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Family claims negligence caused fatal job injury on oil field

The North Dakota workers' compensation program is a no-fault system by which benefits are paid to injured workers regardless of who was at fault. An employee may not sue an employer, except in the case of the job injury following gross negligence by the employer. Such a claim was recently filed against two oil field contractors in another state.

The husband of a 31-year-old contract worker filed a civil lawsuit against two contracting companies, alleging their negligence caused his wife's death. According to court documents, the woman lost her life on a construction site in the oil field on Dec. 1. Records indicate that she died after being struck by a rigging pipe.

Reportedly, the plaintiff hired an engineer who inspected the site on Dec.12. After the inspection, the engineer alleged that the defendants created a deadly hazard by using a strap to hoist a pipe with an estimated weight of over 4,400 pounds and a length of 25 feet. The manner in which the pipe was connected allegedly allowed it to rotate and swing, causing a severe threat to workers on the site. The two companies are accused of using rigging and lifting techniques that were likely to cause physical injury or death.

If such a tragedy occurs on a North Dakota oil patch, and the surviving family members believe that their loved one's fatal job injury was caused by gross negligence of an employer or a third party, they might have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit in a civil court. This could be a challenging process that might be best navigated by an experienced personal injury attorney. If such a claim is successfully presented, the court might enter a monetary judgment to cover documented claims for financial and emotional damages.

Source: beaumontenterprise.com, "Lawsuit: Engineer criticized pipe rigging plan after worker's refinery death", Liz Teitz, Jan. 4, 2018

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