Today we’d like to take the time to tell you about a case our legal team took on recently.

During the dark early morning hours on a surface mine, a highwall drill operator with a wife and two children was killed. He was killed when the small portal van in which he was a passenger was pushed, run over and crushed by an enormous rock truck weighing over 126 tons empty and capable of carrying 190 tons. The enormous rock truck with a length of 42 feet and a width of 22 feet and tires over 11 feet tall limits the driver’s line of sight and has significant blind spots.  The surface mine rock trucks are so large that the drivers who are sitting some 20 feet above the ground have huge blind spots where they cannot see other vehicles or miners working nearby. The portal van used to transport miners to their work sites had an inoperable strobe light. The non-functioning strobe light had been reported to management and maintenance and not repaired or replaced. Strobe lights are necessary for safe movement of people and equipment at the surface mine.


As a result of discovery efforts and investigation, The Segal Law Firm attorneys established that what made this death particularly tragic was that there had been two prior “near misses” involving almost identical situations at the surface mine with the potential for fatal injury. The prior near misses without fatalities meant that the mining company needed to pay more than lip service to safety.  Had they done so, lives would not have been lost.

Why did this happen?

The surface mine had very serious communication failures, safety failures, operational failures and training failures.  These failures directly caused and contributed to the death of the surface miner.  The lawyers at The Segal Law Firm were able to successfully litigate this case to resolution for the family. It is our hope that mine operators will function responsibly so that we will never have to see a tragedy such as this again.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a catastrophic injury or death, please contact The Segal Law Firm today so that we can set up a consultation.