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Miner sues for negligence over car crash

HE'D just finished working his fifth straight, 14-hour day and wanted to see his family.

Leon Scholl got into his car and started the 1000km drive home.

But the 44-year-old boilermaker didn't finish the journey from the Central Queensland mine he was stationed at to his home of Mutdapilly

He drove for over 10 hours before falling asleep at the wheel and crashing, leaving him with permanent injuries.

The accident happened in 2011, and last Thursday Mr Scholl lodged a claim in the Rockhampton Supreme Court suing his employer Environmental Group Limited and Workcover Queensland for negligence.

The claim says the company failed to educate workers on the risks of driver fatigue, despite knowing they often drove long distances to get to work.

At the time of the accident, Mr Scholl was working in the Bowen Basin at a mine in Coppabella, about 50km from Moranbah.

The claim says the day before the accident he finished work about 5.30pm before starting the 1050km drive home to Mutdapilly, about 60km southwest of Brisbane.

It says about 4.50am the next day, while driving on the Warrego Hwy near Bowenville, Mr Scholl fell asleep at the wheel and drove into a power pole.

His injuries included brain damage, a broken nose, ribs and right leg, a dislocated ankle and a knee injury.

It's alleged that as a result of the crash he lost his sense of smell, developed deep vein thrombosis, has some memory and cognitive impairments and has severe scarring to his face and ankle.

Mr Scholl is seeking more than $2 million worth of damages for his medical expenses and loss of earnings.

In June last year Environmental Group Limited, previously known as Mine-Assist, was liquidated, and therefore the proceedings will be brought against Workcover Queensland.

The law firm representing Mr Scholl and EPG were both approached for comment.

THE DETAILS:

  • The claim states the company failed to take precautions for the safety of Mr Scholl despite knowing he regularly drove the long distances between work and home.
  • It also said the defendant failed to provide a more reasonable roster that would have given him more time to get home, like working FIFO or working four weeks on, one week off.
  • It also claims the company failed to properly supervise Mr Scholl and failed to warn him of the risks of driver fatigue, or provide training.
  • It also said the company failed to act upon the concerns raised by Mr Scholl and other employees about driving long distances.

Topics:  accident bowen basin crash mining negligence



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