A truck driver from Logan County, West Virginia, has filed a personal injury lawsuit against Komatsu America Corp., Rish Equipment Company, and Apogee Coal Company. He claims that all three companies are negligent in maintaining their equipment and protecting employee safety.
The driver, Roger Horton, was injured while on the job, and seeks compensatory, special, and general damages. His case was filed in the Logan Circuit Court on February 6, 2015.
Plaintiff Alleges Poor Road Conditions
Horton was an Apogee employee from 1987 to February 2013, when he was involved in an accident. During that time, as part of his duties, he operated a dump truck owned by the company and manufactured by Komatsu.
According to West Virginia Record, he was working with the dump truck when the vehicle struck a rut in the company’s roadway, causing him to suffer severe neck and back injuries. The Record also noted in a separate report that the plaintiff claimed the hydraulic system on the truck also malfunctioned.
According to his complaint, the company was aware of the poor condition of the road, and had failed to take any action to correct the problem, risking the safety of employees. He adds that the failure violated the Mine Safety and Health Administration and state regulations.
As a result of his injuries, Horton has been unable to return to the work he was doing before.
Truck Accidents Higher Than Other Equipment Accidents in Mining Operations
It is the responsibility of companies to maintain certain safety standards for their employees. According to a report by the Coal and Energy Research Bureau at West Virginia University, trucks are the primary means of hauling coal, metal, and nonmetal materials in mining operations. Unfortunately, the number of fatal accidents involving trucks is higher than those related to all other mining equipment.
According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), between 1995 and 2011, a total of 141 people were killed in truck-related accidents. Thirteen people were killed in West Virginia alone. An analysis of the data revealed that improper pre-operational checks and poor maintenance of the trucks were two of the most common causes of accidents.
The MSHA also states in a Powerpoint presentation that steep grades, defective brakes, and overloading are also frequent causes of truck accidents around mining operations. The Administration provides general safety guidelines, which require pre-operation inspection for all trucks.
Investigating Truck Accident Lawsuits
Coal mining supports a lot of jobs in West Virginia, and it’s up to the mining companies to make sure their roads are safe. Unfortunately, they may delay repairs to roads or take other shortcuts when more concerned about profits than employee safety.
Workers’ compensation can help workers recover medical costs in many situations, but sometimes injuries are too severe or take too long to heal for employees to return to work in time to cover their ongoing expenses. In these instances, workers may be able to recover the damages they deserve through a truck accident lawsuit.
Exclusively focused on representing plaintiffs, especially in mass tort litigation, Eric Chaffin prides himself on providing unsurpassed professional legal services in pursuit of the specific goals of his clients and their families. Both his work and his cases have been featured in the national press, including on ABC’s Good Morning America.