Two former Kentucky coal miners filed a legal action against the maker of dust masks that they claimed were defective and resulted in their black lung disease. At Gray Law, PLLC, we understand how injuries or illnesses incurred from using defective products can affect you, your family and your ability to work. When a manufacturer fails to provide a warning that its product may cause harm, your injuries may entitle you to compensation for damages.
When the two coal miners purchased dust masks, they reasonably expected that the masks would protect them from breathing in the dust kicked up while working in the coal mines. Over time, however, the two miners developed black lung disease. In their lawsuit, they argued that the dust masks contributed substantially to their illness.
According to the Pioneer Press, the jury agreed that the dust mask manufacturer contributed to the miners developing black lung disease. During a three-week trial, the jury found that the manufacturer distributed a product that was in a “defective and unreasonably dangerous condition” for use while coal mining. The design of the product did not prevent coal dust from entering into a miner’s lungs, but the manufacturer also did not provide a warning.
The jury also found that the brothers were responsible for their own safety while working for over a dozen coal companies during their mining careers. Since they failed to exercise what the jury determined was sufficient care to prevent black lung disease, the jury also found that the dust mask manufacturer was not 100% liable. Based on this determination of shared responsibility, the jury awarded the brothers only $67.5 million in damages.
Our page on product liability claims provides more information on how you may hold manufacturers of defective or poorly designed products liable for your injuries.