For many, working in mining provides a rewarding and hands-on experience, unlike many other jobs.
However, with that experience comes inherent risk. In 2020, the United States Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Administration reported 29 mining fatalities.
Although coal mining accidents and deaths have steadily decreased over the years, any surviving family member can tell you that a single death is one too many.
Survivors of a mining accident may endure catastrophic injuries and lifelong debilitating conditions. The road to recovery may be long and difficult.
And pursuing compensation from responsible parties or through a workers’ compensation claim requires the assistance of a qualified personal injury attorney.
What Steps to Take After Coal Mining Accidents
Immediately following a mining accident, the most critical step is moving to safety. Therefore, if you’re physically able to do so, move safely away from the danger that caused your injury.
When you’ve moved to a safer location, seek medical attention. It’s vital to obtain a complete medical evaluation from your treating physician.
For workers’ compensation claims, some employers require you to seek medical care from a specific provider.
The results of these medical evaluations assist in obtaining compensation through a workers’ compensation claim or lawsuit. Don’t wait to report your workers’ compensation injury to your employer.
Texas law requires you to report your injury to your employer within 30 days from the date you were hurt or from the date you knew your injury or illness was related to your job. Failure to do so could bar you from receiving any benefits.
If your company offers you a settlement to compensate you for the accident, speak to an attorney before accepting.
In many situations, a settlement proposal may seem backed by good intentions. However, the reality of your claim and injuries may require much more financial support than your company offers.
What Are Common Causes of Mining Accidents
Coal mining accidents may occur for several different reasons. However, the most common type of accident is collapse or a cave-in.
Other common types of mining accidents include:
- Dust explosions,
- Collapsing of mining excavations,
- Mining-induced earthquakes,
- Natural disasters like flooding,
- Improper use of explosives,
- Mining truck accidents, and
- Damage caused by malfunctioning equipment.
Coal mining accidents can lead to catastrophic injuries, including broken bones, lung damage, toxic chemical exposure, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries.
It’s impossible to work with many of these injuries. Relieving your financial burden is a primary goal of your work accident attorney so you can focus on getting better.
Who Is at Fault for Coal Mining Accidents?
Multiple parties may be at fault for a coal mining accident.
Workers’ Compensation Claims
When you suffered injuries due to a mining accident at work and your employer is covered by workers’ comp insurance, you must file a workers’ compensation claim to receive benefits.
You do not need to establish the fault of your employer to receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, your recovery will be limited to medical expenses and wage replacement benefits.
You cannot sue your employer for additional damages if they are covered by workers’ comp insurance.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
If the negligent acts of a third party caused your mining accident, you can bring a personal injury claim against them.
With a personal injury claim, you can collect more damages than with a workers’ compensation claim, such as damages for pain and suffering.
However, you will have to prove fault to establish your claim. For example, manufacturers may be liable in situations where machinery fails to operate as intended.
Establishing the liability of the party responsible for your injuries requires the assistance of a qualified personal injury attorney. Fault is the starting point increasing the likelihood of success of your lawsuit.
If you suffered injuries due to a coal mining accident, you might be entitled to compensation.
The attorneys at Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C., understand you may feel angry, confused, and stressed at the prospect of moving forward with your life after such a devastating event.
Our legal team can help you navigate the complexity of a legal claim after a mining accident and fight for your right to recover the compensation you need to move forward.