February 5, 2009

Kentucky Wrongful Death Attorney: Coal Miner’s Widow Sues Arch Coal Inc for $37 Million

In Kentucky’s Letcher Circuit Court, the widow of a coal miner who was killed in a work accident is suing Arch Coal Inc. for his wrongful death. Susie Sturgill, who is Roy D. Sturgill III’s widow, is accusing Arch Coal, one of the country’s biggest coal mining companies, and Cumberland River Coal Co., its subsidiary, for committing safety violations that led to her 29-year-old husband’s death.

On January 8, 2008, Sturgill sustained fatal injuries when the truck he was operating fell down a slope and he was ejected from the vehicle. At the time of the deadly accident, the eastern Kentucky coal miner was working for Bates Contracting. He had only been a rock-trucker driver for a short period of time.

The Office of Mine Safety and Licensing conducted an investigation and determined that the work accident could have been avoided if the Arch Coal subsidiary had been in compliance with Kentucky law. According to investigators, the high wall, which serves as a safety barrier, at the edge of the dump site that Sturgill had backed over in his truck should have been taller and stable enough so that the wheels of the rock-truck could back up against it, rather than rolling on top of it and down the slope some 140 feet. Federal and state regulators issued a citation for the inadequate berm.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration also accused the operator of failing to make sure that equipment operators were using their seat belts. An examination of the truck cab following the work accident shows that Sturgill had not been using a safety belt when the accident happened.

The MSHA posed a $60,000 penalty while accusing the Arch Coal subsidiary of negligence.

Third Party Lawsuits
Third party lawsuits allow Kentucky workers to sue liable parties that are not their employers for their work-related injuries. Kentucky employees cannot sue their employers for personal injury. They can, however, file a workers’ compensation claim for benefits. There may be more than one third party that can be held responsible for your Kentucky personal injury.

Miner's Widow Seeks $37M In Damages, MSNBC, February 3, 2009

Coal Miner's Family Files Wrongful Death Suit, January 31, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Read the Mine Safety & Health Administration's Report About the January 8, 2008 Accident, MSHA.gov

Arch Coal Inc.