Harrison County, WV Power Plant Accident Results in Death

An employee of a contractor performing work for FirstEnergy, died following a workplace accident at the Harrison Power Station in Harrison County on March 20, 2013.  The accident occurred around 8:45 a.m., according to the OSHA area director.

The man was an employee of Burnham Industrial Contractors Inc., an insulating company based in Pittsburgh, according to a FirstEnergy spokeswoman.

According to the State Journal, the contracting company, Burnham Industrial, was removing insulation from ductwork in preparation for an upcoming planned maintenance outage when their employee fell through and into the ductwork, according to a March 20 letter from the power station’s director to employees.

“Scaffold planks on the duct structure beams were being used throughout the job to prevent any direct contact with the duct plating,” the letter reads. “At this time, it is not clear how the employee was positioned to have any contact with the duct plating.”

As a personal injury attorney who has had the privilege of helping the families of employees killed or injured while working at power plants, I am always saddened to hear that there is another family whose life has now been forever changed by a tragic death associated with working conditions at a local power plant.

Utility Workers Union of American attorney Mark Brooks shared a little more information.

“We were told that the company (Burnham) had worked on that particularly duct work and moved on to another part of the plant,” Brooks said. “And this worker went back to retrieve some tools and he was later found having fallen through a weak spot in the ductwork.”

He said it’s his understanding that the temperature inside the ductwork, when operating, approaches 300 degrees, and that the man was found by another Burnham employee.

He was unable to say whether it is standard practice to perform work on ductwork while the system is in operation.

FirstEnergy owns the coal-fired power plant.  FirstEnergy, Burnham Industrial, and OSHA are all investigating the cause of the fatality to determine who was at fault for this tragic and untimely death.  Officials will continue to investigate the accident to determine how and why safety measures failed and whether there were any violations of federal safety regulations.

Although employers are immune from common-law negligence claims through Worker’s Compensation laws, families of fatally injured employees have a cause of action against employers who deliberately expose their employees to known unsafe conditions in the workplace.

The insurance companies will be doing everything within their legal power to minimize this claim and avoid paying full compensation. They will hire or use company lawyers to aggressively fight your claim. These types of claims are complicated and can be lost on technical or procedural violations. It is essential for this family to hire an attorney who has a reputation for experience and success in handling wrongful death claims.

What is a Wrongful Death?

Allow us to answer some of your questions:  http://www.robinettelaw.com/Articles/Wrongful-Death-Claims-in-West-Virginia.shtml.

This is the second death at the Harrison Power Station in less than two years. A Rivesville man died at the facility in September 2011 when he was pinned between a machine and a guardrail.  FirstEnergy was found by OSHA to be at fault for this employee’s death.  

Submitted by the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, West Virginia Injury Lawyers. Free books and downloads for WV accident victims — Call us today: 304-594-1800 for your free copy of Righting the Wrong: WV Serious Injury Guide; Collision Care: WV Auto Injury Guide; or Beside Still Waters: WV Fatal Injury Guide for Families. We are glad to answer your questions.

righting_the_wrong_3dBeside_Still_Waters_-_Covers_3DCollision Care

Does it Matter if I Wait to Contact a Lawyer?

gavel and clockDoes it really matter if I wait to contact a lawyer about my wrongful death claim?

If you think that waiting a few months to speak with a lawyer won’t impact your wrongful death claim, think again.  Every day that you wait to seek legal counsel equates to a loss of opportunity to obtain full compensation for your injuries. In reality, it is the first 30 days following the fatal injuries to your deceased family member that are most critical to your case.

It is within this relatively short time period that initial inspections should be completed and necessary evidence and testimony secured. It is always best if a lawyer is consulted within the first few days following the tragic event because certain evidence won’t last even 30 days. If you wait too long to develop your wrongful death claim, it will make the job of even a good lawyer more difficult to obtain a full recovery for the estate.

Waiting even a few weeks to get legal advice about your case may be just enough time for evidence to be lost or destroyed or an important witness to disappear.  Loss of vital evidence and witness testimony will cause permanent shortcomings in your wrongful death case.    Without evidence, you have no way of proving liability against the responsible parties who caused the death of your family member.

You don’t know if or when your evidence will disappear or be destroyed. An important witness to your case will not likely call you up and give you their testimony and forwarding address before they skip town. When they skip town, there goes your evidence, too. And that documentary evidence — the tangible information like records and parts — you need to prove your case can disappear. Nobody is going to alert you to that either.

Also, please keep in mind that West Virginia allows only two years to file suit after the occurrence.  After this time, your claim will be forever barred.

It doesn’t matter if your evidence is accidentally lost or intentionally destroyed; both have the same adverse impact on your fatal injury claim.  All these things happen without you knowing it — these are some of the legal ramifications of waiting too long to get legal counsel.  You don’t have to end up being further harmed — you can exercise your right to consult with your own lawyer about your injury claim today.

For further information about moving forward after a tragic, unexpected death, we offer a free resource for you to help guide you through the process of moving forward with your lives.  Click this link to gain the insight you need today:  Beside Still Waters:  West Virginia Fatal Injury Guide.Beside_Still_Waters_-_Covers_3D

No words or amount of remuneration could ever compensate all that you have lost when your loved one is taken from you.  As you move forward with your life, those who are responsible must be held accountable to give you a sense of justice and closure.  Jeff Robinette and his staff are available to answer your questions.  Every call is handled with compassion, and every case is handled with dignity and professionalism.

