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Charleston WV Personal Injury Law Blog

West Virginia PSC to conduct increased truck safety inspections in coming year

Commercial carriers have a big responsibility on the road, not only because transportation is their business and they should be held to a high standard, but also because the vehicles they operate are heavy and present the risk of serious injury to other motorists in motor vehicle accidents. When large trucks and busses are involved in accidents with other vehicles, it is almost always going to be the drivers of smaller vehicles who suffer in the crash.

State officials, understanding well the safety risks large trucks present on the road, are reportedly going to be increasing commercial vehicle inspections on state roads in high crash areas over the coming year. Sources say that $180,000 in funds from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is going to be devoted to the effort. 

Oil and gas industry not known for its safety record

Not all professions are created equal when it comes to workplace safety, and the oil and gas industry is not particularly known for its safety achievements.

Especially in areas of fast development, such as the Bakken formation in North Dakota and the Marcellus shale in the eastern United States, workers in the industry take risks that many of us wouldn’t want to take. These risks include long hours, poor safety practices and lack of training training, as well as substandard injury compensation

Employer accused of retaliatory termination of injured employee

On-the-job injury can be trying thing for those who suffer it, particularly if they don’t have adequately disability insurance. For those who are employees, workers’ compensation can provide relief, but employers aren’t always cooperative in the submission of workers’ compensation claims. In some cases, employers act illegally.

An Ohio County man who was injured last May while on the job claims that his employer act illegally by firing him when he attempted to file a workers’ compensation claim. Such situations are can and do come up. Employers may attempt to convince an injured employee that he or she was not injured on the job, that the injuries are really not that bad, or that the employer can provide an alternative means of relief. Employees need to watch out for these things and talk to an attorney when they come up. 

Commercial carriers and the duty to properly maintain vehicles

On Tuesday, an accident in Alleghany County, Virginia left a 40-year-old dump truck driver from Rainelle dead. The accident reportedly occurred when a truck tire blew out and caused the truck to run off the road and through a guardrail and into a group of trees. The vehicle reportedly caught fire and killed the driver, who was found dead at the scene of the accident.

While tragic, the accident fortunately involved no harm to other motorists. In reflecting on this accident, a couple thoughts come to mind. First, it isn’t possible to avoid all accidents. No matter how hard we all try to keep our vehicles properly maintained and no matter how carefully we driver, there will always be some accidents on the road. This is true for both commercial carriers and ordinary motorists. On the other hand, commercial carriers are bound by certain regulations to keep their vehicles safely maintained. 

Step-father to face charges for accident that killed daughter

Last Monday, a nine year old girl died in a motor vehicle accident in Morgan County.  The girl had reportedly been riding in a vehicle driven by her step father and a sibling. The accident reportedly occurred when the man tried to pass a vehicle stopped in traffic—in a no-pass zone—and ended up colliding head-on into an oncoming vehicle.

Police who investigated the accident have said they aren’t certain whether the accident was caused by distraction or carelessness or both, but charges are pending. Police are investigating the case for child safety given that both the children in the vehicle with their step father were without booster seats. From the sounds of it, one of the children had been riding in the front seat, which is illegal. State law prohibits adults from allowing children below the age of 13 from sitting in the front passenger’s seat. 

Trucker cited following accident that injured nine children

Accidents involving large vehicle like semi-trucks, commercial buses and school buses can involve serious injuries and fatalities, so it is fortunate that a recent accident in Point Pleasant, West Virginia only resulted in injuries to a number of children. The accident reportedly occurred when a truck driver accused of driving too fast and failing to maintain control of his vehicle crashed into another large truck, which then struck the bus.

In all, there were 19 children on the bus at the time of the accident, nine of whom were taken to the hospital for treatment of injuries after the accident. Sources didn’t specific how serious the injuries were, but only mention that bruises and cuts were involved. Fortunately, there were no fatalities. 

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. 

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Office Locations in Charleston, Logan and Summersville, West Virginia

Office Locations in Charleston, Logan & Summersville, West Virginia

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