Tired Truckers Protest New Regulations

FedEx Truck Crash on I-79New Rules for Truckers

In an effort to increase safety on our roadways and reduce driver fatigue, a leading factor in large truck crashes, the Department of Transportation has updated its mandates for breaks and rest periods for long haul truckers.

Tired drivers are far more likely to cause accidents than those who are well-rested and driving in compliance with federal trucking guidelines. Tired drivers may also enter a dangerous state known as “highway hypnosis” in which dozens of miles may pass that they do not even remember. Whether a driver falls asleep at the wheel or is inattentive due to lack of sleep, the resulting accidents can lead to catastrophic injuries and wrongful death.

New Schedule Guidelines for Truckers

Starting Monday, drivers will have to stick to a schedule that requires taking a 30-minute break in the first eight hours of driving, cut the maximum workweek to 70 hours from 82, and “restart” those 70 hours with a 34-hour break once a week.

The rules are part of a program to make U.S. highways safer by reducing the number of truck accidents and fatalities. The program also includes a safety rating system that shippers can review when they chose a new carrier, with the goal of prodding the trucking industry to further improve the safety of its drivers and equipment.

Recent Examples of Driving Fatigue in West Virginia

Driver fatigue is a dangerous condition on highways throughout West Virginia. Federal laws regulate how many miles a truck driver can travel per day, per week and on consecutive days. All too often, however, truck drivers push these limits to increase profits or because they are pressured by their employers. In either case, the lives of innocent motorists, passengers and pedestrians are put at risk.

  • This year in Doddridge County three people were injured when an ambulance driver had fallen asleep while driving.  The driver said he was traveling toward Parkersburg when the vehicle ran off the roadway and ended up in the guard rail and a ravine, according to West Virginia State Police.
  • Last July, Richard Detamore was killed when he and coworker Jacob Rowan Forrest were ejected from their vehicle. Now Ashley Detamore is suing her husband’s employer, Nabors Well Services for negligence and wrongful death.  She said the Nabors company knew her husband and Forrest, both truckers for Nabors, had worked more than 30 hours in a 48-hour span.
  • 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.

What does the Trucking Industry Think About New Rules?

But the trucking industry—which has sued to have the rules reversed—is warning that they will mean more highway traffic and high shipping costs for consumers. Truckers are saying, “If I get any more breaks out here I won’t be able to make a living.”

What the complainers are missing is that trucking is dangerous when drivers are too tired to be on full alert at all times.   Slugging out the last hundred miles every day is what the new laws are designed to address.   The truckers should actually “rest” during the rest stops instead of playing arcade games, going gambling or watching movies.   That is not rest.

The new rules are predicted to prevent 1,400 crashes and 560 injuries and saving 19 lives each year.  The DOT says the new rules will also produce a broader economic benefit. The department’s analysis found that in 2009 alone, large truck and bus accidents cost some $20 billion in medical and insurance costs, infrastructure damage, lost wages and productivity. The analysis also estimated $470 million in benefits from reduced driver mortality.

 Jeff Robinette, West Virginia Truck Accident Attorney

Jeff Robinette is a National Board Certified Trial Attorney who has focused his practice on motor vehicle accidents.  Our office is in Morgantown, but we represent clients in car accident and motor vehicle injury cases in Monongalia County, Taylor County, Doddridge County, Marion County, and Preston County, West Virginia.

Free Books 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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Gas Well Fire in Doddridge County WV Legal Insight

On Sunday, July 7th, 2013,  Antero officials reported five workers were injured in a gas well pad explosion at about 4:00 a.m. at a Doddridge County, WV gas drilling site off Brushy Fork Road near New Milton, WV.  The five men were taken to the West Penn Burn Center and are being treated for various degrees of burns.  Regular operations have been shut down at the Antero Resources well site after the two explosions on Sunday morning.  Most of the injured are in severe critical condition and some have required surgery.

The men who suffered burn injuries were working for contracting companies — three men from Nabors Completion and Production Service, one from C and R Downhole Drilling LLC, and a worker who is employed by Willowbend Investments Incorporated.  The identities of the men and their conditions have not been released.  Antero operates 15 drilling sites in seven counties in West Virginia.  This is the second explosion at an Antero site within a year in West Virginia.  Two deaths resulted from this tragic incident.Gas Well Fire Doddridge County WV

Right now investigators believe a pump which the employees were working on may have ignited gas vapors which caused an explosion, causing two tanks to rupture and causing damage to other tanks.  The diesel engine pump, which had malfunctioned, was being used to push data logging equipment down into the horizontal wellbore, which had been drilled and hydraulically fractured, by pumping fluid behind it.  The well had been drilled recently, and the crew was in the final stages of completing the well.  Workers were inserting a narrow production tube into the metal casing around the drilled hole when methane gas somehow ignited.  Investigators have not ruled out the possibility that fumes that had volatilized and accumulated inside the tanks and exploded.

