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Personal injury and wrongful death claims in the workplace

Personal injury and wrongful death claims in the workplace

Date: May 21, 2014

An Illinois miner died from being crushed in a mining accident while working in Franklin County around 3:20 p.m. on May 14. The death was reportedly caused of the miner being caught between a machine and a coal rib in a mine located near Thompsonville.

The miner died from crushing injuries he suffered to his upper torso while he was “helping tram a roof bolting machine in a travel way” in the mine. The Mine Safety and Health Administration is investigating the incident. This is a second death in seven months at this mining complex; in November, another miner was killed when a piece of coal rolled on top of him.

A fatal accident such as this brings up the possibility of insufficient safety protocols on the part of those operating the mine. Workplace accidents in mines are ordinarily investigated by the MSHA to determine their causes.

Families should be aware of the possibility of filing a wrongful death claim if the mine owners and operators have shown negligence. Wrongful death is indicated when one party participates in a negligent or wrongful act that causes the death of another. This type of action is considered a personal injury action in which the criminal court is not involved and penalties are monetary.

In Illinois, the only person who can pursue a wrongful death action is the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. Furthermore, the law states that the civil action for wrongful death must be pursued within the two-year period after death. If the death was due to a workplace accident, workers’ compensation death benefits may prevent a wrongful death claim from being filed, but an attorney could answer questions regarding this.

Source: Illinois General Assembly, “CIVIL LIABILITIES – Wrongful Death Act”

Source: The Daily Republican, “Johnston City man killed in coal mining accident”, May 16, 2014

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