More than 120 Killed in Bangladesh Garment Factory Fire

Today, November 27th, 2012, has been designated a national day of mourning in Bangladesh.   On November 25, 2012, fire swept through the Tazreen Fashion factory, a garment factory on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital, killing more than 120 people in the country’s worst-ever factory fire.  The fire at the nine-story factory started on the ground floor late on Saturday and spread, trapping hundreds of workers.   Interior stairways were made impassable by the flames rising from the first floor where the blaze began.  The cause of this fire that started on the ground floor is not yet known.  The building had no fire escapes.

Over 600 of the factory’s 1,500 employees were reported to have been in the factory working overtime when the blaze began.  Most of the workers killed were women, including at least nine who jumped to their death from windows.  Some workers died of smoke inhalation and many were burned beyond recognition, while many more were taken to the hospital for severe burns and toxic exposure.   The Tazreen factory has been reported to have sales of over $35,000,000 per year.  The entry-level wage for a garment worker is about $37 per month.

Thousands of people are in the streets this week protesting working conditions at Bangladeshi factories which are notoriously poor, with little enforcement of safety laws, and with overcrowding and locked fire doors common.   In 2006 a similar fire in Bangladesh killed 84 garment workers who could not escape through blocked fire exits.  Over 300 factory workers have died in Bangladesh in the past six years resulting from unsafe working conditions.

More than 300 factories near the capital shut for almost a week earlier this year as workers demanded higher wages and better working conditions.   Bangladesh, with over 4,500 garment factories, is the second-largest exporter of clothing after China, manufacturing clothing for stores like Wal-Mart, J.C. Penny, and Khols.  After the blaze was extinguished, charred clothing with labels from Faded Glory, Wal-Mart’s brand of clothing was found in the remains.

According to the New York Times,  Bangladesh’s garment industry has also attracted rising international and domestic criticism over a poor fire safety record, low wages and policies that restrict labor organizing inside factories. The Clean Clothes Campaign, a European group that opposes sweatshops, said that more than 500 Bangladeshi laborers had died in factory fires since 2006. In 2010, 29 workers died from a fire inside a Bangladeshi factory making clothing for Tommy Hilfiger.

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory:

Thanks to decades of reform and creation of workplace safety laws,  the United States, generally speaking, is one hundred years ahead of countries like Bangladesh concerning workplace accidents and safety.  This disaster is nearly a reenactment of one of the United States’ most horrific workplace disasters.  On March 25, 1911, in New York City, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire became the deadliest industrial disaster in the history of New York City.  Young women, most in their teens, were found dead by locked doors within the factory.

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory doors had been locked from the outside to keep the workers in and union organizers out.  At least 146 garment workers died in this fire, some burned so badly that they were unrecognizable.

Some workers had died from smoke inhalation; many died from being crushed by other frantic workers trying to escape.   Others jumped from 9th and 10th story floors of the building to escape the flames and were instantly killed upon impact; some even impaled on a nearby iron fence that bordered the street by the building before they hit the ground.

In November of 1910, just months before this disaster, 20,000 young women had organized a general strike, protesting in the streets to condemn the unsafe working conditions in the dimly lit fire traps in which they had found employment.  The union eventually ran out of money, and the thinly clad garment workers who were not even able to afford coats were forced to return to work in order to provide for their daily existence.

A Factory Investigating Commission was created by the New York State Legislature to “investigate factory conditions in NYC and other cities and to report remedial measures of legislation to prevent hazard or loss of life among employees through fire, unsanitary conditions, and occupational diseases.”  The investigators found more than 200 New York factories were found to have conditions similar to those leading to the Triangle Shirtwaist fire.  Today, these conditions still exist in China, Bangladesh, India, and other countries where workers’ rights to safety have been ignored in favor of maximum profits for the companies.

These reports helped modernize labor laws, making New York State “one of the most progressive states in terms of labor reform.” New laws mandated better building access and egress, fireproofing, availability of fire extinguishers, installation of alarm systems, automatic sprinklers, better eating and toilet facilities for workers, and limited the number of hours that women and children could work.  Eventually, organizations such as OSHA and AFL-CIO were created to represent American workers; much of that representation concerns their safety.

