Just recently, two accidents have occurred in West Virginia coal mines. While the industry continues to shrink due to over-regulation by our executive branch, the risks to our miners continue. When an injury occurs, workers’ compensation may be the first avenue of recovery. After that, the question arises – can the injured miner (or his or her family in the case of death) seek additional compensation? The answer to this question is yes, depending on the facts. In most serious injury and death cases, the facts must be investigated to see if the miner’s employer willfully exposed the employee to a known safety risk? If the answer is yes, the miner or his family may be able to seek additional damages from the employer under West Virginia’s “deliberate intent” statute. In addition, the circumstances surrounding the injury or death should be investigated to see if other companies might be at fault. For instance, was another company contracted to design an impoundment pond or design a road? Did another company design the coal truck or mining equipment? Was safety equipment designed appropriately? All of these questions (and others) need to be asked to see if other entities might be available for you to seek additional compensation. If you or a loved one is injured or killed in a mining accident in West Virginia, contact Goddard & Wagoner today, at (304) 933-1411.