Legal Insight: Night-time Truck Accidents

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

By Attorney Jeffery L. Robinette, Personal Injury and Legal Malpractice Representation

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

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

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

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

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

Wrongful Death Investigations of Fatal Truck Accidents

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

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

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

The most common causes of commercial truck accidents include:

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

Sources:

Comprehensive Q&A about Truck Accidents

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

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

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

WV Personal Injury Attorney and Legal Malpractice Specialist:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Morgantown, West Virginia Personal Injury Attorney

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

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

 

Related Posts:

West Virginia Car Accident Lawyer

Why You Should See a Doctor after a Vehicle Accident.

What To Do After a Car Accident?

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

 

Morgantown Firefighter Injured by Drunk Driver

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

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

Fire Truck
Morgantown Firefighters Injured by Drunk Driver

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

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

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

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

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

Help for Morgantown Injury Claims

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

Source:

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

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

What is Vehicular Manslaughter?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Morgantown Wrongful Death Attorney

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

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

You May Also Want to Check Out These Articles:

Other articles you will find helpful:

Should I use Facebook or other Social Media if Considering an Injury Claim?

If you wait, it may be too late.

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

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

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

Explosion at Harrison County Gas Well Drilling Site

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — A spark from a natural gas drilling operation in north-central West Virginia ignited methane gas several hundred feet underground early Friday, sending up a fireball and triggering a blaze that officials said burned for about an hour on the floor of the rig.

Three workers were injured, two seriously enough to be airlifted to a hospital after the fire at the Antero Resources site near Sycamore in Harrison County. The fire was quickly extinguished and the well pad was in a rural area, so it posed no danger to the public.

Two victims were flown to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown.  A third was transported by ambulance.

Their conditions weren’t immediately available, but state Department of Environmental Protection spokesman said one had returned to the job site by 9 a.m.

Workers were in the early stages of drilling a Marcellus shale gas well. The drill was about 400 feet deep when they began to withdraw it, creating a spark that ignited the methane. That created more of a fireball than an explosion, he said.

The accident happened at the Cottrill No. 3 well on Antero’s Southern pad, and the crew doing the work was with Hall Drilling LLC of Ellenboro.

Neither Hall Drilling nor Colorado-based Antero immediately returned messages Friday.

Antero voluntarily shut down the operation, and a DEP investigation is under way.

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 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 or after hours, 304-216-6695 or 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.

Source:  Pipeline, ” Three Hurt in WV Gas Line Explosion,” http://shale.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/news/archives/24751-three-hurt-in-wva-gas-well-explosion, August 17, 2012

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Marcellus Shale Oil and Gas Drilling Injuries

Thanks to the development of the Marcellus Shale oil and gas drilling in West Virginia and the hard-working employees and contractors who have made this local explosion of industry possible, West Virginians can look forward to more opportunity and prosperity in the Morgantown, WV and Fairmont, WV area than ever before.

West Virginia workers have had a long-standing tradition of persevering and working hard in spite of dangerous and exhausting conditions.  Just as our coal miners have always faced the potential of industrial accidents, oil and gas drilling workers are also experiencing accidents resulting in serious permanent injuries and wrongful death. 

Risk factors for oil and gas workers may include:  explosion, work place 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.

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 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 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 after hours, 304-216-6695.  http://www.robinettelaw.com

 

   

Common Shoulder Injuries after an Accident

Was your shoulder hurt in an accident in West Virginia (WV)?

Many people suffer from shoulder pain either immediately or shortly after a car wreck, motorcycle, or bike accident, slip and fall, or after having been hurt in a work accident.  The severe trauma to the shoulder joint caused the impact of an accident can result in several different types shoulder injuries.

Human Shoulder PainThe shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint with three main bones: the upper arm bone (humerus), collarbone and shoulder blade (scapula). These bones are held together by muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The shoulder joint has the greatest range of motion of any joint in the body. Because of this mobility, the shoulder is more likely to be injured, especially the  acromioclavicular (AC) joint, which lays over the top of the shoulder.

What you don’t know can hurt you. Click here to receive the information you need before signing away your rights to compensation: 7 Facts You Need to Know about WV Injury Claims.

Common shoulder injuries you may experience after an accident

  • Rotator cuff tear:  the most common shoulder injury after an accident is a stretching, tear, or rip in the tendons and ligaments in the shoulder joint. The shoulder has three separate joints, and any of these joints can be separated, causing extreme pain and loss of movement.
  • Fractured bone
  • Bruises
  • Strains and sprains
  • Frozen shoulder

Common symptoms of shoulder injury

  • Painfully tender, stiff shoulder that hurts more at night and may interrupt sleeping
  • Tingling, numbness, weakness, or swelling in shoulder
  • Shoulder pain in a specific spot that may worsen with exertion
  • Difficulty moving arm in any direction without pain
  • Sudden, intense pain in shoulder area
  • Pale, blue or otherwise discolored shoulder area

click here for free report buttonWhat type of treatment will I need for a shoulder injury?

  • If you suspect a broken bone or tear resulting from your accident, seek medical care immediately.  Do not move the shoulder; stabilize its position.
  • Shoulder injuries can be accurately diagnosed by an orthopedic doctor through tests such as x-rays, CAT scans, MRIs, and clinical evaluation.
  • The remedy may be as simple as the use of a sling to immobilize your arm and rest your shoulder to promote healing and reduce pain.
  • Elevation, compression, and ice may also aid healing.
  • A torn muscle or ligament or tendon may require prompt surgery, so an early diagnosis is essential for maximizing your recovery.
  • Pain can be coming from somewhere else in your body (referred shoulder pain), so accurate, as well as early, diagnosis is essential.
  • Physical therapy
  • Surgery

Frozen Shoulder

A frozen shoulder usually begins when injury or overuse causes pain that, in turn, limits the shoulder’s range of motion. Common conditions that cause pain in the shoulder are bursitis or a tear in the rotator cuff.

