Motorcycle Accident Fatality, Morgantown, WV

Motorcycle with flamesA Morgantown, WV man was killed on Tuesday, September 20, 2011 when the motorcycle he was riding collided with an SUV making a left turn.  Monongalia County Sheriff’s Deputy M.D. Stemple said the investigation is ongoing, but speed may have been a factor.

According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA), in 2006, motorcyclists’ risk of a fatal crash was 35 times greater than a passenger car.  In 2007, 5,154 motorcyclists were killed – 38 of them in West Virginia.  The most frequent impact scenario – forty percent (40%) of the crashes – involved the other vehicle turning left in front of the oncoming motorcycle while the motorcycle was going straight, passing, or overtaking the vehicle.

Intersections are the most likely place for motorcycle crashes with other vehicles.  The most common cause of motorcycle/car accidents is the at-fault driver does not see the cycle until impact.

In multiple vehicle accidents, lack of visibility of the cycle is most often a contributing factor, with glare or other vehicles obstructing the at-fault driver’s view.  In two-thirds of multiple vehicle accidents with motorcycles, driver of the other vehicle violated the motorcycle’s right of way and caused the crash.

The likelihood of injury is extremely high in motorcycle accidents-98% of the multiple vehicle collisions and 96% of the single vehicle accidents resulted in some kind of injury to the motorcycle rider; 45% resulted in serious injury and death.  Riders without helmets sustained a 600% greater rate of traumatic brain injury than riders wearing helmets.

NHTSA estimates that helmets saved 1,784 motorcyclists’ lives in 2007, and that 800 more could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.  The state of West Virginia requires that all motorcyclists wear shatter-resistant eye protection and a helmet that conforms to federally approved safety standards.


For further information about motorcycle accidents, visit our website.

Why your Insurance Company doesn’t want you to hire a lawyer

With over two decades of experience as an insurance defense lawyer, the insight I have gained may be helpful to you in deciding whether or not you need your own legal representation.  The following are a few considerations about Insurance Companies:

  •  Insurance Companies are primarily concerned about their own profitability.  They do not profit from settling claims for their full value.
  • The Insurance Company’s lawyer is paid to ensure the company pays the smallest possible amount for your claim.
  • The Insurance Adjuster will encourage you to quickly settle the claim before you experience any long-term health effects resulting from the accident.
  • The adjuster from the Defendant’s Insurance Company is seeking to discredit your case and even seemingly innocent statements made by you can be used against you later.
  • Your Insurance Company may use detectives with surveillance cameras to monitor your activities, especially if you are claiming a long-term disability.
  • Once you have an attorney representing your claim to the Insurance Company, the insurer knows they must make a reasonable offer or face the costly prospect of defending themselves in court.

If you sign the Release of Claim form, even if you have future medical problems and may even need an operation, the Insurance Company has no obligation to pay for any further treatment.  Without representation, you may find that you have run out of money before your treatment is complete.  Your attorney will ensure that the full cost of all your present and future damages is part of the claim.  The proposed insurance settlement may seem reasonable, but unless you are an expert in the field of insurance law and the settlement of claims, you will never know if you guessed wrong.

For more information:  — Call Today:  1-304-594-1800


Bullying in West Virginia

Did you Know …

Despite West Virginia’s anti-bullying law, a Federal Government survey shows we have one of the highest rates of bullying in the country?  Texting, Facebook, and bussing activities contribute to the increase in bullying activities.  Symptoms of bullying can be fear of school, stomach pains, headache, and difficulty paying attention in class, unexplained injuries, and torn, damaged, or missing belongings.

What to do:

Talk with your child:  Ask your child, “How are things going at school?”  “What do you think about the other kids in your class?”  “Does anyone get picked on or bullied?”

Teach your child to ask for help.  Let your child know that if they are bullied, it is not their fault.  They should not feel ashamed to ask their parent, teacher, or other adult for help.

Talk to school officials:  When teachers, principals, playground monitors, bus drivers, and guidance counselors are aware of the problem, they can become part of the solution.

Support your children in activities that interest them:  Loners are more likely to be picked on, so provide opportunities to develop skills, talents, and healthy relationships.

This is a legal advertisement of the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC.

Source:  Connected Kids:  Safe, Strong, Secure (Copyright 2006 American Academy of Pediatrics).  For more information:

Harrison County, WV Power Plant Accident Results in Death

An employee of a contractor performing work for FirstEnergy, died following a workplace accident at the Harrison Power Station in Harrison County on March 20, 2013.  The accident occurred around 8:45 a.m., according to OSHA area director Prentice Cline.

The employee, age 57, was an employee of Burnham Industrial Contractors Inc., an insulating company based in Pittsburgh, according to FirstEnergy spokeswoman Jennifer Young.

According to the State Journal, the contracting company, Burnham Industrial, was removing insulation from ductwork in preparation for an upcoming planned maintenance outage when their employee fell through and into the ductwork, according to a March 20 letter from the power station’s director to employees.

“Scaffold planks on the duct structure beams were being used throughout the job to prevent any direct contact with the duct plating,” the letter reads. “At this time, it is not clear how the employee was positioned to have any contact with the duct plating.”

As a personal injury attorney who has had the privilege of helping the families of employees killed or injured while working at power plants, I am always saddened to hear that there is another family whose life has now been forever changed by a tragic death associated with working conditions at a local power plant.

Utility Workers Union of American attorney Mark Brooks shared a little more information.

“We were told that the company (Burnham) had worked on that particularly ductwork and moved on to another part of the plant,” Brooks said. “And this worker went back to retrieve some tools and he was later found having fallen through a weak spot in the ductwork.”