The fluid that was contained in two tanks next to the pump was “produced water” which is a fluid that comes back up from wells that may contain explosive volatile organic compounds.  DEP spokeswoman said Monday the blast ruptured two tanks containing flow backwater that Antero had been reusing, but the secondary containment system captured the fluid as designed and none left the site. There was no contamination to any nearby streams, she said, and the nearest home is about a half-mile away so it was unaffected.

Legal Insight You Need for Your Gas Well Injury Claim


West Virginia workers have had a long-standing tradition of persevering and working hard in spite of dangerous and exhausting conditions.  As the oil and gas drilling industry grows, an increasing number of workers are experiencing accidents resulting in serious permanent injuries and wrongful death.

In most cases, a worker who is injured on the job will be able to receive some benefits from a Worker’s Compensation claim.  In West Virginia, if an employer is found to have intentionally placed their employee in harm’s way, resulting in serious injury or death, that employee may qualify to file a claim against the employer’s insurance company.

Many injured workers think that their financial damages for medical bills and lost earnings are limited to West Virginia workers’ compensation benefits.

Workers’ compensation laws say that you cannot hold your employer accountable for damages above the amount of benefits paid by the workers’ comp insurance unless you can prove the employer acted with “deliberate intent,” as provided in W. Va. Code 23-4-2.

In many workplace injury and wrongful death cases, however, there may also be a third party who can be held liable for negligence. The third-party can include the manufacturer of a piece of defective industrial equipment, the property owner or a subcontractor working on the same job site.

If you or your loved one has been injured due to negligence or willful violation of safety regulations in the workplace, it is important to act quickly to protect your claim.  Mr. Robinette has handled hundreds of cases involving serious injury and wrongful death and can provide the insight you need right now.  Call Jeff Robinette today for a free evaluation of your case at 304-594-1800  visit our website for more information.

We are glad to provide free books and information for WV accident victims: Collision Care: West Virginia Auto Collision Guide, and Righting the Wrong, West Virginia Serious Injury Guide:  304-594-1800.

For More Information:  WBOY news, July 8th, 2013:  http://www.wboy.com/story/22776291/gas-well-workers-injured-in-explosion#.Udq5ObZMY_0.twitter

West Virginia State Journal, July 8th, 2013:  http://www.statejournal.com/story/22782306/basic-details-still-coming-in-on-sunday-antero-wellpad-explosion

Ambulance Driver Falls Asleep on the Job

Collision CareJan Care Accident Injures Three People in Doddridge County:  West Virginia State Police are investigating an ambulance crash that happened in Doddridge County on the night of May 20, 2013.  A Jan-Care ambulance crashed on Route 50 near Arnold’s Creek just after 11 p.m.   The ambulance driver told police that he had fallen asleep while driving.

The driver said he was traveling toward Parkersburg when the vehicle ran off the roadway and ended up in the guard rail and a ravine, according to West Virginia State Police.  One person was flown to Ruby Memorial Hospital.  There was one patient in the ambulance, according to 911 officials. The patient and another person in the ambulance were taken to United Hospital Center for treatment.

State police have not released the names of the people involved. Their injuries didn’t appear to be life threatening.

Drowsy Driving is one of the Leading Causes of Accidents on WV Highways

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.

Ambulance drivers are on call 24-7 — it is no wonder that the drivers are often driving while sleep deprived.  It is especically sad when an ambulance driver whose only intent is to save lives falls asleep at the wheel and causes injury.   This is the second major Jan Care accident in this area this year.  I am confident the Jan Care company will be revising policies or will at least have a new urgency in working to prevent future accidents that could injure their staff and the patients who have been trusted to their care.

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 — does not apply to ambulance drivers!
  • Avoid driving at times you would normally be asleep — also does not apply to ambulance drivers.
  • Avoid alcohol and medicines that cause drowsiness.
  • Caffeine can increase alertness for several hours, but you will still need adequate rest if you want to prevent fatigue related errors.

Warning Signs that it is time to pull over:

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

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

Call our office today for free books for WV accident victims: Collision Care: West Virginia Auto Collision Guide, and Righting the Wrong, West Virginia Serious Injury Guide:  304-594-1800.