Workplace Personal Injury Lawyers’ Role in Enforcement of Workplace Safety Law

Workplace personal injury and wrongful death lawyers are dedicated to ensuring that business owners maintain OSHA’s high standards for workplace safety, and ensure that if they do attempt to skirt compliance, they suffer great punitive damages.  Unfortunately, the fear of reprisal is sometimes the only motivator for companies to maintain safety standards for their employees.

It has taken over two centuries of legal progress for this to happen.   Consider the untold number of injury victims from recent prior decades who received no compensation for their injuries because laws favored business and industry and practically ignored workers’ safety.

Modern-day companies including coal mines and gas drilling sites even now at times have the same tendencies as their predecessors — to take advantage of their workforce.  Like their predecessors, our modern-day companies don’t want to fairly compensate the people they injure or the families of the people they kill.   Just like in earlier times of corporate abuse, little to no compensation will be offered to injury victims who must nurse their own injuries with inadequate financial support.

Lawmakers normally respond to public sentiment; this is how our representative system of government works.   When enough interested citizens and injury victims voice support for better laws, it is up to the lawmakers to respond.   In recent decades there has been steady public support for better laws for injury victims.   But, corporations and insurance companies don’t want more restrictive safety requirements — that means more liability exposure.

In response, lawmakers have had to choose between helping the corporations make more money and helping injury victims get recoveries from wrongdoers.  Lawmakers thus far have not completely caved in to the desires of the corporations and insurance companies, because a majority of people have voiced their outrage over corporate greed and their role in causing an increase in incidents involving serious injuries and deaths.   Even so, it takes a constant flow of information to lawmakers about injury victims’ plights, and that’s where trial lawyers and their associations are effective in protecting your rights.

Submitted by the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, West Virginia Workplace Injury/Wrongful Death Lawyers.  Call us today:  304-594-1800 for your free copy of Righting the Wrong:  WV Serious Injury Guide.

 

Marijuana Legalized in the States of Washington and Colorado

Washington and Colorado voters made their states the first in the nation to legalize recreational pot use on November 6, 2012 even though use is a violation of federal law.  The measure sets up a system of state-licensed marijuana growers, processors and retail stores, where adults over 21 can buy up to an ounce. It also establishes a standard blood test limit for driving under the influence.  Home growing has also become legal in Colorado, but not Washington.  The state of Oregon also voted on the issue in 2012 and legalization with unrestricted cultivation received 47% of the vote.  The issue is expected to be voted on again in 2016 in Oregon, as well as in California and Maine. 

Though it currently remains illegal to sell non-medical marijuana in the state — recreational pot shops won’t be able to get licenses to open for about another year — the law allows people to give marijuana to one another without compensation.
 
The Governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper, is on the record opposing his state’s amendment which seeks to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol.  “Colorado is known for many great things –- marijuana should not be one of them,” Hickenlooper said in a statement. “Amendment 64 has the potential to increase the number of children using drugs and would detract from efforts to make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation. It sends the wrong message to kids that drugs are OK.”
 

Supporters of the new law argue that legalizing marijuana could help bring in hundreds of millions of dollars a year in pot taxes, reduce small-time pot-related arrests and give supporters a chance to show whether decriminalization is a viable strategy in the war on drugs.

House Bill 2230, the West Virginia Compassionate Medical Marijuana Bill includes this clause concerning the medical use of marijuana:  “States are not required to enforce federal law or prosecute people for engaging in activities prohibited by federal law. Therefore, compliance with this article does not put the State of West Virginia in violation of federal law.”  But, be aware: just because state laws have changed, that doesn’t necessarily mean if you are caught in possession of marijuana in a state which has legalized recreational use you won’t go to jail — because federal law still trumps state law. “Several states with legal medical marijuana have received letters from their respective United States Attorneys offices explaining that marijuana is a Schedule I substance and that the federal government considers growing, distribution, or possession of marijuana to be a federal crime regardless of the state laws. These letters have caused some states to delay or alter implementation of their medical marijuana programs.” 

As a law firm which has helped many people  who are suffering permanently life-altering injures from auto collisions, we have grave concerns about the effect of the legalization of the recreational use of pot on the safety of all drivers.  While alcohol is the predominant substance in fatal crashes, marijuana is the second most frequently found substance in crash-involved drivers, according to a NHTSA study. Alcohol and marijuana are also frequently found together, which results in a dramatic decrease in driving performance and spike in impairment levels.

