Archive for the ‘Personal Injury’ Category

Protecting West Virginia Kids from Sporting Injuries

Sep 2014

Participation in youth athletes is often encouraged or even required for children in West Virginia. There is no question that sports can help kids develop commitment, learn how to work as team players, boost kids’ self esteem and help them remain physically fit. However, despite the myriad benefits that are associated with kids playing sports, there is also no question that there are some very significant risks.

A personal injury lawyer knows a school has certain responsibilities in terms of protecting child athletes from getting hurt while participating in school sports. Unfortunately, once certain injuries happen, the damage is done and could have a long-term effect on a child’s development.

Prevention of School Sports Injuries

Preventing head injuries needs to be the primary goal of school athletic programs. As WCYB reports, a head injury can have very long-lasting consequences for a young athlete. Injury to the brain can lead to an increased risk of depression or suicide. A person who has sustained a brain injury is also more likely to develop dementia.

Schools need to recognize signs of concussion, which can include dizziness, disorientation and sensitivity to light. If a student has suffered any blow to the head or is exhibiting signs of a concussion, he or she should undergo a prompt medical examination and should not be cleared to return to play unless and until a doctor has issued clearance.

Damage to the brain from blows to the head is cumulative, so the more a child is hit in the head the greater the chances are of lasting problems. Parents should be aware that while football is the sports activity most associated with head injuries, other sports such as soccer, basketball and cheerleading can also present a significant risk of concussions and traumatic brain injury.

While brain injury is a primary concern because of the lasting effects, kids who play school sports could also sustain other injuries as well. Action News 19 has some tips for keeping kids safe, including:

  • Making sure young athletes are ready to participate before the season. Exercise programs should start between four and six weeks before the sport starts so kids are physically fit and ready to go.
  • Slowly acclimatizing kids to outdoor sports activities. For the first 10 to 14 days of practice, kids should be slowly given more time playing outdoors so they can get used to exercising in the heat.
  • Giving kids plenty of breaks while they are playing sports. It is a good idea to allow for a break every 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Ensuring that kids drink plenty of fluids while they are participating in athletic events.
  • Providing appropriate protective gear that is in good condition and that is appropriate for the particular sport.

If school athletic departments fail to take care of their student athletes, parents and kids can take legal action after an injury.

Contact a West Virginia accident attorney at the Recht Law Offices.  Call 1-800-487-8546 today for a free consultation or visit

West Virginia Student Housing Violations Present Injury Risks

Aug 2014

Student housing is available for young people near the Marshall University campus in Huntington, West Virginia. This includes fraternity houses and other properties where students reside, which are owned by private landlords. Unfortunately, Marshall University student groups have had many complaints about the conditions of off-campus housing and their concerns were repeatedly raised with the Huntington mayor. As a result, the buildings were inspected and violations were found.

When unsafe conditions exist in college housing, student accidents could occur. An experienced attorney at the Recht Law Offices can represent victims of injuries that occur as a result of dangerous conditions. Students may take legal action and hold the landlords or others responsible for property maintenance accountable for damages if they get hurt due to unsafe conditions.

Unsafe Student Housing Could Lead to Accidents and Injuries

According to WOWKTV, city officials inspected 61 structures consisting of 204 units in response to student complaints about unsafe housing conditions.

The inspectors looked at fire protection systems, the upkeep of the exterior of the buildings, the plumbing systems and the electrical wiring. Unfortunately, it turned out that there were very serious problems with the conditions of off-campus housing.

In total, inspectors found 32 violations of building safety codes. In addition, 18 properties were put on notice that they would be required to update the fire protection systems.

If the owners of the housing units fail to comply, then a “Do Not Occupy” order may be issued by the city and posted on the door of the home. The city inspectors have indicated that the reason the inspections are being performed during June is so that landlords will have time to comply with orders to correct conditions before students return in the fall.

A “Do Not Occupy” order was already posted on one home located just two blocks from campus. Students also report similar orders on other homes near the school.

