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Charleston WV Personal Injury Law Blog

West Virginia fatal car wreck leaves motherless children injured

A recent tragedy occurred on the West Virginia Turnpike that has left two children without a mother and fighting for their lives. A third child, reportedly unrelated to the two, is also listed in critical condition. Murder charges have been filed in the fatal car wreck. The suspect is apparently on probation in another state and has charges against him in a third state.

Reports indicate that the 43-year-old suspect exited the turnpike near a toll booth. Authorities claim that he re-entered traffic on the interstate headed in the wrong direction. The man's vehicle reportedly swiped the mirror of an oncoming car, which swerved to avoid a collision, and his vehicle then smashed into the next oncoming car. Sadly, the 43-year-old woman driving the car was killed instantly.

Lawsuit alleges wrongful discharge, sex discrimination

The attitude toward women in the workforce in West Virginia and across the country has improved greatly over the course of the last 50 years. However, there are still improvements that need to be made. One recently filed lawsuit against Alcon Laboratories and Novartis sheds some light on sex discrimination issues that may still be occurring in this country.

The lawsuit was filed by two former female employees of Alcon Laboratories who claim that male executives created a hostile work environment and inhibited the advancement of their careers despite their qualifications. One of the woman is seeking $10 million and reinstatement. She claims that she is a victim of wrongful termination, pay discrimination and retaliation. In court papers, she argues that she received lower performance ratings because she went on maternity leave and was told that she would not receive raises until she proved herself. According to her complaint, she was fired while on medical leave that was federally protected and after she questioned an executive regarding how the company would address gender issues.

Coach who was fired unjustly by diocese receives $4 million

It seems that every day, stories of hazing or sexual crimes in this country's schools are making national news. While students in West Virginia and across the country are expected to be held responsible, school administrators are also coming under fire for the handling of the incidents. Because of this, the fact that one coach was fired unjustly after reporting hazing on the team he coached seems especially shocking. The diocese which employed, and then fired, the coach recently agreed to settle his lawsuit for $4 million.

The plaintiff in the case was a coach at the high school in the fall of 2012. Reports indicate that, just before the school dismissed for winter break, he discovered that some of the students on the team were conducting activities related to hazing. At that time, he claims he reported the behavior to school authorities.

Are you a victim of sex discrimination at work?

Sex discrimination is unacceptable and inappropriate in any workplace. West Virginia workers who have been treated differently at work because of their gender have the right to take actions and seek legal resolutions to their situations. If you are unsure if you are a victim of sex discrimination, it can be beneficial to seek a case evaluation to understand the available legal options. 

Sex discrimination is any behavior or treatment that negatively impacts a person's employment or the terms of his or her job. For example, an employer cannot treat an employee differently because of his or her gender. Typically, sex discrimination is based on stereotypical assumptions or because an employee may not conform to what is considered to be gender norms.

How to respond if fired unjustly

If a West Virginia worker has been fired unjustly, it is important to understand the appropriate response. While it is frustrating and overwhelming to be fired unjustly, there are legal options available to those who find themselves in this unfortunate situation. If an employee has been fired for reasons that are illegal, such as racial discrimination or retaliation, this is wrongful termination. 

In many cases, employers retain the right to fire an employee at will. For this reason, West Virginia residents may assume that there is nothing that they can do after termination. However, a case evaluation with an attorney knowledgeable in employee rights can reveal if there are concerning factors involved in the firing and determine if a civil claim is an appropriate course of action.

Speeding and the dangers on West Virginia roadways

There is a certain social stigma associated with drunk driving, but speeding is often considered a mere traffic violation. Despite the way that speeding is perceived, it is actually one of the greatest dangers on West Virginia roadways, as much as drunk driving or texting and driving. Tens of thousands of people die every year in speed-related crashes, and thousands more are injured. If you have been injured in a car accident, it may be linked to a speeding driver. 

The amount of accidents caused by speeding actually affect more innocent victims than drunk driving. Many people regularly drive anywhere from 10 to 20 miles over the speed limit, increasing the chance of an accident. Americans are buying faster vehicles, and in a society that glamorizes fast and risky driving, most drivers admit to exceeding the posted limits. This may contribute to the fact that, while drunk driving fatalities have decreased, the overall numbers of fatal motor vehicle accidents have not.

Malnutrition and elopement: nursing home litigation

When a nursing home resident suffers from malnutrition or other forms of neglect, there are legal options available for the family. It is frustrating and tragic when an elderly West Virginia resident suffers under the care of a professional nursing staff, but a family should take action by reaching out for assistance from a nursing home litigation attorney as soon as possible. Victims of malnutrition, elopement (wandering away) and neglect do not have to suffer alone. 

When a family places their loved one in the care of a nursing facility, it is with the expectation that the staff will provide adequate supervision, medication and health care. However, when facilities fail to provide a certain level of care, the results can range from exacerbated illnesses to death. Malnutrition can occur when a resident is not provided with the nutrients needed, either through diet or medication. Elderly patients are especially susceptible to this as they may be unable to speak up when they need assistance. 

West Virginia law enforcement trying to reduce fatal car wrecks

West Virginia law enforcement is making a direct effort to reduce the number of fatal car wrecks in the state. This is being done through targeted patrols on holidays and other high-traffic days and during times when traffic is especially heavy. Statistics indicate that these specific patrols have likely had a direct impact on reducing the number of fatal car wrecks across the state. 

These patrols are funded through specific grants and allow authorities to address specific issues, while also allowing state troopers to work additional hours. They may specifically target drunk driving, speed enforcement in school or construction zones, or distracted driving and seat belt enforcement. In 2012, there were 339 fatalities directly related to car accidents. In 2014, there were almost 70 fewer fatalities. It is thought that increased vigilance from law enforcement has played a role in the increased safety of West Virginia roadways. 

Avoiding sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace

Sexual harassment and discrimination is an ongoing issue in the workplace, including in West Virginia. It may be helpful to understand what behaviors qualify as sexual harassment and discrimination, as well as how to respond after an incident. The appropriate course of action and potential legal options differ, depending on the individual details of the case. 

While the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from certain types of discrimination, the employer will specify types of behavior that are inappropriate in the workplace. This means that a worker could still be held accountable for unacceptable behavior that violates company policy, even if he or she did not break a law. Victims should note that it can be beneficial to document incidents, as this can be useful in pursuing a claim officially. 

When is it appropriate to file a wrongful death claim?

Considering a wrongful death claim after the death of a family member? Civil claims must be filed within a specified amount of time, so it is important to take legal action before the statute of limitations expires. West Virginia laws will determine the length of time that a family has to file a wrongful death claim, but a lawyer familiar with state laws should evaluate the individual situation and advise on all available options. 

After a serious accident, the injured party could require medical attention for an extended amount of time. If he or she eventually dies, the family may be left with a significant financial burden and emotional pain. A wrongful death action may be an appropriate means to secure a judgment for monetary damages sustained.