West Virginia Lawmakers Hear Pleas on Deliberate Intent Suits

January 23, 2015

Coal mining accident victims and their families are asking West Virginia lawmakers not to change rules on lawsuits over certain workplace injuries.

At a public hearing Wednesday, victims who were injured or lost family members in mine accidents said scaling back deliberate intent lawsuit protections would harm people in similar circumstances.

Some family members of the 29 men killed in the 2010 blast at Upper Big Branch Mine testified.

During the hearing, industry groups said West Virginia’s requirements to prove employers deliberately put employees in hazardous work conditions are too easy to meet.

One change being considered would require proving an employer knew about unsafe work conditions.

In deliberate intent lawsuits, currently employers can be liable if they neglected proper precautions and unsafe conditions existed without them knowing.

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