Black Lung Attorneys
Black lung disease is one of the deadliest conditions that affects coal industry workers. Also known as coal workers pneumoconiosis (CWP), black lung is caused primarily by long-term exposure to coal dust. This condition is similar to other lung diseases such as silicosis, which are also common among coal miners.
Black lung disease/CWP results in tens of thousands of deaths each year, and those who survive with this condition live with numerous adverse complications and a severely diminished quality of life. This condition is especially tough on the victim’s family members, as they have to witness their loved one’s steady decline and live with the consequences of it.
If you have been diagnosed with black lung, silicosis or another lung disease by a black lung clinic or your family doctor, your next stop should be Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C. Since 1970, our lawyers have helped West Virginia coal miners and other workers get the full and fair compensation they deserve. We are willing to pursue these claims through state and federal court as necessary to get results.
The federal Black Lung Benefits Act (BLBA) provides monthly payments and medical benefits to coal miners who were completely disabled from CWP during the course of their employment. This law also requires employers to provide monthly benefits to dependent survivors of coal miners who died because of work-related black lung disease. To find out if you qualify for benefits under the BLBA, call Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C. at 800-497-0234 or 800-296-6979 for a free, no obligation consultation.
A Reputation for Success in Lung Disease Claims
In West Virginia, our record of results has made us the go-to law firm for black lung, silicosis and other lung disease cases. Not only are we referred cases by past clients, even our peers frequently partner with us on these cases or refer them to us. We have taken on industry giants and powerful opponents such as Consol, Massey, ICG, Eastern, Alpha and Patriot, and we are not intimidated by their vast resources and the influence they wield in our state. We have made a career out of standing up for the working people of West Virginia, and we will fight hard for every dollar of compensation you deserve.
What Lung Disease Does Your Case Involve?
Our practice is not limited to helping those who have been injured as a result of breathing coal dust. We also handle cases involving lung diseases caused by inhaling quartz dust, silica dust, asbestos and other hazardous substances. We represent coal miners, as well as workers who have been injured while drilling into sandstone, sandblasting and conducting other work that sends dangerous material into the air.
We handle cases involving lung diseases of all types such as:
- Black Lung Disease/Coal Worker’s Pneumoconiosis (CWP): As mentioned previously, black lung disease/CWP is an extremely serious condition caused by repeated inhalation of coal dust, which gives the lungs a black appearance. Symptoms of CWP may include chronic coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, obstruction of the airways, and pulmonary hypertension.
- Silicosis: Silicosis is similar to black lung disease/CWP, but it is not the same condition. Silicosis is also a condition that affects the lungs, but it is caused by repeated inhalation of silica rather than coal dust. This condition can affect coal workers, but it happens to workers in other industries as well; such as steel, construction, agriculture, and road repair.
- Mesothelioma and Asbestosis: These are conditions that are developed from repeated exposure to asbestos. Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease that is caused by exposure to high concentrations of asbestos in the air. Mesothelioma is an incurable cancer that affects the lining of the lungs. Workers across many blue-collar industries have developed work-related mesothelioma and asbestosis. Examples include construction, power plant workers, shipyard workers, and firefighters.
- Progressive Massive Fibrosis: Also known as complicated coal worker’s pneumoconiosis or massive pulmonary fibrosis, progressive massive fibrosis is the most advanced form of black lung disease. At this stage, symptoms are very severe and life-threatening, and an individual’s quality of life is severely diminished. There is no known cure for progressive massive fibrosis – the symptoms can only be treated in a way that provides optimal comfort to the sufferer.
We have helped people who have had to go through single and even double lung transplants, as well as other procedures, get the compensation they need.
Black Lung Disease Cases are Increasing
Black lung disease became a major epidemic among coal workers during the 1970s, affecting thousands of workers in the industry each year. By the end of the 1990s, however, the condition had been largely contained and believed to be on the verge of extinction.
During the 2000’s, the situation started to take a sharp turn for the worse. A surprising resurgence of severe black lung disease cases (i.e., complicated CWP) began to take hold in coal producing states like West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, and Virginia. In fact, a National Public Radio investigation recently identified nearly 2,000 cases of progressive massive fibrosis/complicated CWP in coal producing states.
Equally disturbing, this condition started showing up in younger coal workers, those who are in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. Previously, complicated CWP was most common with current and former coal workers who were advanced in years (e.g., 60s, 70s, and 80s).
The huge spike in complicated CWP cases is believed to be largely caused by a focus in the industry on technological efficiencies and changes in the way coal is mined. Mining companies who want to operate more efficiently have laid off a lot of workers, forcing those who remain to work much longer hours. Some of the machinery required to mine thinner coal seams has also been blamed, because it produces silica dust, which is even more toxic than coal dust.
Defective dust masks may also be playing a role. Dust masks or respirators are worn by coal workers to help prevent the inhalation of toxic substances, but it has been found that some of these masks and respirators are faulty and do not work properly.
Today’s black lung rates are higher than they were in the 1970s, and they can affect workers as young as their 30s. But sadly, the coal industry wants to pretend that this problem does not exist. Rather than taking steps to make their workers safer, the industry continues to lobby for fewer government safety regulations. Until they are held accountable for their actions, they are likely to continue putting the lives of their workers at risk.
Free Initial Consultation with a Coal Mining Injury Attorney
If you or someone close to you has developed black lung disease or suffered any other type of workplace injury or illness, Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C. is here to help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and case assessment. We look forward to serving you!
We work on a contingent fee basis. We do not get paid unless you do.