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Gas Well Flash Fire in Tyler County, WV

Compressor-Fire-1-650x350Authorities are investigating the cause of an explosion at a gas well compression station site in Tyler County.  The Twin Hickories Road compression station explosion happened on Thursday, April 11, 2013 in Wick near Middlebourne.  The facility is owned by Marietta, Ohio based Eureka-Hunter.  Three people employed by third-party contractors suffered severe burns and were flown directly to the West Penn Burn Center in Pittsburgh.  A fourth employee was injured, but treated and released at a local hospital.

Later, Eureka officials corrected initial reports.  The senior vice president of Eureka Hunter clarified the reported explosion was a flash fire, and the location was a pig receiving station along the pipeline, not a compression station as first reported.  The “pig” is a device to clean out pipelines to remove accumulated liquids.  This particular line carried methane as well as natural gas liquids such as ethane, propane and butane from the wellhead.

At about 7 p.m. on April 11th, Tyler County 911 received a call from a Eureka Hunter employee of an explosion with storage tanks on fire and at least two people injured at the Twin Hickories Road compression station near Wick, W.Va.

Fire and emergency responders were sent to the scene along with the Tyler County Sheriff Deputies. According to a press release, fire units from Shirley, Alma, Middlebourne, Sistersville, as well as Saint Mary’s from Pleasants County and Paden City from Wetzel County, responded.

Two Tanks on Fire near Tyler County Compression Station

“When we arrived on scene we had a track-hoe on fire and two tanks were on fire,” said a member of the Middlebourne VFD. “This was not a well, this was a compressor station.”

It was reported the workers were using a new piece of equipment to “pig” the line. However, it’s unclear what caused the fire. The blaze was intense and rekindled several times due to the heat. He said firemen took more than an hour to get it out.  Early reports indicated the natural gas liquids in the tanks fueled the fire.  The fire remained above ground and did not progress to the underground pipelines.

“We went in and shut the valves off feeding the tanks. What was burning was what was in the tanks on top. It was very flammable,” he said. “It kept reigniting and burning off. We climbed on the tank, shut the lid, and put it out.”

West Virginia Gas Drilling Injury Lawyers – Robinette Legal Group, PLLC

The development of the Marcellus Shale oil and gas drilling in West Virginia provides many jobs to hard-working West Virginians.  West Virginia workers have a long-standing tradition of working hard in spite of dangerous and exhausting conditions.

In most cases, a worker who is injured on the job will be able to receive some benefits from a Worker’s Compensation claim. In West Virginia, if an employer is found to have intentionally placed their employee in harm’s way, resulting in serious injury or death, that employee may qualify to file a claim against the employer’s insurance company. If the cause of your injury was due to faulty equipment or a negligent contractor, you may be entitled to seek additional monetary compensation from that third party.

If you or your loved one has been injured due to negligence or willful violation of safety regulations in the workplace, it is important to act quickly to protect your claim. Mr. Robinette has handled hundreds of cases involving serious injury and wrongful death and can provide the insight you need right now. Call Jeff Robinette today for a free evaluation of your case at 304-594-1800 or visit our Robinette Legal Group, PLLC website:  http://www.robinettelaw.com

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Sources:

http://wvmetronews.com/three-burned-in-compressor-fire/  WV MetroNews, by Chris Lawrence, April 12, 2013

http://www.mariettatimes.com/page/content.detail/id/551182/-Flash-fire–in-Tyler-Co–investigated.html?nav=5002

OSHA Finds Management Failure led to Death at Blacksville No. 2 Mine

coal miner died, hat and glovesApril 11, 2013 update:  William E. Mock, 61, died in September at the Blacksville No. 2 coal mine in Monongalia County near Morgantown, WV.  Federal inspectors find death was in part due to a failure of management to ensure the safety of its employees.

Mock, a general inside laborer, was fatally injured when an 11-foot by 5-foot piece of mine roof fell onto him on Sept. 13, 2012. Mock and another employee, Doug Ice Jr., were removing a piece of the permanent roof supports when the accident occurred. The Mine Safety and Health Administration’s fatal accident report concluded that failure to install additional support before the primary support was removed caused the accident.

The roof fell with just 30 minutes remaining in Mock’s shift.

“The plank was cut approximately half-way when they determined it was taking the weight from the mine roof. Mock stopped cutting the board,” the report states. “A portion of a roof bolt supporting the board was exposed due to the sloughing of roof material. Mock and Ice decided to cut the roof bolt with a track bonder. To avoid being exposed to a flash from the bonder, Ice turned his back. When the bolt was burned through, there was a loud ‘pop,’ causing Ice to duck. When Ice turned back around, he saw Mock covered with a rock from the lower chest down.”

