The Fitzsimmons Law Firm recently filed a lawsuit on behalf of a worker who was paralyzed in a coal mining surface accident. According to the Complaint, the plaintiff was directed to lift a monorail and frame structure to the top of two coal silos as part of a construction project at the mine's load-out facility. The frame was going to be positioned between two recently constructed coal silos with the monorail beam installed on it in order to provide a means of moving heavy equipment between the coal silos. The plaintiff was injured when the monorail and frame structure upon which he was working at a height of approximately 24 feet collapsed thereby throwing him into a concrete wall of an adjacent coal silo. As a result of the accident, the plaintiff broke his neck and was rendered paralyzed at the age of 25.
The plaintiff filed a "deliberate intention" lawsuit against his employer pursuant to W.Va. Code § 23-4-2(d)(2)(ii) and negligence claims against the mine operator and designer/manufacturer of the monorail and frame support. In West Virginia, employers are generally immune from civil suits unless the employee can demonstrate that the employer acted with "deliberate intent." A plaintiff can establish "deliberate intent" if the worker can essentially demonstrate that the employer exposed the employee to a known unsafe working condition which constituted a violation of a state or federal safety rule or written industry standard.
According to the Complaint, the defendants intentionally exposed the plaintiff to known unsafe working conditions by failing to ensure that the structural stability of the monorail steel frame was maintained at all times during the erection process; failing to ensure a workplace free of recognized hazards; failing to properly train plaintiff in steel erection; failing to properly train plaintiff in the recognition and avoidance of fall hazards; failing to utilize appropriate fall protection systems; failing to protect plaintiff from fall risks and hazards; failing to maintain an appropriate comprehensive mine safety program and/or safety program; failing to conduct appropriate inspections and audits of the work site; failing to properly supervise the work being performed by the work crew; failing to conduct a Job Safety Analysis and/or hazard assessment prior to the commencement of the work; failing to properly plan for the key elements of the erection process; and failing to maintain a site specific erection plan which required, adequate site preparation, properly preparing the sequence of erection activity, providing a description of the steel erection activities and procedures, evaluating stability considerations requiring temporary bracing, and providing a description of the fall protection procedures to be implemented on the job.
The plaintiff has alleged that he has suffered the following damages as a result of the negligent and wrongful conduct, actions, and omissions of the defendants: severe and permanently disabling personal and psychological injuries; medical bills; lost wages and benefits; lost household services; pain and suffering; mental anguish; permanent physical impairment and paralysis; annoyance and inconvenience; and loss of capacity to enjoy life and engage in normal activities. The Complaint also asserts a cause of action on behalf of the plaintiff's daughter for the loss of consortium of her father.
The Fitzsimmons Law Firm is a West Virginia Personal Injury Law Firm headquartered in Wheeling, West Virginia. Our attorneys frequently represent workers who have been injured or killed in workplace accidents, coal mining accidents, oil and gas filed accidents, and methane and natural gas explosions. The firm also regularly represents patients who have been injured as a result of medical malpractice or the family of individuals who have been wrongfully killed as a result of a medical error. Please contact one of our attorneys to learn more about the Firm.