Another area of strong concern is child safety.  West Virginia leads the nation in accidental prescription pain medicine overdoses.  Although medical professionals seem to agree that it is almost impossible for an adult to overdose on cannabis, the health risks for a young child are very serious.  For more information about the need for tamper-proof packaging for West Virginia’s proposed medical use marijuana, see our post:  http://wvaccidentlawyer.org/2013/04/08/medical-marijuana-in-wv-child-safety-packaging/.

Trends and Current Marijuana News

April 2013:  They are smelling something green on the West Coast, and it’s not necessarily cannabis —  entrepreneurs are smelling money as they position themselves to  be the first to invest in, develop, and market the cultivation, distribution, software tracking, vending machines and vaporizers for legal pot.     

According to Fortune Magazine, the CEO and co-founder of ArcView, a leading cannabis investment group, says:  “A geyser is going to go off, and the question is ‘Which company is going to be on top when it does?’  Business is driving this change.  Where there is money for government, money for investors, and money for entrepreneurs, there is a powerful incentive for change.”   Source:  Fortune Magazine, April 8, 2013:  “Yes We Cannabis” by Roger Parloff.

West Virginia debates Compassionate Medical Marijuana Act. http://www.statejournal.com/story/21829210/speakers-at-public-hearing-advocate-for-medical-marijuana-use-in-wv.

New study highlights the dangers of driving under the influence:  (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130301122256.htm)

January 2013:  Several bring-your-own pot clubs have now opened for business in Colorado.  The first legal pot dens popped up less than a month after Colorado’s governor signed into law a constitutional amendment allowing recreational pot use. Club 64, a club near Denver, gets its name from the number of the amendment.

Colorado’s marijuana amendment prohibits public consumption, and smoke-free laws also appear to ban indoor smokeouts. But Club 64 attorney Robert Corry said private pot dens are permissible because marijuana isn’t sold, nor is it food or drink.  The first marijuana club to open in Colorado has already been shut down. The club in a tiny southern Colorado town of Del Norte opened on Monday, but the lease was not to begin until Tuesday.  The landlord cancelled the pending lease of the club owner after all the publicity came out about the club’s opening.  The club owner stated that their business profit plan included customers from New Mexico who were planning to drive over the state line to participate. 

February 2013:  If a California company has its way, recreational marijuana users in Colorado and Washington state will one day be able to get their pot out of vending machines.

Such machines are already in use in some states where medical marijuana is legal, but now the maker’s founder says the Medbox company is working to adapt the machines to comply with new laws in Colorado and Washington, where adults can legally use marijuana for recreation.

Currently, the vending machines for medicine require a fingerprint scan to verify the identification of the patient, which is then linked to a prescription on file. 

Read more: Colorado’s first marijuana den shut down in landlord dispute – The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_22292647/colorados-first-marijuana-club-shut-down-landlord-dispute#ixzz2GwIGaGzL

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/03/16327561-recreational-marijuana-users-could-get-pot-from-vending-machines-company-says?lite

http://www.policymic.com/articles/23326/marijuana-legalization-state-laws-matter-little-to-the-feds/347231

From the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, Call today for free information for WV serious injury victims.  Order your copy of Righting the Wrong:  WV Serious Injury Guide today:  304-594-1800.  We have answers for your questions concerning your serious injury and insurance matters.

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Common Back and Spine Injuries After an Accident

Does your back hurt after a car or work accident in West Virginia (WV)?

If your spine has been injured, you know the pain can be excruciating, debilitating, and unending.  Back and spine injuries are some of the most common injuries that permanently alter our clients’ lives after a car wreck or workplace accident.   The insurance companies will attempt to minimize the amount of compensation you receive for your back injury, especially if you have a prior history of back pain that has been aggravated and made considerably worse by this traumatic event.  Our office frequently receives calls concerning spinal injuries, especially to the lower vertebrae, and the Robinette Legal Group has consistently obtained excellent results for our seriously injured clients.

Spinal cord injuries include:

  • Herniated discs: Fluid in the discs between any vertebrae ruptures, causing partial arm paralysis and pain
  • Fractured vertebrae: Can happen anywhere along the spinal column. Individual vertebrae break or disconnect, leading to possible paralysis below the fracture.
  • Cervical injuries: Injuries to the spine near the neck usually result in full or partial paralysis. A broken neck is a type of cervical injury.
  • Thoracic injuries: Mid-back area of the spine. Often results in paralysis or partial immobility of arms and legs.
  • Lumbar and sacral injuries: Lower spine injuries often result in mobility problems or paralysis of hips, as well as effects on the urinary tract and digestive tract.

