will reportedly offer greater protections for sanitation workers by requiring drivers to drastically slow down when passing a parked sanitation truck. The speed limit in such situations will be 15 miles per hour, and motorists who fail to follow the law can be penalized.  

IIHS test shows most small cars not optimal in small overlap crashes

Small cars are a popular choice among many drivers because of their ability to get the driver from place to place without efficiency and low maintenance. There are drawbacks, of course, to driving a small car, particularly an increased risk of harm in car accidents.

This fact was highlighted in a recent test conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which tested how 12 different small cars performed in a small overlap front crash test. This test involves an examination of how the vehicle performs when the front corner of the vehicle collides with an object. 

NCAA settles head injury case with former athletes

Brain injury is a common occurrence in motor vehicle accidents, particularly in accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists. Head and brain injuries are also quite common in professional and amateur sports, and increased attention has been given to this risk in recent years. This is at least partly due to litigation at the professional and college levels concerning the impact of brain injuries on unsuspecting athletes.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association recently settled a case with former athletes who had suffered head injuries. Those athletes had initially sued for damages, but the recent settlement does actually provide damages for those players or others who have been harmed. Rather, the settlement gives players the opportunity to file separate personal injury suits and makes changes to association guidelines concerning how concussions are handled. It also sets aside $74 million for monitoring of head injuries and continuing research efforts. 

Is trucking safety getting the attention it deserves, P.2

In our previous post, we began discussing the issue of truck accidents, particularly the frequency with which they occur in the United States, the relatively sparse media coverage, and the variety of causes for trucking accidents. As we left of saying, the trucking industry has put some blame on the new hours of service rules, which forced truckers to spend more time on the road during the daytime, leading to increased congestion and more accidents.

Notwithstanding the trucking company’s objections to hours of service rules, there are those who say that the new rule is for the better, and that the restart provision—the one that the industry opposes—doesn’t force drivers to be on the roads more during the day. In any case, it is a source of contention between the industry and safety advocates. 

Is trucking safety getting the attention it deserves? P.1

In recent posts on this blog, we’ve written about the truck accident in which actor-comedian Tracy Morgan was injured on the New Jersey Turnpike back in June. Morgan has since filed a personal injury suit in connection with that crash, asking for punitive damages because of the trucker’s failure to abide by federal safety regulations. While the accident made national news, such accidents are not at all uncommon.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, fatal truck accidents have become increasingly common, accounting for an average of 11 deaths per day and 4,000 deaths per year. Over 100,000 more are injured in truck accidents every year. The number of truck accident fatalities has been increasing in recent years as the economy has improved. All of this is simply to point out the prevalence of truck accidents compared with the comparatively infrequent mention in the media. 

Distracted driving an important issue in car accident cases, P.2

In our last post, we began looking at the important issue of distracted driving. As we noted, distracted driving has become an increasingly important issue as the use of cell phones has become ubiquitous. Nowadays it is very easy for drivers to give in to the temptation to check their messages, text a quick message or take a phone call. Doing so presents serious risks, though, including the risk of liability with respect to those who are harmed in distracted driving accidents.

Although we noted the importance of distracted driving laws in our last post, it is also important to note that these laws are not effective unless they are enforced. Right now, West Virginia police are reportedly in the midst of cracking down on distracted driving, 

Distracted driving an important issue in car accident cases, P.1

Distracted driving is a danger all of us are familiar with to one extent or another. Distracted driving, of course, encompasses a variety of activities that can divert a motorist's attention from the task of driving. The government-run website Distraction.org lists several categories of distracted driving: cognitive, visual and manual. Altogether, this includes things like grooming, talking to a passenger, reading or looking at a map, and eating.

With the increase in the use of cell phones in recent years, the issue has come to the forefront in discussions touching on highway safety. Cell phone use, especially texting, is particularly distracting because it involves all three types of distracted driving. For this reason, most states have banned texting for some if not all categories of drivers. 

West Virginia woman sues former employer for termination after workplace injury

Those who are injured in the workplace can face a variety of issues with their employer, whether it is difficulty in obtaining workers’ compensation, lack of accommodation for one’s work duties or schedule, or retaliation for attempting to exercise one’s rights under the law. Another difficulty is employer discrimination when one becomes disabled on the job.

Under West Virginia’s Human Rights Act, disabled workers have specific rights. Among them are that an employer must provide reasonable accommodation to a disabled worker. This is similar to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Despite these provisions, employers don’t always abide by their duties. A recent example is that of a West Virginia woman who filed a lawsuit in May against the CAMC Health System for its failure to abide by its duties under the state law. 

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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

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