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Charleston WV Personal Injury Law Blog

Drivers at risk of airbag issues, even if no car accident occured

Many West Virginia drivers, as well as many motorists across the country, could be at a higher risk for sustaining an injury due to unsafe airbags. Takata, the maker of airbags for Honda, Toyota, Nissan and other automakers, is under fire after a massive recall was initiated. The recall was started over concerns about the airbags causing a higher risk for injury, even if there was no car accident. It is estimated that the recall now affects over 11 million vehicles. 

Takata has been facing legal issues regarding the safety of its airbags for several years. The concern lies in the use of ammonium nitrate as a propellant for airbags, which was chosen because it is widely available and inexpensive. The chemical is highly unstable and the company has received numerous reports of exploding airbags. It is thought that at least six people have died because of complications with Takata airbags. 

Murder charge filed after fatal car wreck involving pedestrian

A man is facing a murder charge for a fatal accident that claimed the life of another West Virginia man. Police say that the fatality occurred as the man intentionally hit the deceased with his vehicle, after which he was arrested and charged with homicide. According to a report of the incident, the two men had been involved in a physical alternation shortly before the fatal car wreck

Details of the accident have not been been made public, and West Virginia law enforcement have not stated the reason for the fight between the two men. The U.S. Marshal's Fugitive Task Force was involved with the arrest, though further details were not reported. A close investigation into the accident may determine exactly what happened and what legal options may be available to the family of the deceased. 

Fatal accident with log truck leaves motorcyclist dead

A tragic accident in West Virginia involving a log truck and a motorcycle left the motorcyclist dead. According to the details released by local law enforcement officials, the motorcycle was crushed after the log truck rolled over, pinning the individual underneath. The fatal accident required traffic to be diverted as emergency crews worked to extricate the motorcyclist.

The report indicates that the driver was attempting to turn left when the accident occurred. The log truck overturned as the driver swerved to avoid the motorcycle and lost control. The truck driver was not injured, and law enforcement does not believe that drugs or alcohol played a role in the incident. However, the accident is still under investigation by West Virginia law enforcement officials.

New law to prevent bicyclists from suffering a car crash injury

West Virginia readers are aware of the severe consequences that can occur when a car or larger vehicle collides with a bicycle. Bicyclists can sustain serious or life-threatening injuries when a negligent, distracted or reckless driver causes harm. In order to prevent any car crash injury and protect the rights of those on bicycles, West Virginia has recently passed a law dictating how drivers must share the road. 

According to the terms of the new Bicycle Safety Law, drivers must now give bicyclists 3 feet of space when passing. In the past, cyclists were restricted to designated bike lanes, but they are now allowed to go into normal traffic lanes, as long as they are able to keep up with the flow of traffic. It is hoped that drivers giving bikes 3 feet of space will leave enough room to avoid collisions and prevent injuries. 

Distracted drivers: when negligence causes fatal car wrecks

With the increase in cell phone use and the many distractions that drivers face, it should be no surprise to West Virginia readers that distracted drivers pose a risk to everyone on the road. After car wrecks caused by negligent drivers, victims may feel frustrated and overwhelmed by the situation, but there are legal options available. With the right legal ally, a victim can hold distracted drivers accountable for their actions.

When a loved one is killed because of the reckless or negligent actions of another person, it can leave a family reeling from the financial impact. Medical bills and funeral costs can quickly add up, leaving an insurmountable burden, especially if the fatality involved the family's primary source of income. Although restitution cannot undo the damage done by a distracted driver, a civil claim against the liable party may alleviate some of the financial hardship associated with the accident.

Suffering from elder abuse or neglect: warning signs for families

When a West Virginia family places a loved one in the care of a nursing facility or assisted living home, it is with the expectation that they will be treated with care and respect. Sadly, not every situation is healthy and safe, and family members may later discover that their loved one is suffering from elder abuse or neglect. If a family suspects mistreatment of any kind, it is necessary to seek legal assistance to protect the rights of their elderly relative. 

There are varying signs of elder abuse or nursing home neglect. If a resident refuses to take his or her medicine, loses a significant amount of weight or has unexplained bruises, it could indicate abuse. Patients with Alzheimer's or dementia may not be able to verbally express if they have been mistreated or have not received medicine and proper nutrition. 

If you were fired unjustly, should you fight for severance pay?

Employees who have lost their jobs could be eligible for some type of severance pay to compensate for lost wages and allow for time to find alternate employment. However, workers who have been fired unjustly may not fully understand their rights, including the right to severance pay in some situations. This benefit is typically based upon the length of employment, the employment contract and the circumstances surrounding the termination.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require employers to provide severance to employees. Typically, this benefit is based upon an agreement between the employer and employee. This agreement and the terms of employment could be outlined in an employee handbook or contract. If a West Virginia worker feels that he or she was fired unjustly and does not receive severance, legal options are available.

Fatal workplace accidents continue to plague mining industry

Due to the inherent dangers of mining, fatal accidents have always been a common issue in the industry. Despite modern advances in technology and safety standards, West Virginia leads the United States in the number of fatal workplace accidents involving miners. From 2004 to early 2015, the state has seen 120 miners die on the job. In 2010, the state saw the country's worst mining disaster in 40 years. 

This particular accident was an explosion that occurred inside the Upper Big Branch mine and claimed the lives of 29 workers. It was caused by a build up of methane gas inside the mine, and rescue crews were unable to get inside for five days. The CEO of the mining company was eventually charged with violating safety standards. 

Traumatic brain injuries commonly sustained in car accidents

Car crashes often have lingering repercussions, some of which can haunt victims for the rest of their lives. Traumatic brain injuries are common consequences of car accidents, ranging from mild concussions to grave brain damage. The impact of a brain injury can last days or weeks or may have a permanent effect on a West Virginia resident's ability to be independent. 

A traumatic brain injury is any damage sustained due to an external force, such as a car accident, that disrupts normal function of the brain. One of the most common types of brain injuries sustained in car accidents is the concussion. When a victim sustains a concussion, he or she may lose consciousness or feel dizzy afterward. A contusion is also possible in the event of a collision; this particular injury is a bruise, or bleeding, on the brain. 

Sexual harassment and discrimination investigation continues

After allegations of sexual harassment within the West Virginia National Guard emerged, the organization has chosen to speak out about the troubling reports. According to an investigation by a local media source, this chapter of the National Guard has a troubling history with alleged sexual harassment and discrimination against women. The organization has publicly stated its commitment to providing a safe and respectful environment for all servicemen and women. 

It has been reported that since 2009, 13 women have come forward with claims of sexual advances and other inappropriate behavior. One women who spoke out claimed that she did not know where to turn for help after being victimized by inappropriate behavior. The Guard insists that it is moving in the right direction by providing an open and honest environment and making it clear that harassment of any kind will not be tolerated.