West Virginia Courts and Laws

West Virginia Coal Mines and Safety: Awareness is Key

The focus on safety has become more and more apparent since several recent, major fatalities within the coal mining industry. Even the government now recognizes how critical it is that they inspect mines, and if necessary, shut them down until the management makes them safe. But there are avenues open to the miner. Unfortunately, getting that check at the end of the week to put food on the table can seem more important than blowing the whistle on safety violations, which is exactly what we’re going to discuss in today’s post. Who is Responsible for Regulating Coal Mines? There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of federal and state regulations that affect various safety requirements at coal mines in West Virginia. The laws differ depending if it’s a surface mine or a deep mine. But the most important safety requirement in West Virginia is to have employers who care about safety more than they care about production. They have to put safety first, and train their miners in the proper safety requirements to do their job. It’s critically important that management be invested in safety, and that they care about the employee understanding the safety regulations. What Kinds of Regulations […]

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Hurt Out of State? You’re Not Out of Luck.

The Marcellus Shale is one of the fastest developing natural gas producing sites in our country and it’s developing at an astonishing rate. As a result of that, we are seeing more and more jobsite injuries and, unfortunately, a lot of them are out of state workers. We see guys from Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana and when they get hurt, their boss will tell them all the can do is go home and file for worker’s compensation. This is far from the truth and we at The Segal Law Firm want to make sure our out of state workers understand that. If you are working here in West Virginia from out of state, you are our guest. We have laws here that protect you. If you can demonstrate certain types of misconduct, if your boss or foreman knew they were exposing you to a hazard, we might have a case on our hands. It’s our goal to get you more money for your losses. A worker who is injured in West Virginia can sometimes sue the contractor, subcontractor, or even their own employer. We’ve seen cases where it was actually an equipment failure that caused the accident and, in that

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How Injury Settlements are Decided and Why They’re Always Different

Every injury settlement is unique. In each case, we gather as much information as possible from our clients but no two cases are alike so there isn’t any kind of average amount for a settlement. Some people may only miss a few days of work while others may never be able to work again. Some injuries though serious, will heal, though it may take one to two years to become pain-free or scar-free. But for many their scars will be visible for life just as the pain may exist the rest of their life. How the Uniqueness of a Case Affects Settlement Cases are evaluated differently based on the type of injury. Obviously, the more serious the injury – such as paralysis and burns – due to the horrific and devastating injury. And many times the entire family is affected by the injury and it changes their lives as well. These cases can lead to a high settlement value. Any cases where a limb is amputated or multiple limbs are amputated – those are at the high end of the personal injury settlement scale. Also, how you are hurt affects what the settlement is likely to be worth. In aviation

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Regarding Coal Mining Deaths, What Rights do Family Members Have?

When you or your family have suffered the death of a family member due to a coal mining accident, there are two very important questions that your lawyer should obtain answers for on your behalf. First, and foremost, you deserve to know what exactly caused the death of your husband or your son or your family member.  Fortunately, in West Virginia both federal and state investigators have a duty to the family to answer this question and help you understand why this tragedy occurred.  The Segal Law Firm has found through its years of experience that both federal and state investigators are very, very good at trying to find an answer to this question for you and your family.  However, sometimes this question requires a little patience before it can be accurately answered.  There may be dozens and dozens of witnesses to interview; machinery and equipment maintenance records need to be examined as well as mine maps and detailed engineering drawings.  However, my experience in these cases has shown that federal and state investigators are every bit as concerned as you and your family to uncover the truth. You and your family should be aware that under recent West Virginia

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How do I Locate an Experienced Lawyer in West Virginia?

If you need an experienced lawyer to handle your case due to personal injury or a wrongful death, the process is very similar to seeking a qualified medical doctor for an injury.  All of the following should be closely checked out and verified as accurately as possible: What kinds of cases are they experienced in handling? How long has the lawyer been in practice? What kind of reputation do they have in your community or outside your community? Do they have a website?  If so, take a look at the types of cases they have handled.  Are they complex cases and how long did they continue before settlement or jury verdict was reached? Do they have experience handling cases like your case? When you have selected two or three lawyers who appear to be qualified to handle your case, call them and set up a meeting.  Explain the details of your case and don’t hesitate to ask them if they actually have experience with a case like yours.  If they have real experience, they should demonstrate their knowledge, ability and willingness to take the necessary action needed to get justice for you and your family. Remember – the best lawyer

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What is Arbitration and How is it Used in West Virginia Court Systems?

