Coal Mining Accident Lawyer

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West Virginia Coal Mining Accident Lawyer

Have you or a loved one been in injured in a West Virginia coal mining accident? Are you being told there is nothing you can do, but recover workers compensation? WV Coal Mining AccidentPerhaps, you are being offered an under the table settlement?

Before you feel like there are no other routes to recovering the money you need to cover your losses, please call a West Virginia coal mining accident lawyer. The experienced WV accident and wrongful death lawyers at Adams Legal Group, PLLC can help you pursue a claim for damages, injury or death resulting from a coal mining accident. Start here by calling us and let us answer all of your questions about your claim – (304) 381-2166.

The personal injury and accident lawyers at Adams Legal Group, PLLC have the experience and knowledge in coal-mine related accidents to help you or your loved one, if you/they were seriously injured or killed as a result of known and deliberate safety violations in the coal mines, in West Virginia. We have handled coal mine accident claims relating to the following types of incidents:

  • explosions
  • chemical exposures
  • underground rail
  • longwall machines
  • continuous miners
  • roof bolters
  • shuttle cars
  • scoops
  • conveyors
  • Loaders
  • Defective coal mining equipment
  • Cave-ins
  • Collapses
  • Falls & Rock falls
  • Fires
  • Chronic exposure to coal dust or chemicals, causing illnesses such as black lung disease
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning

and miscellaneous other types of accidents leading to serious injuries and death.

Countless miners have been injured by all of the above listed dangers, and if your injury was caused by the negligence of another, our team will be sure that they are held accountable. We’ll work tirelessly to be sure you and your family receive the compensation you deserve to mitigate expensive medical bills, lost wages, and help you get back on your feet. To find out if you have a potential claim, fill out one of our contact forms

Coal Mining History In WV

Coal mining is a mainstay in the history of West Virginia. It employs thousands of residents and is an economic driver in the state. The safety of coal mining has significantly improved over the last 50 years; however, coal mining is still a very dangerous job. Not only could an accident occur at anytime, but the profession comes with a number of health concerns and risks for long term illnesses.

If you or a loved one has suffered an illness or injury whilst working in coal mine, it may be possible to file a personal injury lawsuit. You should explore your legal rights with a Morgantown coal mining lawyer from Adams Legal Group, PLLC.

Our History As Coal Mining Accident Lawyers

Adams Legal Group, PLLC, has been defending the rights of coal miners and their families in Morgantown, and the nearby coal mines, for decades. We understand the importance of this industry; however, we don’t let that impede on the rights of a miner who has been injured, ill, or lost their life because of their job. We have recovered millions in damages and would like to review your case to determine whether or not you have the right to file your own personal injury claim. 

If you’re ready to consult a Morgantown coal mining lawyer, please reach out to our firm now, by completing one of our easy contact forms or by calling us at (304) 381-2166 to discuss how we can help you.

Coal Mining in West Virginia

It’s no secret that West Virginia has a rich history of coal mining, and is proud of those who have put their lives at risk to fuel the State’s and ultimately, Country’s economy. Unfortunately, though, miners are injured on the job all too often. When these accidents happen, it’s imperative that West Virginia miners get the compensation they deserve for things like medical expense, lost wages, and even pain and suffering that the injury — resulting from someone else’s negligence — has caused.

Moreover, if you or your family has lost a loved one as a result of any number of catastrophes that can occur in a mine – i.e. methane explosion, fire, exposure to toxic chemicals – you many be able to file a wrongful death claim, or play an important role in a class action lawsuit, as well.

No matter the circumstance, every worker deserves a just outcome and fair compensation for their suffering.

The Potential Dangers of West Virginia Coal Mines

Go back in time to the 1800s and you would find a caged canary in a mine shaft which was relied upon by the miners to check the quality of air.

Today, miners and companies use sophisticated equipment to not only check the amount of breathable air or dangerous gases, but also other dangers that are possible in a coal mine. Unfortunately, coal mining is still a very dangerous job, and every year, accidents happen.

3 Recent Coal Mine Disasters in WV

Coal mine fires, explosions and cave-ins trap, kill and injure West Virginia coal miners all the time. Recently there have been three coal mine accidents in West Virginia, including (1)the Upper Big Branch coal mine disaster, (2) the Sago coal mine disaster, and (3) the Aracoma coal mine disaster that have resulted in mass casualties and garnered major media attention. Many coal miners were killed, and while coal mining is an inherently dangerous occupation, and coal miners enter the occupation with their eyes wide open, in each of these cases the companies that own and operate the mines, or their supervisors and foremen were held liable in a court of law for failed safety practices that led directly to the miner’s deaths.

