Don’t Let an Injury Ruin your Holiday Shopping

In a frenzied effort to ratchet up end-of-year profits, major retailers will offer their best sales of the year on Black Friday.  Although the Morgantown, WV area and adjacent regions of Marion, Preston, and Taylor Counties are not heavily populated areas as compared to Pittsburgh, the mixture of customer expectations and limited quantities produce the same risks of injuries that we hear about in larger cities.  Many customers will drive with little sleep, even in bad road conditions to get a good position at the door.bags

Try to minimize possibilities of confrontation by showing courtesy to other shoppers and don’t be perceived as a line-cutter – it will cause resentment and possibly an altercation.  If you happen to be the lucky shopper who gets the last item at an incredible price, either cover (if possible) with other items in your cart or try to avoid that area of the store where others will be looking for the same item.

Even in the midst of all the crowds, excitement, and confusion, retailers have an obligation to create and maintain a safe shopping environment for their employees and customers and have a duty to maintain safe parking lots, sidewalks, stairs, and railings that are clear of water, ice, and obstacles to prevent personal injury.

Parking lots are part of a business owner’s property. Therefore, the owner of the retail store or other business property has a legal obligation to maintain the lot or ramp, including sidewalks and stairwells in a condition that is determined safe for public use. This includes ensuring the lot is properly marked and lighted and the traffic flow has been designed with the public’s safety in mind. If you have been injured in a parking lot accident, either while driving, riding a bike or walking, you may be entitled to seek damages for the cost of medical treatment, lost earnings and pain and suffering resulting from your injuries.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a guide to employers for preventing injuries during the Holiday shopping season or at any other time when large crowds gather.    The OSHA guide includes provisions for pre-planning strategies, practicing, and assigning specific workers to implement security, safety, and emergency responses.  The National Retail Federation issued similar warnings and guidelines to retailers that include emergency response directives and having employees practice crowd control safety measures sometime before Black Friday.

Other sound advice includes while shopping, make some trips to the car to put your gifts in the trunk. Lock them up and you can come back and finish your shopping and not have to carry everything around.  After one or two bags, it gets a little cumbersome and strains your back and could affect your balance if the parking lot is even a little slick.

Even though we’re not in a major metropolitan area, there will always be an undesirable element lurking about — at the grocery store, a shopping center, a shopping mall — they’re looking for an opportunity. So, don’t turn your back on anything.  As a consumer, you don’t want to provide theives that opportunity. Always keep things locked up in trunk, keep your cell phone close, don’t hang your handbag on the top of a stroller or over the back of your chair in a restaurant or food court. Use good common sense, even at 5:00 a.m. in the morning.

When a place of business does not provide a safe workplace and shopping environment and an employee or customer suffers an accident, injury, retail stores and malls are responsible for medical bills, lost wages and continuing disability, pain, suffering, and inconvenience caused by their carelessness.

If you have been seriously injured while shopping due to someone else’s negligence, call a Morgantown, WV Personal Injury Lawyer –  visit our website today  or call us today at 304-594-1800 or 304-216-6695 after hours to obtain the answers you need.

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Morgantown, WV Police Department Receives AAA Platinum Award for Traffic Safety

 On Tuesday, November 15, 2011, local police departments were recognized by AAA for their efforts in improving traffic safety.  Morgantown, Granville, Star City and Westover police departments; Monongalia, Marion, Preston and Taylor county sheriff ’s departments, and state police in Fairmont were all awarded the Platinum Award.
Gold award recipients included: Grafton, Kingwood and WVU police departments and State Police in Morgantown. 
Monongah and Barrackville police departments won silver awards and the Masontown Police Department received a bronze award.

What is First Party Insurance Bad Faith?

Your insurance company has an obligation to fairly consider your interests and compensate you according to the loss you have suffered within the limits of your insurance policy.  If the insurance company considers its own best interest, and you suffer losses as a result, you have a right to sue your own insurance company for bad faith.

Personal Property Bad Faith:

If you have suffered significant damage by fire, flood, ice, or wind to your home or place of business, your insurance company may only offer a fraction of the amount of money it will take to repair the damage.  Insurance companies are motivated to pay as little as possible, so you will need a lawyer if you wish to recover the full value of your loss.

