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Drilling Safety

Safety on Gas Drilling Platforms in West Virginia

The West Virginia oil & gas industry is booming. In recent years, thousands of new jobs have been created for workers in the Mountain State, and the industry has become a vital part of our state’s economy. As the energy industry grows, however, is more important than ever for companies to ensure that those who work for them stay safe.

Drilling for gas and oil is not only a dirty job, it is also one of the most dangerous and potentially deadly. There are numerous hazards that those who work on the drilling platforms must watch out for on a daily basis. Here are some of the most common:

  • Fires and explosions: Oil and gas workers are around flammable substances all day long; such as gases, vapors, and hydrogen sulfide. Workers face a higher risk of explosions and fires when one of these substances ignites.
  • Falls: For a major portion of their day, many workers are required to access platforms and equipment that are located in high elevations. These areas often contain sticky in slippery substances, making workers more susceptible to falls that can result in serious injuries.
  • Struck by/caught in-between accidents: Approximately 60% of all fatalities among oil and gas extraction industry workers happen because of struck by/caught in-between events. This can happen because of falling equipment, materials, or debris, moving equipment around, high pressure lines, and many other hazards.
  • Machine hazards: Those in the industry frequently work with many different types of heavy machinery and equipment; such as wellhead equipment, pumps, compressors, conveyors, and many others. When this machinery malfunctions, the results can be catastrophic.
  • Vehicle collisions: Workers move a lot of materials and equipment around from one drilling site to another, and many of these sites are located in remote areas that often require drivers to navigate winding, hilly, and mountainous terrain. Many industry fatalities result from vehicle crashes while workers are in transit.

Injured in a Gas Drilling Accident in West Virginia? Contact a Seasoned Personal Injury Attorney

Safety on gas drilling platforms should be of paramount concern for energy companies. Sadly, many of them have put profits before people, at the expense of their most valuable asset; their workers. If you or a loved one has been injured while working on a gas drilling platform, you have the right to compensation.

Compensation may come in the form of workers’ compensation benefits, a product liability claim, a personal injury lawsuit, or another legal avenue. These types of cases can be highly complex, and it is absolutely essential to work with attorneys who have extensive experience in this area of the law, and the proven ability to recover full and fair compensation on behalf of their clients.

At Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C., we have been standing up for workers in West Virginia for over 40 years, and we have successfully handled some of the most complicated cases against powerful industries such as oil and gas companies and coal mining companies. We can meet with you to thoroughly evaluate your case and advise you of your rights and legal options.

To schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, call our office today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979, or send us a message through our online contact form.

Personal Injury

4 Secrets to Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney

If you have been injured through no fault of your own and you have quantifiable losses, you deserve to be compensated for your injuries. Unfortunately, in most cases, the party responsible for your injury is not likely to freely admit fault and write out a check to cover all of your damages. In fact, you probably won’t be dealing with the other party at all. More likely, you will be dealing with their insurance company.

Recovering compensation from an insurer can be very challenging if you go it alone, especially if you are not familiar with the process. Insurance adjusters are trained negotiators, and their primary obligation is to protect their employer’s bottom line. Since the adjuster’s interests are not aligned with yours, it is best to have skilled legal counsel in your corner working tirelessly to protect your interests.

Not all attorneys are the same and choosing the right personal injury lawyer can also be a challenge. There are many out there to pick from, and there is a lot of information to sift through. 

Here are four secrets to hiring a personal injury attorney:

Choose an Attorney with Extensive Knowledge of Personal Injury Law

Personal injury is a complex area of law that involves many highly specialized rules and practices. There are many lawyers and law practices that do personal injury, as well as several other areas, such as family law, criminal law, bankruptcy, and many others. An attorney that is more of a general practitioner (or you might say “jack of all trades”) may be able to effectively handle some less complicated personal injury cases, such as a two-vehicle fender-bender with minor vehicle damage and minor injuries. However, they may have trouble with the more complex cases, such as a multi-vehicle trucking accident where there could be several responsible parties, or a workplace accident in the oil fields or coal mines of West Virginia. To ensure that you have full confidence your attorney can handle the complexities that may come up with your case, it is best to choose one whose major area of focus is personal injury.

Find out What kind of Reputation the Attorney has in their State and Community

If your lawyer specializes in personal injury law and they have practiced for any length of time, they should be fairly well-known in their state and community and have a solid reputation. In fact, if you can find an attorney who has been part of some groundbreaking litigation or who has partnered with governing agencies (such as the state attorney general) to hold wrongdoers fully accountable for their negligence and reckless actions, this is even better. Bottom line: make sure the attorney you choose is highly reputable and someone you can trust to represent your interests.

