In general, vehicular homicide, also called negligent homicide, involves a person’s death that is the result of a driver’s negligent operation of a motor vehicle, or resulting from operating a vehicle while committing some unlawful act that may not necessarily amount to a felony. The charges are compounded if the negligent driver was drunk, DWI, or under the influence of drugs at the time of the collision.
The victim of a vehicular homicide wrongful death can either be a pedestrian, another motorist, or a cyclist, or the victim can be the passenger in the car, SUV, boat, truck, bus, or motorcycle.
In West Virginia, when the wrongful death of any person happens within one year as a result of injuries received by an individual who is in reckless disregard of the safety of others, the person who caused the collision may be guilty of negligent homicide.
In WV, this crime may be punished by imprisonment for up to one year and/or by a fine of $100.00 to $1,000.00 and that driver may lose his or her license if convicted of negligent homicide.
The term “vehicular homicide” has been discussed lately as Caitlyn (Bruce) Jenner faces charges stemming from a deadly four-car accident in which Jenner was involved. One woman was killed in the wreck and others injured.
The police investigation into the deadly four-car accident involving Jenner is finished and the results could lead to a misdemeanor manslaughter charge. The laws pertaining to vehicular homicide have the legal effect of calling a vehicle which is being recklessly driven a potentially deadly or dangerous weapon.
Jenner was driving a black Cadillac SUV that was the third vehicle in a multiple rear-end collision. Jenner’s SUV hit a car from behind, sending it into oncoming traffic where it was hit by another SUV. That driver died at the scene.
Even though Jenner was traveling under the posted speed limit, the investigation determined that Jenner was going at an unsafe speed for the conditions at the time of the collision.
The DC Caller recently featured an editorial which contemplates the question that is on the minds of some: if Jenner is criminally charged and found guilty, does he/she face time in a male or female prison? Of course this will never happen, as Jenner will hire the best defense attorney available. That’s an interesting question which will have to be decided by the courts, but nevertheless, male or female, that issue would not affect the insurance issues related to the personal injury and wrongful death claims resulting from that collision.
As far as compensation for a family who has suffered such a tragic loss due to the negligence of another motorist, insurance may not only be limited to policy limits, but also punitive damages resulting in greater compensation may be pursued if the negligence was due to DUI or DWI.
Morgantown Wrongful Death Attorney
If your family has suffered the loss of a loved one, provider, or child, just as the offending driver must retain a criminal lawyer for the protection of his or her legal rights, it is imperative that the suffering from that driver’s actions retain an attorney to represent their best interests. The insurance companies are just that, companies most concerned with their bottom line.
To secure your financial future after such tragic loss, contact a Morgantown personal injury attorney for a free consultation today. 304-594-1800 or after hours, 304-216-6695 to speak directly with a National Board Certified Trial Attorney for his opinion of your case based on twenty-five years experience with insurance companies and collision claims.
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Monongalia County authorities have responded to a head-on vehicle accident on Grafton Road in Morgantown that happened at about 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 28th, 2015.
Head on collisions occur from a variety of reasons including DUI, distracted driving, inclement weather, health conditions, falling asleep at the wheel, and traveling the wrong way on a one-way lane or approach, texting while driving, brake failure, tire blowout, dangerous road conditions, and speeding. Whatever the cause, the result is often tragic and ends in great loss for individuals and families.
A white car, driven by an Arthurdale man in his 20s, was traveling southbound on Grafton Road when it crossed the center line and struck a flatbed truck head-on, according to state police. Grafton Road was shut down for a couple of hours. According to WV State Police in Morgantown and MECCA 911, the driver of the white car was killed.
The driver of the flatbed truck was taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
State police are investigating the exact cause of this collision.
WBOY News: https://www.facebook.com/wboy12news
Multi-car Accidents on I-68
When the days are short and the temperature drops below freezing, driving hazards are increased exponentially. Snow, ice, and foggy conditions make driving treacherous, often causing vehicle wrecks and injuries. When winter driving is made even more dangerous by debris on the road, the results can be fatal.
In December, a young New Jersey man was killed and several others injured in a chain-reaction accident on Friday, December 19, 2014 on interstate 68 in Preston County near the Monongalia County line close to the Coopers Rock exit. While it was originally reported that six other vehicles were involved, later reports indicated that seven vehicles were involved in the collisions. The crash occurred around 9:30 p.m. and closed both east and westbound lanes of the interstate for several hours, creating a several mile-long traffic backup.
The next day, on Saturday December 20th at about 6:30 p.m., a series of tragic collisions shut down I-68 again at mile marker 29. On I-68 Eastbound, both lanes were closed from Hazelton Exit to Friendsville Exit in Garrett County, MD, and the closure was expected to last for 3-4 hours. Two people died, one a Morgantown man, following the chain of wrecks on Interstate 68 in Garrett County near the West Virginia state line. The initial wreck was the cause of the death of the first accident victim, and the police reported that while traffic was stopped in the eastbound lanes to allow a helicopter to land at the scene, there was a chain reaction accident that claimed another life.
Our hearts and prayers go out for the crash victims, families, and friends who have been directly affected by these tragic accidents. Grief and recovery were not in their plans; the holiday season will never be the same for these families.
