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Charleston WV Personal Injury Law Blog

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. 

Tracy Morgan requests punitive damages in personal injury case

In recent weeks, we’ve been focusing a lot on the issue of trucking safety, which came into national focus last month when actor-comedian Tracy Morgan was involved in a truck accident on the New Jersey Turnpike which left him with serious injuries and killed another comedian. In subsequent investigation of the incident, it was revealed that the trucker who caused the accident had fallen asleep behind the wheel after having gone without sleep for 24 hours.

Tracy Morgan has now filed a lawsuit against Wal-Mart, along with two other actors who were in the car with him at the time of the crash. In his complaint, Morgan asks for punitive damages, which really isn’t surprising given that the driver is said to have been in violation of federal truck safety regulations. 

Safety technology holds promise for commercial trucking industry

Our readers are all familiar with the increasing presence of safety technology in motor vehicles, with many owning vehicles with multiple safety features. These include things like automatic breaking, backup cameras, lane departure warning, automated parking, and electronic stability control. As these technologies continue to develop and trickle down to more affordable models, more and more Americans will benefit from them and our roads will slowly become safer.

As the benefits of these technologies are seen in passenger vehicles, there has been more of a push to make these technologies available for large trucks. Although there are fewer overall crashes involving large trucks, the dangers presented by large truck crashes are serious. For this reason, federal officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are beginning to talk about measures to ensure truck fleets are equipped with things like collision-avoidance systems and automatic braking. 

Princeton woman sues employer over on-the-job head injury

A Princeton woman recently filed a lawsuit in Mercer Circuit Court against her employer, Princeton Community Homecare, in connection with a head injury she suffered on the job back in 2013. According to her complaint, she was hit in the back of the head by a co-worker, though sources do not provide any details about the incident or her injury, other than mentioning that the woman is accusing her employer of creating an unsafe work environment.

Sources do not mention whether the woman received any workers’ compensation in connection with the accident. Normally, employees have the right to file for workers’ compensation when they are injured on the job. For this to happen, the injury itself must be work-related. If an illness is the issue, it must be an occupational illness. 

Cyclists have both rights and responsibilities on the road

As more and more Americans have taken up bicycling as a legitimate form of transportation in recent years, the incidence of bicycle accidents has increased nationwide and caused concern among safety advocates. One of the big challenges, of course, is getting motorists and bicyclists to share the roadway in a respectful way. In some cases, cyclists fail to follow the rules of the road, and in many cases motorists are aggressive around cyclists or simply fail to pay sufficient attention to them.

Last month, a new West Virginia law went into effect which requires motorists to give cyclists three feet of distance when passing them on a roadway. That law overturns an older law which required cyclists to take another path off the roadway when one is available. The law also prevents groups of cyclists from riding more than two-by-two, unless they are travelling on a path or roadway designated only for the use of cyclists. 

Truck driver fatigue and hours-of-service compliance, P.2

In our last post, we began writing about the issue of driver fatigue among truckers and the attempts by federal officials to address the problem. As we noted, federal hours-of-service rules tackle the problem by limiting the amount of time truckers can drive on a daily and weekly basis and by requiring minimum rest breaks. New hours-of-service rules passed last year have been difficult for the industry to adjust to because they have reduced production and created more inconvenience for truckers.

Last month, the trucking industry was successful in pushing a proposed amendment to halt the rules until more research can be done regarding their effectiveness in reducing truck accidents. The contention is that the new rules have actually increased the risk of highway accidents by truck drivers since they force more truckers to drive during the day. 

Truck driver fatigue and hours-of-service compliance, P.1

Truck accidents can result in serious injuries, particularly for those in smaller vehicles. Because of the risk to other drivers from truck accidents, federal regulators have established very particular safety requirements with which trucking companies and their drivers must comply. These regulations cover a broad range of safety issues, including driver fatigue.

Driver fatigue has gained increased attention in recent weeks after a truck accident on the New Jersey Turnpike earlier this month left actor and comedian Tracy Morgan seriously injured and another comedian dead. An investigation following the accident revealed that the trucker—a driver for Wal-Mart—had been awake for over 24 hours prior to the crash and had fallen asleep behind the wheel. 

NJ accident prompts reconsideration of truck safety rules

West Virginia readers may have of the recent accident involving actor and comedian Tracy Morgan. The accident, which occurred earlier this month on the New Jersey Turnpike, left Morgan and others with serious injuries, and killed another comedian.  The accident itself was caused by a Wal-Mart truck driver who had reportedly fallen asleep at the wheel after having been awake for an extended amount of time.

In the wake of the truck accident, there has been increased attention at the federal level on the issue of truck driver fatigue and the hours-of-service rules intended to address the issue. These rules, as readers may know, address the issue of how long truckers may remain behind the wheel in any given day and how many hours they can drive in one week, as well as other issues related to the prevention of driver fatigue. 

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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