Choose an Attorney with the Resources and Commitment to Successfully Pursue your Case

Most personal injury cases do not go to trial, and in general, that is the best outcome for everyone involved. Litigation is costly and can drag on for a while, so if you can reach a reasonable settlement with the other side, you can get paid more quickly and move forward with your life. All that said, your lawyer should have the ability, willingness, and wherewithal to take the case to trial when necessary. Some personal injury lawyers never see the inside of a courtroom. For some, their whole business model is built on volume, bringing as many cases as they can through the door and settling every one of them as quickly as possible. If the other side knows that you are never going to go to trial, you lose an enormous amount of leverage during negotiations. This will almost certainly result in a settlement that is far less than your case is worth. Find out how much trial experience your personal injury attorney has, and be sure they also have relationships with other top professionals who they can bring in as expert witnesses (when necessary) to testify at trial and help substantiate your claim.

Choose an Attorney with a Proven Track Record of Results

At the end of the day, what really matters is the result your attorney is able to deliver. Ask about other cases like yours that they have pursued, their record at trial with these types of cases, and what types of verdicts and settlements they have been able to secure. If the attorney has a successful track record with previous cases like yours, you can be more confident in knowing that they have the ability to secure a favorable result for you as well.

Speak with the Seasoned Attorneys at Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C.

If you are looking for a personal injury lawyer in West Virginia that meets all of the aforementioned qualifications, look no further than Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. At BJC, we have over 40 years of experience successfully representing clients in all types of personal injury cases in the Mountain State. We work closely with our clients, putting our in-depth experience to work to provide the strong personalized representation they need and deserve. 

To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call our office today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979, or send us a message through our online contact form.

Causes of Drilling Accidents

Causes of Drilling Accidents

In the past decade or so, West Virginia has experienced a boom in its oil and natural gas industry. The Marcellus Shale and other vast reserves have made the Mountain State a major player in America’s energy renaissance. This boom has prompted major investments from large energy companies, bringing thousands of new jobs to our state.

There is a major downside to this boom, however. With these new oil and gas rig drilling jobs, we have seen a significant increase in workplace injuries and fatalities. Powerful and dangerous equipment is used to drill for oil and natural gas, and when steps are not taken to secure the safety of those working on this equipment, it can result in disastrous consequences.

What Causes Gas Rig Drilling Accidents?

Gas rig drilling accidents are becoming increasingly common in the natural gas and oil fields in West Virginia. Some of the accidents that most frequently occur include:

  • Fires and Explosions (e.g., gas well explosions, pipeline explosions, etc.)
  • Electrical Injuries
  • Slips and Falls
  • Being Struck by Loose Objects or Debris
  • Being Struck Against a Hard Surface
  • Being Trapped in a Tight Space
  • Transportation Accidents
  • Rig Collapses
  • Exposure to Toxic Substances

There are many reasons gas rig drilling accidents occur, here are some of the most common:

  • Inexperienced or Poorly-Trained Workers: During boom times like what we are currently experiencing in West Virginia, energy companies need to hire far more employees. Oftentimes, those they hire lack industry experience, and companies do not take the necessary time to train their employees properly.
  • Failure to Implement/Follow Proper Workplace Safety Procedures: Employers in the energy industry are required to take reasonable steps to provide a safe and healthy work environment. In addition, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has various safety regulations in place that companies must follow. When energy companies fail in their duty to properly protect their workers, these workers become exposed to numerous potential hazards.
  • Worker Negligence: Many drilling accidents are caused by coworkers and third-party subcontractors working alongside energy company employees who make critical mistakes on the job. This problem is made worse when workers are asked to put in long hours that make them tired and fatigued. Some workers deal with this stress by turning to alcohol and drugs, which also negatively impacts their job performance.
  • Poorly Maintained Equipment: One of the ways energy companies are supposed to keep their workers safe is by using equipment that is properly maintained. Unfortunately, much of the equipment used is old, outdated, worn out, and difficult to work with.
  • Defective Equipment: Related to the last point, some of the machinery and equipment that is used in the oil and gas industry is defective. When certain pieces of equipment have product defects, they can malfunction at the wrong time, causing workers to become injured.

What can be Done about Gas Rig Drilling Accidents?

