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Workers' compensation claim may follow well pad worker's death

When lives are lost in workplace accidents in Ohio and elsewhere, the surviving family members naturally experience severe trauma -- and it may be even worse when the deceased employee was not even 20 years old. Such a tragedy occurred in another state earlier this month. Families of deceased workers may claim death benefits from the workers' compensation insurance system, and although the compensation may relieve the financial burden, it will not ease the heartache.

According to an area director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the incident occurred at the site of a well pad. A company that provides services at Utica and Marcellus fracturing operations in Ohio and other states employed the 19-year-old worker who lost his life in this incident. Few details are available about the circumstances that led to this fatality, except that the young worker was crushed by the rear end of a tractor-trailer.

An emergency medical helicopter apparently rushed the critically injured employee to a medical facility, at which he later succumbed to his injuries. OSHA investigators arrived at the well pad to examine the cause of the accident and to determine what role possible safety violations might have played. The federal agency made no mention of prior safety violations by this company.

Regardless of the outcome of the OSHA investigation, the family can pursue workers' compensation benefits. It is not clear who the owners of the truck that crushed the worker were;  however, if it is a different entity than the employers of the deceased worker, the family may have a viable third party claim. Their best bet would be to consult with an experienced workers' compensation attorney to assess the circumstances and provide guidance and support throughout the claims process.

Source: theintelligencer.net, "Well Pad Worker Dies in Accident in Tyler County", Miles Layton, Jan. 13, 2017

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