1. Upper Big Branch Mining Disaster

An explosion occurred in The Upper Big Branch Mine on April 5, 2010 that killed a total of 29 miners at the site. It was the largest loss of life in a coal mining accident in 40 years in West Virginia.

Investigators found that the site’s owner, Massey Energy was directly responsible for the accident, citing that flagrant safety violations had occurred that contributed to the coal dust explosion. Over three hundred and fifty citations and $10 million in fines were assessed. The company was held criminally liable and settled with the US Attorney for $209 million.

Principals in the company have admitted in court to conspiring to impede the safety enforcement efforts of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MHSA). There is an ongoing investigation into additional criminal liability on the part of several officers of the company.

2. Sago Coal Mine Disaster

Four years earlier in 2006, a coal mine explosion occurred at The Sago Mine disaster in Upshur County, West Virginia. The explosion and mine collapse trapped 13 miners for almost 2 days.

The disaster received worldwide news coverage and mining officials released incorrect information reporting that 12 survivors had been found alive while only one of the thirteen miners actually survived. It was determined that the workers were killed by a methane gas explosion that devastated the underground mine. The mine was purchased by to St. Louis-based Arch Coal having been operated by Wolf Run Mining Co. at the time of the accident owned by International Coal Group. Wrongful death lawsuits were brought by the family members and administrators of the victims estates and were settled confidentially.

3. Aracoma Alma Coal Mine Disaster

Also in January of 2006, a conveyor belt caught fire in the Aracoma Alma Mine, and while not qualifying as a full-blown disaster on the scale of a Sago or a Big Branch, two miners were killed as a result of the negligence of the mine’s owners the Aracoma Coal Company Inc. Investigators found that two walls were missing whose purpose was to provide a fresh air passageway that the miners were supposed to use for in case the need to escape arose due to an accident. Failure to construct these walls allowed smoke to enter the escape route and prevented miners from being able to see to find their way out. 

Two miners, Ellery Hatfield, 47 and Don Bragg, 33, died of carbon monoxide poisoning after being separated from the other workers trying to escape and succumbing to the poisonous fumes from the fire. Their families settled a Federal Tort Claims Act Lawsuit for $1 million with the U.S. government. Four foreman for the mine plead guilty to negligence by failing to conduct escape way drills.

Typical Coal Mining Accident Cases

While the coal mining industry maintains a foundational role in the making of our country, it is also one of the most dangerous professions, marked by devastating accidents for over a century. As an experienced coal mining lawyer can explain, this inherent risk, does not negate a worker’s right to a safe working environment. If employers fail to provide this, it can lead to unnecessary injuries and death and they may be responsible for the just compensation of those affected by the accident.

Compensation is not always limited to those working in the mines. Nearby residents and landowners who are affected by any negligent or unreasonable pollution due to mines are also afforded certain protections under the law. Talk to a Morgantown coal mining attorney if you think this may apply to you and your family.

Federal and State Mining Regulations

West Virginia and the Federal government has established strict laws that dictate the mandatory safety measures that must be in place at a coal mining operation. Part of these laws include the obligations of a mining company, which state that a workplace must:

  • Conduct regular inspections
  • Investigate any accident
  • Hold frequent training on safety
  • Monitor levels of poisonous gases

The Federal Coal Mine Safety Act promulgated and enforced by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration is a code of comprehensive regulations and rules governing all aspects of the coal-mining industry.

Additionally, in West Virginia, the Office of Miner’s Health Safety & Training is the State governmental agency tasked with regulating and policing mining safety in West Virginia coal mines.

If these rules were not followed and are deliberately disregarded, and you or a loved one was injured or killed in a coal mine, please call a top West Virginia coal mining accident lawyer from Adams Legal Group, PLLC.

We will be ready to investigate your case and protect your rights. In the event that negligence took place, we will do our best to hold the responsible parties accountable. For a free case review by an experienced Morgantown coal mining lawyer, call Adams Legal Group, PLLC at (304) 381-2166 or complete our contact form on our website to start a conversation about how we can help you.

Contact An Experienced WV Coal-Mine Accident Lawyer

If you have been injured or a loved one killed in a West Virginia coal mining accident, you need to hire and experienced attorney, knowledgeable in coal mine operations. From roof falls to rib rolls to injuries or death caused by failed safety practices with underground or above-ground mining equipment, we know the hazards that miners face every day and will fight to get you the maximum compensation that you deserve.

We work on a contingent fee so you do not pay unless we win your case. Please call us today to discuss your coal-mining accident to see if you have a case – (304) 381-2166. Contact a trusted WV Coal Mining Accident Attorney.
Adams Legal Group, PLLC is a devoted team of injury law professionals who have dedicated their lives to helping miners injured at the hands of a negligent party. We have gone to bat for miners just like you and helped them get the compensation they deserve.

