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Charleston Personal Injury Law Blog

When a driver causes a tailgating car accident

In West Virginia, motorists who cause a car accident after tailgating the vehicle in front of them may be held liable for any resulting injuries or damages. This is because drivers are responsible for maintaining a safe distance behind the vehicle in front of them so that they can avoid an accident if the other vehicle suddenly stops. However, it can be still be difficult to prove that the tailgating driver was liable.

Liability for a car accident is strictly tied to whether a driver was negligent. As such, there are four main elements that an injured person will have to prove before the tailgating driver can be found liable. For example, the injured person must prove that the tailgating driver had a duty to drive responsibly. The injured person must prove that the driver breached this duty and caused the crash as a direct result. Finally, the injured person must prove that the damages that were sustained were caused by the accident.

Who is liable for a dog attack?

West Virginia residents who own dogs may be interested to learn that over the course of 2016, there were approximately 18,000 dog bite claims that were filed around the country against homeowners. This represents an approximate 20 percent increase over a 10-year period.

In addition to the rise in the number of dog bite claims, the average payout also increased. In fact, the gross amount of the payouts from dog bite claims totaled about $600 million in 2016, a $280 million increase from 2006. Analysts noted that the increase in claims and claim payouts were not caused by policy changes. In fact, the number of severe dog attacks and dog bite cases have simply increased over the last decade.

Getting hurt in a big-box store in West Virginia

While it is common for large retailers to be sued by people who are injured in their stores, Walmart tops the list of big-box establishments that face the most lawsuits due to individuals getting injured at their locations. It is estimated that 13 lawsuits are filed against Walmart every day, which works out to around 5,000 injury suits each year.

If someone is hurt while at a big-box store, the manager will probably follow certain procedures that the retailer has established for such an occurrence. The store's management team will often attempt to find out what happened as well as determine the cause of the injury. Depending on how badly the person is injured, the manager may have him or her sent to the hospital in an ambulance or treated by paramedics on-site.

Liability and injuries during spring break

Each year, many West Virginia college students take part in spring break. If they are injured, it is important that they know about their legal options.

Vacationers who are victims of violent crimes may have legal recourse to pursue damages. For example, if an attendee is assaulted at an event, the event sponsor and the owner of the property at which the event was held may be held responsible. The perpetrators of the crime may also be held financially responsible. Premises liability may be applicable in situations in which event operators or property owners failed to uphold their duty in keeping their guests safe. Providing inadequate security and not keeping a property properly maintained may be cause to file a lawsuit if either condition contributed to an accident.

West Virginia police say drug use caused multi-vehicle crash

Police in West Virginia say that a multi-vehicle crash on Interstate 64 on the morning of April 7 that sent three people to the hospital was caused by a driver who was under the influence of heroin at the time. Wayne County prosecutors have been made aware of the accident and criminal charges have not been ruled out. The crash occurred at approximately 10:50 a.m. on Interstate 64 in the vicinity of Spring Valley Road.

The accident took place on an elevated section of the roadway in the Westmoreland area. Police say that two tractor-trailers and three cars were involved in a series of collisions that pushed one of the cars involved off the highway and into a ravine. The 70-year-old man behind the wheel of the car suffered broken bones in his arms and legs, a fractured back and a punctured lung. His vehicle plummeted about 85 feet according to reports. He was transported to a hospital in nearby Huntington where his injuries were described as life threatening.

Majority of fatal large truck crashes occur on rural roads

West Virginia commercial truck drivers face challenges when navigating heavy traffic, but rural roads appear to present the greatest hazards. According to a report from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 60 percent of fatal truck accidents happened on rural roads in 2015 compared to only 25 percent on interstate highways.

That same year saw an 8 percent increase over the previous year in the number of trucks that played a role in deadly crashes. In 2015, law enforcement recorded about 415,000 accidents that involved commercial trucks. Only 1 percent of those crashes resulted in fatalities, but this still totaled 3,598 fatal truck crashes for the year out of the 4,050 vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds involved in deadly accidents.

Distracted driving on the rise

As the number of distracted drivers grows, West Virginia motorists might need to start driving more defensively in anticipation of these distractions. In 2015 and 2016, the number of traffic fatalities around the country were up significantly after several years of decline. Furthermore, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that distracted driving as a cause of accidents is increasing more rapidly than accidents that happen because of drowsy driving, drunk driving, not wearing a seat belt or speeding. Cellphones are a significant source of this distraction.

There are a number of steps people should take for effective defensive driving. They should keep an eye out for any potential hazards and identify which hazards are likely. They then must decide what the appropriate action is and take that action.

Assumption of risk exception to premises liability

West Virginia property owners generally have a legal responsibility to maintain a reasonably safe environment for visitors and patrons. Someone hurt in a slip and fall or similar accident, however, might encounter difficulty collecting compensation for the injuries if a court finds that the person knowingly assumed the risk of a recognizably dangerous activity.

This exception to premises liability occasionally spares property owners from paying damages. For example, a court sided with the defendant in a case that pitted a concert venue against a concert attendee. The man who attended a hardcore rock concert was injured when another person kicked his left leg. The man had been standing in front of the mosh pit where people dance erratically and jump on each other. He blamed the concert venue for his injury, but his testimony about participating in mosh pits at other concerts proved to the court that he was well aware of the risks.

Study investigates the membrane's impact on a brain injury

West Virginia residents who have a friend or family member who suffered a traumatic brain injury may know how debilitating it can be. While researchers know that the membranes that protect and separate the brain from the skull play a large role in protecting the brain against sudden impacts and the resulting damage, the details surrounding the mechanisms are still largely unknown.

Researchers from Washington University in St. Louis set out to learn more about the membranes and how much they actually protect the brain. During the study, the researchers used magnetic resonance elastography to measure the motion of the brain. Brain images from six volunteers were recorded while a small vibrating pillow was introduced. The strength of the vibrations were measured through a mouth guard given to the volunteers. A gelatin model of the brain was used as a comparison.

Too many motorists engage in distracted driving

West Virginia motorists may be interested to learn that approximately 33 percent of all drivers have developed the habit of driving while distracted. Even more surprisingly, an AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety report found that approximately 88 percent of millennials engage in risky behavior when they are behind the wheel. Many of these drivers believe that their unsafe behaviors are acceptable.

According to the statistics released by AT&T, approximately 70 percent of drivers use their smartphone while they are driving. About 40 percent admitted to checking their social media, 30 percent looked up information on the web and 10 percent even used the video chat feature. In fact, of those who used the video chat function, 27 percent stated that they believed they could have a video chat conversation safely while operating their vehicle.

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