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Charleston WV Personal Injury Law Blog

Fracking industry leads to increase in fatal accidents in drilling states

West Virginia are aware of many of the changes brought about by the boom in hydraulic fracturing—better known as “fracking”—in eastern states, including Pennsylvania, West Virginia, as well as Texas. Those changes include not only an increase in mining activity, but an increase in economy, environmental concerns, and in some places car accidents.

A recent article in the Houston Chronicle focused specifically on the increase in fatal accidents resulting from the fracking industry, both of oil and gas workers and motorists who share the road with them. As the article points out, accidents in which three or more people are killed have become dreadfully commonplace. In addition to leading the nation in overall motor vehicle deaths, Texas leads the nation in the number of workplace fatalities caused by transportation accidents. 

Technological solution to distracted driving proves a tough sell

Distracted driving, particularly due to the use of cell phones, has become a major highway safety issue which lawmakers, safety advocates car manufacturers and law enforcement have attempted to fight using various means at their disposal. Needless to say, more needs to be done, and some are holding out that a technological solution to the problem could be developed.

One proposed solution to the problem, developed by chemical engineer Scott Tibbitts, founder of the company Katasi, is to install little black boxes that would block text and cell phone signals from coming to and going out from drivers. This solution, which Tibbitts has had a difficult time pushing forward due to challenges obtaining a partnership with a wireless provider. Sprint had been in talks with Tibbitts for awhile, but eventually backed out, citing legal concerns. Specifically, the issue was Sprint’s liability in the event the technology fails and leads to a car accident.

Changes to workers’ comp law in WV have some attorneys concerned

Proposed changes to workers’ compensation law in West Virginia have become the subject of contention among attorneys who represent injured workers throughout the state. The proposed changes, which still have to be approved by the Workers’ Compensation Industrial Council, would give insurance carriers a choice as to whether they send benefits checks directly to injured workers or to their representatives. Another change, say workers’ compensation attorneys, could present barriers to injured workers obtaining copies of medical files.

The latter change has many attorneys concerned that they will end up not getting paid for their services, without which many injured workers would not be able to obtain their benefits in the first place. As it is, workers’ compensation litigation is a difficult area of practice due to burdensome regulation. The new rules, if approved, could mean that many injured workers will not be able to obtain counsel. 

New Apple technology raises concerns over driver distraction

Apple, as many readers probably already know, is releasing new technology in the form of the Apple Watch and a new iPhone with a larger screen size. The latter change will be particularly welcomed by man Apple fans, since it will allow for better screen display with additional uses. While the changes may be welcomed by many consumers, motor vehicle safety advocates have expressed concern that the change could affect enough people that it could negatively impact pedestrian and distracted driving accidents.

Distracted driving, of course, is a leading cause of car accidents nowadays. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that around 421,000 people suffered injury in car accidents in which distracted drivers were involved, and the actual numbers are likely even higher due to under-reporting. Cell phones, of course, are a leading cause of distracted driving, and the prospect of expanding cell phone usability by a major company like Apple should be cause for concern.

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. 

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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