Fitzsimmons Law Firm recently filed a personal injury lawsuit on behalf
of a coal miner who had his arm amputated in a coal mining accident. According
to the Complaint, the plaintiff was operating a full face continuous miner
when he was pinned between the continuous minor and the rib protector
thereby causing him to suffer severe crush injuries to his right arm which
severed his arm between the elbow and shoulder requiring a right arm above
the elbow amputation. The Complaint was filed in the Circuit Court of
Ohio County, West Virginia.
In his Complaint, the plaintiff alleges that the coal company acted with
"deliberate intention" and violated W.Va. Code § 23-4-2(d)(2)(ii).
Specifically, the plaintiff alleges that the coal company intentionally
exposed him to specific unsafe working conditions by violating, disregarding,
circumventing, and by-passing applicable MSHA and coal mining safety rules
and regulations by failing to implement safe "Red Zone" working
practices and knowingly violating its own written safety program and roof
control plan. In West Virginia, an employer generally has immunity from
negligently inflicted work related accidents. However, the employer is
stripped of this immunity if it is demonstrated that the employer acted
with "deliberate intention." In order to establish an employer
or coal company acted with "deliberate intention," an employee
must generally prove that the employer intentionally exposed its employee
to an unsafe working condition by knowingly violating a safety statute
or OSHA/MSHA regulation.
The Complaint further alleges that investigation by MSHA and the West Virginia
Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training revealed that it was
a common practice and procedure at the mine - which had been ongoing for
months preceding the incident - for workers to operate continuous miners
from within the "Red Zone." The Complaint also alleges the coal
company had actual knowledge of this practice and the hazards associated
with it, yet deliberately and intentionally exposed the plaintiff to unsafe
working conditions by requiring the plaintiff to work in these conditions
and failing to abate and/or permit the existence of these known unsafe
The plaintiff also asserted negligence and product liability claims against
the manufacturer of the continuous miner. According to the Complaint,
the continuous miner was defectively designed and manufactured in that
it was not equipped with safety equipment including proper rib stop protectors.
As a result of the incident, the plaintiff sustained severe and permanently
disabling personal injuries as well as psychological injuries; permanent
disfigurement; medical bills, lost wages and earning capacity; lost household
services, extreme physical pain and suffering; mental anguish; loss of
capacity to enjoy life and engage in normal activities; annoyance; inconvenience;
humiliation; embarrassment; and aggravation.
The Fitzsimmons Law Firm is a plaintiff's litigation firm headquartered
in Wheeling, West Virginia. For over 35 years, the Firm has successfully
represented workers injured or killed on the job including claims arising
from coal mining accidents, oil and gas accidents, industrial and construction
accidents, and equipment and machinery accidents. The Firm has obtained
over $800 Million in verdicts and settlements on behalf of its clients,
including over 150 cases in excess of $1 Million.