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Gas well explodes in PA, injures worker, another missing

The oil and gas industry in Pennsylvania is strong. While this is good for our state as it improves the economy and brings new jobs, individuals in this line of work often find themselves at risk of being harmed. "Blowouts," the term used when control over a gas or oil well is lost, often result in explosions, fires and injuries. Those who suffer a workplace injury as a result of one of these accidents should be aware of his or her legal rights to ensure he or she is medically and financially protected.

Two Pennsylvania workers may need that help now after a blowout at a gas well in the southwestern part of the state, about 50 miles south of Pittsburgh. Chevron, the company responsible for the drilling and hydraulic fracturing taking place on the Marcellus Shale where the accident occurred, said one worker was taken to the hospital with injuries while another remains missing. The exact cause of the incident is unknown at this time, but the investigation continues.

Workplace accidents like this can be traumatizing. Serious injuries can leave an employee in pain and immobilized, while the frightening accident can plague his or her dreams, making it difficult to get past the incident on an emotional level. Also, the worker may be unable to work at a time when he or she may need an income in order to pay for expensive medical and rehabilitative costs.

Workers' compensation should help these individuals cover some of their losses, but some may find their claim denied. Though this can be frustrating, especially during a time of need, these individuals should choose to fight for what they deserve by speaking with a legal professional. Having a legal ally on one's side can be crucial when it comes to challenging a workers' compensation denial, and it may mean the difference between being financially secure during a recovery and being broke.

In the end, Pennsylvania's workers should be taken care of when hurt on the job. Whether they are harmed by unsafe working conditions, another's negligence or a sheer mishap, insurers should pay for the trust and loyalty these employees have given their employers.

Source: The Charleston Gazette, "One injured, one missing in gas well fire in Pa.," Feb. 11, 2014

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