Because of the complexity and severity of coal mining cases, “typical” isn’t exactly the word I’d use to describe them. But clients often want to know: what is the typical length of time it takes to reach a jury verdict in coal mining case? Our clients have obviously suffered a debilitating or fatal injury and want to recover damages for their family as quickly as possible. We at The Segal Law Firm have considerable experience preparing for coal mining cases and know exactly what to do and where to go to get you through the process as quickly as possible.
Because West Virginia law is set up to expedite the process, we can usually get your case to trial within one and a half to two years. That’s from the time you pick up the phone and call our offices until the day your case is in front of a jury. In West Virginia, we have really hard working trial judges, but they are responsible for both criminal and civil trials. Civil trials involve coal miners and their injuries, while criminal cases are just what they sound like; someone has been accused of crime. And these judges have to get to the criminal cases first. So I would say on most dockets, which is the legal word for trial schedule, your case will be available within a year and a half to two years.
Now, how long does the trial take? It depends on how many experts are going to be needed and which coal mine safety rules and regulations were violated. What shortcuts did the coal company or the contractor working for the coal company take? I’ll guarantee you, it’s always about the shortcuts. We’ve got to decide if we’re going to call just one coal mine expert or if we’re going to have to call one on machinery and another on explosivity. Each expert is probably going to take about a half a day to explain to the jury what happened. Of course, the other side’s going to have a counter expert or experts who are also going to take up similar time.
We also have to account for the doctors and medical specialists we’ll have to call in to trial. If the coal miner was killed, the medical examiner ought to be the only medical witness we need. But that’s not always the case. If a coal miner has been seriously hurt, you could have to call in his treating physician, rehabilitation therapist, and his life care planner, which is a fancy word for someone who knows how to figure out how long your wheelchair will last, how many times you’ll have to go to the doctor to be checked for infection, things like that. I think that you can, if you are experienced, knowledgeable and well prepared, usually try a case in a week and a half to two weeks. If it’s a simple case, you can probably get it done within days, but generally speaking, due to the complexity of coal mining regulations and, unfortunately, the severity of injuries, it’s not unusual to see a case last as much as a week and a half to two weeks.
Thing to remember here is, I’m giving you the ballpark estimates that only an experienced law firm can get for you. It takes past performance to understand where to go to ask the questions and, honestly, what questions are actually important. A lot of these lawyers that don’t have experience are relentlessly asking questions that don’t really matter, which severely slows up the process. The other thing I’ve learned is that what a jury hates, more than anything else, being bored. If you’re a lawyer who likes to stand there, act all “lawyerly” and hear yourself talk, well, you’re not going to be liked by a jury. They want to get to the heart of the matter, understand it and make a decision. I have great respect for the men and women who take time to serve on a jury and I’m not going to waste a second of their time. An experienced coal mining injury lawyer will know how to cut through the waste and get right to the point to speed up your trial process.
It’s important that you pick the phone and call us as soon as possible if you or a loved one has been injured in a coal mining accident. We can get the ball rolling and make sure to get your case to trial within a year and a half to two years, but only after we’ve had our first meeting. We at The Segal Law Firm understand the process and will do everything in our power to move your case to trial and get you a positive result. You can contact us today at 855-344-9100.