Case Settled

Workplace Accidents

Coal Miner Injured in Methane-Coal Dust Explosion

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A young man working in a coal mine in Southern Indiana was injured when a methane-coal dust explosion shot tiny bits of coal into his face and arms, causing severe scarring. WKW conducted an investigation, took depositions of several witnesses, and obtained numerous documents outlining safety procedures and policies. The company that owned the coal mine denied any responsibility, claiming that the coal miner’s employer, who had a special expertise in auger mining, had the responsibility for proper safety inspections. WKW contended that federal regulations and industry practice imposed a duty of safety upon the owner of the coal mine in addition to the auger mining company. The case was settled after the trial court judge denied the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, and the decision was in the process of being appealed when the settlement occurred. Videotaped interviews of the injured coal miner’s doctors helped explain the lifelong “tattooing” that the explosion left on the coal miner’s face and arms. WKW attorney Bill Winingham represented the injured miner throughout the case, including the investigation, discovery of the facts, conducting a mediation session, and arguing the summary judgment issues to the trial court judge.

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