If you don’t move your shoulder much at all for many weeks, the tissue surrounding the shoulder joint thickens and shrinks. It loses its ability to stretch. When you try to move it even a little, it hurts. So to avoid the pain, you move the shoulder even less. As a result, the joint capsule stiffens even further. It’s a vicious cycle.

A frozen shoulder can take months to develop.  The cornerstone of treatment is physical therapy. At first, you’ll concentrate on exercises that stretch the joint capsule. Then you’ll move on to strengthening exercises.

Full recovery can take several months or even longer. If you don’t improve steadily, go back to your doctor or consult a shoulder expert. In rare cases, a frozen shoulder that doesn’t respond to the treatments I’ve discussed may require surgery.

Collision Care Ebook adIt wasn’t my fault — how am I going to pay for treatment? 

If a combination of home treatment and physical therapy does not help your shoulder injury, shoulder surgery may be required.  Surgery is not only expensive, but will require recovery time away from your workplace, limitations on your daily activities, and time and money spent on physical therapy and doctor’s visits.  If your shoulder has been injured due to someone else’s carelessness or negligence, please contact our office for a free consultation to determine the best course for obtaining the financial resources needed to pay for your treatment and lost wages.

Submitted by the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, West Virginia Workplace Injury/Wrongful Death Lawyers. Call us today: 304-216-6695 or 304-594-1800 for your free copy of Righting the Wrong: WV Serious Injury Guide or Collision Care:  WV Auto Collision Injury Guide.  These books will answer your questions concerning negotiations with the insurance companies.

Visit our website or call today for more information: 1-304-594-1800 or after hours, 1-304-216-6695.

Staggering Numbers of U.S. Troops Suffering from Brain Injuries

The United States Army has determined that over 220,000 soldiers have sustained some degree of traumatic brain injury during the last ten years from exposure from explosions.   To help diagnose and subsequently treat such wounds, the U.S. military and private sector partners developed and deployed devices in 2011 that measure explosion severity.  Soldiers wear the watch-sized dosimeter on their chests, heads, and shoulders to measure acceleration and pressure, letting medics evaluate risk by color-coded lights triggered on the meters by a blast.

If you or a loved one has recently suffered a head injury in an accident in West Virginia due to someone else’s negligence, get checked out by a qualified medical specialist. If you are concerned about brain injury, talk to a West Virginia brain injury attorney at the Robinette Legal Group to discuss possible legal action to pursue compensation for the medical treatment, financial losses and lifetime of care. As former insurance defense attorneys, we know how easy it is for insurance companies to claim the victim isn’t really suffering the effects of brain damage.

Our Morgantown and Preston County TBI lawyers have experience representing clients in significant brain injury claims. We know what juries will be looking for in the way of evidence to prove your case. Our firm offers the professional and independent resources to handle the medical complexities of serious brain injury cases.

Simple Blood Test for Brain Injuries

Traumatic Brain Injuries can result from car, truck, motorcycle, and bike accidents, sports injury, falls, work accidents, and from impact during explosions.  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 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.
  • 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.   

Contact a Morgantown TBI Attorney

If you or a loved one has recently suffered a head injury in an accident, get checked out by a qualified medical specialist. If you are concerned about brain injury, talk to a West Virginia brain injury attorney at the Robinette Legal Group to discuss possible legal action to pursue compensation for the medical treatment, financial losses and lifetime of care. As former insurance defense attorneys, we know how easy it is for insurance companies to claim the victim isn’t really suffering the effects of brain damage.

Our Morgantown and Preston County TBI lawyers have experience representing clients in significant brain injury claims. We know what juries will be looking for in the way of evidence to prove your case. Our firm offers the professional and independent resources to handle the medical complexities of serious brain injury cases.  Please visit our web site or call 1-304-594-1800.

West Virginia Car Crash? Don’t self-diagnose injuries – get a doctor’s opinion.

If you have been involved in a serious car crash, it is important that you follow the advice of the EMS personnel and get immediate medical attention, even if you aren’t certain you have been injured.

After an accident, many auto accident victims make the mistake of trying to minimize the ordeal they have just experienced.  The attention a car accident generates can be embarrassing as well as traumatic.  Many people just want to go to the comfort of home as quickly as possible rather than continuing this major interruption to their life by spending four hours or more at an emergency room.

If you were involved in a car accident and initially refused medical evaluation and treatment, you may be surprised by symptoms showing up later.  Adrenaline can mask physical symptoms in the minutes following an accident, and some injuries such as back pain and head trauma don’t reveal themselves until hours or days later.

A thorough medical evaluation can diagnose and treat internal injuries that could save your life, and early treatment could improve your chance of a full recovery.  Having a doctor’s evaluation of the car accident’s impact on your overall health will also assist you in knowing whether you need to file an insurance claim for damages, future treatment, and lost wages.

Even if you refused medical treatment immediately after your car accident, and you discover injuries days or weeks after the crash, you could still have a personal injury case.  Please contact Morgantown car accident lawyers at the Robinette Legal Group to learn more.