Landlords have an obligation to maintain their property to basic safety standards, even if students are living in the housing. Unfortunately, because students need to be close to campus, many young people were forced to put up with hazardous conditions. One senior commented that students felt “half-way forced to live in these conditions,” and expressed happiness that the mayor had responded to complaints and involved city inspectors.

If a landlord fails to fulfill his obligation to tenants to maintain the property in a reasonably safe way, the landlord can become responsible for the consequences. This means if a fire starts because of faulty wiring or if other dangerous incidents can be traced to the landlord’s negligence, the property owner could become responsible for losses in a personal injury or wrongful death claim. An experienced injury lawyer can help students or their family members after an accident to obtain compensation for losses and damages.

Contact a West Virginia accident attorney at the Recht Law Offices.  Call 1-800-487-8546 today for a free consultation or visit

Preventing Summer Bicycle Accidents in West Virginia

Jul 2014

Preventing bicycle accidents is essential to saving the life of bike riders. Unfortunately, many accidents are caused by the negligence of drivers. The League of American Bicyclists recently published a comprehensive report identifying some of the top causes of collisions that result in bicyclist deaths.

Bike riders and drivers need to know the accident risks so they can take steps to avoid injury or fatalities. If an accident occurs, a personal injury lawyer should be consulted by victims or family members for assistance in pursuing a damage claim.

Top Bicycle Collision Causes

The League of American Bicyclists collected information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on fatal bicycle accidents from February of 2011 through February of 2013. There were a total of 628 accidents identified. Researchers then reviewed newspaper accounts of the collisions and other accident reports to identify the cause of the bicyclist’s death. In a total of 33 collisions, the researchers were unable to determine the cause of death and in 146 of the collisions the researchers could not determine how the accident had happened.

For the remainder of the collisions, researchers identified the circumstances of the crash. Unfortunately, the data showed that it was often the actions of a driver that led to the bicyclist’s death. The bicycle rider was responsible for causing the accident in just 94 of the fatal collisions. Many of the accidents were hit-and-runs where the driver fled the scene, or involved careless driving or distracted driving.

The accidents were divided into different types including:

  • Accidents where the biker was hit from behind. Although these types of collisions are relatively rare, they accounted for about 40 percent of bicycle rider deaths.
  • Side impact collisions or T-bone crashes. A T-bone collision occurs when a vehicle or bike is going straight and is hit from the side. A total of 10 percent of bike riders were killed in T-bone crashes.
  • Head-on accidents. Eight percent of the bicycle riders who lost their lives were killed when a car hit their bike head-on.
  • Right-hook collisions. Around six percent of bicycle rider fatalities were caused in this type of crash.
  • Failure-to-yield collisions. Six percent of bicyclists died because drivers did not yield the right-of-way. In another two percent of deaths, the bicyclist was the one who failed to yield to a car when it was the car’s turn to drive.
  • Sideswipe collisions. These types of accidents caused around four percent of bicycle-rider fatalities.

Drivers need to be aware of the circumstances under which bike accidents are most likely to occur and should do everything they can to try to reduce the risk. Drivers need to obey the speed limit, watch out for bikes, avoid distracted or drunk driving and respect bicyclists on the road. This means not trying to pass unless it is safe to do so and leaving at least four feet in between the car and the bicycle.

Riders also play a part in stopping traffic deaths. Bicyclists should stay in bike lanes whenever possible and should obey the rules of the road including all traffic signals and stop signs.

Contact a West Virginia accident attorney at the Recht Law Offices.  Call 1-800-487-8546 today for a free consultation or visit

West Virginia Water Contamination Prompts Lawsuits

Jan 2014

In early January, a 40,000-gallon tank at a Freedom Industries facility in West Virginia began to leak out 4-methylcyclohexane methanol. The tank was located along the Elk River and as many as 7,500 gallons of the chemical flowed out, with experts unsure of how much actually got into the river and how much was contained before entering the water supply.  

Soon after the leak began, the Department of Environmental Protection started receiving complaints. Beginning at around 8:15 a.m., local residents called the DEP and said that the tap water they were drinking had a licorice-type odor coming from it. It took hours to find the source of the water contamination, and it was not until 12:05 p.m. that Freedom Industries called the spill hotline to report the leak.

