When his son Gary Wayne Quarles died in the Upper Big Branch explosion, Gary Quarles was working at another Massey owned mine. He now sees a psychiatrist on a regular basis to cope with the loss of his son.
“Just for 10 seconds if he would appear to me," Quarles said, "the first thing I’d have to ask him is how are you doing."
"The second thing I would have to tell him is that I love him because I never got to do that and it’s not right me still living and him dead."
"It’s just things like that that I think about. It’s tough to live with things like that."
Going back underground proved to be too difficult. His psychiatrist agreed so he filed for temporary disability with Massey’s insurance company The Hartford. Quarles was approved for the full amount of more than $5,000.
But after about a year he only received less than a thousand dollars and a phone call.
“They send me 900 and some dollars," Quarles said. "Then about week later a lady called me and said we overpaid you $289.29."
"I’m not kind of taking this phone call in just right because she’s talking so fast that I can’t really make out what’s she’s trying to get to."
"Finally I said "are you through talking" and she said "yes." I said so do you want us to send you back $289 and then she said "and 29 cents."
"I just kind of well it kind of floored me ya know when I was expecting $5,000."
Quarles says he wants what he deserves and if he doesn’t deserve the money he wanted to know why, so he contacted his lawyers at the Wooten Law Firm.
Chris Davis is one of his attorneys working on his case.
“We believe he’s entitled to the gross benefit of the $5,200 that they specifically said he was initially intitled to," he said.
"Without any offset and without any reduction and that’s simply because under the short term disability he met all qualifications."
"That made him eligible for the benefits and without any specific indication as to why there was an offset or without any specific indication as to why there is was a quote un quote over payment."
"We believe he’s entitled to the entire proceeds those offsets and these overpayments need to be stated again with some type of specificity before he’s not eligible or entitled to everything that is rightfully his."
Davis and Quarles both say they made several attempts to contact The Hartford with no response. But after a West Virginia Public Broadcasting investigation, The Hartford sent the Wooten Law Office a letter of apology and a check for more than $4,000.
“I’ve done made phone calls to The Hartford myself and then for some reason they tell me 'no' and then when somebody higher up the line gets onto them," Quarles said, "and then the next thing you know I get my money and then they apologize."
"It just shows that if I wasn’t in a situation to know some people I probably wouldn’t have got that. I probably would have ended up with 900 or maybe had to send them back the $289.”
Gary Quarles has more than 30 years experience working underground where black lung and physical injuries are common. He says claiming benefits seems like an ongoing battle for coal miners.
“It’s constantly a common thing you want to go and try to get what you deserve," he said, "and then you’re turned down."
Since the loss of his son, Quarles says he keeps having a headache. He takes medications for it but has no insurance. He says this money will help to pay some medical bills.