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Construction work is booming, but so are contract disputes

The construction industry in West Virginia is booming; in fact, it is running rings around states like California and Nevada. However, more construction activity brings a greater opportunity for disputes over various issues. Some contract disputes must be settled in court, but many can be resolved without litigation.

The good news

FMCSA seeks comments on proposal for HOS rule changes

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is responsible for implementing hours-of-service rules for commercial truck drivers. In August 2018, the agency published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking listing several potential changes to the HOS rules. Truckers and the owners of truck fleets in West Virginia may be happy to see some of the changes under consideration. Below is a summary of them.

First, the FMCSA is planning to make an exception to its current 14 on-duty hour limitation: it may allow two extra hours to truckers who are faced with bad driving conditions. It also plans to revise the rule that a 30-minute break be taken after eight consecutive on-duty hours. Truckers with a sleeper berth compartment may again be allowed to split up their 10 hours of mandatory rest in between shifts.

Radiology mistakes contribute to serious diagnostic failures

Physicians in West Virginia often rely on reports from radiologists when trying to diagnose their patients. An analysis of over 10,000 closed malpractice claims conducted by an insurer of health professionals between 2013 and 2017 identified radiologists as a vulnerable link in the diagnostic chain. The claim data indicated that the misinterpretation of clinical tests contributed to 80 percent of diagnostic-related insurance claims. When drilling down into diagnostic-related claims, 80 percent of cases resulting from radiologist failures caused permanent injury or death.

Mistakes by radiologists typically contributed to missed opportunities to detect serious cancers like breast, lung, pancreatic and ovarian. A report issued by the Institute of Medicine highlighted the critical role of radiologists and pathologists in producing accurate diagnoses. The report noted that these physicians usually work in isolation from the medical teams attempting to diagnose patients.

Misdiagnosis may constitute medical malpractice

A report published by Coverys, an insurance agency, found that 80 percent of cases of missed radiology diagnosis lead to permanent injury or death for the patient. The report was based on five years' worth of medical professional liability claims and also noted that 80 percent of all claims related to diagnosis arose from a worker misinterpreting a clinical test. People in West Virginia might want to be aware of this common area of medical errors.

The author of the report, also vice president of business analytics for Coverys, said there was an opportunity to reduce errors in radiology diagnosis in order to improve outcomes for patients and prevent harm. Researchers examined more than 10,000 closed Coverys claims that were filed from 2013 to 2017. According to the report, approximately 15 percent of diagnosis-related malpractice actions involved one or more radiologists. Among claims that alleged errors in diagnostics, misdiagnosis of cancer was the most common. The most prevalent misdiagnosed cancers were those of the lungs, ovaries, breasts and pancreas.

Data research may alleviate distracted driving accidents

In West Virginia and across the United States, many people may not realize that distracted driving is often the cause of major truck accidents. These accidents can result in pain and suffering, lost wages, serious injuries and even permanent disability for victims.

Long-distance truck drivers are not easily distracted by smartphones or other personal computing devices; these professionals are trained to handle various data and communications devices installed in the cabins of their vehicles, but distracted driving can be prompted by other factors such as fatigue or being away from home at a time when family problems are developing. The road transportation industry is known to make extensive use of telematics and analytics to improve its operations, which is why it makes sense that this data is now being used to study distracted driving situations.

What states fare the best for CMV safety

Two fleet management systems providers have come up with some interesting data that should be of interest to truckers in West Virginia as well as the drivers who get wary around them. Verizon Connect conducted a study of driver behavior with more than 6,200 of its fleet customers in the effort to determine which states fared the best for work vehicle safety.

These customers included small and mid-size businesses with anywhere between 2 and 200 work vehicles, including light vans, pick-ups and big rigs. The study period ran from October 2015 to September 2017. Verizon Connect found that the safest states were all on the East Coast with Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut occupying the top three spots.

3 methods for resolving a contract dispute

Entering into contracts is crucial for your small business. You need contracts whether you hire contractors or employees, or partner with another business. Unfortunately, contracts do not always work out. 

If you and the other party start disputing about something, you may wonder how to resolve the situation. Before you do anything else, you should review the contract with the help of an attorney. The answer to resolving the dispute may be in the contract itself. The document may contain a dispute resolution clause or termination clause and explain your obligations. If you cannot come to a solution after reading the contract and attempting to negotiate with the other party, here are three of your options

September will see brake inspection spree for CMV drivers

Between September 16 and 22, drivers of commercial motor vehicles across the nation will be stopped for brake inspections. This is part of Brake Safety Week, an annual event held by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. The CVSA has long been raising awareness of brake-related violations, so drivers in West Virginia will want to make sure their brake systems were properly installed and continue to be properly maintained.

CVSA-certified personnel will be conducting mostly Level I inspections, which check for driver-related violations in addition to those crucial vehicle-related issues like air and hydraulic fluid leaks, defective rotors, corroded air reservoirs, missing parts and worn-down linings and pads. In those jurisdictions that use performance-based brake testers, personnel will measure brake efficiency by dividing total brake force by the vehicle's total weight.

How patients can protect themselves from surgical errors

West Virginia readers have likely heard horror stories about patients who were victims of surgical errors. However, people may be unsure how to protect themselves and their families from similar situations when they undergo a surgical procedure.

As with most things, prevention is better than a cure. Patients can help prevent surgical errors by taking the same friend or relative with them each time they meet with the surgeon. This person should listen to the treatment plan and ask questions. Patients should also get a second opinion and find a surgeon who specializes in treating patients with their medical condition. They should learn all they can about their diagnosis and treatment options. Educated patients can make more informed decisions about their care.

The most common traumas in truck accidents

Accidents between large commercial trucks and passenger vehicles usually do not turn out well for the occupants of the smaller vehicles. It is these occupants who die in 97 percent of fatal truck accidents. When they survive, they are often left with serious physical and emotional trauma. Residents of West Virginia may want to know what the most common injuries are.

The impact of a crash can send victims into the window, steering wheel or air bag, easily fracturing or shattering the leg, arm and hip bones in addition to the skull. These injuries may require multiple surgeries to heal. Victims might even sustain what are called traumatic brain injuries. These could be caused by head injuries or concussions, and because their symptoms are wide-ranging and often appear weeks after an accident, they can be hard to diagnose.

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