Helping Victims Of The Coal Mining Industry
Coal mining is a huge part of our economy in West Virginia. While this fact is generally taken for granted, many people do not often consider the risks that so many workers undertake as part of day-to-day operations of working in a coal mine. While the job carries a certain degree of risk, it is important to realize that many injuries can be prevented through diligence and adherence to safety.
Unfortunately, in an effort to continually bolster the bottom line, bosses, corporations and manufacturers all too often put profit motives in front of worker well-being. While workers’ compensation can help injured workers recover, mining injuries can be catastrophic and may require more compensation to address long-term healing, recuperation and quality of life.
If you or someone close to you has been seriously injured in a mining accident, reach out to a team of lawyers that has the comprehensive experience necessary to inform you of your rights and advocate for you.
Our 50 years of combined personal injury experience gives us the comprehensive knowledge to work on any coal mining injury accident involving:
- Coal mine explosions
- Methane and coal dust explosions
- Mining equipment injuries
- Heavy equipment and vehicles
- Conveyor belts
- Drilling equipment
- Injuries caused by safety violations
- Underground and surface accidents
Safety Violations And Coal Truck Accidents
Coal truck accidents involve issues that are not present in other types of motor vehicle accidents. To ensure you are fully compensated for your injuries, it’s important to hire an attorney who has experience, not only with the coal mining industry, but also with federal motor carrier safety regulations that apply to heavy trucks.
Coal truck accidents may involve safety violations that can have an important bearing on liability. Examples of safety violations include:
- Violations of hours-of-service regulations
- Hiring unqualified drivers
- Overloaded trucks
- Improper maintenance
- Defective equipment
In the aftermath of an accident, prompt investigation is needed to uncover violations before key evidence “goes missing.” We have a team of experts available to help you. Our experts include accident reconstructionists, truck safety experts and medical experts.
Mining companies usually steer injured drivers to workers’ compensation. However, workers’ compensation may not be your sole source of recovery if you are injured on the job.
Workers’ compensation provides medical care and lost wage benefits if you are injured on the job regardless of fault. If the accident was caused by negligence of someone else, you may also be able to seek additional compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party.
Coal Mining Risks
Mining is commonplace in our state, with 28 counties producing coal. According to the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training, about 30,000 people are employed directly in coal mines. More coal is extracted from underground mines in West Virginia than any other state in the U.S.
Coal miners have high risk occupations compared to workers in other jobs. Coal mining injuries and illnesses occur more often and disable employees longer than in other professions. The threats to life and limb are greatest among workers in bituminous coal underground mines.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the 2006 fatality rate in the coal mining industry was 49.5 deaths for every 100,000 workers. The rate in other private industry jobs was twelve times lower at 4.2 deaths per 100,000 employees.
Forty-seven coal mine workers died in 2006, an 84 percent increase over the previous year. Seventy percent of the fatalities took place in bituminous underground mines, with injuries from fires and explosions as the leading reasons for deaths.
Overall nonfatal illness and injury rates among coal miners were 11 percent higher in 2006 than in other private industry jobs. The coal mining rate was 5.1 illnesses or injuries per 100 employees. When isolated, the rate among workers in bituminous coal underground mines was 63 percent above the average private industry rate: 7.5 illnesses or injuries per 100 full-time employees.
Injured coal miners also spent more days off the job on average than other private industry workers in 2005. While most private industry workers were sidelined for a full week, coal miners were away from work for 30 days. Fractures accounted for 16 percent of all coal mining injuries, twice the private sector average.
Companies and other parties responsible can be held accountable for compensation to cover losses associated with coal mining injuries. Attorneys assist with benefits and liability claims.
Safety Violations Increase The Risk Of Mining Accidents
A coal miner puts his or her life on the line during each shift at work just so that we can all enjoy some of the basic comforts that we have grown accustomed to in this country. Mining has some very real risks that require appropriate action to help minimize those risks so that miners can work in an environment that is as safe as possible. Just last week, we discussed how miners can be subjected to unsafe air quality because of a blast. Those injuries might not be readily noticeable, but they can be devastating just the same.
We know that miners just want to go earn a living, but they should be able to do so in as safe a manner as possible. When accidents do occur or injuries occur, it is often necessary for the miner to take action to seek compensation for those injuries. That is especially true if the injuries are expected to have life-long repercussions.
With the dangers already present for miners, it is imperative that employers do their part to ensure worker safety. This means that there shouldn’t be any safety violations present on the mine site. All of the equipment operators should be properly trained, and the equipment should be properly maintained. Explosions should be carefully controlled and proper safety equipment must be readily available for those who will work near the blast site before the air quality returns to normal.
If you were injured in a mining accident or if your loved one was killed in a mining accident, we can help you explore your options for seeking compensation.
Consult With Our Lawyers In A Free Consultation
By fusing our hands-on approach to client advocacy with our personal injury expertise, we at Johnstone & Gabhart, LLP, have recovered millions of dollars for workers injured due to negligence.
Many of these cases may involve multiple defendants, adding a further layer of complexity, and taking decisive action is all the more important. We want to point out that the above list is not comprehensive. If you have been injured in any coal mining or truck accident, please get in touch as soon as possible and schedule a free initial consultation.