We understand how important the mining industry is and, therefore, how important it is to keep its workers safe and free of disastrous working conditions. Let our team help you hold the negligent party accountable. Contact our a Morgantown coal mining lawyer on our team today. They can provide the understanding legal counsel and representation needed when your family has been affected by a coal mining accident.

The first step to getting the compensation you deserve could be just a phone call away – (304) 381-2166. You can also complete our web contact form to get a discussions started that way, by clicking the button, below.

Coal Mining Accident - FAQs

What are common types of coal mining injuries?

Unfortunately, because of the type of work, there are many different injuries that you may sustain on the job and they can range from minor to severe and life-threatening, with some of the most common being crush and impact injuries and burn injuries.

  • Crush Injuries. In many instances, a coal miner might be around large equipment or natural landscape that could crush them. This can be a huge problem if the machinery you are using is found to be defective. Additionally, a roof could collapse or a coal stockpile could collapse causing serious injuries.
  • Burn Injuries. There are many different ways that a coal miner could sustain burn injuries. This could happen from methane gas explosions, fires, or even chemical-related burns. Miners are frequently around smoke and different toxins that can also cause internal burns as well. Burns are incredibly dangerous because they can take a very long time to heal and can leave the victim severely scarred or disfigured.
  • Wrongful Death. If someone at the coal mining site is acting negligently or if the equipment the coal miner is using is found to be defective, it is possible that someone else’s negligence could result in a wrongful death. When this is the case, your West Virginia coal mining accident lawyer can help advise you or your family members about the best legal steps to take if a loved one’s life was lost in a coal mining accident.

Can I File A Workers’ Compensation AND A Personal Injury Claim For My WV Coal Mining Accident Injury?

It is important to note that if you choose to pursue filing for workers’ compensation, you are not able to also file a lawsuit against your employer for further forms of compensation. You should discuss the different options with your attorney to determine what could potentially get you the most compensation for your injuries and what kind of evidence you need to substantiate your claims.

Do All States Have Workers’ Compensation Benefits Laws?

All states, including West Virginia have some form of workers’ compensation benefits, however, these laws vary from state to state. A coal mining accident lawyer can explain what the workers’ compensation laws are in the state of West Virginia.

Generally, when you file for your workers’ compensation benefits, you are not allowed to file a lawsuit against your employer to receive further damages. You are essentially waiving that right when you file your claim. Although many people might think that filing a lawsuit will get them more money, workers’ compensation is typically more predictable and allows the injured employee to begin receiving their monetary benefits sooner, thus, there is less payment for your injuries out-of-pocket.

If, for some reason, your employer has no form of workers’ compensation insurance of they refuse to cover your insurance, speak with your attorney about filing a lawsuit.

What Do You Need For a Coal-Mining Injury Lawsuit In WV?

To file a lawsuit, you will need to provide some form of evidence that shows your employer did not have the necessary insurance or that they intentionally harmed you. If your employer was properly insured, you may still be able to pursue a claim for damages against them outside of WV Workers’ Comp, if and only if their conduct amounted to a deliberate or knowing disregard for safety causing a substantial risk of serious injury or death to its employees.  

You may also have a claim, if you are an independent contractor or if the hazard that led to the injury or death was caused by the negligence of another party (individual or corporation) that is not the employer.

Are There Any Drawbacks to Receiving Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

While a lawsuit is often lengthier and costs a great deal of money, workers’ compensation benefits claims are not perfect. Two major drawbacks are:

  • There are limits to the number of workers’ compensation benefits
  • You cannot file for punitive damages in a workers’ compensation claim

When Is It More Appropriate to File a Lawsuit?

In some cases, your injury may be grounds for filing a lawsuit instead of a workers’ compensation claim. There are a few reasons this may be the case:

  • Your employer cannot cover you with workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer has no workers’ compensation insurance or if their insurance is so insufficient that it does not cover your damages, a coal mining accident lawyer can help determine if filing for a lawsuit will be a better tactic for recovering the damages you need.
  • Your employer intentionally set out to harm you. If you were up on a ladder and a damaged step caused you to fall and break your arm, you likely have a reasonable workers’ compensation claim. However, if your employer was walking by you while you were up on a ladder and intentionally pushed the ladder to make you fall, then a lawsuit may be a better route to take.

How Can a West Virginia Coal Mining Accident Lawyer Help Me?

An attorney can help determine the best route to take with your case, whether it is more appropriate to file for workers’ compensation benefits or if you should file a lawsuit. If you have any questions regarding workers’ compensation benefits and sustaining an on-the-job injury, contact a West Virginia coal mining accident lawyer at Adams Legal Group, PLLC, by calling (304) 381-2166 or by clicking the button and completing our contact form . . .