Ice attempted to remove the rock but was unable to do so, according to the report.

“When assistance arrived at the accident site, Mock was checked for vital signs, but none were detected,” the report states. ” … The Mon County EMS Service transported Mock to the Waynesburg Hospital, where he was pronounced dead upon arrival.”

CONSOL could not provide proof to MSHA that either Mock or Ice had received task training for removal of permanent roof support.

MSHA’s report says management failed to assure that persons removing the roof were located in a safe position, failed to examine the roof conditions prior to removal and failed to provide task training instructing the miners in appropriate procedures for removing the roof supports.

“Management personnel were not present when the accident occurred,” the report states. “No member of mine management was with Mock and Ice during the entire shift, including the removal of the load-bearing support.”

In its root cause analysis of the accident, MSHA determined that the “most basic causes of the accident” would have been correctable through “reasonable management controls.” The report says CONSOL has since taken corrective actions to ensure policies and safety instructions related to the causes of the incident.

CONSOL received eight citations in relation to the investigation of the fatality.

Source:  http://www.statejournal.com/story/21943312/managements-failure-noted-in-consol-miners-death, by Taylor Kuykendall, April 11, 2013.

Original Post:  A CONSOL Miner, William Edward Mock died on Thursday, September 13, 2012 after being seriously injured when he was struck by a large rock during a workplace accident along the track haulage at the Blacksville No. 2 mine.  According to the Dominion Post, the accident is under investigation and CONSOL is looking into what happened.

While the mine has a portal in West Virginia west of Blacksville, the bulk of the coal being mined is in Pennsylvania. The site of the accident will determine which state mine safety agency is involved.

CONSOL said it will provide updates on the accident as information becomes available and will work closely with federal and state mining officials to determine the cause of the incident.

West Virginia coal miners are among the hardest working professionals in America. Despite strong MSHA regulations, coal mining continues to be one of the most dangerous occupations in the world. Every year, miners are injured or killed because the coal operators continue to circumvent or violate safety laws for the protection of the miners.

If your loved one has been injured or killed while working in or near a coal mine in West Virginia, you are entitled to certain workers’ compensation benefits and other recoveries from the coal company for “deliberate intention” violations set forth in West Virginia law, Section 23-4-2. Moreover, you may also be entitled to seek a recovery for money damages from any third parties – like equipment manufacturers and subcontractors – that contributed to or caused your injuries.

Free Consultation · Contingency Fees · Don’t Lose Your Workers’ Comp Benefits

The Robinette Legal Group is recognized as one of the region’s most successful coal mining injury litigation firms. Our attorneys understand the regulations and we know how to look beneath the coal dust to find the true cause of the accident and the full extent of your injuries and financial damages that result. We work independently as your attorney or with your workers’ compensation lawyer to seek full and fair compensation from the insurance company that is liable for damages.

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.

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A Jail Cell at the End of the Tunnel?

coal minerThe Investigation into Upper Big Branch Sends Powerful Message to Mine Industry

It’s beginning to look like the canaries have come home to roost. Last week, the federal investigation of the Upper Big Branch mine disaster continued to take another step up the corporate ladder of the former Massey Energy Co. This time, the former president of the subsidiary that operated that mine pleaded guilty to two federal mine safety charges. David Hughart admitted to illegally warning miners and their bosses about surprise federal inspections for more than a decade, up until only weeks before the fatal blast that claimed the lives of 29 miners. He also said that he and other corporate officials, superintendents and foremen, conspired to violate mine health and safety laws.  Hughart faces up to six years and a $350,000 fine when he’s sentenced June 25.

Furthermore, he squarely pointed the finger at Massey’s former chief executive officer, Don Blankenship, for ordering this practice. Since this investigation was launched in the months following the April 2010 tragedy it has netted three convictions: The mine’s former security chief, its superintendent; and now its president. And in the two former cases, the punishments handed down have been some of the stiffest ever in mine safety cases, including long jail terms. Prosecutors also negotiated a $210 million agreement with the company that bought Massey, Alpha Resources. That spares the company from criminal prosecution but leaves individuals subject to it.

Though this investigation is already one for the records in West Virginia, if it goes after a former mining CEO, it will be a rare day, indeed. But even if it does, we are not going to rejoice. Because at the end of the day, nothing is going to bring back those 29 coal miners, most of whom died from the concussion — some more than a mile away — of a massive explosion underground.

