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FAULTY DRILLING EQUIPMENT

Faulty Drilling Equipment and Drilling Accidents

Oil and gas are now among the leading industries in West Virginia. The Marcellus Shale formation produces billions of cubic feet of natural gas per day, and has quickly become a major contributor to the natural gas supply in the U.S. Marcellus is now the source for nearly half of all the shale gas produced in the United States, and this has meant tens of thousands of new jobs for workers in West Virginia and throughout Appalachia.

The Marcellus Shale and other oil and gas rich formations in Appalachia have been extremely profitable plays for the energy industry. Numerous companies have gotten in on the action, using new techniques such as hydraulic fracturing (aka “fracking”) to extract “black gold” from deep beneath the earth’s surface.

While the shale formations in West Virginia and neighboring states have been very lucrative for energy companies, they have also resulted in a sharp increase in drilling accidents. Oil and gas drilling are among the most dangerous jobs in the world, and employers have a duty to take the steps necessary to keep their employees safe on the job. Unfortunately, employers do not always live up to this duty.

All too often, oil and gas drilling companies look for ways to cut corners and maximize their profits. One area in which they accomplish this is by using old, outdated, poorly maintained, and faulty drilling equipment.

There are numerous parts that need to be in good working order for a drilling rig to function properly. If any of these parts are defective, worn out, or not properly maintained, it can put workers in great danger.

Some of the most common problems with drilling equipment include:

  • Equipment design defects
  • Equipment manufacturing flaws
  • Faulty or missing safety guards
  • Corroded pipes, struts, and valves
  • Damaged tongs, blocks, and cables
  • Railings, ladders, and grating that are rusted out
  • Drill malfunctions
  • Lack of proper equipment maintenance

When there is faulty drilling equipment, it can result in all types of drilling accidents, from gas well or pipeline explosions to machinery accidents to structural collapses to hazardous chemical exposure to countless others. These accidents can cause serious injuries; such as head, neck, and back injuries, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), spinal cord injuries, severe burns, fractures/broken bones, amputations/loss of limbs, vision and hearing loss, crush injuries, and in the most severe cases, wrongful death.

Who is Responsible for Drilling Accidents resulting from Faulty Drilling Equipment?

Drilling accident cases can be complicated because of the multiple factors that may have contributed to the accident. A thorough investigation will be required to get the bottom of what happened and who was at fault. The employer may be at fault for using equipment that they knew (or should have known) was worn out or defective, or if they did not perform regular safety inspections or failed to adequately maintain the equipment. An equipment manufacturer or designer may also be at fault if there was a design or manufacturing defect. 

Oil and gas industry workers who are injured because of faulty drilling equipment are usually eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, which covers medical bills, a portion of lost wages, and compensation for permanent injuries. The workers’ comp claims process is complex and confusing, however, and workers are sometimes denied the benefits they rightfully deserve. If this has happened to you, call our office right away to review your case.

Injured workers are not necessarily limited to receiving just workers’ compensation benefits. For example, if a drilling equipment designer or manufacturer was at-fault for the accident, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the designer or manufacturer, which can provide compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life. In West Virginia, you may also be able to sue your employer under certain limited circumstances; such as if there is clear and convincing evidence that they knowingly put their workers in danger.

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

If you or someone close to you was injured in a drilling accident while working with faulty drilling equipment or for any other reason, you deserve to be fully compensated. At Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C., we have stood up for the working people of West Virginia for over 40 years, and we are ready to go to work for you! We can meet with you to thoroughly assess your case and explore every potential legal avenue toward obtaining the full and fair compensation you 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.

Gas 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.

Truck Accident Attorneys - Bailey Javins & Carter

Accidents with Poorly Loaded Trucks

Trucking accidents are some of the deadliest that occur on the roadways. Thousands of individuals are killed each year in accidents involving commercial trucks, and the vast majority of those killed are occupants of passenger vehicles, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians who are involved in these incidents. There are numerous reasons 18-wheeler accidents occur, and with many of these accidents, there are several contributing factors.

For example, an accident may occur because the truck driver is too close to the vehicle in front of them and unable to stop in time to avoid a crash when the other vehicle slowed down. However, upon further investigation, we may learn that the brake lines were faulty, which shortened the truck’s braking distance. We may also learn that the driver was tired and not paying close enough attention to the vehicle in front of them because they were on the road for too long.

Some of the most serious trucking accidents are caused by overloaded trucks or trucks with unevenly loaded cargo. Loaded commercial trucks typically weigh 80,000 pounds or more. And when they are overloaded or poorly loaded, they can create all kinds of hazards, such as:

  • Cargo falling out of the truck and striking other vehicles or individuals nearby;
  • Putting extra strain on key truck parts, such as the frame, suspension, springs, brakes, and tires;
  • Increased risk of jackknifing, tipping, or decoupling.

Last August, a semi-truck carrying 40,000 pounds of Hershey products rolled unto its side while traveling on Interstate 470 in Ohio County, WV. The accident resulted in hundreds of pounds of sweet treats being dumped onto the road. Thankfully, no one was hurt when the truck was tipped to its side, but this is an example of what can happen with poorly loaded trucks.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets the Cargo Securement Rules for commercial vehicles. These rules state the following:

Cargo must be firmly immobilized or secured on or within a vehicle by structures of adequate strength, dunnage (loose materials used to support and protect cargo) or dunnage bags (inflatable bags intended to fill space between articles of cargo or between cargo and the wall of the vehicle), shoring bars, tiedowns or a combination of these.

Unfortunately, FMCSA standards are not always followed when trucks are loaded. Drivers and shipping companies are typically working under very tight (and often unrealistic) deadlines. This puts pressure on those loading the trucks to complete this task promptly. Trucks may also be loaded beyond their allowed weight limits when shippers are trying to consolidate more cargo into one load in order to save money.

How Poorly Loaded Trucks Can Cause Big-Rig Accidents

Overloaded trucks or imbalanced loads are often one of the hidden causes of a trucking accident. For example, jackknifing, tipping, and decoupling can happen for a number of reasons, such as ice, heavy winds, and other types of inclement weather. However, overweight trucks or poorly balanced loads can contribute to this situation.

Those who drive passenger vehicles probably do not think much about weight distribution most of the time, but it makes a big difference with an 18-wheeler. As mentioned earlier, a fully-loaded big-rig truck typically carries upwards of 80,000 pounds or more. A truck with too much weight or a truck with a poorly balanced load is much more difficult to handle even under the best of conditions. But when these trucks start driving up curvy, winding, mountain roads like what we have here in West Virginia, sometimes all it takes is a moderate gust of wind and/or a little bit of rain or ice to create an accident.

Injured in a Truck Accident in West Virginia? Contact a Nationally-Recognized Personal Injury Attorney

Accidents with commercial trucks can be highly complex cases because there are typically multiple contributing factors and several parties that could potentially be responsible. To get to the bottom of what happened, a thorough investigation is required, and this should be headed up by attorneys who thoroughly understand this area of the law and what it takes to recover full and fair compensation in these types of cases.

At Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C., we have successfully represented countless individuals who have been injured in trucking accidents and all other types of personal injuries. We have over four decades of experience, and we have been highly acclaimed not only for our experience and skill, but also for our client-centered focus and our tireless commitment to providing the strong personalized representation our clients deserve. For a free consultation with one of our seasoned attorneys, contact our office today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979, or send us a message through our online contact form.