Record Number of Car Accidents in Star City, WV

Accidents in Star City, WV at an All-time High
Accidents in Star City, WV at an All-time High

Car accidents on the stretch between the Coliseum and Star City bridge are occurring every day in Morgantown.  Texting, talking, and other distractions have made this boulevard one of the most likely places in Morgantown to be involved in an accident, according to Police Chief Vic Propst.  Traffic is only expected to increase once the new Sheetz gas station on the Star City side of the bridge is completed.  New traffic signals to be installed will serve to regulate and slow down traffic, but in the meantime, please be careful.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: New Legislation Needed in West Virginia

Should Carbon Monoxide Detectors Be Required in all Hotels, Businesses, and Rental Housing Units?

A task force met in Kanawha County, WV on Friday, February 3rd.  Representatives from the health department, fire department, and emergency services, and code enforcement met to discuss how to prevent such deaths and poisonings from occurring in the future.

Approval by the state legislature is needed to enact an ordinance requiring carbon monoxide detectors in public buildings.  This could take a year or more, so for now, the best that can be done is to educate the public and business owners about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The task force plans to meet again Tuesday and have invited leaders from the State Fire Marshall’s office and hospital representatives.

A Rhode Island man died in his sleep on Tuesday, January 31, 2012, when his hotel room at the Holiday Inn and Suites in South Charleston, WV filled with carbon monoxide.  Another man is still in critical condition, and at least a dozen more guests are being treated for carbon monoxide poisoning.

A swimming pool heater at the hotel was the source of the deadly carbon monoxide leak.  The heater pump was fed by a pipe that went all the way through the building.  The hotel had no carbon monoxide detectors.

Carbon Monoxide:  the Silent Killer

Often called “the silent killer,” Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible and odorless gas that is produced when burning any fuel, such as gasoline, propane, natural gas, oil, wood, and charcoal.  Carbon monoxide causes illness by decreasing the amount of oxygen present in a person’s body.

CO poisoning can often be mistaken for other illnesses, such as the flu.  The most common symptoms include headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and confusion.  A sleeping or intoxicated person may not experience symptoms before they lose consciousness or die.  Often, other people in the place of business or household will exhibit similar symptoms.

In addition to death, carbon monoxide can cause severe learning disability, memory loss, and personality changes.  Young children are especially vulnerable to the effects of carbon monoxide and may show symptoms sooner than a healthy adult. Because of their smaller bodies, children process CO differently than adults and may be more severely affected by it.

Recent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Cases

Carbon monoxide poisoning happens in hotels, rental units, and businesses every year.  Between 1989 and 2004, 68 incidents of CO poisoning occurring at hotels, motels, and resorts were identified, resulting in 772 accidentally poisoned: 711 guests, 41 employees or owners, and 20 rescue personnel. Of those poisoned, 27 died.

The following are some of the most recent cases of carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • January 26, 2012:  A leak from a forklift Thursday led to 13 employees at Chippewa Bi Products in Wisconsin being sent to the hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning.  Propane forklifts were being used in the Chippewa Bi Products building where the employees got ill, and authorities believe one of the forklifts had a mechanical problem and released the toxic carbon monoxide fumes.  Chippewa Bi Products said that it has carbon monoxide detectors, and that one did go off at the time of the incident.
  • January 3, 2012:  A Target store in Keene, N.H., had to be evacuated Tuesday due to high levels of carbon monoxide, and 17 employees were taken to local hospitals.  The source of the carbon monoxide was a gas-powered cutting machine that was in the Target in the morning cutting out pieces of its concrete floor as part of a renovation, according to the Keene Sentinel. Fire authorities believe that the store wasn’t properly ventilated when that work was done, or when workers took out the concrete slabs with a tractor.
  • December 30, 2011:  The Hilton Garden Inn in Green Bay, Wisconsin had a carbon monoxide leak that led to about 16 people going to the hospital. There was no mention in the report of whether the hotel had carbon monoxide detectors as required by Wisconsin state law.  High levels of carbon monoxide were found in a swimming pool area, a workout room, a mechanical room, a stairway and several restrooms.
  • September 20, 2011:  In Morgantown, WV one person was killed and several others hospitalized after carbon monoxide poisoning occurred in the home they were renting.
  • July 25, 2011: Twelve people staying at a Norman, Oklahoma hotel were taken to the hospital after breathing toxic levels of carbon monoxide.  Firefighters arrived at the Sooner Legends Inn and Suites after a 3-year-old child became ill and was taken to the hospital. The firefighters detected carbon monoxide and evacuated the hotel.  The cause of the carbon monoxide leak was determined to be from a damaged, leaking ventilation pipe running from the boiler to the roof.

Business Owners Are Responsible to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Hotel owners and landlords have a heightened responsibility to ensure that their facilities are safe for guests and tenants.  Inspections and proper maintenance of equipment and heating units and the installation and maintenance of detectors are common-sense preventative measures one would expect any building owner to have in place.  Unfortunately, West Virginia does not require all hotels and rental homes to have carbon monoxide detectors.  Further legislation is needed to ensure that employees, guests, patrons and renters are kept safe from carbon monoxide poisoning which often results in catastrophic injuries and deaths.

Update: 

On April 5, 2012, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed Senate Bill 597.  The bill, effective Sept. 1, requires carbon monoxide detectors to be installed in all hotels, motels, apartment buildings, boarding houses, dormitories, long-term care facilities, adult or child care facilities, assisted living facilities, along with one- and two-family dwellings intended to be rented or leased.  The family of the carbon monoxide victim who died in a Charleston, WV hotel earlier in 2012 was present at the signing and expressed gratitude that the state of West Virginia has taken measures to prevent other families from experiencing this same sorrow in the future.

If you or  loved one has been a victim of carbon monoxide poisoning, please contact us the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC at http://www.robinettelaw.com

 

Carbon Monoxide Leak Kills Hotel Guest in South Charleston, WV; Injures at Least a Dozen More

A Rhode Island man died in his sleep on Tuesday, January 31, 2012, when his hotel room at the Holiday Inn and Suites in South Charleston, WV filled with carbon monoxide.  Another man is still in critical condition, and at least a dozen more guests are being treated for carbon monoxide poisoning.

A  swimming pool heater at the hotel was the source of the deadly carbon monoxide leak.  The heater pump was fed by a pipe that went all the way through the building – that is why one should choose the professional equippment only (learn specific details at Poolheaterworld.com).  The hotel had no carbon monoxide detectors.

Often called “the silent killer,” Carbon monoxide is an invisible and odorless gas that is produced when burning any fuel, such as gasoline, propane, natural gas, oil, wood, and charcoal.  Carbon monoxide causes illness by decreasing the amount of oxygen present in a person’s body.

CO poisoning can often be mistaken for other illnesses, such as the flu.  The most common symptoms include headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and confusion.  In severe cases, the person may lose consciousness or die.  Often, other people in the place of business or household will exhibit similar symptoms.

In addition to death, carbon monoxide can cause severe learning disability, memory loss, and personality changes.

Hotel owners and landlords have the highest degree of responsibility to ensure that their facilities are safe for guests and tenants.  Inspections and proper maintenance of equipment and heating units and the installation and maintenance of detectors are common-sense preventative measures one would expect any building owner to have in place.

If you or a loved one has experienced the devastating effects of carbon monoxide poisoning due to someone else’s negligence, please contact us at the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC for help at http://www.robinettelaw.com or (304)594-1800.

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 thieves that opportunity. Always keep things locked up in the 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 to get the answers you need.

 

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.

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