An experienced toxic exposure attorney in West Virginia knows that contamination of a water supply is one of the absolute worst types of toxic exposure incidents that can occur because people depend upon water to drink, to cook and to bathe. It is not surprising, therefore, that the contamination of the water in West Virginia resulted in almost 200 people going to the hospital shortly after the leak was discovered.

According to NBC News, those who sought treatment complained of symptoms including nausea and most were not admitted to the hospital. However, exposure to chemicals can often cause ongoing and serious health problems down the line, above and beyond the immediate symptoms that occur.

Water Contamination Prompts Lawsuits

CNN indicates that the spill resulted in as many as 300,000 people in nine counties throughout the state being prevented from using tap water for days after the contamination. Residents were told that they should use bottled water only, even for hand washing, showers and brushing teeth. Bottled water was brought in by the tractor-trailer load provided by the Department of Homeland Security and a local water company also contributed truck loads of water for residents.

Before the water ban went into effect, however, more than 1,000 people called the West Virginia Poison Center because of concerns about the water they had consumed. More than 60 animal exposures to the contaminated water have also been reported.

Officials will not begin allowing the use of water again until it is certain that the water is safe, and they expect to permit residents to begin using the taps again by going zone-by-zone and opening up priority areas first. The goal now is to make sure that the water has less than 1 part per million of 4-methyclycyclohexane methanol, and the water is being treated and flushed in order to achieve this goal. Four laboratories have also been set up in order to test levels in a uniform manner to ensure that residents are not cleared to drink until after it is clearly safe to do so.

The whole incident is causing tremendous inconvenience and uncertainty for residents, not to mention fear of serious health issues. WHSV reports that at least six lawsuits have been filed against Freedom Industries and West Virginia American Water as defendants already, and more claims are likely to follow so those who are harmed by the exposure to the toxins can get compensated for losses.

Call Recht Law Office in West Virginia today at 1-800-HURTLINE for a  free case consultation.

High Risk of Elder Abuse in Assisted-Living Facilities

Aug 2013

Recently, PBS released a three-part documentary called Life and Death in Assisted Living. The documentary painted a grim picture of what life can be like for patients inside of assisted-living facilities when substandard care is provided by the facility.

Our West Virginia nursing home abuse lawyers know that nursing homes and assisted-living facilities all have an obligation to provide reasonable care and assistance to the elderly people who are living in their facility. Unfortunately, this documentary shows that all-too-often, this does not occur and the lives of seniors are put at risk.

Assisted Living Facilities Taking Dangerous Risks With People’s Lives

The PBS documentary focused on assisted-living facilities run by Emeritus, a large national corporation with facilities in 47 different states throughout the United States. PBS chose Emeritus because it is large enough and profitable enough to ensure that it has policies in place to provide quality care to patients. However, there are many other companies that also own assisted-living facilities that may operate in similar ways to Emeritus, so the deficiencies shown in the documentary may not be restricted only to facilities run by Emeritus.

The deficiencies that were shown were not minor problems with assisted-living facilities, but instead were major issues that resulted in fatalities. The biggest problem, according to the PBS documentary, is that many assisted living facilities are trying to keep residents from moving out and moving on when they need to.

For profit-assisted-living facilities can earn substantial amounts of money each month from every resident who lives on-site and pays for rent or care. When a resident leaves and a bed or unit is empty, that money doesn’t come in. As such, employees are encouraged to keep residents living in the facility for as long as possible and to prevent them from going “out the back door,” as it is called.

Unfortunately, assisted-living facilities are inherently meant as a stopping place for seniors who cannot continue to live on their own but who do not require intensive medical care in the more-institutional setting of a nursing home. A senior normally moves into assisted living and then moves on to a nursing home when he or she needs more medical help than the assisted-living facility can provide.

