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CLAIM FOR. £2,000 DAMAGES. His Honor Mr Justice Sim and a special jury of 12 sat at the Supreme Court yesterday to hear the claim of Robert Waddingham, miner, of Kaitangata, for £2,000 damages from the Now Zealand Coal and Oil Company, for injuries received while ho vrau employed in the company’s No. 1 mine at Kaitangata on February 11 of this year. Messrs A. S. Adams and A. C. Hanlon appeared for the plaintiff, and Messrs J. MacGregor and W. C. .MacGregor for the company. Mr Adams explained that on the 11th February last the plaintiff was employed by the defendants in their No. 1 mine at Kaitangata, and was injured by a steel rope while working in a dip. Trucks, carrying the coal from the working face, were raised and lowered on an incline (known to miners as a cuddy brae) by means of a wire rope attached by honks to each truck, and running round posts, the weight of the full truck being utilised to draw up an empty truck attached to the end of the rope. On the day in question, while plaintin was at work", an empty truck became detached from the rope, and tho weight of the full truck drew the free end of tho rope swiftly upwards towards plaintiff, who was struck on tho head abovo the right eye. His skull was fractured, and the plaintiff, as a result, had since been wholly unable to work, and was permanently" incapacitated. Tho accident was caused by the negligence of the defendants in failing to provide proper appliances for the attachment of the trucks to the rope, and to prevent it and the hook from becoming detached, and in failing to provide proper guards, brakes, checks, or other appliances to control tho rope and to stop it in case of accident, and also in failing to provide proper signalling appliances. Plaintiff had been put to considerable expense for medical and hospital attendance. He had also suffered much pain, was permanently disfigured, and his mental capacity permanently and seriously affected. ‘Ho claimed '£2,000 damages. Counsel pointed out that where men were working for one employer and engaged in a common employment, and an accident occurred to one man through the negligence of another man, the law said that, being a common employment, the man was not responsible. Tho law had been altered in recent years, and tho effect of ono of tho defences filed now was that in such a case a servant conld not recover more than £SOO damages. So that if tho jury found for' the plaintiff he could not be awarded more than £6OO, Counsel explained at length tho medo of trucking on tho dip iu question, and mentioned that this method had never been in operation in any other portion of the mine. A man named Morris had been injured, and after that a steel rope was put in. It had not been working 48 hours before Waddingham was carried away to tho hospital. Immediately thereafter the system was changed. When the accident happened Waddingham was sitting down imagining that ho was quite safe. The hook struck him and inflicted horrible injuries. Waddingham lay between life and death for a time. He had recovered part of his strength, but no prudent man would suggest that ho ought to go back to work again in a coal mine. It was a very grave question whether ho would ever be able to get any work at all in his physical and menial condition, as people would not feel disposed to employ him. The filed statement of defence was to the effect that the defendants denied that plaintiff had been struck by a wire rope while he was working in the dip, and that when ho was struck he had voluntarily left his working place, and had no right to be at the spot whore he was struck, and that tho accident was not caused by any negligence on the part of tho defendant company. The other allegations were denied, and it was stated that plaintiff was now able to work, and that his mental capacity was not permanently or seriously affected, or .affected at all. As a separate defence contributory negligence on tho part of the plaintiff was set up. Plaintiff had left his working place and had voluntarily gone to a dangerous place. If the accident had been caused by, or contributed to by negligence on the part of the company or its servants, such negligence was not the negligence of the company, but the unauthorised negligence of plaintiff's fellow-ser-vants engaged in a common employment with him in the company’s mine. Robert Waddingham said, in the course of examination, that he was 42 years of age, had been a minor since he was 15 years old, and had worked in several mines in Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. Ho had been employed for 11 years in the Kaitangata mine. Ho had been drawing half pay —£7 4s per calendar month—as compensation allowance. The case is proceeding. Evidence was given by Gordon Sizemore (trucker), Robert Statham (deputy in No. 1 mine), Joseph V. Matchott (miner), Mark Dunn (trucker to Waddingham), and Drs Baird (Kaitangata) and Barnett. I Tho court adjourned about 5 p.m. till this morning at 10 o’clock.

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Bibliographic details

KAITANGATA MINE ACCIDENT, Evening Star, Issue 15660, 26 November 1914

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KAITANGATA MINE ACCIDENT Evening Star, Issue 15660, 26 November 1914