Legal Insight: Night-time Truck Accidents

Truck Accident, night
Morgantown WV Night Truck Accidents: WV Truck Accident Law | Morgantown Truck Accident Lawyer Explains

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Night Truck Accidents, WV, I-79 and I-68

The federal department of transportation guidelines for commercial motor vehicles provide explicit directives and warnings regarding the safe operation of tractor trailers.    An empty  tractor trailer can stop quicker and respond faster to emergencies on the road than a fully loaded one.

Night driving dictates even more safety precautions because a tractor trailer operator can only respond to emergency situations he observes — if his speed exceeds the illuminated area of his headlights, then the driver will not be able to safely respond to an emergency situation until it is too late which may cause a fatal truck accident similar to the many devastating collisions we hear about on I-79 and I-68 near Morgantown.

During daytime driving, the visibility may be a quarter mile ahead, so a driver can see and anticipate how to respond to an emergency situation in time to avoid a collision.   At night, the illumination may only give a driver 200 feet of visibility, but his speed at 70 miles per hour may require every bit of that distance to stop his truck, depending on his load weight and road conditions.   If the driver is exceeding the posted speed limit at night, he won’t be able to see problem areas ahead in time to stop safely — hence, his stopping distance will exceed the illumination distance of his head lights.

It is quite obvious which tractor trailers are loaded on an uphill grade, but on level ground and certainly going downhill, heavily loaded trucks are especially vulnerable to collisions because they have little ability to slow down if there is an emergency situation ahead of them.

While there are many exceptional truck drivers who take great care to keep the public safe, there are others that exceed safe speeds, tailgate passenger vehicles, and fail to keep their trucks mechanically safe for operation.

Wrongful Death Investigations of Fatal Truck Accidents

In investigating fatal truck accident cases, it is imperative to pursue facts that point to truck driver fatigue or other types of negligence. Driver logs must be examined, hotel receipts, GPS devices, black box evidence, dash cam videos, and other sources of evidence that paint a picture of the circumstances leading to the accident.

This thorough approach gives the best possible chance of obtaining favorable results for an injured person or a family after filing a wrongful death claim after a fatal collision.

These big-rig truck accidents are the result of the volatile combination of speed and weight, causing a situation which is too often much more devastating than any other type of vehicle collision.

The most common causes of commercial truck accidents include:

Questions?  Contact Us Today & Learn How We Can Help.

Sources:

Comprehensive Q&A about Truck Accidents

WBOY News:  One Dead After Multi-vehicle Accident on I-79

Preston County WV Worker Killed at a Coal Mine Reclamation Site

Worker Killed in Preston County at Mine Reclamation Site

KINGWOOD, WV: – A contract worker helping in the installation of a water treatment system at the former Decondor Coal site in Preston County died on the job Tuesday when a ditch at a mine reclamation site caved in on him.  This worker was employed by Breakaway Inc. out of Sutton, West Virginia.

When a mining permit for this location was revoked, the reclamation work responsibility was transferred to the state.

The local police and the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will investigate the incident to determine the cause, fault, and possible negligence or safety violations.

Click Here to Learn More about the Legal and Criminal Ramifications After a Workplace Accident or Fatality and a Family’s Legal Rights

How Long Will it Take to Receive a Settlement for My Injury Case?

West Virginia Attorney Explains:  How Long will it Take to Settle my Case?

A common question I receive from clients is, “How long will it take for me to get a settlement?” The short answer is, if your injuries are minor, it can take just a few months to get your case settled.  However, if your injuries are severe your injuries and may require extended medical treatment, the longer it will take to settle your injury claim.

Insurance companies particularly require proof of your claim. We have to obtain medical records, employment records, expert reports, and those have to be synthesized and sent to the insurance company with the demand package and that process can take many months even for minor injury claims to resolve.

On the other hand, if your injuries are more serious or even life-threatening, they can take much longer: a year or two is not uncommon.

If you settle your case too early, even a minor injury case, and you find out that you should not have settled it because there were other parts of your injury that you didn’t know about, then you are foreclosed forever from pursuing any additional amounts of recovery because you settled early.

So, it’s best to be patient with the process in order to allow you to work with your attorney to make sure that all of your injuries are well established and documented.  Then, when the claim is sent into the insurance company, the full value of your claim will be considered by the insurance company.

So, always seek good legal advice as to when you should settle your case. Don’t take that decision upon yourself.

