Underground coal mining is one of the most dangerous occupations in the U.S., with Kentucky seeing more deaths of coal miners than all other states. For a coal miner living in Kentucky, the risk of dying while performing his job is just as high as being killed in a car accident. The hazardous conditions in underground mining present significant risks to the coal miner’s health and life. Some of the dangers associated with a coal miner’s job are:
- Working in a cramped environment
- Being at risk of a roof collapse
- Exposure to fumes, carbon monoxide, and methane gas
- Lacking oxygen
- Inhaling coal dust over long periods (the primary cause of Black Lung Disease)
- Working with faulty or defective equipment
- Wearing defective coal dust masks and respirators
- Being struck by falling objects
If you have been in a coal mining accident in the course of employment, speak with a Kentucky personal injury lawyer at Roberts Law Office to investigate your case and seek workers’ compensation benefits or file a personal injury claim.
Fatal Coal Mining Disaster in Kentucky
Kentucky and West Virginia, which have the largest concentration of coal mining jobs in the U.S., accounted for two-thirds of all coal mining deaths from 2008 to 2018, according to the Mining Technology. Interestingly, coal miners in Kentucky and West Virginia account for only just over a third — 37% — of the total U.S. coal mining population. Coal mining disasters are not uncommon in these two states.
One such disaster occurred in Kentucky in May 2019. The fatal accident had not been disclosed to the media until it appeared in a federal report four months later. On September 26, WOWK reported about the May 22 disaster where a coal miner died after being crushed by a 2,000-pound piece of rock and coal. The report identified the coal miner as Felix “Matt” North, 48. The coal miner received life-threatening lower body injuries when the heavy rock pinned him to the ground. The accident occurred in Rex Coal Co. mine at Cumberland. North, who had 12 years of experience in the coal mining industry, died on May 30 at a hospital. The miner, who was reportedly engaged to be married, was operating a machine when a rib wall collapsed. According to the report, the mine operator failed to “effectively control” ribs and pillar corners of the mine, which resulted in the fatal accident.
How to Recover Damages for Coal Mining Injury
If you are a coal miner who has been injured while doing your job, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance will probably cover your coal mining injury. The problem with seeking workers’ comp benefits after a coal mining injury, however, is that this type of insurance is sufficient only for minor injuries. How can you get reimbursed for your coal mining injury if it is not a minor one? When your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages have accumulated to the point that they exceed the workers’ comp limits, you need to get help from a Kentucky personal injury lawyer.
You, as an injured miner, may pursue a personal injury lawsuit against your employer or third party whose negligence or recklessness caused your coal mining accident. Do keep in mind that insurance companies may attempt to minimize or deny your claim, which is why you need a detail-oriented attorney to estimate the long-term costs and effects associated with the accident. Contact Roberts Law Office to discuss your coal mining disaster. Call at (859) 231-0202 for a free case evaluation.