DON’T SETTLE FOR WHAT THE INSURANCE COMPANIES OFFER YOU.
A workplace injury changes everything. You may not be able to participate in your favorite activities or even take a long walk anymore. Your injuries may be so painful and disabling that they prevent you from earning a living. As medical bills fill your mailbox, you probably wonder why filing a claim is more complicated than it should be.
If the workplace injury claim process leaves you feeling frustrated and even a little bit angry, a West Virginia workplace accident attorney provides the legal help and support you need. Get a free case evaluation today.
A West Virginia Workplace Accident Attorney Who Works as Hard as You Do
West Virginia workers are tough and do some of the hardest jobs in America. They mine coal and work in construction. Some drill for oil, while others transport raw materials throughout the country. Because they work so hard, they sustain some of the harshest injuries.
If a job-related accident stops you from doing the hard work that pays your bills, our West Virginia work injury attorneys fight to recover the fair compensation you deserve.
Common Types of Workplace Accidents in West Virginia
When you work in a challenging environment, you deal with the daily potential for injuries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigates serious and fatal workplace accidents. They also respond to workplace complaints where a potential hazard exists. When employers leave a hazardous condition uncorrected, they sometimes contribute to serious injuries.
In 2020, the most frequently-cited OSHA violations were:
- Fall protection (construction)
- Hazard communication
- Respiratory protection
- Scaffolding (construction)
- Ladders (construction)
- Control of hazardous energy
- Powered industrial trucks
- Fall protection training
- Eye and face protection
- Machinery and machine guarding
Most accidents that occur in a work environment are preventable. Failure to uphold proper safety standards increases the likelihood of workplace injury.
Some of the most common workplace accidents in West Virginia include:
- Auto accidents
- Heavy machinery accidents
- Contact with hazardous materials and chemicals
- Animal attacks
- Falling objects
Common Types of Workplace Accident Injuries
The Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks workplace injuries and fatalities. Their most recent reports include these West Virginia workplace injury statistics:
- Total (estimated) workplace illnesses and injuries in 2020: 15,600
- Total workplace fatalities in 2020: 47
- Transportation: 17
- Exposure to harmful substances or environment: 7
- Contact with objects and equipment: 10
- Violence by a person or animal: 8
- Other incidents: 5
Workplace incidents occur in all types of work environments and under various circumstances.
They often cause these common workplace injuries:
- Oil and gas accident injuries
- Car or truck accident injuries
- Chemical and harmful substance exposure
- Lung damage and inhalation injuries due to asbestos, silica, and other substances
- Neck and back injuries
- Defective product injuries
- Hearing loss
- Fall-related injuries
- Overexertion injuries
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Injuries due to violence (from humans and animals)
What Should You Do if You’re Injured on the Job?
Your employer is responsible for your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses, but it’s up to you to initiate your workers’ compensation claim. You must report it to your employer. Usually, your company’s human resources representative or claim administrator submits an employer’s report to the appropriate carrier.
Here are a few steps you can take after being injured on the job:
- Report it to your employer as quickly as possible
- Seek immediate medical treatment
- Find out who will be handling your claim and contact them
- Ask any questions about their claim process and determine what you need to do
- Speak with an experienced employee injury lawyer who can advise you on best practices and ensure that your rights are protected
- If you’re disabled, find out when the insurer will begin sending disability payments
- Submit any requested paperwork as soon as possible
- Respond to the insurance company’s phone calls and written correspondence
What Type of Compensation is Available to Injured Workers?
The insurance company handling your claim pays benefits based on West Virginia’s Workers’ Compensation Code.
- Medical care (physicians, surgeons, hospitalizations, physical and occupational therapists, etc.)
- Dental expenses
- Mileage benefits for medical travel
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Wage benefits
- Temporary total disability benefits
- Wrongful death benefits for dependents
- Funeral and burial expenses
Who is Ineligible for Workers’ Compensation in West Virginia?
Workers’ compensation benefits are provided to those who work for employers who are legally obligated to pay taxes into the Workers’ Compensation Fund. West Virginia Code §23-2-1 explains which employees are covered by worker’s compensation and which employers are exempt from contributing. Exempt employers may contribute to this fund to provide their employees with these benefits.
Some employers that are exempt under this code include:
- Employers of domestic workers
- Volunteer police and rescue services
- Agricultural employers with fewer than six full-time employees
- Professional sports teams
What Can You Do to Bolster Your Claim?
Once you begin dealing with the insurance company, your employer expects you to recover and return to work. If you can’t fulfill your job duties, you should ensure that you have enough information available to support your case.
You can do this by:
- Finding out the names of any coworkers who witnessed your accident
- Keeping all of your medical appointments and filling your prescription. If you’re not maintaining your treatment schedule, the insurance company will assume you’ve recovered.
- Making sure your doctor understands and treats all of your accident-related medical issues
- Cooperating with the insurance company and complying with their requests
- Consulting with a work accident lawyer to learn more about your legal rights
You shouldn’t have to worry about claim-handling issues when you’re seriously injured. If you’re dealing with a tough workers’ compensation claims adjuster, you need a West Virginia workplace accident attorney looking out for your legal rights.
You May Have Other Claim Resources Available
West Virginia workers perform various high-risk occupations. You might have access to additional benefits if you sustained an injury in certain occupations. If you work with asbestos, silica, coal dust, and other harmful substances, years often pass between your exposure and your injury manifestation. These programs provide assistance when you prove your injury.
Black Lung Programs
If you earn your living as a coal miner, coal dust sometimes causes pneumoconiosis, also known as black lung. The West Virginia Legislature established the Occupational Pneumoconiosis Board to benefit coal workers with this condition. The Division of Coal Mine Workers’ Compensation also handles benefits payable under the Black Lung Benefits Act. Pneumoconiosis also occurs after exposure to aluminum, barium, graphite, mica, talc, and other substances, but only rarely.
Asbestos Fund Claims
If you were exposed to asbestos in your workplace, it takes years for mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other lung conditions to manifest. Workers with asbestos began filing claims over 50 years ago. U.S. federal courts eventually resolved the coverage and bankruptcy issues and established a settlement fund.
Due to problems with fraud, inappropriate claims, and other issues, the West Virginia Legislature passed the Asbestos and Silica Claim Priority Act. While you can still make a claim, you must prove that you have a legitimate, serious injury.
Energy Industry Claims
The Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act authorizes medical and other benefits for Department of Energy (DOE) employees. It also accepts claims from some DOE vendors, contractors, subcontractors, uranium miners, and others who worked at covered facilities. Some workers have developed radiogenic cancer, chronic beryllium disease, chronic silicosis, and other diseases.
The most recent statistics show that 830 West Virginia workers and/or their survivors submitted 1,560 claims. These claim statistics reflect a high denial rate. An industrial accident lawyer can assist you with the process and increase your chance of success.
How Can a Virginia Workplace Accident Attorney Help You?
A workplace injury attorney can provide valuable legal services if you have a catastrophic injury or a long-term disease.
Work accident attorneys understand your rights, and they know your benefit entitlements.
- Attorneys review and present your claim information and supporting documentation to help you avoid potential claim pitfalls.
- They intervene with workers’ compensation insurers and resolve claim issues on your behalf.
- If an insurer denies your workers comp claim, attorneys handle your appeal process.
- They work hard to recover the compensation you deserve.
A dedicated lawyer understands how stressful it can be to file a claim and speak to insurance adjusters when recovering from an illness or injury. Let us show you how we can help. Contact us today at Miley Legal Group to schedule a free case review.