“Coal miners perform the tough, dirty work that benefits our society. The very least the coal companies can do is to make sure miners have a safe work environment.
East St. Louis, IL (PRWEB) December 23, 2010
A man who was crushed when a 12-ton mine roof support fell on him as it was being unloaded has settled his personal injury lawsuit against the mine owner for $3 million. The worker was represented by attorneys Troy E. Walton and Ronald J. Foster Jr. of Schoen Walton Telken & Foster, a Metro East Illinois law firm.
In 2007, the 28-year-old worker was helping unload the supports, known as longwall shields, at the Galatia mine, located in Saline County, Ill. He was employed by David Stanley Consultants, which had a contract with the mine owner, American Coal Co., to supply laborers.
The worker and an American Coal employee were unloading the shields with a machine known as a duckbill shield mover. When the worker unhooked a shield from the mover’s winch, the shield shifted, pinning the worker between it and a shield on the ground.
An investigation by the Mine Safety and Health Administration concluded that American Coal should have been using straps, hooks or chains to help secure the shields. After the accident, American Coal changed its unloading procedure to require the use of chains.
A personal injury lawsuit was filed on behalf of the worker in Saline County Circuit Court, cause no. 09-L-1, against American Coal and its employee. American Coal denied the allegations and argued that the suit was barred by workers’ compensation statutes.
During litigation, American Coal’s safety director admitted that the company knew that the shields could shift during unloading. An American Coal employee testified that if chains like the ones adopted after the accident had been in place, the accident would not have happened.
Without admitting liability, American Coal agreed to settle with the worker for $3 million, and the workers’ compensation carrier for the worker’s employer agreed to waive its alleged lien.
Walton notes, “Coal miners perform the tough, dirty work that benefits our society. The very least the coal companies can do is to make sure miners have a safe work environment. In this case, a chain to secure the longwall shield was all that was needed to avoid this terrible accident.
Schoen Walton Telken & Foster represents injured people in southern Illinois, including the Metro East, and eastern Missouri, including the St. Louis metropolitan area, in personal injury, workplace accident, medical malpractice and pharmaceutical and product liability cases.
Troy E. Walton