A spinal cord injury doesn’t always mean paralysis. Many spine injuries suffered in accidents go undetected as hairline fractures on the vertebrae. There may be only minor symptoms, which may go away over time, leaving the victim to believe that no serious injury occurred.

In time, however, even a minor spinal cord injury can progress to a serious problem, requiring surgery and years of medical treatment. At their worst, a spinal cord injury can progress to paralysis and organ damage.

Get the Help You Need From Experienced Professionals

If you or a loved one has been in an accident and is noticing back pain or other nerve damage, make sure a medical specialist considers the possibility of a spinal cord injury. The West Virginia spinal cord injury lawyers of the Robinette Legal Group have extensive experience representing clients involved in spinal cord injury claims.

Jeff Robinette is a former insurance defense attorney who now exclusively represents plaintiffs injured by someone else’s negligence.  I use my courtroom experience and knowledge of the insurance litigation system to provide vigorous, effective representation for people who need to recover full and fair money damages for serious injuries that forever change our clients’ work and daily lives.

Free Books for WV Accident Victims:

Spinal cord injuries don’t go away on their own. If you have been injured, you may face a lifetime of medical treatment and financial loss. Our firm will fight hard to help you recover the full and fair money damages you are entitled to.

To learn more about what actions you should take — and must avoid — after an accident, order a FREE copy of our latest book Righting the Wrong:  West Virginia Serious Injury Guide.  You can obtain this book by contacting us through our website http://www.robinettelaw.com or by calling us at 304-594-1800 today.

We welcome your call and would be glad to answer your questions concerning your serious back or spinal injury.

Oil and Gas Facts, Marcellus Shale Fracking

With the development of the Marcellus Shale in West Virginia, the number of job opportunities in the natural gas industry has tripled.  Thousands of new jobs have already been created for West Virginians. According to a recent study by West Virginia University, there will be at least 7,000 new West Virginia jobs created due to the impact of the Marcellus Shale development including rig hands, roughnecks, engineers, as well as opportunities for contractors who serve the industry through drilling, pipeline construction, well service, trucking, and oil field service and supply.

According to the Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia:

  • Natural gas serves approximately 65 million homes; 5 million businesses including hotels, restaurants, hospitals, schools and supermarkets; 207,000 factories and 1,800 electric generating units.• Natural gas is considered the cleanest fossil fuel because it produces emissions much lower than those of other fossil fuels.• Natural gas currently generates approximately 23 percent of total U.S. electricity.

    • Natural gas is predominately a domestic energy source. In 2010, 99% of the natural gas consumed in the United States was produced in North America.

    • According to the EIA Annual Energy Outlook 2011, the United States possesses 2,543 trillion cubic feet of potential natural gas resources, enough to meet current U.S. consumption for another 100 years.

Source: IOGA West Virginia website – “Industry Facts

Two Contractors Suffer Burn Injuries at Harrison Power Station

HealthNet flew two people to the hospital after they suffered burns at the Harrison Power Station Friday afternoon.

The two contract workers from C&K Industrial who were injured while doing work at the Harrison Power Station in Haywood (Haywood Power Station) Friday have been treated at the West Penn Burn Center and released, according to First Energy Spokesman.  One of the workers was treated and released Friday evening, while the other was kept overnight for observation and was released Saturday morning.

HealthNet flew both victims to the West Penn Burn Center in Pittsburgh. First Energy said one of the victims suffered temperature burns on his arms and chest. He was treated and released. The second victim suffered small chemical burns on his face and is still in the hospital.
One had a temperature burn on his bicep and was treated and has since been released from West Penn Burn Center. He was originally going to be treated at Ruby Memorial Hospital, but plans changed mid-air.  The other worker suffered small burns on his face, and will be kept overnight for observation also at West Penn Burn Center.  The injuries are not life threatening.

First Energy is conducting an internal investigation.

For more information about workplace injuries or for help navigating through serious workplace injury claims, please visit our website or call Jeff Robinette at Robinette Legal Group, PLLC at 304-594-1800.

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Driver Plummets Off Bridge While Texting and Lives to Warn Others

“I need to quit texting because I could die in a car accident.”

