Tuesday, 6 December, 2011
The biggest settlement ever recorded for a US coal mining injury compensation case has just been announced, with the owners of the Upper Big Branch pit in West Virginia ordered to pay 210 million dollars in damages.
The Upper Big Branch coal mine was the site of a massive explosion in April 2010 which resulted in the death of 29 miners and, after a federal investigation, it was discovered that the mine´s owner – Massey Energy – was in breach of 369 workplace safety regulations – 12 of which directly contributed to the explosion.
The new owners of the mine – Alpha Natural Resources – will be responsible for the payment of the damages which comprises of 128 million dollars for safety upgrades, training and research, 35 million dollars in fines for safety violations and 47 million dollars for relatives of the victims.
Eighteen of the families of miners who were killed in the explosion have already settled their injury compensation cases for wrongful death, but many more remain outstanding – including nine claims for emotional distress made by mine employees who survived the explosion.
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