Workplace Injury Articles

Coal Mine Safety: A Worker’s Right

How can West Virginia coal mines be safer work places for miners? Coal miners deserve and have the right to expect to be trained – and it is federally and state mandated that they are entitled to be properly trained for their job. Protecting Yourself from Injury At the Segal Law Firm, we can help coal mine employees understand what they need to know about their job to protect their own safety. Employees have the right to have equipment properly maintained using the manufacturers specification, as well as parts for critical pieces of equipment and the safety features provided. Lastly, coal miners are entitled to a safe working environment. This would include rock dusting, proper ventilation, and proper maintenance of equipment with regards to having water on certain cutting heads – all kinds of different safety features on machines. Safety Training Safety training is vital, and miners have to be environmentally safe in their work and have the right equipment and tools to do their job safely. Deep coal mining is a very, very risky and difficult job on its best day. Coal companies have an absolute responsibility under state and federal law to help our miners stay safe and …

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Main Factors That Lead to a Victory in Mesothelioma Cases

How Difficult is It to Win a Mesothelioma Case? It’s not very difficult to win Mesothelioma cases because there is an enormous body of scientists who agree that the most common cause of Mesothelioma in North America is the exposure to asbestos. The question you have to ask is, how was the person exposed? Were they a pipe fitter? A boilermaker? An electrical worker? Did they work around power houses? Chemical plants? Industrial facilities where asbestos insulation was used? What Factors Lead to a Successful Verdict and Settlement? If you have a good exposure history and you know what products the person worked with or were around – you have a very high likelihood of succeeding in your case. Not all asbestos products cases are the same, not all asbestos exposure is the same. You have a very good likelihood of obtaining substantial settlements on your behalf and your family members because unfortunately Mesothelioma is a very aggressive cancer and almost always fatal. How Does the Segal Law Firm Protect a Worker and His or Her Family? We work very closely with the worker and the family to protect them and get them good settlements, sometimes in the millions of …

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Mesothelioma: How the Segal Law Firm Handles Mesothelioma Cases

Mesothelioma is an extremely aggressive cancer. It is rarely, if ever, curable and almost always fatal. The settlements range for these cases based on several critical factors. First, how was the person exposed and how many products containing the asbestos can we prove they were exposed to. How the Segal Law Firm Handles Mesothelioma Cases A critical part of what we do at the Segal Law Firm is research to help prove a client”s exposure. We have literally thousands of workers’ depositions that identify the various types of asbestos that were used in the state of West Virginia in factories, power houses, chemical plants and other industrial facilities. The disease can tragically affect people in their 50s, 60s and 70s. For much older folks, the cases are worth less because their life expectancy at the time they contracted the disease was less than it would be for an individual who is younger. Factors Affecting Settlements Generally, you see settlements in Mesothelioma cases where you have very difficult product identifications and much older people. Those cases may only settle in the high hundreds of thousands of dollars whereas younger people with good exposures – that would be people in their 60s and …

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Gas Well Injuries- Get Yourself Covered

What can an out of state gas well worker do if he or she gets hurt? Man. I really wish more people would ask me that question! It’s unfortunate that many folks don’t know the West Virginia laws that protect them in the case of an accident. We got strict regulations and if they are broken, we can usually get you much more money to cover your damages than worker’s compensation provides. When you are injured and your boss tells you, “Go on home, file your claim, that’s all we got for ya.” Well, I say baloney! There’s definitely more an experienced attorney can do for you. If you do get injured, the first thing you want to do is find a lawyer who knows the industry. If you called me, I’d start with finding out exactly what happened. We’ve got to talk about who hurt you. Was it the independent contractor, the subcontractor or your employer? Was someone driving a truck that hadn’t been welded properly? Were you hit by a drunk driver? Don’t just assume that your case isn’t worth something because of your home state laws. Call us up and let us figure it out with you. …

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Mesothelioma in West Virginia Courts and How They Move More Quickly

Some court cases take years to see the inside of a courtroom but with mesothelioma cases, things get sped up. The exigent docket or commonly referred to as the “rocket docket” is most unique and specific law that people need to be aware of. The docket basically allows mesothelioma people to get a trial within a year to two years of their diagnosis. What determines When Cases Get on the Court Docket? Basically, the case is handled by two judges – one handles one type of mesothelioma cases and the other handles all railroad mesothelioma cases. They each have dockets every few months where 20 cases are chosen for trial. The cases are prioritized by:        Are they living mesothelioma? Highest Priority        Deceased mesothelioma        Lung Cancer – living        Lung Cancer – deceased There are some other variables the judges and the lawyers use, but generally speaking, these are the most important ones. Your lawyer gets you on a docket in a year, or six months or nine months, and you’re automatically under a court order that tells you what the time frames are. What will be Required of Mesothelioma Clients? Your lawyers, if they’re experienced, should know exactly …

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Worker’s Compensation: Third Party and Employer Negligence

The most important question to the worker is, “Is the lawsuit going to be against your employer? Or is it going to be against a third party, not your employer, because that’s who hurt you?” Third Party Negligence For instance, if you go to a work site and you are told, “We want you to paint this room.” But the person who brought you there, the premise’s owner doesn’t tell you, “Oh, and by the way, that’s a high-voltage room.” They can be sued for straight negligence. Likewise, if you got to a facility to do your job, and you’re given a defective piece of equipment, and you are told, “You can use this piece of equipment to do this,” and the equipment is defective, that’s a straight negligence lawsuit that you can file against the person who gave you the defective equipment. I had a very interesting case once where a welder was in a chemical plant, and he got what’s called a welding ticket, which is essentially a certification from the company who owned the chemical plant that the vessel he was going to weld on had been cleaned and did not have any dangerous gases. And so …

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Burned on a Rig? You Have Rights

Here in West Virginia, we’ve got a bunch of new sources of natural gas that have recently been discovered. It’s kind of like the gold rush of the twenties out here! There are people coming from all over wanting to drill a well. The problem is, with all of the chaos, safety rules are sometimes put aside in favor of more profit. All of sudden, instead of doing it the right way, it’s about 80% of the right way and then 70% and so on. When you start cutting corners like that, people start to get burned. These environments have got very strict rules about how the rig needs to be set up and operated to protect the worker and if those are broken and you get injured, you need an attorney who can get you some help. The equipment that’s running the rig, that’s drawing off the gases, pumping, and filtering, must be maintained in a manner so as not to cause ignition sources or leaks. I think the reason you’re reading a lot more about these burn injuries is because too many drilling companies are willing to put aside their workers’ safety to make a quick buck on …

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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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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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