West Virginia Logging Accident Lawyers
Logging in West Virginia is a dangerous profession. In fact, it’s considered the most dangerous career in the United States, according to a report from AdvisorSmith. There are approximately 55 fatalities in the logging industry in a single year, making it more dangerous than coal mining, commercial fishing, flying planes, roofing, and excavating, just to name a few.
Although it’s indisputable that logging is dangerous work, it’s even more dangerous when an employer does not execute their basic responsibility to provide employees a safe working environment. Many logging accidents, quite frankly, are avoidable, and could have been prevented with better equipment, detailed safety training, or simply following the rules, regulations, and safety standards that apply to the logging industry.
Common Causes of West Virginia Logging Accidents
There are a variety of different injuries that workers in the logging industry can sustain. While this is not a complete list, here are a few of the most common types of incidents that cause injury in the logging industry:
Falling Trees or Branches
When a tree is felled, it comes crashing down with tremendous force and weight. Depending on the circumference of a tree, these massive objects can weigh over eight tons, which means extreme caution, preparation, and adherence to safety standards when loading is crucial to worker safety.
Injuries While Loading Logs onto a Trailer
The process of loading a log onto a trailer can be one of the most dangerous aspects of logging. This process needs to be done thoroughly and meticulously, and should never be rushed because of time constraints created by employers.
Improperly-Loaded Logs Falling Off a Trailer
Even after loading, there is a potential for danger. When loadings fail, it can cause significant injury to people near the trailer. Loads may fail because of improper or worn-out equipment, or because of user error, both of which may have resulted from employer negligence.
Motor Vehicle Crashes Involving Logging Trucks and Other Automobiles
You don’t necessarily have to work in the logging industry to sustain an injury. People in passing cars can also be injured, either when passing a job site or driving near a vehicle with loaded logs. If you have been injured in a logging truck accident, we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation to learn more about your rights and options. Car crashes caused by logging trucks involve issues that are unique to commercial trucking laws.
Other Causes of Injuries in the West Virginia Logging Industry
The logging industry requires a wide variety of equipment and accessories, and there is no room for inferior or insufficient equipment. Injuries can be caused by poor safety equipment, such as chains that are not strong enough for the appropriate task, or safety harnesses that are worn from years of use. Inside logging machinery, seat belts, which are crucial to safety, maybe broken. Defective equipment is a serious problem in the industry, and it could have been the cause for your injury.
Whether you are driving a vehicle or working on and around the trucks that haul logs, truck-related accidents are another common cause of injury. Once again, this can be either operator error, such as unsafe driving practices, or vehicle issues. Were the trucks on your job site appropriate for the extreme demands of logging? Were drivers properly trained in this industry? There are a variety of issues with logging-industry trucks that may have led to your injury.
Injuries from the Actions of a Contractor or Vendor
In some cases, it’s the actions of contractors or vendors who may have caused your injury. In this situation, your employer, as well as the specific contractor or vendor, may be liable for damages if they were reckless or negligent in any way.
Logging Industry is Dangerous, but there are Strict Safety Standards
As you can see, the logging industry contains a variety of dangers that don’t end simply when the trees have fallen. From harvesting to loading to shipping and even processing, logging comes with seemingly endless risk. Because of these risks, and the inherent dangers involved in the industry, there are numerous safety standards that must be met by employers, managers, and leaders. If one or more of these safety standards have not been met, the employer in question could be liable for damages.
For example, there are standards from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration saying that:
- All loggers must be properly trained for evaluating risk factors, such as weather conditions (snow, ice, and wind in particular), the lean of a tree, dead limbs, and the location of other trees.
- Appropriate protection, including proper gloves, helmets, goggles, and face covers, must be provided to employees.
- Logging areas must be checked for loose bark, limbs, and other ground-level dangers before operations can begin. Work areas must also be assigned properly so that no tree has the chance to fall into an occupied area.
- Periodic, routine safety inspections must be completed on a regular basis.
This is just a sample of the safety standards and rules that apply to logging. If these, or any of the numerous safety requirements, were neglected by your logging employer, you may have a right to significant compensation.
Was Your Logging Accident Injury Caused by “Deliberate Intent”?
In order to have a case against your employer in addition to a worker’s compensation claim, you typically must be able to demonstrate “deliberate intent.” Essentially, if you were injured as the result of an unsafe work condition and your employer was aware of this condition, you may have a personal injury claim against your employer under the West Virginia “deliberate intent” statute.
There have been a variety of changes to the laws in West Virginia regarding work injuries and deliberate intention over the past few years. And proving deliberate intent can be difficult. That’s why it’s so important to chose an experienced work injury attorney like those at West Law Firm if you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a West Virginia logging accident.
Free Consultation with a West Virginia Logging Accident Attorney
At the West Law Firm, we understand the important role that logging plays in our state’s economy. Loggers, in particular, play a crucial role in providing material and resources for many industries, and we believe they deserve dedicated service whenever there is an injury.
If you or a loved one has been injured or the victim of wrongful death because of a West Virginia logging accident, we invite you to call us for a free and confidential consultation today. Our toll-free number is 1-877-943-9378(WEST), and there’s never a fee unless and until we recover compensation for you.