Drivers need to take into account that a different weather exists up on those elevated mountain passes and take precautions accordingly. The unexpected is more likely to occur, so heightened vigilance and attention to the road is required during these winter months.
WVMetronews, “Chain-reaction crash on I-68 claims one life” by Jeff Jenkins, December 20, 2014.
Topix, “Chain Reaction on I-68 claims one life, backs up traffic,” December 20, 2014.
A new study finds contamination of drinking water in parts of Texas from the extraction of shale gas, but the primary cause is not what some people had feared.
Researcher Avner Vengosh says the contamination of the wells that they analyzed was not directly from the process of hydraulic fracturing deep underground, but from well-integrity problems such as poor casing and cementing.
“We can tell that the contamination derived from leaking of the shale gas wells, and therefore if those leaks could be fixed and corrected, this contamination could be avoided and stopped.”
– See more at: http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2014-09-16/environment/contaminated-texas-drinking-water-linked-to-faulty-shale-gas-wells/a41728-1#sthash.hE7MTDWT.dpuf
Ambulance and Emergency Rescue squad medical personnel are some of the hardest working individuals in West Virginia, witnessing scenarios no one wants to see and helping injured people in Monongalia and Marion Counties in the aftermath of horrific situations and collisions. These situations require immediate skilled medical assistance; at times rescue workers must work extremely long hours.
It is a real tragedy when the emergency workers, in the course of their duties, become the accident victims after they have devoted so much time and effort to helping others.
This week we heard about the two vehicle collision in Marion County on Route 250 that sent four emergency rescue workers to two hospitals. The patient they were transporting died in the collision, and the Marion County Rescue Squad employees were badly injured.
Links to News about the Ambulance Collision:
WBOY News, “1 Dead After Ambulance Collision on Route 250 in Marion County,” September 22, 2014.
West Virginia MetroNews: “One dead after Marion County ambulance wreck,” Jeff Jenkins, September 22, 2014.
Several people were taken to the hospital after a two-vehicle collision near Wallace in Harrison County, WV near Lumberport. Six people were injured in the two pickup truck crash. Texting while driving is suspected as a possible cause of one of the pickups crossing the center line, causing the head-on collision. Unfortunately, the four people in the pickup that crossed the center line were not wearing seat belts and sustained serious injuries. The driver and the passenger of that truck were flown to Ruby Memorial Hospital by HealthNet for severe head trauma. The two passengers in the rear of that truck and also the two people in the other pickup were taken to UHC for treatment for injuries sustained in the truck collision.
American Electric Power has been named as a defendant in a host of lawsuits claiming exposure to dangerous chemicals in coal waste.
Those injured claim they were exposed to dangerous chemicals in coal waste – fly ash, flue gas desulfurization material, bottom ash and boiler slag – which has caused numerous illnesses and several deaths.
The plaintiffs are divided into four categories – 39 working direct claim plaintiffs, 11 non-working direct claim plaintiffs, nine loss of spousal consortium plaintiffs and 18 loss of parental consortium plaintiffs. Of the 50 direct claim plaintiffs, six are deceased.
The complaints focus on AEP’s Gavin Landfill site in North Cheshire, Ohio, which is just across the Ohio River from Mason County. The Gavin Landfill – adjacent to AEP’s Gavin Power plant – is used primarily for collecting, shoveling, hauling, dumping, spreading and transporting the 2.6 million cubic yards of coal combustion waste byproducts produced at the plant each year.
“Coal waste contains a multitude of contaminants that are dangerous to human health, and individuals can be exposed through contact on skin, inhalation and ingestion,” the attorneys state. “These toxins have been shown to be directly related to incidences of cancer, respiratory disease, heart disease, chromosomal abnormalities and birth defects, among others.”
The complaints alleged the plaintiffs were assured on numerous occasions that such coal waste was safe and non-hazardous, and that there should be no increased concern about health effects.
“Repeatedly, individuals were not provided with protective equipment, such as overalls, gloves or respirators when working in and around coal waste,” the attorneys state. “These working men and women, already exposed to the contaminants at the job site, then, in turn, carried the coal waste home to their families on their clothes and shoes, thus even exposing family members to the deadly toxins.”
In the complaint, the plaintiffs claim they asked Workman, a supervisor who lives in Mason County, about the dangers of working with the coal ash.
Workman responded “by sticking his finger into the coal waste and then placing his fly-ash covered finger into his own mouth, then misrepresented to the workers that coal waste was ‘safe enough to eat.”
Source: West Virginia Record, “AEP named in 77 exposure lawsuits,” Chris Dickerson, September 3, 2014.
When companies and operators circumvent or violate safety laws for the protection of the public, tragedy all too often is the result.
California regulatory judges recommended a $1.4 billion penalty on September 2, 2014 — the largest safety-related levy ever against a public utility in the state — for a fiery 2010 gas pipeline explosion that killed eight people in a suburban San Francisco neighborhood.
The California Public Utilities Commission said the figure reached by two administrative law judges over the San Bruno pipeline explosion reflected nearly 3,800 violations of state and federal law, regulations and standards by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. in the operation of its gas pipelines.