Workers from Illinois and other states go to work in the oil fields, and most of them understand the dangers posed by the working conditions. However, it is the responsibility of the employer and the property owner to provide safe working conditions that would minimize the event of a workplace accident. A father from another state has filed a lawsuit against the owner of an oil field after the demise of his son earlier this year.
The 22-year-old man was employed by a subcontractor, and his responsibility was to install a pipe into an oil well that was recently drilled. This is achieved by lifting the pipe with tongs that are secured to a cable. Reports indicate that the tongs provided by the oil well owner for the young man to execute his task were not securely fastened to the cable. In fact, it was allegedly secured by ineffective household electrical tape that was brittle due to the icy weather.
A piece of equipment weighing 1,200 pounds detached from the cable and came crashing down, killing the young man. It was revealed later that the property owner had the proper equipment, but refused to let the subcontractor’s employees use it. Because workers’ compensation covered the man through his employer, his father was prohibited from filing a lawsuit against that company. A suit was therefore filed against the property owner for causing his son’s death through negligence.
Although OSHA has already fined the company after investigation of the accident and workers’ compensation benefits applied with the first company, Illinois residents may be interested to know that the next of kin of the man who died in the workplace accident also retained the right to file a third-party wrongful death claim in a civil court. It may be beneficial to obtain information related to wrongful death claims under state laws. When such a claim is presented successfully in a civil court, monetary restitution may be awarded to assist those left behind with funeral and burial expenses, along with other costs allowed under state law.
Source: missoulian.com, “Kalispell father files suit over son`s Bakken oilfield death, alleges negligence“, Kathryn Haake, March 26, 2014