Should the State of Colorado Pay for a Deadly Mine Shaft Crash?

Car after accident on the side of the road. Totally damaged. Wrecked car

On Forest Service Road 456.1, two men and a woman were driving through the forest in a Korean War-era truck. As the trio came upon a fork in the road, they changed course to follow the southward spur. However, they could not have anticipated the deadly mine shaft crash that would follow that course correction. Now the United States government and Colorado may be liable for what happened.

Who Is Responsible After a Deadly Mine Shaft Crash?

As they pulled up on the fork, a pile of branches and limbs partially blocked the northern path, forcing the trio to head southward. What the couldn’t have known is that over a mound of dirt on that southern path was a 22 to 25-foot-deep mining shaft. The truck summited the mound and then careened down the hole.

The old truck they were riding in had no seatbelts, so the passengers were thrown in all directions as the truck fell. Only the truck’s driver survived, while the 18-year-old woman and the 19-year-old man who rode with him succumbed to their injuries. Two years later, the parents of those two crash victims are seeking compensation.

In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Denver, the parents of the crash victims who lost their lives are holding the U.S. and the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety responsible. That’s because a survey conducted in 1993 identified this mine shaft as a hazard. Yet, the shaft was not filled in when the state-funded Potato Gulch Mine Project was filling such hazards in 2013. The lawsuit holds that this led to the June 2015 crash that killed these parent’s children. Since the crash, the mine shaft was finally filled.

In incidents like this, it’s important for the victims and their families to have the resources to gather the evidence they need. This becomes increasingly important if a government entity is involved in the tragedy. Depending on the circumstances, the government could claim immunity from liability, which is why an experienced attorney is the best option for families in need. An attorney can investigate, gather evidence and determine if the government will be able to claim immunity. So, don’t be afraid to reach out if you need the comfort, safety and strength of our Colorado law firm.



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