However, it’s clear that this investigation’s real achievement will be the very powerful message it has sent, and not only to the mining industry. If you still need to read between the lines, we’ll spell it out for you: If you conspire to knowingly violate safety and health laws in any workplace and risk the lives of employees, you might be going to jail. There are probably few, if any workplaces, despite best practices and efforts, that are not subject to citations for some violation or another. However, when anyone not only condones and allows unsafe practices but actually makes them company policy, they should face criminal charges. As a rule, we trust almost all mine operators do strive to ensure their employees’ health and safety — consequences or no consequences. But for those who would grossly violate mine safety and health laws, a steel cage may await them.

The families of coal mine disaster victims and survivors have legal rights in West Virginia, but you don’t have to fight for them alone.  Speak to an experienced Coal Mine Explosion Lawyer or Wrongful Death attorney today who can help you understand and protect your rights — Call 304-594-1800 today.  We would be glad to answer your questions.

Source:  Editorial from The Dominion Post, Morgantown, WV: 3/06/2013 http://ee.dominionpost.com

Natural Gas Well Worker killed in Explosion in WV

WV gas well explosionA worker was killed in West Virginia in an explosion at an EQT natural gas well pad near Flemington in Taylor County on February 15, 2013.

The victim of this worksite accident was an employee of Central Environmental Services, a contracting company working for EQT. He was working alone at the time of his death.

The development of the Marcellus Shale oil and gas drilling in West Virginia provides many jobs, especially near Morgantown and Fairmont, WV.  Just as our coal miners have always faced hazardous conditions, the hard-working men and women employed by the natural gas industry are now facing similar dangers.

Central Environmental Services CEO released a statement on the death of their employee.  The employee was at a customer’s well pad near Flemington in Taylor County, W.Va, preparing to perform normal work-related tasks when an explosion occurred, killing the employee and causing some damage to the area where he was working.”  Company officials said the employee was on the worksite and near two of the tanks when the explosion took place.

The man was attempting to transfer briny wastewater from a tank into a truck. What sparked the explosion is unclear and will be the focus of the state’s investigation, already underway.

Drillers inject massive volumes of water, sand and chemicals to hydraulically fracture, or frack, the rock in which gas deposits are trapped. The gas then flows up for collection, as does the brine. The DEP says some of the chemicals in the brine could be flammable.

The executive director of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association said EQT is calling the fatality an “industrial accident,” not an explosion, and he’s never heard of brine exploding.

“To the best of my knowledge, brine is not flammable,” he said. Accidents involving brine are typically spills, he said, “so that, I don’t understand.  Brine is 99.5 percent water and sand, and drillers typically do not add potentially flammable chemicals. What flows back up from a well is mostly salty water, and any chemicals are diluted.  Contrary to what some people like to say,” he said, “we don’t use diesel fuel or any of those kinds of additives that would be flammable.”

But a spokesman of the West Virginia Surface Owners’ Rights Organization said the fracking fluid often contains volatile organic compounds, “so brine tanks can have vapors of these that are surely explosive.  Many people who live near well pads are worried about those compounds being vented into the atmosphere and harming air quality.”

West Virginia Workplace Accidents

West Virginia workers have a long-standing tradition of working hard in spite of dangerous and exhausting conditions. Just as our coal miners have always faced the potential of industrial tragedies, oil and gas drilling workers are also experiencing similar tragedies resulting in serious permanent and fatal injuries. Injuries common to the oil and gas industry include severed fingers, broken bones, foot injuries, burns, toxic chemical exposure, disfigurement, and traumatic brain injuries.

Risk factors for oil and gas workers may include: explosion, workplace injuries, truck accidents, serious and catastrophic injuries, exposure to hazardous chemicals, industrial accidents involving heavy tools and complex equipment, contaminated air and water, hazardous driving conditions, fires, burns, malfunctioning equipment, and safety violations. Driving to and from the drilling site has become a major risk factor: one-third of all serious accidents and fatalities linked to fracking occur from trucking accidents.

Another recent example of the danger associated with gas and oil drilling occurred in an August 17, 2012 accident when a newly developed gas well exploded in Harrison County, WV, sending three workers to the hospital with severe injuries.

If you or your loved one has been injured due to negligence or willful violation of safety regulations in the workplace, it is important to act quickly to protect your claim. Mr. Robinette at the Robinette Legal Group has handled hundreds of cases involving serious injury and wrongful death and can provide the insight you need right now. Call Jeff Robinette today for a free evaluation of your case at 304-594-1800.

