West Virginia is home to many underground and surface coal mines. Although mining has always been a dangerous business, a combination of improved technology and better safety practices has made it safer over the years. Of course, even the best safety practices are doomed to fail if the company does not enforce them and the workers do not abide by them.
About a year ago, a 51-year-old mine worker died in a fatal workplace accident. A metal bar struck the man in the head while he was working to move a supply railcar. Recently, the administrator of the man's estate filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the mining company and two of its employees.
Following the man's death, the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration issued citations to the company. The man's estate is seeking damages in excess of $75,000. A federal court is hearing the case because the mining company petitioned to remove the case from the West Virginia courts.
Tragic accidents like this one are a reminder of the dangers that are involved when people are working with heavy machinery like mining equipment and railcars. Accordingly, West Virginia law requires mining companies and employees to follow a number of operating guidelines. If the company fails to adhere to these guidelines, it may be risking the safety of its employees.
When a person's death is caused by someone's negligence, the estate of the deceased person has a legal cause of action against the negligent party. This is true whether the death was the result of a workplace incident, a car crash or any other kind of deadly accident. Families of deceased victims should understand their legal rights for recovering monetary damages related to the loss of their loved one.
Source: Dominion Post, "Wrongful death suit filed over Loveridge mine accident," Alex Lang, Jan. 24, 2014