North of Billings, Montana, the Signal Peak Energy Bull Mountain Mine partially collapsed underground in early March 2023. Three miners were injured while excavating coal in the mine chutes.
At this time, two miners were treated for moderate injuries, but details of those injuries were not known. The third miner reportedly suffered serious or life-threatening injuries and had to be flown via mercy flight helicopter to a hospital in Billings.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), a federal agency similar to OSHA, will conduct an investigation to determine the cause of the partial mine collapse. Concerns about the origins of the collapse are high because Signal Peak Energy has a history of health and safety standards violations. In 2021, the company paid $1 million in federal fines for four counts of “willful violations,” including violations found at the Bull Mountain Mine.
(For more information about this unfolding story, you can click here to view a full article from the Great Falls Tribune.)
Can the Injured Mine Workers Sue?
At this time, it is not known if any of the three injured miners at the Signal Peak Energy Bull Mountain Mine intend to pursue legal action against Signal Peak Energy or another third party. The outcome of the MSHA safety inspection as well as workers compensation exclusivity could influence those decisions. For example, if a third party’s negligence resulted in the miners’ injuries, then the injured miners would be entitled to pursue legal action against the third party, even if they are provided worker’s compensation benefits by their employer.
The personal injury attorneys at Hoyt & Blewett PLLC are ready to help any injured miners with questions about their legal rights after the Signal Peak Bull Mountain Mine underground collapse. We are a Montana firm with a nationwide reputation for taking tough cases against corporate defendants. Please call (406) 233-1302 if you want to know if you can file an injury claim, or anything else that you should know about legal action related to the incident. Initial consultations are free for injured workers.