Source:  Associated Press, Vickie Smith, on Monday, 18 February 2013, http://pipeline.post-gazette.com/news/archives/25054-worker-killed-in-blast-at-w-va-gas-well-pad

Good Samaritans Save Man’s Life After Van Crash on I-68

Van rollover crash on I-68“It’s just crazy how many people went by and didn’t stop. If I was in his situation, I’d want someone to stop and help me.” Nathan Foreman

Kingwood,  WV:  On Wednesday, January 30, 2012, Brian Delaney of Morgantown, 47, was driving east in a Tri-State Mortuary Plymouth Voyager van that veered into a ditch, crashed into the embankment and rolled several times during a rainstorm.  Delaney works for Tri-State Mortuary Services, of Poca, WV and was “on his way to Martinsburg, transporting someone to a funeral home,” according to Senior Trooper Wood of the WV State Police.

Nathan Foreman and Carl Wilson, education specialists at the USP-Hazelton, came upon the van near the Coopers Rock exit as they were returning from Morgantown. The two men stopped to see if they could help. They found Delaney “hanging upside down on the seatbelt,” according to Wilson.

“He wasn’t breathing,” Foreman said.  According to Wilson, “It was a dire situation.  I used my body to take that pressure off the seatbelt.”

Another man at the scene was small enough to get into the crushed van “to unclick the seatbelt,” according to Wilson. Once the seatbelt was loose, the men removed Delaney from the van and Wilson, a paramedic who once taught emergency medicine, began CPR.

“He slowly started breathing again,” Foreman said. Wilson added, “He didn’t regain consciousness, but he did start to breathe on his own.”

“It’s just crazy how many people went by and didn’t stop,” Foreman said. “If I was in his situation, I’d want someone to stop and help me.”

Delaney was in fair condition at Ruby Memorial Hospital late Wednesday, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Good Samaritan Laws:  Most states have a statute to protect individuals that assist a victim during a medical emergency. Most Good Samaritan laws are created specifically for the general public and assume that there is no medically trained person available to assist the victim. Since the Good Samaritan typically does not have medical training, the law protects him or her from being liable for injury or death caused to the victim during a medical emergency as long as the care was given in good faith and without malicious intent.

Sources:  The Dominion Post, 01/31/2013, by Michelle Wolford, “Crash Victim Revived,” http://www.dominionpost.com and http://www.heartsafeam.com/pages/faq_good_samaritan

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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New Hope for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Patients

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been designated as the signature injury of the recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and as a result many injured soldiers and their families suffer in silence. In response to the need, the US military is now funding new research and has established multiple centers for those soldiers with traumatic brain injuries to receive effective therapies to rebuild and reroute their neurological pathways in the hope returning to work and building a better future.

Though most of the traumatic brain injury cases we handle are the result of vehicle and work accidents, hazardous military duty and sports activities also often lead to traumatic brain injuries (TBI).  Injury to the brain is usually the first injury to occur, and the last to be diagnosed.  Thanks to new funding by the US military and the NFL, more hope, treatments, and tests are available to help heal the wounds.

Symptoms of TBI involve a wide range of symptoms including vomiting, persistent headaches, sensitivity to light, memory loss, mood disorders, inability to focus, slow reaction time, dizziness, depression, blurred vision, and loss of balance.

On the leading edge of TBI research are studies concerning the use of Omega-3 fatty acids and new cognitive therapies designed to reroute and stimulate neurological pathways where healthy parts of the brain can compensate by learning to handle new functions.  Rest augmented by a battery of mental exercises involving memory drills, math, and hand-eye coordination can help a brain accomplish neuroplasticity, a term which means that the brain repairs, regenerates, and reconnects.

Source:  http://www.worldmag.com/2012/12/broken_brains/page1

NFL Supports Brain Health Research

In January of 2013, the results of the examination of the brain of the former NFL player, Junior Seau, were published indicating that Seau’s brain was found to be clearly damaged by the repeated blows inherent to football.  Prior to his death by suicide, he had been diagnosed with degenerative brain disease.   Results of an NIH study of Seau’s brain revealed abnormalities consistent with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a severe problem experienced by dozens of top football players.

The NFL may be facing thousands of lawsuits right now from former players who say that they were not protected or informed enough about the result of concussion.  In response, The NFL, both directly and in partnership with the NIH, Centers for Disease Control and other leading organizations, is supporting a wide range of independent medical and scientific research that will both address CTE and promote the long-term health and safety of athletes at all levels.

