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Charleston WV Personal Injury Law Blog

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. 

NTSB report highlights problem of distracted driving among truckers

A truck accident that occurred last year out in Maryland is a good example of the catastrophe that distracted driving can cause when large vehicle operators engage in distracted driving. The accident involved a truck driver who collided into a freight train, causing an explosion. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the trucker had failed to make sure the tracks were clear because he was distracted by a mobile device.

In its final report on the incident, the NTSB noted that one element that caused the crash was the trucker’s distraction due to a hands-free cell phone conversation. Under current laws, said the NTSB, it is too easy for the public, including truck drivers, to assume that using hands-free devices are safe because drivers still have their hands free to operate the vehicle. This overlooks the fact that an undistracted brain is just as important to operating a vehicle safely as are two hands on the wheel. 

Study: car accidents an important cause of head injury among teens

A new research paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine highlights what most of us already know to be true: that the causes of head injuries among children change as their mobility changes. The study looked at emergency room data for 43,000 children from 2004 to 2006 and found that age-related mobility is an important factor in predicting the type of accidents leading to head injury.

Children under the age of 2 years, for instance, are most at risk for falls from standing, walking or running. For children between 2 years and 12 years of age, falls from a height and falls from collisions came into the picture. It is when children enter their teens that blunt force becomes a major factor in head injuries. Blunt force can come, in particular, from sporting activity and motor vehicle accidents. Head trauma can, of course, lead to traumatic brain injury, from which death or disability can result. 

New lawsuit seeks compensation from mine for its role in 1968 explosion

Last week, Consolidation Coal Co. was targeted in a lawsuit alleging that the company knew of hidden evidence concerning an explosion that occurred back in 1968 which killed 78 miners. Unfortunately, there were little to no repercussions for the mine at that time as a result of the incident.

Fortunately, the coal mine accident gained enough attention that it prompted passage of the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969, which laid out stricter laws pertaining to occupational safety and health in the mining industry. While the law was an improvement, it was not based upon a complete investigation of the incident, the cause of which was officially undetermined. 

Mining company previously sued for fatal accident

Earlier this week, we wrote briefly about a fatal accident that occurred at a Dana Mining Co. mine in Maidsville. According to sources, the 49-year old man who died in that accident had been operating a roof-bolting machine when he was struck by a piece of rock. Accidents in the mining industry, of course, are bound to happen, but it is troubling when a company begins to build a history of such accidents.

As previously noted, we are familiar with the Dana Mining Company after having previously represented the widow of a miner who died in 2006 during a roof collapse which crushed him against a personnel carrier. That accident was brought about by a foreman’s incomplete examination of the mine for hazards prior to sending his men in to work. Had he done so, he would have noted that a prior roof fall left the work site compromised and that no corrective action had been taken. 

Mining Accident in Monongalia County

Bucci Bailey and Javins, LC is saddened to hear another West Virginia miner, Raymond Savage, has lost his life. The events at the Crawdad Mine, a Dana Mining Company Mine operated by Red Bone Mining, cause us to pause and send our prayers and thoughts to the miner's family. Having previously represented the Estate of a miner killed in a Dana Mining mine, BB&J is familiar with the company's safety practices and violation history.

What are the basic elements of a personal injury claim?

Personal injury litigation isn’t something that can be initiated for every personal harm we encounter, whether on the road, at work, or in other circumstances. There are specific elements that must be proven in order to demonstrate a legitimate personal injury claim, and it is important for readers to have a basic understanding of these elements when considering the possibility of pursuing litigation.

The first thing that must always be proven in any personal injury case is the existence of some legal duty, and that the defendant breached that duty. There are various ways to establish the existence of a duty, depending on the case. In car accident cases, drivers are duty-bound to exercise reasonable care at all times in the operation of a motor vehicle. Many specific duties are laid out in state statutes, and plaintiffs can point to the failure to abide by one or multiple of these laws to establish legal duty.

Hands-free systems can lead to cognitive distraction for drivers

Most people understand that distracted driving is a big deal in highway safety these days, and that safety advocates, car manufacturers, technology companies and lawmakers are looking for ways to address the problem. One solution which has arisen is to increase the availability of hands-free technology so that drivers can at least keep their hands on the wheel.

Though hands-free technology addresses some of the risks of distraction, it may also create distractions. According to a recent AAA study, flaws in hands-free systems can lead to driver distraction. The study looked at a number of hands-free systems available on the market, including Toyota’s Entune, Chevrolet’s MyLink, Hyundai’s Blue Link, Chrysler’s Uconnect, Ford’s SYNC with MyFord Touch, Mercedes’ COMAND, and Apple’s Siri. 

Number of bicycle accidents increase in 2012, according to report

As the popularity of bicycling has increased in recent years, the rate of bicycle accidents has, not surprisingly, increased as well. While bicycling accident can happen anywhere, there are a handful of states where they are a lot more likely to occur compared to other states. Fortunately, West Virginia is not at the top of the heap in terms of the rate of bicycle accidents.

According to a recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, the states of Michigan, Texas, Illinois, Florida, California and New York together accounted for over 50 percent of bicycle accident fatalities reported in 2012. Surprisingly, the report also highlighted that alcohol impairment and failure to wear a helmet were common contributors to cycling deaths. In 2012, 65 percent of bicyclists who died in an accident failed to wear a helmet and 30 percent of bicycle accident victims had a blood alcohol concentration at or above 0.08 percent at the time of the incident. 

Comparative fault in personal injury litigation

In personal injury litigation, liability is an essential ingredient to a strong case and it is important for defendants to work with an attorney who understands the law and how to maximize the amount of damages in their case.

Personal injury litigation can and does involve cases where one individual is entirely at fault for damages to an injured party, but there are also many cases which involve multiple at-fault parties. Those at fault for an accident can include not only the defendant, but also third parties involved in the accident, third parties not involved in the accident, and even the plaintiff. So, what happens in terms of liability when the defendant isn't entirely at fault for the incident and related 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

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Fax Number for All Offices: 304-345-0375