According to a report by WSAZ, a thirty-seven year old man was killed in an accident that occurred at the Guyan Surface Mine — that is operated by Apogee Coal, a Patriot Coal subsidiary — in Logan County, West Virginia this past week. While the man was working on heavy equipment around the mine, he was struck by a piece of machinery at some point. The exact nature of his injuries was not disclosed, but the accident was severe enough to cause wounds that led to his death. Emergency crews from the Buffalo Creek Fire Department and Logan County EMS were called and responded to the accident, but they were unable to save the miner’s life. Federal mining inspectors are conducting an investigation into the cause of the accident, and their review of the circumstances that caused the man’s death is ongoing. This was the second coal-mining related fatality in the state of West Virginia in 2011.
Coal mining has always been a boon to West Virginia’s economy, but WSAZ’s story is an all-too-familiar one for many West Virginia families. Mining has become a much safer endeavor than it once was, because safety regulations, equipment, and safety training methods have improved, but such precautions cannot account for every hazard on the job site. Unfortunately, human error will always persist and machine malfunctions or defective equipment failures can neither be predicted nor prevented. That is why, if you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a workplace accident, it is imperative that you speak with a West Virginia wrongful death attorney as soon as possible to determine if a valid legal claim exists. The longer you wait to speak with an attorney, the more difficult it will be for your attorney to gather the evidence needed to accurately evaluate your case and construct the strongest legal arguments possible.
In this case, a coworker may have caused the fatal accident due to his or her negligence, or a piece of machinery may have had a manufacturing defect that caused the man’s death. In any event, the decedent’s family may be able to bring a lawsuit against any other workers who had a hand in causing the accident, the company who owns and operates the mining operation, and possibly even the manufacturer of the equipment that ended the man’s life. Apportioning fault in wrongful death lawsuits is a complicated and difficult task. However, an experienced attorney can help sift through the evidence and determine how best to proceed so that you can be compensated for the loss of your loved one.
When the unthinkable happens and a loved one passes away, the emotional and financial toll on those who survive the decedent are huge. By retaining the services of a trained legal representative, you give yourself a way to help alleviate those financial stresses that the loss of that person’s income creates. Every situation is different, but an attorney can evaluate the circumstances that contributed to that person’s death and determine if you have a valid legal claim. Should such a claim exist, your attorney can help you recover damages and reduce your financial hardship.