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Pennsylvania Fracking – Employees’ Rights When Suffering a Gas Field Injury

March 7, 2013

Employees, what are your rights if you suffer a gas field injury in Pennsylvania?

The Marcellus Shale has been something of a gold mine for Pennsylvania. Of course, the process of obtaining the gas isn’t easy, and it is common for employees to suffer injuries during the strenuous efforts, including the fracking process, necessary to bring the gas to the surface.

Gas company employees are protected by Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation laws

In Pennsylvania employees are protected under the Workers’ Compensation Act. It is this act that provides for you financially if you should become injured while employed at a Pennsylvania gas well. Essentially, workers’ compensation takes the place of the traditional lawsuit that most people think about when they want to obtain compensation for an injury. The Act makes certain that employees engaged in fracking or other gas field activities will receive money to cover their medical bills as well as a portion of their salary while they are unable to work.

Drilling for gas is dangerous

If you or a loved one works at a gas well, you know that drilling for gas is dangerous. There are many things that can and do go wrong, and it is the employees in the field who are most likely to be injured.  In a recent report, the CDC found that the, “leading cause of fatality in the oil and gas extraction industry,” is motor vehicle crashes.

CDC Chart

In addition to vehicular accidents, employees at gas sites can fall victim to incidents involving:

  • Well and pipeline explosions
  • Fires and smoke inhalation
  • Construction site accidents
  • Falls
  • Heavy equipment malfunction

The resultant injuries to employees of gas wells can include:

  • Broken bones
  • Serious burns
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Lung damage
  • Loss of limbs
  • Back injuries
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Death

You have rights if you are hurt at a gas field

The single most important thing for you to remember is that if you or a loved one are injured as a result of your work in a gas field, that you have rights under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. If you are injured make sure that you immediately report your injury and seek treatment. Once you are safe, please speak to an attorney to make sure your rights are protected.  The majority of Workers’ compensation attorneys will not charge you for a consultation. Nor will they charge you unless they are forced to step in to help you with your recovery.

Even if you are receiving benefits, you still might need help

The second most important thing to remember is that even if your employer is cooperative in the beginning, it can seek to stop your benefits at any time. You want to make certain that you have an attorney who is familiar with your case when this occurs. Again, you should not have to pay an attorney just so he can familiarize himself with your case. You should only pay if the attorney works to help you obtain or restart your benefits.

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