That was one of the final texts written by a 21-year-old  before his truck plummeted off a Texas bridge and into a ravine. The young man miraculously survived despite suffering brain injuries and breaking nearly every bone in his body, including his cheekbones, neck, and skull. He also had to be brought back to life three times, reports WBTV.

This past Wednesday the young man left the hospital after a six-month stay that included numerous reconstructive surgeries and intensive rehabilitation (he even had to learn how to speak again). Though the incident took place on January 24, only now is he able to discuss the crash.

“Don’t do it. It’s not worth losing your life,” the man said of texting behind the wheel. “I went to my grandmother’s funeral not long ago, and I kept thinking, it kept jumping into my head, I’m surprised that’s not me up in that casket. I came very close to that, to being gone forever.”

As smartphones increasingly play a role in our lives, so too does distracted driving. A doctor from the young man’s rehabilitation program told the Daily News that he is treating an increased number of patients injured because of texting on the road. “And unfortunately I don’t think we’re going to see a decrease in that anytime soon.”

But driving under the influence of your phone isn’t the only issue; pedestrians are also in danger. Recent security camera footage revealed a shocking incident in which a Philadelphia man fell onto train tracks as he distractedly walked and talked on his cellphone. (Luckily there were no trains were headed his way, and the man escaped to safety.)

“If I had a kid 16 years old starting to drive, they could have a phone but the texting feature wouldn’t be on it,” the young man’s father suggests.

This young man believes one of his reasons for still being alive is to spread the message he learned all too well. “I still have things to do in this world,” he said. “I should tell everyone not to text message and drive.”

Morgantown WV Car Accident Lawyers

If you would like more information about texting while driving or need help in navigating the insurance claims process after having been injured by someone else’s negligence or carelessness in WV, please click here.  Jeff Robinette at the Robinette Legal Group in Morgantown answers questions like yours every day and would be happy to answer yours.  Call 304-594-1800 today.

Lawsuits Filed Against Bars Become More Common In West Virginia

West Virginia is one of the majority of states that have enacted dram shop liability laws. “Dram shop” is a reference to colonial times when alcohol-serving establishments (shops) used units of liquid measurement called drams to serve alcohol.

Dram shop laws make it possible for bar owners and alcohol servers to be held financially liable if a customer becomes obviously intoxicated on their premises and subsequently injures someone or causes property damage, typically by driving drunk.

So, if a person has several alcoholic drinks at a restaurant or bar and is visibly intoxicated, and then gets in a car and kills someone on the way home, the owner of the serving establishment can be sued for damages.

  • Many states hold commercial vendors of alcohol, such as bars, taverns and package stores responsible for injury caused by drunk patrons
  • Laws in most states require the injured person suing a commercial alcohol vendor to prove that the serving of alcohol was a “proximate cause” of the injury
  • Commercial vendors are liable for injuries caused by an intoxicated customer if they serve liquor to him after he was visibly intoxicated
  • An employer throwing an office party is liable for any bad misconduct or harassment on the part of an employee if the employee was acting within the scope of his employment and the employer failed to take reasonable preventative steps

Are you or a family member the victim of a drunk driver who went bar-hopping before driving intoxicated? Were you assaulted as a bystander by a drunk patron in a bar fight or a brawl outside a tavern? You may have a right to sue the bar under what are called “dram shop” laws.

Many states hold commercial vendors of alcohol (bars, taverns and package stores) responsible for injuries caused by drunk patrons. Different laws apply to social hosts and employers throwing office parties.

A drunk person can’t collect for injury to himself, but a third party injured by the actions of a drunk person can collect from a bar or tavern under certain circumstances. This is especially important when the drunk person has little or no insurance to cover a serious or fatal injury.

Laws in most states require the injured person suing a commercial alcohol vendor to prove that the serving of alcohol was a “proximate cause” of the injury. In other words, you must show a provable connection between your injury and the drunk person’s act of drinking at that particular bar or tavern.

Laws vary widely by state. In Nevada, commercial vendors won’t be held responsible for injuries caused by drunk patrons, probably because of the devastating impact it would have on the tourist industry. In some states, commercial vendors will only be held responsible for serving alcohol to minors.

In other states, the amount of damages that can be collected from a commercial vendor is capped at a specific amount, under the theory that the major share of blame for the injury should be placed on the drunk person.

