Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of Coal Miner Who Suffers Amputation in Coal Mining Accident

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 working conditions.

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.


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