“Every good personal injury attorney wants his or her cases to move along towards resolution as expeditiously as possible but, every case is different and you never want to ‘sell a case short’ on value just for the sake of wrapping it up.” Steven M. Sweat, nationally recognized injury attorney.

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What if I already Settled My Case?  Can I get out of it?

For some of you, if you have already settled your case, the information in this post will only reinforce why you may feel so bad right now as you face all the problems that the insurance adjuster did not tell you about . The amount of money sounded good at first, but now that things have not worked out well for you, you have serious second thoughts about settling your case on your own . Let’s take a look at what can be done to address some of your concerns .

The first question you probably are wondering is whether you can get out of the settlement. The answer is, possibly, but only if the settlement was agreed to within 20 days after the auto collision.

West Virginia law allows you to void this settlement, but you must do so within 180 days from the date of the auto collision . If you reached a settlement more than 20 days after the collision, then the settlement is binding and enforceable unless you can prove that the insurance company defrauded you in some manner.

If you have questions about personal injury claims in West Virginia, don’t hesitate to call our office for a free case review:  304.594.1800 or after hours, 304.216.6695.

Visit our website for more answers to commonly asked questions about motor vehicle accident claims, insurance disputes, professional malpractice, and other personal injury claims.

Morgantown, West Virginia Personal Injury Attorney

Jeff Robinette, Morgantown WV Personal Injury Lawyer, Auto Collision Attorney

Author Jeff Robinette, Morgantown WV Personal Injury Attorney, has been designated as a Super Lawyer, National Board Certified Trial Attorney, member of the Multi-million Dollar Advocates Forum, and was recently selected as a Litigator Awards recipient, designating Mr. Robinette as a Top 1% attorney for personal injury and medical malpractice claims in West Virginia.

 

Related Posts:

West Virginia Car Accident Lawyer

Why You Should See a Doctor after a Vehicle Accident.

What To Do After a Car Accident?

Injured In A Car Accident In West Virginia? Know Your Legal Rights!

 

Morgantown Firefighter Injured by Drunk Driver

Two Morgantown firefighters, heroes to their families and the Morgantown community, were taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital after a drunken driver slammed into them as they were responding to a fire on Richwood Avenue. The injuries are non-life threatening, but serious none the less.

One fireman was treated and released, and the more seriously injured firefighter was kept overnight for additional treatment as a direct result of being run over in the accident caused by the drunk driver. The incident occurred at around 11:15 p.m., Wednesday, November 18, 2015.

Fire Truck
Morgantown Firefighters Injured by Drunk Driver

One of the firemen got out of the truck at the scene and that’s when the drunk driver drove left of center trying to pass the fire trucks and hit the fireman and one of the trucks. The woman driving apparently drug the victim 20-25 feet and ran over his leg before coming to a stop.

Fortunately for these firefighters, their medical bills should be covered by workers compensation coverage.   However, since the State Workers Compensation Fund was abandoned several years ago, these type of claims are being handled by private insurance companies such as Brickstreet Insurance.

The private insurance companies use adjusters to handle these claims and most injured workers have a hard time getting their treatments and bills paid.     Since these insurance companies cannot be sued for bad faith (thanks to laws that protect them), they typically handle these claims the way they want to, without any interference from the judicial system.

Another problem these firefighters face is getting full compensation for their injuries.    Even if the workers compensation insurance companies treat them fairly, they are only compensated for a fraction of their compensable injuries.    The party that caused their injuries often don’t have any or enough insurance coverage to compensate them, and complex insurance coverage issues often accompany these types of claims.

A Morgantown woman is facing charges of DUI causing injury after hitting the Morgantown fireman with her vehicle while driving under the influence Wednesday night.

Help for Morgantown Injury Claims

At Robinette Legal Group, we handle claims like these every day and have the experience to help injured workers navigate through the complex web of insurance coverage issues and laws.   We would be pleased to help you and the initial consultation is absolutely free:  304-594-1800 or after hours  304-216-6695.

Source:

WDTV News: Driver Charged with DUI After Hitting Morgantown Fireman, Shannon Chavez, November 19, 2015.

