If your loved one has been killed in a coal mining accident, you are most likely experiencing one of the most trying times of your life. Hiring the best representative for you and your family is an incredibly important decision you’ll make during this time. But how do you make that decision? What qualities should you look for in an attorney? I have three words for you: experience, experience, experience. I cannot overemphasize that point. Coal mining cases are extremely complex and require a law firm with extensive past performance.

The very first thing you need to ask a prospective attorney is whether or not they have tried a coal mining case similar to yours. For instance, if your loved one was killed in a deep mine, has he or she specifically tried that type of case? If it was an equipment failure or roof control accident, does the lawyer have that experience? Your attorney should not be hesitant to detail his or her experience with the many types of wrongful death cases that occur here in West Virginia. I’m happy to talk to widows or adult children about the deep mine cases I’ve done, whether they were a result of asphyxia, roof control, training, equipment failure or the many, many other situations I’m familiar and have experience with.

So, why is experience so important? I’m not exaggerating when I say these are extremely complicated cases. And if your lawyer doesn’t know who the best coal mine experts are, they are going to have a hard time proving your case. I can’t tell you how many times I personally, along with my experts, have actually gone underground to look at the equipment or the roof control plan, to find out what failed, what went wrong. It’s not an easy process; you have to get a license of sorts by undergoing task and safety training, just to go into the mine for a day. But it’s important for the family to know that their lawyer is actively discovering and understanding what caused the death of their loved one.

A good lawyer for your coal mining case will also understand your rights with regards to the investigation. Many widows and family members don’t realize that they are entitled to have a representative as a part of the investigation. We can insist on copies of reports and documents as the inspections take place. But you’ll only know to do that if you’ve got a lawyer who is experienced in investigating and prosecuting wrongful death cases. The federal and state regulations that come into play during these cases are extensive and your attorney must have a confident and firm handle on them from the beginning.

You know, it really breaks my heart when a widow approaches me at the end of a case they’ve watched unfold and say, “I wish I would have had someone with your experience when my husband died.” That happens. And I don’t want that to happen to you if you’ve lost your husband or father in a coal mine tragedy. Call me at The Segal Law Firm and let me answer any questions you might have about your coal mining case. You can talk to me personally and I’ll make sure I get all those questions answered. You can always reach me toll free at 855-344-9100.