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Charleston Personal Injury Law Blog

How to file a claim after an unsafe building injury

Unsafe building injuries are more common than some might realize. Whether it's in West Virginia or elsewhere in the nation, people are frequently injured on wet floors, on cracked pavement, and by falling objects. Such injuries can give victims the grounds to file a premises liability lawsuit. For one to be successful, though, several things must be established.

Property owners have a duty of care towards entrants, and they must ensure that the property poses no unreasonable safety hazards. Entrants also have a duty of care; they must not use the property in an unreasonable way. Getting injured after sliding down a handrail, for example, will likely not result in compensation.

Motorcyclist sues GM over self-driving car accident

Can a robot be negligent? A suit out of California may find an answer.

As multiple auto manufacturers race to be the first company to mass-produce self-driving cars, a recent accident case out of California may throw a wrench into the cars’ legal standing.

West Virginia man killed in coal mining accident

Many West Virginia miners have to deal with hazardous situations on a daily basis. The Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training reported that one man died in a coal mining accident that occurred in Barbour County on Feb. 6. The accident took place at around 4 a.m. at the Sentinel mine operated by Wolf Run Mining LLC.

The worker, one of the mine's electricians, was hit by a coal rib roll as he worked underground on a continuous mining machine; he was killed by the impact. The coal mine, which is owned by a larger corporation based in St. Louis, focuses on the production of high-volume metallurgical coal.

Marijuana "holiday" linked to increased car accident risk

West Virginia residents who smoke pot may want to think twice before they get behind the wheel. Smoking pot can impair one's ability to drive safely and lead to car accidents.

A recent study published in "JAMA Internal Medicine" found that car accidents increased on April 20, an informal holiday made popular by pot aficionados. Researchers studied car accident data on that date for 25 years, comparing to accidents on a day the week before and the week after April 20. They found that fatal car accidents were more frequent on April 20, increasing by 12 percent. Researchers, however, did not provide evidence that marijuana use by drivers caused these accidents. Drinking and driving accidents also increase on New Year's Eve and Super Bowl Sunday, other studies say.

How to stay safe while anticipating the self-driving car

Completely autonomous vehicles are still far in the future, so West Virginia motorists should consider what technologies are available here and now that can help them stay safe. Thankfully, there's plenty to consider, especially with the way that advanced driver assistance systems have been developing.

For example, collision avoidance systems are becoming more of a regular feature, or at least an optional add-on. Using cameras and other sensors, these systems can alert the driver to a possible collision and automatically apply the brakes if the driver does not react in time.

Oxygen therapy may help heal brain injuries

Oxygen therapy could be an interesting source of hope for West Virginians suffering from brain injuries. Hyperbaric oxygen treatments are recognized as an effective decompression treatment for scuba divers, but they have become the source of some controversy among doctors and scientists dealing with mild traumatic brain injuries.

Over 2.8 million emergency room visits annually are related to brain injuries, and the vast majority are characterized by medical professionals as "mild" traumatic brain injuries, or MTBI, involving no extended loss of consciousness such as a coma. The most common symptoms of MTBI are dizziness, headache and memory loss. While the immediate symptoms generally resolve within a few weeks of injury, some patients are left with depression, fatigue, lingering headaches and other issues that some researches claim could be helped by oxygen therapy.

Brain damage does not always exhibit symptoms

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) cause approximately 50,000 deaths annually and are cited as the reason for 1.5 million emergency room visits each year. The vast majority of these visits result in a diagnosis of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI). The symptoms of MTBI include headaches, dizziness, loss of memory and mental fogginess. Current research shows that brain injury can occur even when these symptoms are absent.

Researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine examined the post-mortem brains of teenaged athletes that had sustained mild closed-head injuries. Enough time had passed after their deaths for the head injuries to no longer be considered acute, which was key to their findings. Mice were then used to recreate the type of head trauma that the deceased athletes had sustained. The researchers then documented whether the mice exhibited concussive symptoms to extrapolate whether the teens had experienced the same. Even without showing symptoms of concussion, the mice exhibited degenerative neurological conditions classified as tauopathies. These findings indicate that a blow to the head could cause long-term damage even without the recipient of the blow exhibiting concussion symptoms.

NHTSA summit to address dangers of drugged driving

Residents of West Virginia are probably aware that with the legalization of marijuana in many jurisdictions, and with the nation's current opioid crisis, there is a greater risk for accidents due to drugged driving. Among U.S. workers, urine tests have detected an increase in amphetamine, marijuana, and heroin annually for the past five years.

To address the growing dangers, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has scheduled a summit for March 15 that will bring together key stakeholders from across the nation for dialogue. These include law enforcement and criminal justice experts, state and local officials, and toxicologists. The goal is to develop solutions for reducing accidents and fatalities resulting from driving under the influence of drugs.

Study links TBIs to increased dementia risk

Across the U.S., traumatic brain injuries lead to millions of people visiting the emergency room and being hospitalized, and many of them are suffered by West Virginia residents. They are also a leading cause of death, with children and athletes in contact-related sports being especially at risk. Some of the most common long-term effects of TBIs are impaired thinking and memory, but a study has shown that they could include dementia as well.

Researchers from Umeå University in Sweden studied 3 million individuals aged 50 and over diagnosed with TBIs or dementia between 1964 and 2012, comparing them with individuals without either condition. Where possible, they used siblings for the comparison. They concluded that TBIs are associated with an increased chance for dementia, especially in the first year after a TBI. The chance increased with the severity and number of TBIs.

Head injuries may contribute to degenerative brain disease

Researchers have reported new evidence suggesting that a degenerative brain disease known as CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) may be the result of head impacts, not just concussions. This knowledge could improve efforts to detect, treat and prevent CTE, a condition commonly associated with athletes involved with high-impact sports like football and military veterans with a history of head trauma. West Virginia residents may have heard that more than 100 NFL players have been diagnosed with the disease, which can only be positively detected after death.

For the study, researchers examined tissues from subjects who had a head injury shortly before their death. They discovered that early signs of CTE were evident even without signs of a concussion. It's this pathology that suggests any type of injury to the head may contribute to the disease. Researchers also noted the condition appears to continue to spread long after the initial injury is sustained.

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