If a family has suffered the death of a loved one and are awaiting trial, they may be wondering how long the process can take. Generally speaking, a case will go to trial between a year to two and a half years and this depends upon the complexity of the case. There are many things that must be taken into account in determining the time needed to prepare a case for trial and there is a great necessity for thoroughness.
The preparation needed by lawyers consists of the taking of depositions, discussing your case with the MSHA (Mine Safety & Health Administration), investigating the records of the investigation into the death, as well as checking into machinery issues and the manufacturer’s recommendations of how that machine should be operated and maintained. Other factors that must be examined by your lawyer are where the death occurred in the mine, was it a surface mine or a deep mine and what else was happening in the mine at the time of the death.
All of this information must be gathered in preparation for trial and sometimes it can take time to determine the answers to these questions. Unlike an injury case where it is possible to speak to the person who was injured, in a death case information can only be obtained from co-workers, eye witnesses, and state and MSHA investigators. Once a lawyer’s investigation is completed and a judge assigns your case a date on their trial schedule, then you are looking at a week to a week and a half spent in actual trial. The actual time in front of a jury is contingent on how many experts may be needed to testify. If a case only requires a few coal mine safety experts and doctors, the actual trial time may only last a week.
What is the MSHA?
MSHA stands for the Mining Safety & Health Administration which consists of a group of federal investigators who investigate coal mining deaths and serious injury cases. They are very hard working, knowledgeable people who are both caring and concerned for the victims and their families involved in these cases. Here at the Segal Law Firm, we have seen the MSHA go to great lengths in recreating a situation where a miner suffered injury or death, all in an effort to thoroughly understand what occurred and protect against it ever happening again. Their efforts have been a great help to lawyers in preparing for trial for their clients because they present a very accurate picture of how an injury or death occurred.
If you would like to discuss your case with us, or would like further information, click on the Contact Us tab at the top of the page or call 855-344-9100.