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workplace accident attorney

Determining Liability for Workplace Accidents

Each year, more than 4.5 million workers in the US get injured on the job. This averages out to more than 12,500 injuries per day, 500+ injuries per hour, and an injury every seven seconds. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the top three causes of workplace injuries are:

  • Overexertion: Usually resulting from too much lifting and/or lowering of heavy objects, repetitive motions, etc.
  • Object and Equipment Accidents: Getting struck by/struck against an object or piece of equipment, getting caught in a piece of equipment or machinery, getting caught, stuck, or crushed by a collapsing structure.
  • Slips, Trips, and Falls: Falling on a wet or slippery surface, falling from higher elevations, etc.

When an employee gets hurt in a workplace accident, they often believe that the only place they can go to get reimbursed for the losses related to their injuries is their employer’s workers’ compensation coverage. And while workers’ comp is a no-fault system that should provide some relief, the benefits available are quite limited. An injured worker can receive reimbursement for all necessary medical expenses, a percentage of lost wages for the time they missed from work, and there is some coverage available for disfigurement and other long-term injuries.

Unfortunately, workers’ compensation does not provide any coverage for the intangible losses an injured worker suffers, such as pain-and-suffering, mental anguish, psychological distress, and diminished quality of life. The good news is that there are often other avenues for recovery in workplace accidents that even many legal professionals are not aware of.

Who Could be Liable for a Workplace Accident?

Under most circumstances, an injured employee is not allowed to sue their employer for a workplace injury if the employer has workers’ compensation coverage. However, there are often parties other than the employer who could be held liable for the injury. When this is the case, the employer can file a personal injury lawsuit directly against the responsible party.

Determining liability for a workplace accident starts with a thorough investigation that examines all relevant facts and pieces of evidence, so you can get to the bottom of what happened and who ultimately caused the injury. This is why it is very important to work with a firm that has extensive experience with these types of cases, so their attorneys know what to look for and how to recover maximum compensation.

There are several parties that could be responsible for workplace accidents, these may include:

  • A contractor or subcontractor who was working alongside the employee who got injured.
  • An architect or engineer whose faulty design causes a structure to collapse.
  • The driver of a vehicle that crashes into an employee’s vehicle while they are on the clock.
  • The owner or caretaker of a property whose negligence causes an employee to get injured while working off-site.
  • The manufacturer or seller of a defective or dangerous piece of equipment or machinery.

Case Study: Injured Coal Worker Secures Seven-Figure Product Liability Settlement from Machinery Accident

Recently, BJC was involved in a case on behalf of a coal worker whose left arm got caught in the drill chuck of a roof bolting machine. This caused his arm to break, and he hung by his broken arm for about an hour until his coworkers finally cut his sleeve loose and freed him. The injured worker went to other attorneys who told him there was nothing they could do, but when we examined the case, we found that the seller of the sleeve was the responsible party.

It turned out that these sleeves were marketed to the coal industry as personal protective equipment (PPE), but no warnings whatsoever were given about the dangers of wearing a highly tear resistant sleeve while working with rotational equipment. The worker has several permanent injuries, and he can no longer do his job or participate in many other activities that he once enjoyed. The defendant recently agreed to pay our client a seven-figure settlement for his losses.

Injured in a Workplace Accident in West Virginia? Contact Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. for Assistance

If you or someone close to you suffered a workplace injury, you may have legal avenues outside of a workers’ comp claim. At Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C., we have more than four decades of experience standing up for working people, and we can meet with you to thoroughly assess your case and go over all of your options.

The consultation is totally free, and if we end up taking your case, we will not charge any attorney fees unless we recover compensation on your behalf. All it costs you is a little bit of your time to find out where you stand. To get started, call our office today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979 or message us online. We look forward to serving you!

 

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.

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.