Most states hold a commercial vendor liable where:

  • Alcohol was served to a minor
  • The vendor was reckless in serving or should have realized the extent of the patron’s intoxication
  • The vendor sold liquor without a liquor license
  • The vendor sold liquor after hours

The burden of proof is lower when a bar or tavern has served a minor, as it’s illegal.

The test for deciding whether a bar employee should have realized the extent of a patron’s intoxication is fuzzy. Courts look at the condition of the drunk person, and whether it should have been “foreseeable” to a bar employee serving him or her that the person was already “visibly intoxicated” and shouldn’t be served any more alcohol. It’s not a matter of how many drinks the person has had, but how the alcohol has affected them.

Proving Excess Intoxication

So how do you prove the person who injured you or your family member was “visibly intoxicated?” Some states have tried to clarify this vague test by requiring proof that the drunk person demonstrated “significantly uncoordinated physical action or significant physical dysfunction.” In other states, you must prove that the bar patron was so obviously intoxicated that he presented a “clear danger to himself and others.”

If you or someone you love has been injured by a drunk person whom you suspect may have been served alcohol by a commercial vendor before the injured occurred, it’s important to see a lawyer right away. Proving the obvious intoxication of a bar patron often requires eyewitness testimony of other bar patrons and employees. A lawyer can locate and interview these witnesses quickly, and get witness statements right away while they still remember accurately what happened and before they clam up.

The time limit for filing a legal action against a commercial vendor- called a “statute of limitations” – is often very short. So it’s very important to develop and file your legal action quickly in order to collect.

Employer Events

Sometimes employers will have events, such as holiday parties, after working hours for their employees. These parties will many times take place at bars or restaurants that serve alcohol. If an intoxicated employee causes property damage or commits harassment, the vendor and the employer may be found liable. The employer is liable if a court determines that the employee was acting within the scope of employment.

Employers need to take reasonable steps to prevent misconduct on the part of their employees at parties that serve alcohol. Some examples include:

  • Discourage excessive drinking by having a cash bar
  • Have strict alcohol and behavior discipline policies in place
  • Provide transportation after the party to prevent driving under the influence

Questions for Your Attorney

  • Who’s liable if an intoxicated person involved in a car accident visited multiple bars before the accident?
  • How do I track down witnesses from a bar to prove excess intoxication? Can I use waitresses that worked in the bar as witnesses to prove my case?
  • Who’s liable if an employee gives alcohol to his son at an employer event for employees and their families that’s held at a restaurant?
 If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, please contact our office by visiting www.robinettelaw.com or calling 304-594-1800.  We would be glad to answer your questions.

Bridge Will Be Renamed in Honor of Sgt. Todd May

Bridge to be Renamed after Sgt. May

The Hartmann Run Road Bridge will soon be named after Sgt. Todd May.

Monongalia County commissioners approved a resolution Wednesday to rename the bridge in Sgt. May’s honor, who died in February during a police pursuit in Pennsylvania.

State highway officials had to sign off on the plan before commissioners could approve the renaming of the bridge.

“We’re happy about any accolades and acknowledgement that Todd has gotten,” Sheriff Al Kisner said. “It’s just more appreciation of what he did for the community.”

May was killed after being hit head-on during a police chase in Greene County, Pa. on Feb 18. Jerod Green, of Morgantown, is awaiting trial in Greene County on charges of first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer and numerous other counts.

Deputies involved in the chase have testified that Green appeared to speed up and intentionally slam head-on into Sgt. May’s cruiser along I-79 southbound.

Kisner said he tries not to think about May’s death, but he certainly remembers May’s personality and wit.

“I try not to dwell on it, but we always want to remember Todd,” Kisner said. “We think about the times he said funny things and made us laugh. That’s what we like to talk about a lot.”

The county currently owns the bridge, but the state will take over within the next three years, commissioners said. At that time, the state Legislature will have to approve the name of the bridge. Kisner and county commissioners say they expect the bridge’s name to remain the same.

To read the original post regarding Sgt. Todd May’s fatal crash click here.

http://www.robinettelaw.com

Fatal Car Wreck on I-79

Police shut I- 79 southbound down to traffic for more than an hour and a half Sunday after a fatal two-vehicle accident at milepost 158.   A driver died instantly when the Mercedes he was driving was hit by a Chevrolet Tracker.  The driver of the Tracker had been traveling north on I-79 and had crossed the median and hit the Mercedes which was headed south.  The accident happened at about 7:45 p.m. Sunday at the top of the hill just south of the I-79 rest stop, according to the Dominion Post.  Those at the scene said a Chevrolet Tracker rolled, coming to rest in the right-hand lane lane.  The driver of the Tracker survived and was taken to the hospital by the Star City VFD ambulance.

