Steel mills can be a source of income and livelihood for numerous workers in West Virginia. They are also part of an essential industry that supplies material to build much-needed infrastructure. However, working in a steel mill comes with a set of hazards that could potentially expose laborers to serious injury or even death.
West Virginia is getting ready to open up one of the largest sheet steel mills in the country. Nucor Corporation will begin construction in 2022 on a $2.7 billion-plus steel mill in Mason County, West Virginia. Once operational in 2024, the steel mill will have the capacity to produce about 3 million tons of sheet steel per year to serve various industries.
This steel mill is expected to generate hundreds of jobs in the region. While this is great news for local workers, it is also important to understand what you need to do if you are ever injured in a steel mill accident. It is important to be aware of not just the hazards, but also your legal rights to compensation if you are injured on the job.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a West Virginia steel mill accident or if you have lost a loved one in a steel mill accident, the experienced personal injury attorneys at the Robinette Law Group can help you better understand your legal rights and options. We don’t charge any upfront fees and work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay anything unless we recover compensation for you.
Common Types of Accidents in Steel Mills
In spite of safety guidelines set forth by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other state and federal agencies, hazardous conditions in steel mills and other industrial settings abound. In worksites such as steel mills where there is a high risk of injuries and fatalities, it is important that workers know and understand their rights to receive compensation for their injuries, damages and losses.
Here are some of the common types of accidents that occur in steel mills:
Falls: Falling from higher elevations is one of the most common types of accidents in steel mills that could result in injuries or fatalities. Since steel mill workers operate on scaffolding and possibly ladders, there is a greater risk of workers falling and getting injured.
Fires and explosions: There is no question that fires and explosions have become a growing concern in steel mills. In 2021 alone, there were two major steel mill explosions. In May of that year, eight people were injured after a furnace exploded at a Colorado steel mill. And in November, a massive explosion in an Indiana steel mill rocked the surrounding community. Although no one was injured, it was a major explosion that shook homes and shops in the area, like an earthquake, reports said.
Electrocution: Mill workers also face the danger of electrocution or electrical injuries since they work with a lot of electrical equipment and electric utilities.
Heavy machinery accidents: Steel mills do use heavy machinery. Therefore, workers could get injured or killed if the machines malfunction as a result of not being maintained properly or because they have defective parts.
Falling or flying objects: Airborne objects or tools in steel mills could lead to major injuries such as head injuries or eye injuries.
Toxic exposure: Workers in steel mills are exposed to a variety of chemicals that could pose a risk to their health. Employees should be provided with proper personal protective equipment and a safe environment to prevent exposure to dangerous chemicals and toxins.
Injuries Sustained in Steel Mill Accidents
Here are some of the common types of injuries suffered in steel mill accidents:
Traumatic brain injuries: These are some of the most serious injuries that workers can suffer. They may range from concussions to severe trauma that could result in permanent injuries and disabilities. Falls and struck-by accidents are some of the most common causes of head injuries. In many cases, brain injury victims may require extensive rehabilitation and therapy.
Spinal cord injuries: These injuries could range from sprains and strains to severe spinal trauma that could result in paralysis. In such cases, workers may lose their ability to return to work or make a livelihood.
Burn injuries: These are some of the most painful injuries one could suffer. Burn injury victims require specialized treatment including complex surgery such as skin grafts, which could prove very costly. Even with such treatment, the victim could be left permanently scarred and disfigured.
Broken bones: While broken bone injuries are not often life-threatening, they could take several months to heal and require rehabilitative therapy and treatment.
Loss of hearing and vision: Lack of proper protection such as goggles and earplugs could lead to partial or total vision and/or hearing loss.
What is Your Steel Mill Accident Claim Worth?
The value or worth of your work injury claim often depends on a number of factors including:
Severity of injuries: If you suffered major or catastrophic injuries that required you to get extensive medical treatment and hampered your ability to work, your injury claim may be worth a lot more than if you had suffered relatively minor injuries.
Negligence: Your injury settlement might also be higher if you can prove that negligence played a part in your injuries.
Evidence: The strength of your injury claim could depend on the strength and depth of your evidence. This is why you need an experienced West Virginia injury attorney on your side who can help collect, compile and present evidence that will put you in a position to receive maximum compensation for your losses.
Your lawyer: You need an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer on your side who will fight for your rights every step of the way and has a successful track record of representing the rights of injured workers and their families.
Determining Liability and Damages in Your Case
If you have been injured in a steel mill accident, you may be able to seek workers’ compensation benefits in West Virginia, which will help pay medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages. However, such compensation is often inadequate when it comes to covering major losses such as loss of earning capacity or permanent injuries. In some cases, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against a third party (an entity other than your employer) seeking compensation.
For example, if negligence on the part of a contractor or sub-contractor caused your injuries, you can file an injury lawsuit against those entities. If you were injured by defective machinery, you may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer seeking compensation. Such lawsuits are worth much more in terms of compensation than workers’ compensation benefits.
By filing a personal injury lawsuit you may be able to seek compensation for your losses including:
Cost of all medical care, rehabilitation and ongoing treatment and care
Lost income including loss of earning capacity
Permanent injuries and disabilities
Past and future pain and suffering
Loss of consortium
West Virginia Injury Lawyers Can Help You
The experienced West Virginia steel mill accident lawyers at the Robinette Legal Group PLLC can help you secure maximum compensation for your losses. We know that injuries sustained in a steel mill accident could potentially turn your life upside down. Our legal team can help you get the money you need to pay medical bills and other expenses. We are here to protect your rights and best interests. Call us today at (304) 594-1800 to obtain more information about your legal rights and options. We offer free consultations and comprehensive case evaluations.