Read more about a person’s rights after being hit by a drunk driver:  Morgantown Drunk Driver Accidents and Injuries

Lawsuits Filed After Scaffolding Collapses

Construction workers face danger daily in the ordinary course of their workday. Even so, when a work site has been secured by safety procedures which have been carefully implemented, builders have every reasonable expectation of returning home to their families intact.  When an ordinary work day turns disastrous and lives are forever changed, these hard-working men and women can no longer provide for their families.  After a construction accident, what remedy exists for the injured to obtain necessary medical care and for these families to build new lives?

In October, 2015, two tragic scaffold collapses in Houston, Texas have resulted in injuries, deaths, and at least one worker left in a vegetative state.  So, who was at fault, and who will provide care for these workers and their families?

Building Scaffolding
Building Construction, Scaffold Collapse

Investigations are on-going, and whether the collapses were caused by anchors at the top of the building breaking loose after these anchors were improperly secured, faulty construction or materials used in building the scaffolding, faulty concrete causing a lack of integrity in the soundness of the scaffold’s attachment to the building, or bolts not properly secured, the investigations will point to the parties or party responsible for the failure of the scaffolding to provide protection and support.

Some of these workers will suffer life-long injuries, and will most likely collect Worker’s Compensation benefits, unless the companies involved have opted out of Worker’s Comp Insurance as provided by Texas law.  Many large retailers, trucking companies, health care, and food companies have already opted out, which means the employer has almost complete control over the medical and legal process after workers are injured.

Worker’s Compensation exists because employers owe a duty to workers injured on the job and their families and pays for the workers’ medical bills and lost wages.  According to an investigation by ProPublica and NPR, the Texas alternative to Worker’s Comp usually cuts off treatment after two years and doesn’t pay compensation for most permanent disabilities and strictly limits payouts in the event of a death or catastrophic injury.

The families directly affected by these scaffolding collapses in October have retained lawyers to obtain any and all benefits due to them as a results of the workplace accident which has caused these horrific injuries.  Their construction accident attorney will investigate the cause of the accident, the extent of injuries and long-term impact on these individuals and their families, and whether or not a third party can be sued, such as the contracting company which installed the scaffold system or the manufacturer of the scaffolding.

These families have acted wisely in obtaining legal representation right away.  All states have a time limit (statute of limitations for work injuries) for injury claim lawsuits to be filed, and as time passes, evidence and witnesses can become difficult or impossible to find.

The personal injury lawyers at the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC based in Morgantown have represented many construction accident victims in West Virginia during the past twenty-five years, and are ready to help you if you have been hurt or are suffering after the death of a loved one.  We have successfully handled a wide variety of claims ranging from slip and fall injuries to wrongful deaths from coal mine explosions and power plant accidents.  If you were injured in West Virginia, protect your legal rights by calling us today for a free case evaluation:  304-594-1800 or after hours, 304-216-6695.

 

WV Lawsuit After Severe Head Injury in Coal Mine

West Virginia Coal Miner Injured, Files Lawsuit

Brain Injury, Work Accident
Brain Injury, WV Coal Mine Accident

Every year, miners suffer serious injuries due to the decisions of coal operators to violate safety regulations. The employers in this industry are obligated by law to meet certain standards in order to keep miners as safe as possible, and when they neglect this responsibility the consequences can be catastrophic.

According to the complaint, despite pointing out a safety hazard regarding the height of the mine roof and track conditions to the defendants on several occasions, the plaintiff says the companies never addressed the problem.

On Aug. 3, 2013, the plaintiff was traveling on the back of a transport vehicle in the mine, without a hard hat, when his head hit the roof protrusion that he and other employees had noted to the defendants. The complaint also states that the employees that operated the man-trip did so at unsafe speeds and that the plaintiff did not have time to react to avoid the hazard.

The resulting injuries were severe, the suit claims, including traumatic brain injury, impaired mobility and activities of daily living, permanent scarring and physical impairment. Both defendants have suffered lost wages and benefits, future earning capacity, future medical expenses and past medical expenses totaling nearly $1 million.

Edward Ellis Jr. and Tina Ellis filed the suit Aug. 3 in Wyoming Circuit Court against Pinnacle Mining Co., Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., Cliffs North American Coal Inc., Cliffs Logan County Coal LLC, Cliffs West Virginia Coal Inc. and Cliffs Mining Services Company.

Related Articles:

Coal Mine Roof Collapse Results in Two Deaths in Boone County, WV

New Regulations Mandate Proximity Sensors for Continuous Mining Machines to Prevent Crushing Injuries and Death

West Virginia Man Accused of Falsifying Safety Mine Records

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed After Mining Fatality

What is Vehicular Manslaughter?

