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Charleston Personal Injury Law Blog

West Virginia not doing enough to stop coal mining accidents

Coal miners face many risks in West Virginia that make them more likely to be injured or killed on-the-job. One of the risks coal miners face is being injured by equipment while working. Many workers are killed every year in West Virginia in coal mining accidents despite the fact that many fatalities are preventable.

Accidents caused by coal mining equipment could be reduced and prevented by using "proximity detection" equipment in coal mines. Proximity detection systems work by automatically turning off mining equipment when it comes to close to workers. The detection system could help prevent accidents that commonly cause serious and fatal injuries to coal mining workers. 

How West Virginia parents can encourage their teens to drive safe

Today marks the last day of National Teen Driver Safety Week, but West Virginia parents should be encouraged to talk to their teens about driving safe any time of the year. In fact, the central message of National Teen Driver Safety Week this year was that parents should get more involved in the driving education of their children.

The Governors Highway Association says that parental involvement is actually a critical factor in preventing young drivers from getting into car accidents.

Be aware of pedestrians this Halloween

Halloween is tomorrow, which means many kids and their parents will be roaming the streets in West Virginia trick-or-treating throughout the night. Halloween is a time for many children, teenagers and even adults to dress up in costumes and have some fun.

While some Halloween parties feature scary costumes and haunted houses, the real scary part of Halloween may be the risk of pedestrian accidents tomorrow night. With so many trick-or-treaters walking through the neighborhood at night, motorists need to be aware of pedestrians on the road and take steps to prevent an accident

Questions remain after fatal train accident in West Virginia

It appears as if the cause of the recent train accident in Randolph County, West Virginia, is still under investigation. More than 20 people were injured, and one person was killed, when a logging truck crashed into the tourist train on Oct. 11.

The person who was killed was behind the wheel of the logging truck.

Safety rails prove not-so-safe for frail, elderly, mentally ill p3

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission and a consulting firm, formed a working group over the summer to write voluntary standards for adult portable bedrails. The move came at the urging of consumer and patient safety advocates who are increasingly alarmed by the number of accidents caused by the products.

The bedrails in question are the ones installed on normal beds, not hospital beds. The FDA has already issued voluntary guidelines for hospital bedrails. The guidelines, however, do not apply to portable bedrails because portable rails are not generally considered to be medical devices. (They are, however, sold in medical equipment stores, a fact that safety advocates say gives consumers a false sense of security.)

Safety rails prove not-so-safe for frail, elderly, mentally ill p2

Take a moment to think about these three death notices from different communities around the country. From 2004: A 75-year-old hospice patient died in his bed. Five years later: An 86-year-old patient in a rehabilitation center died in her bed. In 2011: A hospital nurse found an 88-year-old patient dead in his bed.

It all looks fairly normal, right? Nothing too tragic, really, because the patients were older and in poor health. A quick scan of a Charleston paper would find a similar notice on any given day.

The truth is, though, these three people died horrible, painful deaths. The first patient suffocated when his neck became trapped between a bedrail and his mattress. The second asphyxiated with her head wedged between the mattress and the bedrail. The third was strangled when his right shoulder and upper body were caught between the mattress and the bedrail.

Toyota unexpected acceleration suits take unexpected turn

Toyota Motor Corp. reported in a recent regulatory filing that it is facing hundreds of lawsuits -- as many as 200 proposed class actions and more than 500 suits filed by individuals -- over the sudden acceleration issues that plagued the company a few years ago. Toyota recalled millions of vehicles in 2009 and 2010.

One of the wrongful death lawsuits wrapped up recently, and a personal injury/product liability suit moved one step closer to trial. At this point, it looks as if Toyota has the upper hand.

Safety rails prove not-so-safe for frail, elderly, mentally ill

We have written at length about the dangers of drop-side cribs. After scores of children died from suffocation or strangulation and manufacturer after manufacturer issued product recalls, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission finally adopted strict guidelines for cribs in 2011. The agency also banned the sale -- including the resale -- of drop-side cribs.

While child safety advocates complained that the CPSC responded too slowly to the drop-side crib design issues, advocates for the elderly and infirm are saying that the commission's response to a similar issue has been both slow and inadequate. So, if parents in West Virginia were relieved to know that their children would be in safer from suffocation in redesigned cribs, they will be unnerved to know that their parents are in danger of the same type of accident, this time caused by bed safety rails.

If DUI laws don't save lives, maybe ignition interlocks can

West Virginia could be the next state to require ignition interlock devices for people who have been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, if the Department of Motor Vehicles has its way. According to the commissioner, enforcement of existing DUI laws is only part of the answer to the growing problem of repeat offenders. The state needs to do more to help drivers stay sober.

As a reminder, the legal limit is 0.08 blood alcohol content. West Virginia law allows judges to sentence first-time offenders to up to six months in jail and a license suspension; a second offense earns the driver as much as a year behind bars as well as a license suspension. The third time around can send the driver to jail for three years and, of course, can result in a license suspension or revocation.

The verdict is in: AEG Live not liable in Michael Jackson's death

After 13 hours of deliberation, the jury returned with a verdict in the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial. Concert promoter AEG Live is not liable in the death of the pop icon. Jackson's mother, on her own behalf and on behalf of his three children, claimed that the company had hired Dr. Conrad Murray, who was incompetent, and pushed Murray to keep Jackson on track for his concert tour.

During five months of testimony, the jury and the public learned about the chaotic lifestyle of the troubled singer and the apparent indifference of AEG's executives to Jackson's health. As the foreman told reporters after the verdict was read, "There are really no winners in this."

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