Western Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Attorneys

Serving The Needs Of Oil & Gas Workers In Pennsylvania For Over 40 Years

The attorneys of Jorden & White Law Firm have represented oil and gas industry workers, landowners, as well as oil and gas drilling companies in legal cases in Pennsylvania since 1978. Headquartered  in Meadville with offices in Erie, we have a combined experience of over 75 years in a variety of oil and gas law ranging from representing injured workers to certifying title to property and oil and gas interests.

Oil and Gas Related InjuriesOil and gas drilling sites present serious dangers to drillers, roughnecks, and workers who perform the drilling and service of the wells.  Workers in oil and gas fields work long strenuous hours in shifts working around the clock and often in extremely wet, cold, freezing and dangerous weather conditions.  Too often corporations fail to adequately train their workers or cause them to move quickly to cut corners creating unsafe environments.  In these dangerous environments, the possibility of being injured on the job by heavy equipment is high, especially if safety regulations are ignored.

Today, Pennsylvania is experiencing a frenzy of drilling for gas production from the Marcellus Shale.  Gas drilling rigs and workers are being brought in from Texas, Colorado, Utah and other Western states.  When these operators and drilling companies fail to adhere to safety standards and operate in a negligent and irresponsible fashion or make use of defective and unsafe equipment, drilling pipe, etc., accidents and injuries are bound to happen.

What Pennsylvania laws or regulations keep me safe as an employee working in the oil & gas drilling industry?

Oil & gas industry employees are as safe as their employer cares to make them and the equipment that they have to use.  As in all states, in Pennsylvania the Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA) imposes industry and equipment specific requirements.  Even strict compliance with OSHA regulations is often times not sufficient to keep you safe as an employee working in the oil and gas drilling industry.  A higher standard of care is required.

What Pennsylvania laws/regulations in protect my rights as an employee in the oil & gas drilling industry?

Laws and regulations such as related to wages, hours, and anti-discrimination that protect the rights of employees in any industry apply to the oil and gas drilling industry.  Also, like employees in any other industry, you have a right to be compensated in the event of injury on the job.

Who can be held responsible if I’ve been injured working in the oil & gas drilling industry?

In Pennsylvania, your employer is required to provide workers’ compensation insurance for its employees.  This insurance pays the injured workers medical expenses and pay an income loss amount equal to 2/3rds of the time of injury weekly wage for a defined period of time.  If an injury is caused by the negligence of a third party or by a defect in the manufacture or design of some piece of equipment or product, then the worker has access to State or Federal Courts to claim full compensation for both economic losses as well as losses associated with pain, suffering, loss of life’s pleasures, etc.

What is the Statute of Limitations on a work injury claim in Pennsylvania?

In the state of Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for workers’ compensation claims is three years from the date of injury.  Court actions for claims involving willful or negligent tort claims, or product liability claims, is two years from the date of injury.

How do you determine whether or not I have a valid workers compensation claim?

In the workers’ compensation arena, you have a valid claim if you are injured within the scope of your employment.  While that may usually be easy to determine, this is not always the case.  When your scope of employment begins or ends is an issue often subject to dispute.  Just who is or is not an employee is also sometimes an issue.  Sometimes an injury that occurs when not working within the scope of employment, but which may have been caused by stress or conditions at work, such as a heart attack or symptoms of toxic exposure, or the aggravation or acceleration of a previous injury suffered at work, could give rise to a valid workers’ compensation claim.  Similarly, if you have a claim against some other party other than your employer for that parties negligence, often times it will be obvious to you that a valid claim exists.  Once again, that is not always the case.  There may be multiple parties whose combined actions resulted in your injury and whose identities or fault are not easy to identify.  Particularly with regard to manufacturers of equipment, machinery, or products, it can be extremely difficult to identify the basis for a cause of action.  In these instances, the only way to determine whether or not you have a valid claim is to contact an attorney experienced with oil and gas drilling operations, workers’ compensation, personal injury litigation, and product liability claims.

How are the damages calculated?

Workers’ compensation benefits are set by statute as stated above.  Common law damage claims related to negligence or strict product liability are much more complicated and often require a combination of medical, vocational, and economic experts to determine damages from the time of injury to the time of trial in terms of medical expenses incurred and income loss are most often fairly ascertainable, especially for the wage earner.  Future loss of earning capacity and future medical expenses require input from a team of experts who will work with your attorney in order to set forth calculations that are not only as accurate as possible, but will also withstand challenge from the responsible parties or their insurance companies.

What information do you need from me in order to move forward with filing a claim?

When you meet with us for an initial consultation, the first thing we want to know, in as great detail as possible, is exactly how your injury happened.  If you were injured at work we will need additional information, such as who you reported the accident to and when.  We will need, if possible, copies of any medical payment insurance polices that may be effected, as well as any disability policies.  We will also request from you information concerning the name and address of all hospitals, clinics, physicians, therapists, etc. that you have treated with, both before and after your injury.  We will have you sign necessary medical release forms for medical and other information that your case will require.  We will then proceed on your behalf to gather any additional information necessary to move forward with filing your claim.