In general, vehicular homicide, also called negligent homicide, involves a person’s death that is the result of a driver’s negligent operation of a motor vehicle, or resulting from operating a vehicle while committing some unlawful act that may not necessarily amount to a felony.  The charges are compounded if the negligent driver was drunk, DWI, or under the influence of drugs at the time of the collision.

The victim of a vehicular homicide wrongful death can either be a pedestrian, another motorist, or a cyclist, or the victim can be the passenger in the car, SUV, boat, truck, bus, or motorcycle.

In West Virginia, when the  wrongful death of any person happens within one year as a  result of injuries received by an individual who is in reckless disregard of the safety of others, the person who caused the collision may be guilty of negligent homicide.

In WV, this crime may be punished by imprisonment for up to one year and/or by a fine of $100.00 to $1,000.00 and that driver may lose his or her license if convicted of negligent homicide.

The term “vehicular homicide” has been discussed lately as Caitlyn (Bruce) Jenner faces charges stemming from a deadly four-car accident in which Jenner was involved.  One woman was killed in the wreck and others injured.

The police investigation into the deadly four-car accident involving Jenner is finished and the results could lead to a misdemeanor manslaughter charge.  The laws pertaining to vehicular homicide have the legal effect of calling a vehicle which is being recklessly driven a potentially deadly or dangerous weapon.

Jenner was driving a black Cadillac SUV that was the third vehicle in a multiple rear-end collision.  Jenner’s SUV hit a car from behind, sending it into oncoming traffic where it was hit by another SUV.  That driver died at the scene.

Even though Jenner was traveling under the posted speed limit, the investigation determined that Jenner was going at an unsafe speed for the conditions at the time of the collision.

The DC Caller recently featured an editorial which contemplates the question that is on the minds of some:  if Jenner is criminally charged and found guilty, does he/she face time in a male or female prison? Of course this will never happen, as Jenner will hire the best defense attorney available.  That’s an interesting question which will have to be decided by the courts, but nevertheless, male or female, that issue would not affect the insurance issues related to the personal injury and wrongful death claims resulting from that collision.

As far as compensation for a family who has suffered such a tragic loss due to the negligence of another motorist, insurance may not only be limited to policy limits, but also punitive damages resulting in greater compensation may be pursued if the negligence was due to DUI or DWI.

Morgantown Wrongful Death Attorney

If your family has suffered the loss of a loved one, provider, or child, just as the offending driver must retain a criminal lawyer for the protection of his or her legal rights, it is imperative that the suffering from that driver’s actions retain an attorney to represent their best interests.  The insurance companies are just that, companies most concerned with their bottom line.

To secure your financial future after such tragic loss, contact a Morgantown personal injury attorney for a free consultation today.  304-594-1800 or after hours, 304-216-6695 to speak directly with a National Board Certified Trial Attorney for his opinion of your case based on twenty-five years experience with insurance companies and collision claims.

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If you wait, it may be too late.

It is Your Responsibility to Protect Your Legal Rights after an Accident.

Why is the Insurance Company Offering so Little for my Claim?

Sources:
CNN, “Caitlyn Jenner could face misdemeanor manslaughter charge in car crash,” By Steve Almasy and Paul Vercammen, August 20, 2015.

Fatal Accident on Grafton Road near Morgantown WalMart

Monongalia County authorities have responded to a head-on vehicle accident on Grafton Road in Morgantown that happened at about 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 28th, 2015.

Head on collisions occur from a variety of reasons including DUI, distracted driving, inclement weather, health conditions, falling asleep at the wheel, and traveling the wrong way on a one-way lane or approach, texting while driving, brake failure, tire blowout, dangerous road conditions, and speeding.  Whatever the cause, the result is often tragic and ends in great loss for individuals and families.

A white car, driven by an Arthurdale man in his 20s, was traveling southbound on Grafton Road when it crossed the center line and struck a flatbed truck head-on, according to state police. Grafton Road was shut down for a couple of hours. According to WV State Police in Morgantown and MECCA 911, the driver of the white car was killed.

The driver of the flatbed truck was taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

State police are investigating the exact cause of this collision.