With oil and gas worker accidents, injuries, and fatalities on the rise, energy companies must do far more (than they are currently doing) to protect their employees. Companies must help foster a culture of safety by implementing better engineering controls, worker training, and workplace practices along with the use of the most up-to-date protective equipment to provide workers with a safer environment in which to do their jobs.

Injured in a Drilling Accident in West Virginia? Speak with an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or someone close to you has been injured or killed in a drilling accident, you have a right to compensation. This may be through your employer’s workers’ compensation policy, a personal injury lawsuit, a product liability claim, or another legal avenue. Recovering full and fair compensation can be difficult, however, because energy companies use various tactics to avoid paying compensation to their injured employees. For this reason, it is important to have strong legal counsel in your corner advocating forcefully for your legal rights and interests.

At Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C., we have over four decades of experience standing up for the working people of West Virginia. We have successfully handled countless claims against well-funded adversaries, such as the mining and energy companies that have powerful lobbies in our state. We work closely with our clients to thoroughly investigate their claim and explore every potential legal avenue toward recovering the just compensation they need and deserve.

To schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled attorneys, call our office today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979, or send us a message through our web contact form.

Winter Driving Accidents

Avoiding Winter Auto Accidents in West Virginia

Recently, a charter van carrying members of the Martinsburg High School girls basketball team rolled over while traveling on Interstate 64 in East Beckley, West Virginia. As the van entered the interstate on a sharp left-hand curve, it reportedly veered off onto the right-hand side of the road and overturned. The crash is still under investigation, but poor lighting on the interstate, road construction, and lack of familiarity with the road are believed to be contributing factors.

There were 12 students and two adults in the van, and thankfully, no one was seriously injured.

We are all very relieved that everyone involved in this accident appears to be okay. But unfortunately, this is far from an isolated incident. According to the Mountaineer News Service, West Virginia has a higher fatality rate from auto accidents than the national average. In the Mountain State, the number of car crash fatalities is 14.7 per 100,000 individuals. This is not only well above the national average, it is higher than surrounding states such as Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.

There are many factors that contribute to West Virginia’s high auto accident fatality rate, these include:

  • The mountainous terrain that is characteristic of the state;
  • The numerous narrow and winding roads that are spread throughout the state;
  • The high number of rural areas in the Mountain State;
  • The high number of roads (throughout the state) that are poorly maintained;
  • The high rates of driver negligence (e.g., speeding, reckless driving, distracted driving, drowsy driving, etc.) and impaired driving;
  • Poor driving conditions, especially during the winter.

Tips for Safe Winter Driving in West Virginia

Even for the most experienced motorists, driving in West Virginia winter weather is a major challenge. In the mountainous regions, it is not uncommon to receive over 150 inches of snow during a typical winter. Even in the low-lying areas, you can expect to deal with several storm systems that deliver freezing rain, sleet, and snow throughout the season. Whatever part of the state you live in, it is important to be prepared for adverse winter driving conditions.

When the driving conditions are poor, it is best to stay off of the roads until conditions improve if at all possible. If you need to drive during inclement weather, however, here are some important things to keep in mind:

  • Monitor your Tire Tread and Tire Pressure: Before you go out in poor weather, there are a few things you should take care of with your vehicle to make sure it is ready. One of the first is to check the tread and pressure on your tires. Be sure your tires have plenty of tread, and that they are inflated to the proper levels. If your tires are worn and there is very little tread left, there is a greater chance of slipping and sliding (or even having a blowout) if you hit ice or snow. If you have the budget, you may also want to consider investing in snow tires for the winter.
  • Check your Battery: The last thing you want to happen is to get stranded in a remote area because of a dead battery. Check out your battery to make sure it has plenty of charge, and just in case, be sure to keep a set of jumper cables along with other emergency items in your vehicle.
  • Check your Wipers and Washer Fluids: When rain or snow hits, you need to have wiper blades that are in good working order, as well as plenty of washer fluid. If your wiper blades are worn, replace them. Also, top off your washer fluid before going out and consider keeping extra washer fluid in your vehicle in case you need it.
  • Clear the Snow Off of Your Vehicle: If you are going out after a snowstorm, make sure to clear all the snow off of your vehicle. Otherwise, this could cause visibility problems when you are driving.
  • Drive Slowly: The best approach when driving in snowy and/or icy weather is to proceed slowly. The slower you are driving, the better you will be able to handle adverse conditions that may come up. It is generally best to drive below 45 miles per hour when you encounter snow or ice on the road.
  • Keep a Safe Distance from Other Vehicles: Allow plenty of extra space between you and other vehicles on the road when there is freezing rain, snow, and similar conditions so you have enough time to slow down or stop if the vehicle in front of you starts to slide.
  • Know How to Drive on Ice: If you are driving at a safe speed, it will be much easier to maintain control if your vehicle starts to skid or slide. If this happens, do not panic. Avoid slamming on your brakes as this can make existing slides worse. Turn your front wheels the same direction that the rear of your vehicle is sliding (this is commonly known as “turning into the slide”). While doing this, however, do NOT overcorrect with your turn as this can cause the vehicle to start rotating faster than the steer can counter, resulting in a spin out. This video provides a good explanation on how to do this properly.

