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Charleston WV Personal Injury Law Blog

Truck patrol to increase on West Virginia's turnpike

The West Virginia State Police, Public Service Commission and West Virginia Parkways Authority issued a joint statement on Nov. 13. They announced that they're planning to step-up their patrols on the West Virginia Turnpike. Another full-time unit will be assigned to track down tractor-trailers with potential safety hazards and also operators engaging in questionable driving.

These state agencies decided to hire another officer and launch this initiative after they discovered that the number of truck-involved crashes had dramatically increased along the turnpike during the past four years.

Do you follow these tips for safer merging on the highway?

Highway driving takes a high level of skill, as you're always in proximity to fast-moving vehicles. Merging onto the highway is easier said than done, especially when you consider that established vehicles might not be willing to help you out.

Here are five tips for safer merging:

  • Adjust your speed at the right time: As you approach traffic, do your best to get your vehicle up to speed so that you can seamlessly move into the flow.
  • Avoid stopping: A common mistake, stopping before you merge into traffic, will make things more difficult. Doing this requires you to merge from a standstill, making it a challenge to quickly get up to speed.
  • Use your turn signal: This gives others a clear idea that you're moving your vehicle into the flow of traffic.
  • Cross into one lane of traffic at a time: Don't attempt to merge across several lanes in one move, as this increases the risk of an accident. Establish yourself in the first lane and then go from there.
  • Use your mirrors: As you approach the merge point, use your mirrors to understand where other vehicles are in proximity to yours. Then, before you make your move, check over your shoulder to ensure it's safe to do so.

Understand the purpose of a wrongful death claim

A wrongful death is one that wouldn't have occurred except for the negligent or reckless actions of another person. Wrongful death claims can be filed against individuals, hospitals, businesses and even the government.

A lot of people, however, don't quite understand the purpose of a wrongful death claim. Too often, they've fallen for the idea that a wrongful death claim is nothing more than a chance to make some money off the death of a relative.

Do these things to safely change lanes on the highway

When you find yourself driving on the highway, there will be times when you have to change lanes. Even though you don't want to make this a habit, there's no way around it.

Changing lanes sounds simple enough until you look around and realize that you're not the only car on the road. Here are some tips you can follow to safely change lanes on the highway:

  • Wait until you have space: Don't attempt to force your vehicle into a tight space. It's best to wait until there is a large gap in traffic to make your move.
  • Always use your turn signal: This gives everyone around you an understanding of your intentions.
  • Use your mirrors: Your mirrors give you a clear view of the cars around you, your positioning and whether it's okay to make your move.
  • Check your blind spot: If you rely solely on your mirrors, you may not see another vehicle in your blind spot, thus resulting in an accident when you change lanes. A quick glance over your shoulder can protect against this.
  • Maintain your speed: You don't want to change lanes in front of another vehicle, just to abruptly slow down. Doing so could result in a rear-end accident at a high speed.

Why pregnancy discrimination can have tragic results

Companies across the country continue to discriminate against pregnant employees even though it's illegal. This discrimination often takes the form of being denied raises and promotions. Some employers find reasons to fire pregnant employees before they begin their maternity leaves.

However, for pregnant employees whose jobs involve physical labor, the cost of this discrimination could be their health and even their babies' lives. An extensive investigation by The New York Times found multiple cases where women were denied requests for a lightened workload during their pregnancies and suffered miscarriages, delivered premature babies who died soon after they were born or suffered other medical issues.

Thinking of reporting sexual harassment? Read this first

Sexual harassment at work is still very common, despite all the progress that women have made in the workforce. If it's happening to you, the best way to stand up for your rights and put a stop to the behavior is to report the issue to your human resources department.

Unfortunately, you may have very real and very justified fear of retaliation if you make a report. It's estimated that three-fourths of harassment victims never speak up. Of those that do, 75 percent are likely to experience some form of retaliation as a result.

What steps should you take if you're being harassed at work?

No one should have to endure harassment at work — whether it's sexual harassment or being harassed because of who you are or what you believe. Often, people put up with it because they don't want to risk losing their jobs. They may fear that by reporting it, they'll only worsen the situation.

It's essential to realize that the law protects employees from workplace harassment by supervisors, vendors, co-workers and even the public. Under federal law, employees can't be harassed because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, age and other characteristics. Under the law, you also have the right to report harassment and take appropriate action to stop it, including filing a complaint or lawsuit, without fear of losing your job or suffering other retaliation.

All types of reckless driving are extremely dangerous

Obeying the rules of the road at all times is one of the best things you can do to ensure a high level of safety. This doesn't guarantee you'll never be part of an auto accident, but it definitely helps.

All types of reckless driving are very dangerous. This is defined as driving with a willful disregard for safety or operating a vehicle in a manner that shows no regard for the potential consequences of your actions.

Hiking in the fall? Take extra safety precautions

Fall is one of the best times of the year to go hiking -- especially if you enjoy the colorful scenery and the cool air.

Unfortunately, fall and winter are also hunting time in many areas -- and that puts hikers in danger. Even an experienced hunter can sometimes mistake a hiker for a deer, and there are plenty of inexperienced hunters out there as well.

Should nursing homes evacuate residents when storms hit?

It's been a tough fall for the East Coast, with Hurricane Florence striking our neighbors to the south particularly hard. For people who have loved ones in nursing homes, severe weather can be particularly unnerving.

For state safety agencies and those who run these facilities, deciding whether to evacuate residents as storms approach or stay put isn't easy. No one wants a repeat of last year's tragedy when nearly a dozen residents of a Florida nursing home died after a damaged transformer left the facility without air conditioning during Hurricane Irma. A photo of nursing home residents in Texas sitting in chairs and wheelchairs waist-deep in water during Hurricane Harvey last year went viral.

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