Most coalmine cases that we handle at the Segal Law firm are not simple negligence cases. A negligence case for a coal mine would be if you were there as an independent contractor. In other words, you were not employed by the coal company itself and you got hurt.
A negligence case may include poorly maintained equipment, lack of appropriate safety devices to protect people that are there doing contract labor and a lack of training. The more common form of coal mine accidents that we see in West Virginia is what’s called a “deliberate intent” case. You need an experienced lawyer to prove deliberate intent and the burden of proof is on you and your legal team. You have to show the judge and jury enough evidence to get past workers compensation and get the worker and his family more money from the coal company. You have to prove deliberate intent.
You have to show that the supervision at the mine knew that a dangerous condition existed. Then despite knowing that it could harm, seriously injure or kill the coal miner, they still subjected them and exposed them to that risk. If a coal company knows a machine has not properly been maintained and it tells the worker to go do his job on that machine anyway – that is exposing someone to a known danger in violation of industry, federal and state regulations. We’ve been able to prove this through record keeping. Both federal and state records involve training, task training and how you must be taught to do your job. Deliberate intent would show that the coal company failed to do that and exposed workers to that known risk and harmed them.
There’s also the huge issue of environmental hazards in a coalmine. Cases on surface mines with improperly working cameras, improperly working equipment and in deep mines – the horrible Upper Big Branch disaster – you have things like lack of rock dusting, a lack of proper ventilation, a lack of proper maintenance of long wall mining equipment.
You put all those things together and you have the formula for a disaster. So at the Segal law firm we pride ourselves on digging, digging and digging – no pun intended – through the state and federal evidence until we find a way to bring a case for the coal miner and his family to prove that the coal company knew and still subjected the miner to the risk. And that’s why we are interested in these lawsuits and we fight hard because coal mining is risky enough and coal mining companies shouldn’t make it riskier.
There are different kinds of cases and different kinds of questions to ask and you want someone that you can trust in your corner. And that’s what the Segal Law Firm can do. If you have any questions call them at 855-344-9100.