If you work in coal mining in West Virginia, you’re one of over 52,000 people who work in the industry. Even more employees are indirectly affected by coal mining. It’s one of America’s leading sources of energy, produced in 28 of West Virginia’s counties. A prominent West Virginia industry, coal mining provides the livelihood for a large number of families. Coal is also one of the safest and most abundant sources of energy with a lower cost than other forms.
Working underground is particularly dangerous, and the men and women who work in the mines put their lives on the line every day to make a living. Unfortunately, information from the US Department of Labor’s Mine Safety & Health Administration indicates that West Virginia leads the US in coal mining fatalities. (Kentucky is second.)
The Federal Mine Safety and Health Act (Mine Act) requires the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to conduct yearly inspections to ensure that the mines are all safe working environments for everyone.
The West Virginia’s Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training also oversees inspections for more than 616 mines in the state, and more than 1,700 contracting companies that work in them. When there’s an accident, these are the people whose job it is to figure out what exactly went wrong, and how to prevent it from happening again.
Many employees go to work every day and return home safely, but some are injured during the course of a work day. The injuries from coal mining accidents can be more serious than other occupational injuries because of the nature of the work. Equipment failures, insufficient lighting, poor air quality, as well as accidents and injury from a lack of safety equipment and bad environmental conditions like air quality can all contribute to a workplace accident in a coal mine.
These accidents can have devastating effects on the workers as well as their families. Lost wages, medical bills and other continuing expenses may not all be paid by the company’s insurance. That’s when the real pain starts.
What You Can Do
If you were hurt on the job in a mining accident, you can file a claim for Worker’s Compensation to cover your medical bills and part of your lost wages until you’re ready to go back to work. You’ll need to talk with your HR department about filing the claim once you’re out of the hospital and able to go home.
Unfortunately, some companies put an employee’s safety behind other priorities, allowing an accident to happen. This negligence may include avoiding or denying a Worker’s Compensation claim, or having an army of corporate attorneys ready to defeat a claim before it’s even filed. You may be offered a settlement that’s way below what you’ll need to cover your medical bills, rehabilitation, lost wages and other expenses.
If you’re having any trouble getting help with a coal mining injury claim, the next step is to contact an attorney who has experience with these kinds of claims.
Coal Mining Accident Representation
Sifting through contracts, accident reports and other related documents is difficult and time consuming. When you’re healing from an accident, you should concentrate on healing, and let someone who understands how to resolve an accident in a mine.
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.