Injured in a Car Accident in West Virginia? Secure your Legal Rights

Driving during winter weather in West Virginia is difficult, and sometimes, you may do everything right and still end up in an accident. If you or someone close to you was injured in a winter driving accident and it was the fault of another party, you have a right to compensation.  When this happens, seek immediate medical attention, then contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your legal rights and options.  At Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C., we have over 40 years of experience representing clients injured in motor vehicle accidents in West Virginia. We have in-depth knowledge of this area of the law, and we have a successful track record with even the most complex cases. To schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled attorneys, call our office today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979, or send us a message through our online contact form.

Concussion Complications - Bailey Javins & Carter

Second Impact Syndrome and other Concussion Complications

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that is considered by many medical professionals to be a milder form of TBI. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, concussions are “caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells.”

The effects of a concussion are usually temporary, and signs and symptoms may include:

  • Temporary loss of consciousness
  • Headaches or head pressure
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Memory loss
  • Slurred speech
  • Delayed response to questions
  • Irritability
  • Mood and personality changes

Some symptoms of a concussion may surface immediately, while others may take a few hours or even a few days or longer to develop.

Although a concussion may be considered “mild” compared to other forms of TBI, there are serious complications that can result from this type of injury. The Mayo Clinic lists several potential concussion complications:

  • Post-Traumatic Headaches: Some concussion sufferers experience ongoing headaches for as long as a few months after the injury occurs.
  • Post-Traumatic Vertigo: Dizziness or a sense that your head is spinning around can continue for as long as a few months after the injury.
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome: Headaches, dizziness, trouble thinking clearly/confusion, and other concussion symptoms can continue for several weeks or months after the injury occurs.
  • Cumulative Affects of Multiple Brain Injuries: The Mayo Clinic says, “it’s possible that some people who have had one or more traumatic brain injuries over the course of their lives are at greater risk of developing lasting, possibly progressive, impairment that limits function. This is an area of active research.”
  • Second-Impact Syndrome (SIS): This is a rare condition in which an individual suffers a second concussion before their first concussion has fully healed. When this occurs, it can cause rapid and severe brain swelling, and in many cases, the results can be swift and fatal.

The Dangers of Second-Impact Syndrome

Although SIS is a rare condition, it is more common among certain sectors of the population, such as athletes. That said, second-impact syndrome can happen to anyone who sustains multiple concussions within a short period of time. For example, if someone was unfortunate enough to be involved in two high-impact vehicle crashes within a few days of each other, they may be at risk for SIS.

Second-impact syndrome occurs most often with younger athletes (typically around high school age) who play high-impact sports. Although SIS is rare, some of the factors that contribute to this injury among young athletes are not. For example, it is not unusual for an athlete (who is in the midst of an adrenaline rush) not to notice a head injury and continue to play. As an aside, it is common for those involved in motor vehicle accidents to experience this same type of adrenaline rush, which may cause them not to notice various injuries until later on.

Even if the athlete feels the effects of a head injury, they may not think it is all that serious, so they don’t report it to a coach or parent. There may also be pressure put on the athlete (internally or externally) to continue playing in spite of the injury. The risk of second-impact syndrome and the depth of information now being learned about the cumulative effects of multiple brain injuries are major reasons the National Football League (NFL) now uses a concussion protocol.

To prevent second-impact syndrome from occurring and to minimize other concussion complications, it is important for those who experience any type of head trauma due to an accident or from playing sports to be examined right away by a qualified medical professional. It is also important to do everything possible to avoid another bump, jolt, or blow to the head while they are recovering from their current injury.

Suffered a Head Injury? Contact a Seasoned West Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or someone close to you has suffered a concussion or another form of traumatic brain injury and another party may have been responsible, it is important for you to understand your rights and legal options. For skilled legal guidance with all types of personal injuries in West Virginia, call Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979 for a free consultation. You may also send us a message through our web contact form.