Call The Robinette Legal Group, PLLC today:  304-594-1800.

A Jail Cell at the End of the Tunnel?

coal minerThe Investigation into Upper Big Branch Sends Powerful Message to Mine Industry

It’s beginning to look like the canaries have come home to roost. Last week, the federal investigation of the Upper Big Branch mine disaster continued to take another step up the corporate ladder of the former Massey Energy Co. This time, the former president of the subsidiary that operated that mine pleaded guilty to two federal mine safety charges. David Hughart admitted to illegally warning miners and their bosses about surprise federal inspections for more than a decade, up until only weeks before the fatal blast that claimed the lives of 29 miners. He also said that he and other corporate officials, superintendents and foremen, conspired to violate mine health and safety laws.  Hughart faces up to six years and a $350,000 fine when he’s sentenced June 25.

Furthermore, he squarely pointed the finger at Massey’s former chief executive officer, Don Blankenship, for ordering this practice. Since this investigation was launched in the months following the April 2010 tragedy it has netted three convictions: The mine’s former security chief, its superintendent; and now its president. And in the two former cases, the punishments handed down have been some of the stiffest ever in mine safety cases, including long jail terms. Prosecutors also negotiated a $210 million agreement with the company that bought Massey, Alpha Resources. That spares the company from criminal prosecution but leaves individuals subject to it.

Though this investigation is already one for the records in West Virginia, if it goes after a former mining CEO, it will be a rare day, indeed. But even if it does, we are not going to rejoice. Because at the end of the day, nothing is going to bring back those 29 coal miners, most of whom died from the concussion — some more than a mile away — of a massive explosion underground.

However, it’s clear that this investigation’s real achievement will be the very powerful message it has sent, and not only to the mining industry. If you still need to read between the lines, we’ll spell it out for you: If you conspire to knowingly violate safety and health laws in any workplace and risk the lives of employees, you might be going to jail. There are probably few, if any workplaces, despite best practices and efforts, that are not subject to citations for some violation or another. However, when anyone not only condones and allows unsafe practices but actually makes them company policy, they should face criminal charges. As a rule, we trust almost all mine operators do strive to ensure their employees’ health and safety — consequences or no consequences. But for those who would grossly violate mine safety and health laws, a steel cage may await them.

The families of coal mine disaster victims and survivors have legal rights in West Virginia, but you don’t have to fight for them alone.  Speak to an experienced Coal Mine Explosion Lawyer or Wrongful Death attorney today who can help you understand and protect your rights — Call 304-594-1800 today.  We would be glad to answer your questions.

Source:  Editorial from The Dominion Post, Morgantown, WV: 3/06/2013 http://ee.dominionpost.com

Height of Cowardice: Deadly Hit and Run in Brooklyn

hasidic jewsA baby delivered after his parents were killed in a Brooklyn hit and run accident on Sunday, March 3, 2013, died early Monday morning.

Police were searching for the driver of a BMW and a passenger who fled on foot after slamming into a livery cab, killing the young pregnant woman and her husband.  The horrific crash happened in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn as the couple headed to a hospital when the mother believed that she might have been starting labor.

“This guy’s a coward and he should pay his price,” a community spokesman added that the community wants a homicide prosecution in the state of New York.  Strong words from the community:  “Law enforcement is going to find you.  Give yourself up before we find you.”

A young married couple, both aged 21, were looking forward to welcoming their first child into their tight-knit community of Orthodox Jews.  A year ago this community celebrated the marriage of this young couple, and yesterday over 1,000 had the sorrow of mourning their loss.

The engine of the livery car ended up in the backseat, where the mother, who was seven months pregnant, was sitting before she was ejected from the car.  Her body landed under a parked tractor-trailer, said witnesses who raced to the scene after the crash. The husband was pinned in the car, and emergency workers had to cut off the roof to get him out, witnesses said.

They both were pronounced dead at hospitals, and the medical examiner said they died of blunt-force trauma. Doctors had delivered the baby by cesarean section and lived until early Monday morning.

Neighbors and friends said the boy weighed only about 4 pounds. The livery cab driver was treated for minor injuries at the hospital and was later released. Both the driver of the BMW and a passenger fled and were being sought, police said.

Hit and Run Drivers Need to be Prosecuted to the Fullest Extent of the Law

Car accidents are sometimes understandable mistakes or are simply unavoidable. But as soon as drivers flee the scene in order to avoid responsibility, the accident becomes a crime. In cases like this one, families often file wrongful death lawsuits against hit-and-run drivers in addition to criminal charges.

We need to send a message to hit-and-run drivers which is:  “You will be caught, and you will be prosecuted, so don’t make matters worse for yourself or anyone else involved.”

Submitted by the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, West Virginia Injury Lawyers. Free books and downloads for WV accident victims — Call us today: 304-594-1800 for your free copy of Righting the Wrong: WV Serious Injury Guide; Collision Care: WV Auto Injury Guide; or Beside Still Waters: WV Fatal Injury Guide for Families. We are glad to answer your questions about hit and run accidents.

Source:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/04/williamsburg-hit-and-run-expecting-parents-baby_n_2805203.html?ncid=webmail1