He said it’s his understanding that the temperature inside the ductwork, when operating, approaches 300 degrees, and that Bergman was found by another Burnham employee.

He was unable to say whether it is standard practice to perform work on ductwork while the system is in operation.

FirstEnergy owns the coal-fired power plant.  FirstEnergy, Burnham Industrial, and OSHA are all investigating the cause of the fatality to determine who was at fault for this tragic and untimely death.  Officials will continue to investigate the accident to determine how and why safety measures failed and whether there were any violations of federal safety regulations.

 Although employers are immune from common-law negligence claims through Worker’s Compensation laws, families of fatally injured employees have a cause of action against employers who deliberately expose their employees to known unsafe conditions in the workplace.

The insurance companies will be doing everything within their legal power to minimize this claim and avoid paying full compensation. They will hire or use company lawyers to aggressively fight your claim. These types of claims are complicated and can be lost on technical or procedural violations. It is essential for this family to hire an attorney who has a reputation of experience and success in handling wrongful death claims.

What is a Wrongful Death?  Allow us to answer some of your questions:

This is the second death at Harrison in less than two years. Employee Ned Johnson of Rivesville died at the facility in September 2011 when he was pinned between a machine and a guardrail.  FirstEnergy was found by OSHA to be at fault for Mr. Johnson’s death.  

Update:  Harrison County Power plant found to be at fault for death of Ned Johnson:

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a ruling on an accident that killed a man at its Harrison Power Station in Sept. 2011.  OSHA ruled the plant’s owner, FirstEnergy, is at fault in the death of Ned Johnson of Rivesville.

It ruled he died by getting crushed between a moving platform of a Rotary Plow Feeder and a standing guardrail. According to OSHA’s report, FirstEnergy allowed employees to work in an environment where the equipment could cause several fatal injuries.

Original article — Ned Johnson:

Fire officials say a 63-year-old Rivesville man was killed in an accident at the FirstEnergy Harrison Power Station near Lumberport in September of 2011.  Ned Johnson, a bulk handling operations technician, was trapped between a piece of machinery and a guardrail in the coal handling area near 12:30 p.m.  Ned Johnson had worked for FirstEnergy for twenty-five years and for the Harrison Power Station for two years.  This area was closed by the company after the accident.

Although at least three other FirstEnergy employees in Ohio and Pennsylvania have been killed on the job in the last six months, FirstEnergy’s Harrison Power Station is part of a labor department program meant to allow work sites with good safety records to avoid routine Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspections.  This program has been criticized by workplace safety advocates and congressional auditors.  The Harrison Power Station has not been inspected for more than a decade according to the U.S. Department of Labor.  The Harrison Power Plant was last inspected in July of 2000 and cited with two minor violations.

Operators of heavy construction and industrial equipment face some of the most dangerous work conditions in America. When a piece of equipment fails, bringing a machine that can weigh multiple tons or more to an emergency stop is often impossible. Operators behind the wheel or working near the equipment are at the mercy of unstoppable mass and energy.

Submitted by the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, West Virginia Injury Lawyers. Free books and downloads for WV accident victims — Call us today:  304-594-1800 for your free copy of Righting the Wrong: WV Serious Injury Guide; Collision Care: WV Auto Injury Guide; or Beside Still Waters: WV Fatal Injury Guide for Families. We are glad to answer your questions.

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Robinette Legal Group, PLLC

Who Will You Trust With Your Personal Injury Case?

A personal injury is not a trivial legal problem. It is an immediate legal crisis that affects your health, your finances, your job and your loved ones. The biggest mistake you can make in handling this legal crisis is to trust your case to an attorney who only “dabbles” in personal injury law.

At Robinette Legal Group, personal injury law is the only focus of our law practice. Firm founder Jeff Robinette has devoted his career to fighting for the rights of personal injury victims and their families, including injured people, children and the elderly. He knows personal injury law from the inside out and has a proven record of success obtaining favorable results for our clients.

Contact us to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney.

Jeff Robinette is a lifetime member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, whose membership consists of the top trial lawyers in America who have achieved multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. He is also a Silver Member of the Elite Lawyers of America, whose membership requires numerous multimillion dollar recoveries for clients.

How Can You Achieve Maximum Compensation?

Contact our Morgantown personal injury attorneys for a free, no-obligation consultation about your claim. We promise to listen, give you honest advice and be responsive to your needs. If we take your case, you will have an experienced, knowledgeable team of skilled trial lawyers fighting aggressively to win.

Our primary focus is on serious personal injury and insurance claims for plaintiffs, including:

  • Personal injury and wrongful death claims: We have the professional resources to handle complex personal injury and wrongful death claims resulting from car accidents, workplace injuries, injuries to children and defective products. Our firm handles all types of injuries, such as spinal cord, broken bone, nerve damage and brain injury cases.
  • Financial Losses: We focus a significant part of our practice on representing clients who have suffered financial damages and losses resulting from malpractice or professional negligence on the part of licensed professionals, including lawyers and law firms, construction professionals and financial advisors. We are also very skilled and experienced at handling insurance claims.

We accept many types of personal injury litigation cases on contingency. You won’t pay attorneys’ fees unless you recover financial damages. For some financial damage cases, we offer reasonable hourly fees.

Contact a Morgantown Personal Injury and West Virginia Wrongful Death Lawyer

Contact us to arrange a cost-free consultation with an experienced West Virginia personal injury attorney today.  1-304-594-1800;