Recently, an opinion piece about the effects of coal mining in West Virginia presented some eye-opening facts about the dangers workers face each day in the often troubled coal mine industry. Being injured in coal mine accidents can obviously affect a victim seriously and immediately, but there may be evidence to suggest that an injured miner can suffer for a lifetime in ways that may not be so apparent. At first glance, it may seem like the instances of addiction to opioids and other prescription drugs that have ravaged families across the state are unrelated, but addiction and coal mining accidents may go hand in hand.
In many communities, coal mining is the primary industry. Many employees may feel like it is the only job available, and even if it is a dangerous job, the alternative is being unemployed. When a worker is seriously injured on the job, he or she may feel helpless or out of options unless he or she can recover quickly and return to work.
Coal mining accidents can result in physical injuries that require immediate medical treatment. Doctors often prescribe prescription painkillers, but these substances are often habit-forming. Even a victim who has never been prone to substance abuse of any type in the past may find themselves hooked on opioids, and a drug addiction can lead to trouble with the law, loss of employment and even death.
If a West Virginia miner becomes the victim of a coal mining accident, there may be legal recourse. If an employer was negligent or failed to maintain standards to make a mine as safe as possible for employees, a victim can contact an experienced attorney. An attorney can help a victim explain how coal mine accidents negatively affected a worker and work toward a verdict that can ensure that a victim is able to have access to the ongoing care, therapy and resources that can help the victim try to recover safely and under the supervision of qualified doctors and therapists.