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Truck driver killed in Montana coal mine accident

Mining has long been one of the most hazardous occupations in America. Coal mining in Montana is unfortunately no exception. One of the hazards is the heavy equipment used in open-pit mines, including the giant trucks used to haul the coal. One of those trucks, weighing 230 tons, was involved in an accident at a coal mine in southeastern Montana recently. Tragically, the driver was killed.

According to a spokeswoman for the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the accident happened at about 7:30 p.m. Monday, June 23. The truck apparently smashed through a ridge. The mining company said that aside from the driver, no other people were hurt. The Big Horn County Sheriff's office said the deceased worker was a 58-year old Sheridan man. It was the first fatality at the mine since 2006.

When a worker is killed on the job their family can be left without a means of support. That is why it is critical for the family to file a claim for workers' compensation death benefits. The death benefits available under Montana's workers' compensation system include a portion of the income that the work accident victim would have earned.

Workers' compensation benefits are payable in Montana regardless of who was at fault in the fatal accident. An employer that pays workers' compensation benefits is immune from liability in a civil lawsuit. In some cases, however, a third party other than the employer - such as an equipment manufacturer or a contractor on the site - is at fault in the accident. In that situation the surviving family members can bring a lawsuit against the third party and recover additional damages.

Source:, "Worker killed in truck accident at Montana mine," June 24, 2014

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