In order to prove bad faith, your attorney will have to prove that your insurance company acted unreasonably in the adjustment of your claim.  This will be a complex process of litigation, and for optimum results it is essential that you hire an attorney with many years of experience in working directly with insurance companies.

Motor Vehicle Accident Bad Faith:

Likewise, if you have been in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident and are suffering from a personal injury and your insurance company has acted unreasonably or unfairly in settling your claim, you may be a victim of insurance bad faith.

If you need help with your insurance claim, contact us at www.robinettelaw.com or 1-304-594-1800.

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week November 12-18, 2012

In an effort to reduce the number of fatigue-related crashes and to save lives, the National Sleep Foundation is declaring November 12-18, 2012 to be Drowsy Driving Prevention Week®.  Most of us realize how dangerous driving under the influence or texting while driving is, but driving while drowsy can be equally dangerous. Sleepiness can cause slower reaction times, blurred vision, lapses in judgment, and delays in processing information.

FedEx Truck Accident in West Virginia

 In October, 2012 near Morgantown, WV a FedEx truck was traveling north in the southbound lanes shortly before 1 a.m. when the driver tried to make a U-turn to correct his direction.  The FedEx driver caused a truck accident when he struck a tractor-trailer which then crossed the median into the northbound lanes and crashed through a guardrail on the east edge of the road.  A passenger car traveling ahead of the tractor-trailer ran off the west edge of I-79 south, coming to rest against a guardrail.  Amazingly, no one was killed or seriously injured.  Three people were taken to the hospital, treated, and released.  The FedEx driver was from North Dakota and the semi-truck driver was from Arizona. 

At least two of these drivers illustrate the types of drivers that are most at risk for driving error due to drowsiness.  Before we launch into the fall and winter holidays, we need to consider the potential impact of driving while exhausted could have on our own safety, our families, and other drivers sharing the road with us.

Specific At-Risk Groups for Drowsy Driving

  • Young people-especially males under age 26
  • Shift workers and people with long work hours-working the night shift increases your risk by nearly 6 times; rotating-shift workers and people working more than 60 hours a week need to be particularly careful
  • Commercial drivers-especially long-haul drivers – at least 15% of all heavy truck crashes involve fatigue
  • People with undiagnosed or untreated disorders-people with untreated obstructive sleep apnea have been shown to have up to a seven times increased risk of falling asleep at the wheel
  • Business travelers-who spend many hours driving or may be jet lagged

Fast Facts about Driving while Fatigued:

  • 100,000 crashes each year are caused by fatigued drivers
  • 55% of drowsy driving crashes are caused by drivers less than 25 years old
  • Being awake for 18 hours is equal to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08%, which is legally drunk and leaves you at equal risk for a crash
  • In 2010, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a study that shows that fatigue is a factor in one in six deadly crashes; one in eight crashes resulting in hospitalization, and one in fourteen crashes in which a vehicle was towed. 
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that drowsy driving results in 1,550 deaths, 76,000 injuries, and more than 100,000 accidents every year.

Tips for avoiding becoming a drowsy driver statistic:

  • Get a good night’s sleep (seven to nine hours) before you begin your trip.
  • Plan breaks into your driving schedule; don’t be so rushed to arrive at your destination that you can’t stop for rest.
  • Stop every 100 miles or two hours for a walk, run, snack, or drink.
  • Bring a buddy who can share the driving.
  • If you think you could fall asleep, pull over and take a 15-20 minute nap.
  • Avoid driving at times you would normally be asleep.
  • Avoid alcohol and medicines that cause drowsiness.
  • Caffeine can increase alertness for several hours, but you will still need adequate rest if you want to prevent fatigue related errors.

Warning Signs that it is time to pull over:

  • Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, heavy eyelids.
  • Trouble keeping your head up.
  • Drifting onto rumble strips, swerving in your lane.
  • Inability to clearly remember the last few miles driven.
  • Missed exits or traffic signs.
  • Repeated yawning.
  • Feeling restless or irritable. 

Robinette Legal Group, PLLC in Morgantown, WV.  You may not have been able to avoid the collision that caused your injuries, but you can avoid the unnecessary pitfalls of dealing with the insurance adjusters who are motivated and trained to devalue your claim, if not destroy it altogether. 

Call our office today for free books for WV accident victims: Collision Care: West Virginia Auto Collision Guide, and Righting the Wrong, West Virginia Serious Injury Guide. 

304-594-1800 

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