Instead of allowing this to happen, however, facilities were trying to keep patients. The facilities were, unfortunately, not equipped to care for the patients and tragedy resulted. For example, a woman with dementia left the assisted-living facility and froze to death. Another woman had severe bedsores which employees hid from visiting nurses. She died, and her family was awarded millions in a wrongful death lawsuit. Yet another patient, a former pro-football player, lost his life after eating industrial strength dish washing soap that hadn’t been locked away.

These tragedies were the inevitable outcome of an assisted-living facility putting a premium on profits and not paying attention to proper patient care. When this occurs and a facility provides substandard care to patients, those who are harmed as a result (or their surviving loved ones) can and should take legal action to recover compensation for their losses.

If you or a loved one has been harmed by nursing home abuse in Ohio, Pennsylvania or West Virginia, contact the personal injury attorneys at Recht Law Office. Call us today at 1-800-HURTLINE for a free case consultation.

Gas Well Explosion Injures Eight in West Virginia

Jul 2013
According to 12 , a gas well exploded in West Virginia at approximately 4:00 a.m. on a Sunday in early July.  The accident occurred at an Antero well site in New Milton.  Early reports indicate that as many as eight people, including five workers, sustained injuries in the explosion, including burn injuries.

Our West Virginia injury attorneys know that burn injuries can be among the most painful and difficult injuries to treat and that burn injuries often leave victims with permanent scarring. The full extent of the injuries sustained by those involved in the explosion has not yet been determined and an investigation is still underway to identify the specific cause of the gas well explosion. Gas Well Explosion Causes Serious Injury After the gas well exploded, both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection launched an investigation. Preliminary results of the investigation have revealed that two tanks were ruptured due to the explosion. The explosion may have initially occurred when a pump that the employees were working on ignited vapors in the area.  The explosion may have consumed all of the vapor or there may have been a fire that kept burning even after the initial explosion.  Other tanks located on the site also sustained damage and material spilled from the tanks that ruptured. The well on the pad where the explosion occurred was a horizontal well that had been drilled recently but not yet fractured. The Department of Energy Protection is conducting an investigation into whether any environmental effects occurred due to the spill from the tanks while OSHA is looking into whether any workplace safety violations occurred that would lead to citations. The DEP reports that at least five people were taken to the emergency room following the incident, with some other reports indicating that there were as many as eight injured.  Several of those who were taken to the hospitals were workers for several different contracting companies.  There have been no conclusive reports on the condition of the men taken to the hospital although some accounts indicate that they suffered burn injuries due to the incident. Antero Resources is also conducting its own investigation into how the incident occurred, securing the services of a third party to identify the problems that may have led to the explosion. Because the company owns the drilling platform, it could potentially be held responsible for the injuries that occurred and could be required to compensate victims. Because there were multiple contractors involved, liability for the accident may become complicated and workers will need to consult with an attorney to understand their legal rights. If the workers are considered employees, they could pursue a workers’ compensation claim against their individual employers. However, if any non-employer was responsible for their injuries as a result of negligence or wrongdoing, then the injured individuals could also pursue a personal injury claim. If you’ve been in an accident in Ohio, Pennsylvania or West Virginia, contact the personal injury attorneys at Recht Law Office. Call us today at 1-800-HURTLINE for a free case consultation.

Missing Barriers Blamed for West Virginia Accident

May 2013

On May 2, 2013, the Bluefield Daily Telegraph reported that a car crossed the median on Interstate 77 and hit a Fed Ex semi head on. As a result of the accident, a passenger in the car was airlifted to a hospital in Charleston and the drivers of the Honda Civic and the Fed Ex semi truck were transported to a local hospital.

Unfortunately, the Fed Ex semi truck involved in the accident caught fire, which could have been dangerous because of the hazardous chemicals it was carrying. As a 59 News update later reported, the hazardous chemicals in the truck were lithium and disodium trioxalate. The chemicals were fortunately only dangerous if they came into contact with water, which did not occur in this particular case.

Our West Virginia injury attorneys know that this fiery crash could have led to serious problems involving a chemical spill. While it is lucky that the crash didn’t have this outcome, people were still hurt and the accident should have been prevented. As the Daily Telegram suggests, something as simple as traffic barriers could potentially have prevented this accident from happening.

