Employees suffer injuries at work every day all across the country. Many people in West Virginia have some of the most dangerous jobs in the world: coal miners, gas drillers, and construction workers, to name a few. Sometimes, people suffer minor injuries on the job, but many times, the injuries are serious and require significant medical treatment. In addition to receiving treatment, many people are hurt or disfigured to the point where they cannot work again, either temporarily or permanently.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in the workplace such as an excavation injury, it is essential to consult with an experienced attorney who can help guide you through the process of a job-related injury compensation claim. At Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, we have the knowledge and resources at our disposal to help you from start to finish. Call us today at (304) 594-1800 to schedule your free case consultation with one of our attorneys.
Why Choose Robinette Legal Group, PLLC
At Robinette Legal Group, PPLC, we are dedicated to our clients and helping them achieve the best outcome for their claim. Our attorneys intentionally limit the cases we take so that we can provide personalized attention to each of our clients and make sure their needs are met throughout the entire legal process.
We also offer free consultations, so we can answer any questions and concerns you may have prior to filing a claim or hiring an attorney. In addition, we take all cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not owe us any money until you are fully compensated for your losses. As a firm, we have the resources to hire medical experts as well as financial experts who can calculate the economic damages your workplace injury has caused you. This calculation includes past, present, and future lost wages. Our experienced attorneys will also hire experts who are skilled in evaluating specific workplace environments. Most importantly, we will make sure you are heard and that the final settlement amount is one that meets your needs, in the present day, but also, in the future.
Why You Need A Lawyer
If you were injured on the job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation. However, especially in cases involving severe injuries, workers’ compensation benefits may not be enough. In these cases, it is in your best interests that you work with an attorney. Recent tort reform laws in West Virginia have significantly eroded workers’ rights. As a result, you cannot hold your employer accountable for damages above the dollar amount of benefits paid by the workers’ comp insurance unless you can prove the employer acted with deliberate intent. This can be quite challenging to prove.
In other words, your employer can put you in harm’s way by violating safety regulations, not providing proper training, and being negligent or careless. So long as there is no deliberate intent on the employer’s end, they are not liable. Providing proof of that deliberate intent is where a lawyer’s services are required.
In order to hold your employer accountable and receive damages that might exceed your standard workers’ compensation benefits, you must show that your employer’s action or inaction fulfills the deliberate intent statute. West Virginia provides two ways to prove a deliberate intent claim.
- You must prove that your employer intended to cause your injury, OR
- You must prove the following elements:
- There were specific unsafe working conditions that presented a high degree of risk and a strong probability of serious injury or death;
- Prior to the injury, the employer had actual knowledge of unsafe working conditions. They were aware of a high degree of risk and the strong probability of serious injury or death created by the specific unsafe working conditions. The unsafe conditions were a violation of the law or commonly accepted and well-known safety standards;
- The employer intentionally exposed the employee to the specific unsafe working conditions; AND
- The employee suffered serious injury or death.
You may also be able to sue a third party who is responsible for your injury, even if they are not your employer. Some examples of third parties that could be held liable in construction site accident cases include the following:
- Manufacturers and installers
- People or companies who manufacture and distribute dangerous chemicals
- Vendors or Subcontractors hired by your employer
What Is Actual Knowledge?
According to West Virginia’s deliberate intent statute (┬º23-4-2), actual knowledge must be proven and shall not be deemed or presumed.
- Actual knowledge may be shown by evidence of intentional and deliberate failure to conduct an inspection, audit, or assessment required by state or federal statute or regulation. Additionally, such inspection, audit, or assessment must be specifically intended to identify each alleged specific unsafe working condition.
- Actual knowledge cannot be established by proof of what an employee’s immediate supervisor or management personnel should have known had they exercised reasonable care or been more diligent.
- You can only prove the immediate supervisor or management personnel’s knowledge of prior accidents, near misses, safety complaints, or citations from regulatory agencies, by providing documentary or other credible evidence.
What Compensation Can You Recover?
In a personal injury claim, you may be able to recover two types of compensation: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are the monetary losses you suffer from an injury and can include lost wages from the past and future, medical bills from the past and future, rehabilitation, and lost earning capacity. Non-economic damages are not as easy to measure and are intended to compensate you for the intangible losses you endured and continue to endure as a result of your injury. They can include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, and emotional anguish.
Call Today for a Free Consultation
If you were injured on a construction site and are in need of an attorney in Morgantown, Robinette Legal Group, PLLC is here to help. While we cannot take away your injury or pain, our attorneys can help you recover the compensation you need to support yourself financially in the present and future. With our experience and resources, we will have expert reports and testimonies that will support your claim and greatly help you maximize your recovery of damages. Call us today or visit our contact page to schedule your free case consultation with one of our attorneys.