coal miner death

Coal Mine Worker Fatality Rates are on The Rise

There has been a disturbing number of coal mining deaths in West Virginia and throughout Appalachia during the past few years. Workers have been killed in machinery and equipment accidents, roof falls and rib rolls, explosions, slips and falls, electrical accidents, and many others. There have been multiple recent incidents of electrocutions in coal mines, which can happen when companies fail to follow proper safety protocols.

Mining in general is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Many things can go wrong when you work underground, and it is incumbent upon mining companies to take all measures possible to keep their workers safe. Unfortunately, many of these companies have chosen to put profits before people, and over the years, this has resulted in an untold number of senseless deaths and serious injuries among coal mine workers.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a coal mining accident, call the experienced attorneys at Bailey, Javins, and Carter, L.C. for a free consultation. We have successfully represented coal miners in West Virginia since 1970. We understand the industry and the dangers involved with working in the mines, and we put our extensive experience to work to fight hard for every dollar of compensation our clients deserve.

Numbers Show Coal Worker Safety in Decline

Every year, numerous workers are killed in coal mines in the U.S. But the number of worker fatalities had been falling up until a few years ago. In 2009, for example, the total number of annual fatalities nationwide fell below 20 for the first time. And 2016 saw the lowest number of miner fatalities on record.

But coal miner deaths rose sharply in 2017, and 2018 ended tragically when three miners were killed over an 11-day period. There have been several more tragic coal mining deaths in 2019, including two just recently from electrical accidents in West Virginia mines. Many experts are starting to see a troubling trend.

The number of coal mine worker fatalities may be lower today than it was a decade or two ago, but this does not mean that the mines are any safer. There are only about one-fifth the number of mines in operation today as there were just six or seven years ago, and the number of deaths per 100,000 mining workers was actually higher in 2018 than it was in 2009.

On top of all this, an NPR investigation revealed last year that more than 2,000 individuals who have worked in coal mines throughout Appalachia have developed the most severe form of black lung disease. And sadly, these cases could have been prevented. For decades, regulators had evidence that excessive and toxic mine dust exposure could cause this condition, and they took no action to stop it.

At a time when coal companies need to do more to prevent mining deaths, the government seems to be moving in the opposite direction. For example, regulatory agencies have removed “pattern of violation” (POV) status from some mines with poor safety records, apparently giving in to the lobbying efforts of the coal industry.

Electrical Hazards in Coal Mines

Mining is one of the most hazardous industries when it comes to working with electrical power. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the electrical fatality rate in the mining industry is approximately 8 to 12 times higher than other industries in the United States.

To keep electrical workers safe underground, coal companies must follow government safety standards to the letter, and careful planning and documentation must be done at every step from start to finish. Here are some of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) best safety practices for preventing electrical tragedies like the ones we have seen recently:

· Lock out and tag out the electrical circuit;

· Control hazardous energy to the design and arrangement of the disconnecting means;

· Properly install warning labels;

· Before performing troubleshooting, develop a plan and communicate and discuss the plan to ensure the task can be completed without creating hazardous situations;

· Ensure that employees wear properly rated and maintained electrical gloves;

· Ensure that employees have been properly task-trained for the assigned task.

Injured in an Electrical Mining Accident? Call Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. for Legal Help

At Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C., we have successfully handled cases for electrical workers who have been injured or killed in coal mines and all other types of coal mine accident cases. We are not intimidated by the coal industry and their vast resources, and we will stand by your side to provide the strong legal counsel and moral support you need during this difficult time.

Call our office today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979 or message us online to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team.

construction accident lawyers

The Importance of Expert Witnesses in Construction Site Accident Lawsuits

Construction is a dangerous profession that involves the continual use of hard objects and heavy machinery in a fast-paced environment. These conditions pose a constant danger to those working at the job site and even those who are passing by. Construction site accidents happen frequently, and when they do, those who are injured are usually eligible for compensation.

Recovering compensation in a construction site accident injury is a complicated process. There are several potential causes for the accident and multiple parties that could be at fault. As such, there are many possible avenues available to obtain appropriate relief. This may include filing a workers’ compensation claim with the employer, filing a personal injury or product liability lawsuit against a third party, or filing a deliberate intent lawsuit against the employer.

Some parties that may be responsible when a construction accident occurs include:

  • The injured worker’s employer;
  • The construction site owner;
  • An equipment, machinery, or product designer or manufacturer;
  • A subcontractor;
  • An architect or engineer;
  • A government agency.

To determine liability, an extensive investigation is required to find out how the accident happened and uncover the root causes. Once you find out the cause of the accident and who was responsible, you must also show that the accident resulted in compensable losses (i.e., damages) to the injured party. Throughout this process, expert witnesses can be invaluable in providing clarity regarding certain aspects of the case for which they have specialized knowledge.

What is an Expert Witness?

Expert witnesses are professionals who have in-depth knowledge, education, training, and experience in a certain field, and can draw on this expertise to provide authoritative testimony to explain various facts and pieces of evidence that fall within their area of specialty. Unlike eyewitnesses, expert witnesses almost never witnessed the actual event. However, their testimony can carry a lot of weight with the court because they provide objective opinions that are viewed as highly credible by a judge or jury.

Expert Witnesses that are Used in Construction Site Accident Cases

Each accident case is unique, and the types of expert witnesses that are used will vary from case to case. These experts are chosen carefully by the plaintiffs’ legal counsel based on what aspects of the case are most critical for proving liability, causation, and damages.

Some of the experts that are frequently called upon in construction accident cases include:

  • Accident Reconstructionists: When the cause of a construction site accident is in dispute, the testimony of an accident reconstructionist can help to cut through the speculation and clarify exactly what happened. Accident reconstructionists review multiple pieces of evidence, including the accident report and photos of the job site, to put together a timeline of events and determine (with as much certainty as possible) what caused the accident.
  • Designers and Engineers: If the construction accident was caused by a faulty product design, equipment failure, or something related, a designer or engineer can help shed light on what went wrong and how the defect or failure contributed to the accident.
  • Medical Professionals: In almost all personal injury lawsuits in which the plaintiff sustained moderate to severe injuries, the testimony of the plaintiff’s primary physician and other medical experts is very important to show the extent of the injuries. Medical professionals can speak to areas such as the plaintiff’s diagnosis, treatment and recovery plan, future prognosis, and how their medical condition will affect their ability to work. Psychologists and psychiatrists may also be called on to speak to any trauma and other emotional damage that may have resulted from the injury.
  • Economists: When someone is injured in a construction site accident, there are likely to be major financial implications. An economist can explain the overall economic cost of the injury, such as the medical expenses (both present and future), lost wages, and loss of future earning capacity.
  • Vocational Experts: A vocational expert can provide some specific insights on the work the plaintiff was able to perform before the injury, and how the injury has affected their ability to continue working. And if the plaintiff is unable to return to his/her previous job, a vocational expert can explain why this is the case and help the jury understand what work (if any) the plaintiff is still able to perform after he/she reaches maximum medical improvement (MMI).

Injured at a Construction Site in West Virginia? Call the Experienced Attorneys at Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C.

If you have suffered injuries from a construction accident, you may be eligible for compensation.  But as mentioned earlier, these cases are highly complex, and you need a seasoned attorney by your side to advocate forcefully for your rights and interests and to provide strong legal guidance and moral support during this difficult time.

At Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C., we have over 40 years of experience successfully representing clients who have suffered all types of personal injuries in West Virginia. We work closely with our clients, putting our in-depth experience to work and calling on expert witnesses when necessary to help ensure that our clients recover every dollar of compensation they are entitled to.

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 web contact form.