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Charleston Personal Injury Law Blog

Gene could increase risk of post-TBI psychiatric symptoms

West Virginia readers possessing a variant of the APOE gene might experience more severe psychiatric symptoms if they suffer a traumatic brain injury, according to a new report. The study, which was conducted by researchers from the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, was published in the Journal of Neurotrauma in February.

Previous research has shown that traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, are linked to an elevated risk of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and other psychiatric disorders. The new VA study also found that TBI patients were more likely to be diagnosed with psychiatric disorders than those who had never suffered a TBI. In an attempt to explain why this happens, the researchers looked for a biological link between TBIs and psychiatric disorders and singled out a variant of the APOE gene.

News coverage of self-driving car crash criticized by Tesla CEO

In West Virginia and across the U.S., self-driving vehicles are still rare, but it seems that they are injuring both drivers and pedestrians. In one recent incident in Utah, the driver of a Tesla Model S collided with a fire truck because she was looking down at her phone. The Tesla Autopilot program was on the whole time.

The media coverage of the event has been so widespread that it prompted criticism from the Tesla CEO and from supporters of the company. Their comments on social media question why the news media must focus on such a minor accident because the Utah driver survived with only a broken ankle; by comparison, there are hundreds of fatal accidents on America's roads each day.

Poor control of methane or coal dust leads to mine explosions

Generations of people have worked in coal mines in West Virginia. Over the years, safety regulators have developed techniques to mitigate the threat of explosions caused by methane gas, coal dust or both. Mine operators and employees must exercise constant vigilance against these threats by following safety procedures to address methane and coal dust.

Methane gas develops naturally as part of the coal formation process. This gas reaches an explosive level when it accounts for 5 to 15 percent of the air. To ventilate the working areas, large exhaust fans are placed in mines. Gas monitors automatically switch off machines when methane levels reach 1 percent. This automatic shut off is meant to prevent gas ignitions from sparks generated by equipment cutting into rock. Water spray systems on cutting machines also contain hot sparks.

Why you should file a police report after a car accident

Many people in West Virginia do not think much about what they will do after a car accident until they are in one. You might not feel like going through the hassle of waiting for the police to arrive. There is also the possibility of you feeling so confused that you forget to call them. Regardless of what you think or how you feel right after a motor vehicle collision, do not forget to file that police report. 

If you plan to collect compensation for an accident that leaves you with property damage and injuries, you need a report. Here is some info on the importance of car accidents and police reports

9-year-old boy injured after bounce house flies into highway

Bounce houses are a popular activity for children at birthday parties in West Virginia and across the United States. Safety concerns with bounce houses were raised again during a recent incident in California. A 9-year-old boy received minor injuries when the bounce house in which he was playing was picked up by high winds and flew onto a busy highway approximately a quarter of a mile away.

The bounce house rolled onto the highway, where it struck a car, which caused the boy to roll out. The child sustained minor injuries, and the driver of the car was unharmed. Authorities say that the incident could have turned tragic had the child been injured by a passing vehicle after rolling from the bounce house.

Drowsy and drunk driving: their similarities

60 percent of adults in the U.S. claim that they have engaged in drowsy driving before. Of those, a third even fell asleep behind the wheel. Drivers in West Virginia should be aware that there are serious consequences to driving while sleepy. First of all, the effects of sleep deprivation can mimic those of drunkenness.

The driving performance of those who go out after 18 consecutive hours of wakefulness are similar to those of drivers with a blood alcohol content of .05, which is below the legal limit of .08 but still cause for concern. After 24 consecutive hours, though the driver will act like one with a .10 blood alcohol content.

How to prevent liver damage in a car crash

West Virginia residents who are involved in car accidents may experience liver injuries. According to researchers, wearing a seat belt cannot prevent such an injury from occurring. However, wearing a seat belt could reduce the severity of a liver injury, which could increase the chances that a person lives after a collision. A review of 51,202 people found that those who had severe liver injuries were two times more likely to die compared to those with only mild or moderate injuries.

These individuals were 18 and older, involved in a vehicle accident and had either been taken to the hospital or had passed away while going there. Of cases reviewed as part of the study, 15 percent were deemed to have experienced a significant liver injury. The study found that 15 percent of those patients died compared to only 8 percent of subjects who had a mild or moderate injury.

Mild brain injuries increase Parkinson's risk by over 50 percent

West Virginia readers who suffer concussions or other mild traumatic brain injuries could increase their chances of developing Parkinson's disease by over 55 percent, according to a new study. The study was recently published in the journal Neurology.

Previous studies have shown an association between Parkinson's disease and moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries, known as TBIs, but little was known about the possible association between Parkinson's and mild TBIs. To learn more about the link between the two conditions, researchers from the University of California, San Francisco and the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center studied the medical records of 325,870 U.S. military veterans.

Rideshare drivers may be driving drowsy

While some West Virginia residents may rely on rideshare companies to get around town, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine noted that there were some inherent safety risks that may be prevalent in the industry. Ultimately, they reported that the drivers who worked for the ridesharing companies as independent contractors may be at risk for driving while drowsy.

The AASM noted that part of the problem was some drivers may be compelled to continue driving for longer than they should be due to the salary incentives offered by the ridesharing companies. In some cases, the drivers may believe that sleep is overrated if they feel tired or may not even be aware of the risks if they continue to drive while drowsy. Further, customers may also not be aware that they are putting their own lives in danger. They do not know if their driver is well-rested or healthy.

Study: drivers text the most in afternoon rush hour

New data from app developer Drivemode has shown that the afternoon rush hour, specifically between 3pm and 7pm, is the peak time for drivers to text. While New Yorkers text more during this time period than any other drivers, those in West Virginia should still be concerned because texting while driving is so widespread.

The data, gathered over the course of one year through Drivemode's Android app, records 177,000 drivers and 6.5 million instances of text messaging. According to, on average drivers across America send 6.87 messages per hour between 5pm and 6pm: the peak hour. New Yorkers had the highest rate with an average of 8.21 messages, followed by those in Hawaii (7.90) and Florida (7.87). A total of 10 states exceeded the national average.

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