The Tracker was destroyed; there was not that much damage visible on the Mercedes.  Witnesses near the scene of the crash say the area smelled like alcohol, and there were beer cans laying around the accident scene. But police didn’ t initially confirm whether or not either driver had been drinking, according to a news report from WDTV.  Now, DUI related charges are pending for the Tracker’s driver.

Traffic was backed up for hours while the northbound lane of I-79 was reduced to one lane at the scene of the accident, three miles north of the Star City exit.  Southbound traffic was backed up for about a mile and a half. One southbound lane was reopened at 9:35 p.m.  Pennsylvania State Police and a Mount Morris, Pa., fire truck blocked the I-79 southbound lane at the Mount Morris exit, detouring traffic onto U.S. 19 south.

Monongalia County Sheriff ’s deputies are handling the investigation. Assisting at the scene were Westover Police, West Virginia State Police, Star City Volunteer Fire Department and Monongalia EMS.

Morgantown Accident Lawyers

If we can be of any further assistance to you, it would be our pleasure to speak with you personally. You may reach us at http://www.robinettelaw.com and http://www.robinettelaw.com/Car-Accident-Injuries/ or call our law office at 1-304-594-1800.

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Don’t Wreck Your Personal Injury Claim

Above all, be Honest!

The number one way to ruin your otherwise legitimate claim is to lie about anything that relates to your claim. The veracity, that is the truthfulness of your story of your injury, has to be ultimately believed by a jury, and if you lie about even a seemingly insignificant thing, you may not be believed about your injury.

As a true illustration, a client lied to the police about who was driving the vehicle to shield blame from the actual driver who wasn’t supposed to be driving. Irrespective of whether my client or her friend was the driver, it should not have mattered since the collision was caused by the driver of the other vehicle who ran a stop sign. The insurance company and defense lawyer used the lie to refute my client’s injury claims, even though her injuries were legitimate, permanent, and painful. Ultimately, the jury did not fully believe the magnitude of the client’s injuries because she had lied to the police.

If you are the type of person that doesn’t like this type of confrontation, you are going to feel nervous when the insurance adjuster calls to have a chat about your injury claim.  Sure, you want to tell the truth, but you also want to receive just compensation, and the questions that are asked make you feel uncomfortable (if not intimidated).  When it comes to giving information that will be scrutinized by the insurance adjuster and defense lawyer, guessing about information is not a good idea. You will be characterized as someone who just “makes up” information to fit their financial motives, or worse, you will be considered a liar.Car in snow in ditch

While lying is an act of commission, that is what you do say knowing it is untrue; concealing information is an act of omission, which is what you didn’t say knowing it to be true. Both are wrong and both will ruin your auto injury claim. Before you decide to discuss your case with the insurance adjuster you ought to give careful consideration to the difficulties you will face without legal counsel. It is easy to get confused and say the wrong thing when the insurance adjuster is firing questions at you and you feel the sense of urgency to answer each one, hoping your responses will satisfy the insurance adjuster. Take my word for it, the insurance adjuster is laying traps for you to fall into and will allow you to hang yourself if you are not very careful.

Don’t Exaggerate or Minimize Your Injuries

If you try to play your injuries down, like a lot of people do, you will not be taken seriously. And when your injuries don’t get better, you will be accused of being a malingerer (a person who fakes their injuries). But, on the other hand, if you exaggerate at all the symptoms of your injuries at the outset, you will be labeled as a faker or money-grubber. For instance, if you are losing quality sleep because of neck pain from the auto collision, you should not say that you haven’t slept a wink for two nights. You should say you have tried to sleep, but could not get restful sleep because of the neck pain. Because your symptoms change, sometimes day to day, it is not advisable to speak with an insurance adjuster early on after your auto collision. Of course, it is best to consult an attorney before you speak with an insurance adjuster.

When you visit the emergency room or medical express clinic for your injuries you are routinely given a form that tells you what is expected of you in treating your injuries. If you are prescribed medications it is expected that you will promptly go to a pharmacy and fill the prescription and take the medicine. If you don’t, you will not be taken seriously when you tell an adjuster or jury that you had pain. Likewise, if the physician instructs you to apply hot or cold compresses to your neck and stretch every day, and you don’t, others will minimize your injuries.