Traffic Barriers Prevent Accidents

Channel 59 posed the question regarding whether a barrier on the median would have stopped the Honda from crossing into oncoming traffic. A spokesman for the West Virginia Department of Transportation told 59 News that barriers are put up on stretches of highways that see the most accidents, particularly crossover accidents. That particular section of Interstate 77 had not been deemed dangerous enough for a barrier.

The spokesperson also also explained that there are two types of barriers. A cable barrier is best at keeping a car from crossing over and a concrete barrier would make the car bounce off after contact. In this case, either type of barrier may have minimized both the risks of a crash.

Traffic Accidents Due to Road Design

There are many things that can cause accidents, and the way a road is designed is often a factor in a crash. When roadways are not properly built or maintained, driver safety can be affected not just by missing guardrails or barriers but also by many other issues as well. Some contributing factors, for example, include:

  • Poor placement of traffic signals
  • Limited visibility
  • Lack of proper drainage that leads to puddles or ice
  • Pinch points
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Visibility of road markings
  • Problems with road surfaces, such as potholes
  • Missing, poorly placed or damaged barriers
  • Lack of guardrails along embankments or dangerous curves
  • Insufficient barriers along medians

Barriers that are placed on medians reduce the number of crossover accidents by capturing or redirecting cars that would otherwise run into oncoming traffic. Cable barriers, made of steel wire ropes, are very effective at preventing cars from crossing the median. They are also cost effective and are predominantly used on divided highways. Concrete barriers also minimize damage to the vehicle by redirecting the car.

Unfortunately, sometimes a road is lacking barriers when it would clearly make sense for barriers to be present. While it is more difficult to bring litigation against a state government, knowing all of the factors and contributing causes of a collision makes for the best starting point.

If you’ve been in an auto accident in Ohio, Pennsylvania or West Virginia, contact the personal injury attorneys at Recht Law Office. Call us today at 1-800-HURTLINE.

Bulldozer Accident Kills West Virginia Worker

Jan 2013

On January 14, 59 News WVNSTV reported that a worker was killed near the  Loveridge Preparation Plant in West Virginia. The death occurred when a bulldozer rolled down the hillside and trapped the worker. The bulldozer has a weight of 18,000 pounds and although law enforcement responded to the accident scene, the worker could not be saved.

Our West Virginia work injury attorneys were sad to hear of the death of this worker in such a tragic accident. Unfortunately, this is not the first time a worker has been crushed by equipment on a work site and it likely will not be the last. Workers and employers should make every effort to ensure that these incidents do not occur, and safety procedures should be put in place to protect workers from being harmed by the equipment they are using to do their jobs.

Crushing and Back-over Injuries at Work

When a worker is killed as a result of being trapped under equipment, the injury could be classified in several ways. It could be considered a back-over accident, which is an accident that happens when a car or a piece of equipment rolls backward and crushes a worker. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 79 workers lost their lives in 2011 as a result of back-over incidents.

The worker’s death in such a situation could also be considered a “crushing” injury. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 84 workers were killed in 2011 as a result of being crushed by a falling structure or being crushed under equipment or materials. The bulldozer in this tragic case rolled several times down a hill, trapping and crushing the worker.

Both back-over and crushing accidents are tragic situations that should not occur in workplaces. It is up to employees to be careful about their safety and up to employers to have safety policies and precautions in place to prevent these tragic accidents from happening.

Protecting Workers from Harm

Regardless of how the bulldozer accident is classified by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is clear that something went wrong on this worksite and that it led to the workers’ death.

To prevent more incidents like this from occurring, employers need to ensure they are following OSHA guidelines for:

  • Equipment maintenance
  • Equipment use
  • Training for those operating equipment

It will also be important to investigate the specific cause of this accident to determine why the bulldozer rolled down the hill. If the problem was not with the employer’s safety procedures or with the operation of the bulldozer, then the incident may have been caused by a defect in the bulldozer itself. If this was the case, then the manufacturer of the bulldozer could potentially face a personal injury lawsuit by the surviving family members of the injured worker. If the incident occurred as a result of the employer, on the other hand, then a workers’ compensation claim could be made by surviving family members to obtain death benefits on behalf of the deceased worker.  The ability to obtain compensation or benefits is very important to financially protect family members of workers who are killed.