Read More  http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/nfl/news/20130110/junior-seau-brain-disease-cte.ap/#ixzz2Hb6czY43

PET Scans and Chemical Markers Can Identify Progression of Brain Diseases in Athletes

More and more, researchers have speculated a connection between sports-related concussions and mild traumatic brain injuries with the development of degenerative brain diseases later in life – most notably chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Previously, the only way to confirm a connection between repetitive brain injury and these debilitating brain conditions was through an autopsy.

But now, there may be a new way to identify or track the progression of these brain diseases while a current or former athlete is still alive.

For the first time, researchers from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) have utilized positron emission tomography (PET) scans and a newly developed chemical marker called FDDNP to do brain imaging tests on five retired NFL players. The new imaging technique ultimately revealed the buildup of the abnormal tau protein, which has been associated with repetitive head trauma, as well as the onset of Alzheimer’s.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/01/22/new-scanning-technique-reveals-proof-brain-damage-in-living-retired-nfl-players/#ixzz2IorY31kK

New Research Indicates Omega-3 May be Part of the Answer

Brain Health Education and Research Institute was founded by Dr. Michael Lewis in 2011 to pursue educational and research endeavors to further knowledge of natural and nutritional ways to improve brain health. The initial focus of the Institute is educating providers and the public on the use of omega-3 fatty acids for the prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of the brain prior to or following an injury such as traumatic brain injury or concussion. With Dr. Lewis’ 30-plus years of military experience, a special emphasis is working towards improving the care and outcomes of our military personnel and veterans who have experienced psychological or physical trauma to the brain.

Dr. Lewis is a pioneer in the use of omega-3 for concussion and TBI – a simple, yet profound concept. Everyone is different, but his theory is if the basic building blocks of the brain aren’t present, the brain is going to have a more difficult and longer time putting the pieces back together. Here is something essential to know:

According to Dr. Lewis, there is no cure for concussion and TBI.  All medical providers can do is optimize the conditions to help the brain do the healing. That is what using omega-3’s will do. It provides a tool, the basic building block, for the brain’s healing.

Source:  http://www.brainhealtheducation.org/resources/advances-in-tbi-management/

Omega-3 Aids Brain Recovery of Randal McCloy, Survivor of the Sago Mine Disaster

 

Neurosurgeon Dr. Julian Bailes is often at the cutting edge of the latest treatments for people with brain injuries. Former NFL players and other notable people with brain injuries—including Randal McCloy Jr., the sole surviving miner in the 2006 Sago Mine disaster in West Virginia—have received his care.  Dr. Oz talks with Dr. Bailes about how he used omega-3 fatty acids, a common nutritional supplement, to aid in Randal’s brain recovery.

On January 2, 2006, the nation was captivated by efforts to rescue 13 men who were trapped in the Sago coal mine explosion. While news sources initially reported that all 13 men were alive, tragically it was only Randal who survived. After more than 40 hours of exposure to carbon monoxide, Randal was entrusted into the care of many doctors, including Dr. Bailes. “He’s had a massive heart attack from the carbon monoxide exposure, he was in kidney failure, liver failure, he was dehydrated, he was hypothermic and he was in the deepest of coma,” he says. “We didn’t have anything promising.”

Soon though, Dr. Bailes says he and the other doctors were confident they could save Randal’s life, but it was uncertain if his brain would recover from its extensive injuries. Randal was given three hypobaric oxygen treatments, but Dr. Bailes says there was no drug available that could help repair his damaged brain. “Since there was no drug to do it … why don’t we give him what his brain was made from in the first place, when he was an embryo in his mother’s womb?” Dr. Bailes says. That substance was omega-3 fatty acids. “Omega-3 fatty acids—EPA and DHA—[are] what people commonly would call fish oil, but we gave him a super variety in extremely high doses, up to 19 grams a day that we delivered to him in a liquid form through his tube that was in his stomach,” he says.

As Randal’s brain functions started to improve, Dr. Bailes recorded his findings and now says people suffering from minor to severe brain injuries can benefit greatly from omega-3s. “Consider this as a nutritional supplement, if you will, for their recovery, which I think has very profound effects on the brain,” he says. While Randal was the first known person with brain injuries to be treated with omega-3s, Dr. Bailes says he won’t likely be the last. And, Dr. Bailes says everyone can benefit from the supplement—in fact, he says he takes 800 milligrams of algae-based DHA a day.

Randal McCloy has gone on to live a normal life in a small town in West Virginia and has become the father of two children since the Sago coal mine disaster.