Sources:

WBOY News: https://www.facebook.com/wboy12news

WAJR News: http://wajr.com/one-dead-in-monongalia-county-wreck/

 

Fatal Two Car Accident in Preston County WV

Head-on collisions result in tragedies which change lives and families forever. About ten percent of all fatal road accidents result from head on collisions, and 75% of these occur on rural roads and two lane highways.  These are the most dangerous of accidents and often result in very serious injuries.  Failure to negotiate a curve in the road is a cause of about a fourth of these wrecks, which is certainly a known hazard in Preston County.

Often speed, distracted driving, and falling asleep are factors in one driver crossing the center line and causing a collision with a second vehicle.  These accidents often result in concussions, broken bones, loss of limbs, knee injuries, shoulder and back injuries, and sometime death.

Kingwood, WV:  Recently, one person was killed and three others injured in a head-on crash along Veterans Memorial Highway in Preston County.  The two-vehicle accident involving a pickup truck and a sedan occurred Tuesday evening around 5 p.m.  The two people in the pickup truck were transported to Preston Memorial Hospital.

Elizabeth Renshaw, 83, of Kingwood, was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.  She was a passenger in the car driven by Thomas Renshaw, Jr., 64, of Roanoke Rapids, N.C. HealthNet was summoned to fly Thomas Renshaw to the hospital for treatment for his injuries.  The collision involved a Nissan and a Ford 150.  Both people in the truck, Anthony Runner and Courtlin Hicks, both age 30, were transported to Preston Memorial Hospital.  The extent of their injuries is not publically known.

The cause of the collision is still under investigation and it is not yet known why one of the vehicles crossed the center line.

Compensation for Injuries Resulting from West Virginia Accidents

If the accident has been caused by another negligent driver, after seeking medical attention, the next most important thing to do is to seek compensation for your losses.  As a victim of a car accident you must ensure that you rights are protected and that you receive the rightful compensation. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, loss of wages, pain and suffering, disfigurement, and disability.  To learn about your legal rights, call The Robinette Legal Group, PLLC  for a free consultation with an attorney.

Click Here to Visit our Website to learn more about car accident injury claims.

Sources:

 WV MetroNews, “One Dead, Three Injured in Preston County Crash” Dave Wilson, April 15, 2015.

The Dominion Post, “One Killed In Preston County Crash,” April 15, 2015.

Two Major Crashes on I-68 in Two Days ~ Please Drive Carefully

Multi-car Accidents on I-68

When the days are short and the temperature drops below freezing, driving hazards are increased exponentially.  Snow, ice, and foggy conditions make driving treacherous, often causing vehicle wrecks and injuries.  When winter driving is made even more dangerous by debris on the road, the results can be fatal.

In December, a young New Jersey man was killed and several others injured in a chain-reaction accident on Friday, December 19, 2014 on interstate 68 in Preston County near the Monongalia County line close to the Coopers Rock exit. While it was originally reported that six other vehicles were involved, later reports indicated that seven vehicles were involved in the collisions.  The crash occurred around 9:30 p.m. and closed both east and westbound lanes of the interstate for several hours, creating a several mile-long traffic backup.

I-68 crash.jpg

The next day, on Saturday December 20th at about 6:30 p.m., a series of tragic collisions shut down I-68 again at mile marker 29. On I-68 Eastbound, both lanes were closed from Hazelton Exit to Friendsville Exit in Garrett County, MD, and the closure was expected to last for 3-4 hours.  Two people died, one a Morgantown man, following the chain of wrecks on Interstate 68 in Garrett County near the West Virginia state line.  The initial wreck was the cause of the death of the first accident victim, and the police reported that while traffic was stopped in the eastbound lanes to allow a helicopter to land at the scene, there was a chain reaction accident that claimed another life.

Our hearts and prayers go out for the crash victims, families, and friends who have been directly affected by these tragic accidents. Grief and recovery were not in their plans; the holiday season will never be the same for these families.

Drivers need to take into account that a different weather exists up on those elevated mountain passes and take precautions accordingly.  The unexpected is more likely to occur, so heightened vigilance and attention to the road is required during these winter months.

For more information from Robinette Legal Group, PLLC about these collisions or multi-car collisions in general, please click here to visit our website.

Sources:

WVMetronews, “Chain-reaction crash on I-68 claims one life” by Jeff Jenkins, December 20, 2014.

Topix, “Chain Reaction on I-68 claims one life, backs up traffic,” December 20, 2014.