Arbitration contracts are typically used between companies, corporations or insurance companies, although they do sometimes affect consumers.  They are mandatory contracts that take you out of the court system when you sign up for them.  Simply put, arbitration means you cannot file a lawsuit. You and your lawyer put together a list of people who can arbitrate your case; the opposing side also puts together a list, and both sides must agree on those arbitrators.  This list usually involves one to three people who are jointly selected by both sides. The next step involves a mini-trial where you can tell your side of the story to the arbitrator as well as offer your documents in support of your story.  The opposing side then tells their own side of the story at which time the arbitrator must decide which story everyone will be bound by. We at the Segal Law firm have found cases where people were unfortunately tricked into arbitration.  In these instances, we can often get you into court.  Arbitration is voluntary and must be an agreement that is knowingly made.  However, if you fully understand this process and agree to it, you will most likely be going in

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Most Common Types of Workplace Injuries that Occur in West Virginia

West Virginia is heavily involved in the production of its natural resources and those resources include coal, oil, gas, heavy industry, electrical power houses, chemical factories, and steel mills.  Here at the Segal Law Firm, we often see the vast majority of injury cases stemming from employment in these industries. Mining is an inherently dangerous occupation, particularly when mining plans or safety rules are not followed by management, equipment fails or the mine itself fails, injuring multiple people.  Further problems can arise with untrained people who are placed improperly in both surface or deep mines. These same problems are seen in the natural oil and gas industries.  The Marcellus Shale is a very dangerous type of gas to extract because of the huge amount of pressure it is under when you are drilling on a rig.  People who perform this work must be trained very carefully with regard to co-workers’ safety as well as their own safety. Injuries are seen in both power and chemical plants where, once again, equipment is not properly maintained.  Management may be more interested in making money than in proper safety protocols and improperly trained people may be placed in jobs that require very close

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What is the Average Contingency Fee for West Virginia Lawyers?

Whenever an individual is considering hiring a lawyer/firm for their case, one of their first questions typically has to do with Contingency Fee amounts, as this is a number that does vary from law firm to law firm. The average contingency fee for West Virginia lawyers generally ranges between a 33 and 40 percent, depending on the complexity of the case.  Contingency, of course, means you don’t have to pay the lawyer unless the lawyer wins the case, either at a jury trial or through a settlement, depending upon what you as the client prefer. Some clients prefer settlements; other clients prefer to go to trial, which is something we at the Segal Law Firm always discuss with our clients so they make the best decision. The contingency is a percentage and at our firm, in some very simple cases where the case resolves actually before a lawsuit has to be filed, we will even sometimes reduce the contingency fee to as little as 25 percent, but as a general rule of thumb, most lawyers in our state charge between 33 and 40 percent as their contingent fee, and usually costs are in addition to that—costs being things like court

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The Difference Between West Virginia State and Federal Courts

West Virginia courts, what we call “state courts,” are not all that different than federal courts.  There are a few characteristics that are pretty different. First, the state courts (West Virginia courts) are in your home county’s seat.  In other words, the local courthouse, if you were hurt in your own county, is where your case would be tried. State Courts The state courts are throughout our state in each of the county seats and there is one or more judges who have been elected by the people in that county.  Some judges actually represent multiple counties, but they’re still elected by the citizens of those counties.  The jurors are all from that county where the courthouse sits, to try your case.  They come in, they receive an official document, but they will be from your home county. Federal Courts With regards to federal courts, federal court judges are appointed for life and they only sit in a few places in West Virginia.  We have the northern district Federal courts and the southern district Federal courts, so in the northern district, you could be in Elkins, you could be in Clarksburg or you could be over in Martinsburg or Wheeling,

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How Much Does a Lawsuit Cost in the State of West Virginia?

If you live in the state of West Virginia and are considering legal action, there is a good chance you’re concerned about the potential costs of a lawsuit. After having dealt with hundreds and hundreds of clients over the years here at Segal Law Firm, we can appreciate the question, and although the answer is “it depends,” here are a few things to consider: Lawsuits in West Virginia are handled in two ways: The fee is billed by the hour or most commonly, the quarter hour, for the actual time spent on your case. The fee is billed on a contingency basis. When people are injured and unable to work, medical bills can add up quickly as a result of financial straits.  Depending on the complexity of your case, Segal Law firm uses a Contingency Fee Contract which means you are charged a percentage of what we win in your case.  This fee is typically 30 to 40% and occasionally it might be a little as 25% if a case is settled quickly and easily. When your case is concluded, dependent upon whether it is a settled by jury trial or settlement, you will also be responsible for court costs. 

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