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Charleston Personal Injury Law Blog

Liability waivers and entertainment businesses

Many people in West Virginia have been injured while on the property of an entertainment-related business. This could include everything from gyms and trampoline clubs to water parks or bounce houses. As a result, many of these businesses require patrons to sign waivers before they get going on any activities. These waivers purport to protect a company from any liability caused by an injury that occurs on their property.

At first glance, these waivers may seem reasonable; after all, people could hurt themselves easily while exercising. However, in some cases, injuries may be caused not by the nature of the activity but by the business' own conduct. People may sustain serious injuries, leading to skyrocketing medical bills and lost wages. They may wonder if the waiver they signed really protects the business from paying out on a premises liability claim.

Distractions raise risk for highway work zone crash 29 times

The narrow lanes of highway work zones make them a dangerous area. All too often drivers will speed through them, not only raising the risk for a crash but also increasing the severity of their injuries when a crash occurs. West Virginia residents should know that previous studies on crash risk in highway work zones have relied on crash reports, which do not contain the most detailed information on driver behavior. One new study, though, is different.

Researchers at the University of Missouri have found that distracted drivers are 29 times more likely to get in a collision or near-collision in highway work zones. They based their conclusion on reconstructions of first-hand accounts of driver behavior and the surrounding environment.

Single car crash leaves one teenage girl dead

A fatal car accident in Virginia left one teenage girl dead and one woman seriously injured. The auto accident took place in the early afternoon at approximately 1:05 p.m. Only one vehicle was involved in the collision.

According to a press release by Virginia State Police, a 1999 Acura Integra was traveling west on Oak Ridge Road less than a mile from Diggs Mountain Road. A the vehicle began to drift to the right on the highway, the 22-year-old driver overcorrected, which caused the vehicle to go back onto the road and cross the center lane. The driver then overcorrected again, which caused the vehicle to go off to the right of the highway. The vehicle then hit a tree and an embankment before spinning around and turning over.

Daylight saving time leads to greater risk for car crashes

West Virginia residents should know that losing one hour of sleep for daylight saving time can have consequences on the road. Namely, motorists will be more likely to drive in a drowsy state of mind. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says that missing one or two of the suggested seven hours of sleep within a 24-hour period can roughly double the risk for a car crash.

AAA even says that sleeping only five hours within the past 24 hours will create the same level of impairment as that of a drunk driver. The organization therefore recommends drivers to adjust their sleep schedules for daylight saving time. There is no remedy for drowsiness but sufficient sleep.

Financially recovering from an auto accident TBI

Many people in West Virginia and across the U.S. suffer a traumatic brain injury in the wake of a car accident. TBIs are the result of a severe shock or blow to the head. When mild, they do not lead to loss of consciousness but may lead to nausea and dizziness. When severe, they may result in skull fractures, a loss of consciousness and even a coma. Victims may suffer seizures and confusion.

After a car accident, those who suspect a TBI should consult a doctor first. Once diagnosed, they will likely have to undergo rehabilitation. This can include occupational therapy, acute inpatient care and more targeted medical interventions. In serious cases, victims may suffer a loss of independence and daily living skills, necessitating the use of supportive equipment like a walker or wheelchair. They may need to hire a home health aide or receive long-term inpatient care.

Groups push lawmakers to make truck safety devices mandatory

It's safe to assume that anyone in West Virginia who shares the road with large trucks has a vested interest in doing everything possible to improve safety. This is why two groups, the Truck Safety Coalition and Road Safe America, are asking lawmakers in Congress to require certain trucks to be outfitted with specially designed safety devices.

Initially, efforts were made to convince the Department of Transportation to help prevent truck accidents. However, according to Road Safe America's president, results were less than satisfying. Specifically, both groups want a law passed that would require heavy-duty trucks to install automatic emergency braking and speed limiters, which prevent vehicles from going over a certain pre-set speed limit. Both groups are using startling crash statistics to make their case. Road Safe America's president believes that an infrastructure bill could be a good way to include a new requirement for trucks to be equipped with the desired safety devices.

The most common reasons for mining deaths are revealed

Because of the state's long coal mining history, residents of West Virginia have a vested interest in knowing the main reasons for fatal mining-related accidents. Annual fatalities in mining have nearly doubled in the U.S. since 2005. Though the figure is far less than it was at the beginning of the 20th century, even one death is too many.

Two natural chemical compounds are the reason behind most mining fatalities. Methane gas is often trapped in coal and released as coal is extracted. Coal dust is, of course, a natural byproduct of mined coal. The problem is that both substances are highly explosive.

Dealing with dangerous or drunk drivers on the road

People in West Virginia face serious threats from drunk drivers on the roads. Drunk driving is implicated in thousands of serious car accidents each year, including many fatal crashes. As a result, people may be very concerned about how they can spot drunk drivers and avoid them on the road. There are a number of signs that can indicate that someone is intoxicated behind the wheel. For example, sometimes people can even see a driver imbibing alcohol behind the wheel. There are other telltale signs in the way a driver operates the car. For example, a drunk driver may swerve in and out of a lane, stop at random times, fail to respond to traffic signal changes or even drive down the road in the wrong direction.

All of these are signs of drunk driving, but they are also indications of extremely dangerous driving. It may be a good idea to pull over when such a driver comes in view in order to allow them to get ahead. Slowing down and pulling over may avoid a much more serious car accident. In other cases, people may see such a car coming towards them while going in the wrong direction. Fast responses are critical in such a situation, while flashing lights and honking may help alert the drunk driver.

Mild traumatic brain injuries have long-term effects

Every year, there are over 1.7 million traumatic brain injuries that occur across the United States. An estimated 7 percent of these cases are in children. Mild brain injuries are often called a "silent epidemic" as the symptoms can go unnoticed. The month of March each year is dedicated to raising awareness in West Virginia and throughout the nation about TBIs, preventing TBIs from occurring and encouraging people to seek help when a brain injury occurs.

A mild TBI occurs when the head is bumped or jolted with a force strong enough to disrupt normal brain activity. It may cause brief unconsciousness, dizziness, confusion or the sensation of "seeing stars." Mild TBIs often occur as a result of slips and falls, bicycle accidents, motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries and combative training.

Solutions to fatal truck crash increase are in truckers' hands

Truckers in West Virginia and across the nation can do something about the rise in fatal large truck crashes. During the Transportation Research Board's annual meeting in Washington, D.C. in early 2019, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released some alarming figures. While the organization never said that truckers are behind the rise, the data suggests that several kinds of negligence are a factor.

Specifically, the FMCSA found that the percentage of all deadly crashes where at least one large truck was involved increased each year from 2015 to 2017 (the latest year for which the organization has data). The number of occupants in large trucks who died also went up each of those years. Deadly work zone accidents that involved at least one large truck went from 26.8 percent in 2015 to 30.4 percent in 2017.

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