A recent article mentioned the April anniversary of a tragedy that took place when close to 30 men were killed in a West Virginia mining accident. Coal mine accidents in the state involving fatalities were nearly double those in the next highest ranking state between 2014 and 2015. Current statistics suggest that there are approximately 10 deaths per year in the West Virginia coal mines.
On April 5, 2010, an explosion occurred in a Raleigh County mine that killed 29 workers. A federal investigation resulted in findings that showed an excessive amount of methane gas present in the mine, which apparently caused the explosion. The accident was listed as the most tragic mining incident over the past four decades.
In the aftermath of the 2010 tragedy, which occurred at Massey’s Upper Big Branch Mine, a former CEO was charged with conspiracy to violate safety protocol. The man has pleaded not guilty and is slated to stand trial in the near future. His attorneys have requested a relocation of the trial, saying that due to its high public profile, their client will not be able to receive fair due process under the law.
West Virginia coal mine accidents remain the focus of much public scrutiny. Though certain jobs come with an increased amount of danger and personal risk, workers injured during the normal duties of employment are typically entitled to receive compensation benefits. When lives are lost, death benefits are usually available to spouses and other immediate family members. Those with questions or concerns regarding an individual case are able to seek legal counsel with an attorney who has experience in handling workers’ compensation claims and personal injury litigation.
Source: wvpublic.org, “Map: West Virginia Leads Nation in Coal Mining Deaths Since 2004“, Dave Mistich and Ashton Marra, April 6, 2015