Mining is one of the top industries in the state. Even with continuous improvements in safety processes and equipment, it’s still one of the most dangerous. West Virginia still leads the US in mining accidents and fatalities. Despite the country’s dependence on coal, the mining part is still dangerous enough that on average, 70 people a year die in mining accidents.
This type of case is filed when an individual dies as a result of another’s negligence. In a mining environment, negligence can result in:
- Defective equipment (improperly maintained, etc.)
- Surface mining accidents
- Explosions of methane gas
- Collapsing of coal stockpiles
As with any wrongful death suit, the case hinges on finding the cause of the wrongful death and the individual behind it. Another factor is showing who suffered as a result of the wrongful death. Generally, the surviving spouse, children, parents and other dependents are awarded compensation after a mining accident that results in a wrongful death ruling.
While no amount of money will replace a loved one, a wrongful death award after a mining accident can help compensate a family that has lost their main source of income.
Safety And Coal Mining
Even though safety has improved since the first days of mining, danger and negligence still exists in the industry. Defective equipment, safety rules that aren’t followed, and other unsafe working conditions are common as employers attempt to evade MSHA regulations.
In many cases, the fault of a mining accident can be traced back to equipment manufacturers, oversights on the part of the mining companies or even other employees. Some of these accidents are caused by:
- Lack of maintenance for equipment
- Toxic chemical exposure
- Employee error—failure to report dangers like unsafe conditions or follow company processes
- Falling roofs
- Toxic chemical exposure (including inhaling silica dust and other dangerous substances)
In order to file a wrongful death case, you must prove deliberate intent on the part of the employer. Like any workplace accident, proving a mining accident is the fault of the employer requires demonstrating a “willful, wanton, and reckless misconduct” on the part of the employer.
Compensation And Damages
If your spouse was killed in a mining accident, there are several forms of monies you can collect under the law:
- Medical bills
- Funeral, burial, and related expenses
- · Lost wages and benefits of the deceased
- · Lost household services of the deceased
- · Loss of the deceased’s companionship
- · Mental anguish and solace suffered by deceased’s plaintiff surviving family members
As a surviving spouse or other relative you will have only two years to file your lawsuit or lose your right to do so.
West Virginia’s Mining Accident Attorney
Chad Love has 20 years’ experience working with personal injury victims, representing miners and victims of mining accidents. The Love Law Firm is Charleston, West Virginia’s personal injury law firm with extensive experience handling mining accident cases. Call us today at 304-344-5683 (or use our online contact form) and schedule your free consultation. There’s no charge for the first visit, and our contingency fee arrangement means you won’t pay unless we win your case and recover money for you.