Many people work in pain, even with a lot of pain. I know many persons who have worked for years with chronic, constant pain. But early on in your assessment, if you attempt to do normal things in pain, you will be viewed as normal. Pain is invisible; nobody can see your pain. What they can see is how you respond to the pain. So if your conduct resembles that of a normal person, even though you are in pain, your injury will be minimized and so will your compensation.

Don’t Give a Recorded Statement or Sign Anything without Counsel

We have all watched the news programs that tell of the latest investigations or indictments for wrongdoing. Have you noticed how many times the newscaster stated that the accused or involved party was unavailable for comment, or they have no comment? Well, there’s a good reason for this – they don’t have all the information and they know that if they say something wrong, it will be used against them. I have previously explained the hidden dangers of giving a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster. There are times when giving a recorded statement to an adjuster may be in your best interest, but only an experienced lawyer will know when to do so.

When you are injured in an auto collision, which was not your fault, you are viewed in the eyes of the law as a victim. The insurance adjuster, however, doesn’t view you as a victim, but a claimant, a money-grubber (someone who is motivated to get something they don’t deserve). The more the insurance adjusters cheat you out of your recovery, the more applause and promotions they receive. When you are told that you won’t get any recovery until you sign a medical release, you feel like you don’t have any choice in the matter. But when you sign the medical release, an entire world of your personal information is given to the individual who looks on you as a money-grubber, and your records will be used to prove it. I have seen this scenario work out hundreds of times. The motivation of the insurance company to get your records is to disprove or minimize your claim. Additionally, all your medical history will be recorded on national insurance indexes that the insurance industry uses to defeat claims. You have to ask yourself whether giving the insurance adjuster access to all your medical records is necessary and wise.

Hire a Good Lawyer

There is a common saying in the practice of law, “Don’t hire yourself to act as your own lawyer.” The reason for this is that the client lacks objectivity. Objectivity means that you can analyze the law correctly and evaluate the facts of the case in a neutral way. That way you are not overlooking a key weakness in your case. I have known many who represented themselves, and even filed their own lawsuits, but in the end finally come around to the obvious need to have a professional oversee and handle their legal matters. If you had a common cold, you would likely go to the local grocery store and buy some cold medicine. But if you had a severe laceration on the leg, you wouldn’t likely stitch your leg. Many people try to represent themselves because they think it will be like treating a common cold. By the time they realize that a professional is needed, a lot of damage to their claim has already occurred.

By now you know that handling your own auto injury claim has significant challenges, and you decide to hire an Irvine lawyer (or the one based in your city). Keep in mind, though, not every lawyer who takes personal injury cases has the necessary experience to provide excellent representation. There are plenty of average lawyers who are looking for quick answers to solve their client’s complex problems, because they don’t have the experience and knowledge to answer their own questions. Hiring an inexperienced, but well-intended lawyer, to handle your case will be no substitute for an experienced lawyer with a thorough knowledge of auto injury law, and trials and appeals. And, if you expect to collect any money from the insurance company, you had better hire a lawyer that knows insurance law, too. Without question, having no lawyer is a worse mistake than hiring an inexperienced lawyer. But since you are wisely choosing to hire a lawyer, hire a good one.

Not Deciding is a Decision regarding your Injury Claim

Last, but not least, you will sabotage your claim if you remain undecided. This often resembles “doing nothing” about your claim. The problem is that “doing nothing” is actually “doing something” after all, but not the “something” that will help your case (source: Costa Ivone, LLC). While you wait week after week, month after month, the clock is ticking on the statute of limitations on your claim, witnesses vital to your claim are not interviewed and move out of the area.  Furthermore, evidence about the collision is destroyed, the police officer can’t remember the collision anymore, the time period when you are expected to seek treatment has passed, and a whole host of other negative things happen to your claim while you are making no decisions. So, as it turns out, waiting around for things to get better on their own actually worsens the situation. Many individuals, though, have difficulty taking the first step to meet with a lawyer. You’ll be glad you did.

Robinette Legal Group, PLLC:  We’re here to help.

If we can be of any further assistance to you, it would be our pleasure to speak with you personally about your injury claim.  To learn more about car accident injuries or other injury claims, click here  or call our law office at 1-304-594-1800.

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