If you’ve been in a workplace or equipment auto accident in Ohio, Pennsylvania or West Virginia, contact the personal injury attorneys at Recht Law Office. Call us today at 1-800-HURTLINE.

Summertime Events in PA, WV and OH Can Mean Slip and Fall Injuries and Property Liability Risks

Warm weather is usually a time of fun and relaxation, but injuries occur that don’t happen during other times of the year. This is especially true around swimming pools. If you’re injured at a friend’s pool, a community pool or a hotel pool, the property owner’s liability comes into question. Anyone who slipped and fell near or into someone else’s pool should hold the pool and property owner responsible for any injuries, whether it’s a neighbor, the city or hotel owner.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, certain types of pools present different levels of accident risk. In its report, “Stay Safe In and Around Swimming Pools,” the CDC explains that portable or inflatable above-ground pools present a significant risk of drowning, particularly among boys under five years old. Because of the flexibility of these pools, the side of the pool can collapse and cause someone to slip and fall into the water and drown.

West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio personal injury lawyers at Recht Law Offices remind property owners with inflatable pools to apply the same safety precautions as for in-ground pools, including four-sided fencing and non-slippery surfaces around the pool edge. Children slipping and falling near pools is an especially common summer accident.

The CDC goes on to report that most kids from age 1 – 4 drown in private swimming pools. Considering that many property owners don’t remind kids to walk and not run near a pool, the statistic is not surprising. Puddles, slick paths and slippery tiles can make the edge of a pool or patio slippery and hazardous. If a property owner allows kids to run near the pool, the slip and fall risks increase exponentially.

There are so many wonderful Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia swimming areas. With water, however, comes danger. Be cautious when out having fun in the sun—especially if someone else owns the property.

If you or someone you love suffered a slip and fall pool accident injury, contact Ohio, Pennsylvania or West Virginia personal injury attorney Recht Law Office. Don’t wait. Call us today at 1-800-HURTLINE or complete the online contact form.

Recht Law Offices
3405 Main Street
Weirton, WV 26062

Accident injury report reveals startling conclusions

West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio scored five or lower on a set of 10 key indicators of steps states can take to prevent injuries, according to new report examining injury deaths in the United States.

The report released by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation examines what states do in terms of injury prevention. This includes policies on seatbelt use, bike helmets and drunk driving.

At Recht Law Offices, our personal injury lawyers closely follow injury trends to assist in representing clients. The accident attorneys in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania aggressively represent people injured due to negligence. We have seen first hand the devastating impact of serious injuries and deaths as a result of the reckless actions of individuals and businesses. Accidental injury is the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the new injury report, West Virginia and Pennsylvania received a 5 out of 10 score on a list of injury prevention policies. Ohio ranked last in the nation with a score of two out of 10.

Researchers found that Ohio has an annual accidental injury-death rate of 55.9 per 100,000 people; West Virginia’s rate is 88.2; Pennsylvania’s rate is 59.4. The national average is 57.9 deaths due to injury per 100,000 people.

The report, titled “The Facts Hurt,” concludes that millions of injuries could be prevented each year if more states adopted additional research-based injury prevention policies. Fewer people would be injured in car accidents in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and elsewhere in the country if programs were fully implemented and enforced, according to the report.

Currently 29 states do not require bicycle helmets for children and 31 states do not require helmets for all motorcycle riders. The authors of the report say seat belts saved an estimated 69,000 lives in car accidents from 2006 to 2010. Furthermore, about 8,000 lives were saved by motorcycle helmets between 2005 and 2009, according to the report.

If you or a loved one was injured in a motorcycle accident, a car accident or through some other form of negligence, contact a lawyer with our firm. Call 1-800-HURTLINE to learn about your rights for an experienced personal injury attorney serving West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Recht Law Offices
3405 Main Street
Weirton, WV 26062-4505