Source:  http://www.oprah.com/health/Amazing-Omega-3s#ixzz1qQPdLsKe

US Army Funds Three-year study of Omega-3’s Effect on Brain Health

Research published last year by Brain Health Education and Research Institute’s Michael Lewis, MD, in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry reported that active-duty military with lower blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids were 62% more likely to have committed suicide compared to those with higher levels.  In October 2012, the military announced they are funding a three-year study to do just that. In cooperation with the NIH, researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina led by Bernadette Marriott, Ph.D., a professor in the Clinical Neuroscience Division of the Institute of Psychiatry, will test whether omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils can relieve the anxieties and quiet the suicidal thoughts plaguing many combat veterans.

“The potential good versus the potential extraordinarily low risk and low cost make this a type of intervention that can be – if findings are warranted – rolled out extremely fast and on a large scale,” said Dr. Ron Acierno, a co-investigator on the project at USC. “Omega-3s are among the primary fatty acids in the brain… They’re responsible for the neural generation and neural repair – for new neurons to be made and for broken ones to be fixed.”According to Dr. Hibbeln, “Research conducted in our lab [at the NIH] during the last 20 years points to a fundamental role for omega-3 fatty acids in protecting against major depression, substance abuse and other problems. Here we hope to be successful in understanding if omega-3 may play a role in reducing the risk of severe suicidal behaviors among U.S. military veterans.”

Source:  http://www.brainhealtheducation.org/category/all-articles/

New Tests for Brain Injuries

If research by the Army and Cleveland Clinic is successful, then diagnosis for brain injury could include an inexpensive blood test. Medical researchers are developing a test that will determine the presence of a protein that is released into the bloodstream after a person suffers a brain injury.

Researchers are currently testing their findings by analyzing the blood of college football, hockey, and soccer players to even diagnose concussions.  Current methods of diagnosing brain injury involve the use of a CT scanner. These scans are expensive and may also fail to detect slight bleeding and other signs of a brain injury.

The military has also ordered nearly 50,000 sensor helmets with the ability to measure the severity of blows to the head and to detect possible concussions.  The NFL is partnering with the military to place similar sensors in the helmets of professional football players.

Research indicates that the potential for serious lifelong traumatic brain injury is increased greatly if a subsequent head injury occurs a short time after a concussion, so a quick and inexpensive means of determining mild brain injuries could be a lifesaver for military personnel, workers, children, and sports participants.

Source:  http://www.worldmag.com/2012/12/broken_brains

Jeff Robinette, Experienced Brain Injury Litigation Attorney

As a lawyer who has helped victims of TBI navigate and receive substantial settlements from insurance companies, my great hope for these injury victims is that they would be able to move forward with their lives and receive the best care and treatment available.  Kudos to those who are at the forefront of this helpful new research designed to overcome TBI and help those people function in a manner close to that of their pre-injury selves.

Submitted by the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, West Virginia Injury Lawyers. Free books 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.

 

 

 

Ambulance EMT Killed in Collision With a Truck on I-79

Collision care photoAn ambulance and a flatbed semi-truck collided on Interstate 79 south near Weston Tuesday morning and closed the highway for almost two hours on Tuesday, January 15, 2013.

Jan-Care Ambulance Services confirmed Tuesday morning that a Jan-Care EMT died following the accident on Interstate 79 in Lewis County.

A Jan-Care ambulance was returning to the station from an EMS transport when it collided with a flatbed semi-truck Tuesday morning, according to the Director of Operations at Jan-Care Ambulance Services.

Lewis County sheriff’s deputy said Jan-Care EMT, a passenger in the ambulance, was injured in the accident and later died as a result of his injuries at Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital.  The ambulance’s driver was treated and released.  No patient was on-board the ambulance at the time of the accident.

A spokesman of Jan-Care reflected that “It is a real tragedy when something like this happens to someone who has devoted so much time and effort to helping others.”

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Department said the driver and passenger of the semi-truck involved in the fatal crash were not injured.

The collision happened south of the Weston exit at mile marker 97.5. Lewis County Sheriff’s Department and the Weston Fire Department were called to the scene.  Drivers on I-79 south of Weston were stuck for an hour and a half until crews opened the shoulder to allow them to pass through.

The cause of the accident is unknown.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Department and State Police are investigating the accident.Collision Care

Submitted by the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, West Virginia Injury Lawyers. Free books 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.

Source:  WBOY News, by reporter Stacy Moniot, 01/15/2013:  http://www.wboy.com/story/20589835/update-emt-dead-following-i-79-accident-in-lewis-county