On February 11, 2014, a field service technician working on a natural gas well on a Marcellus Shale well site in Greene County was killed, and another worker suffered injuries, in an explosion from natural gas leaking from the well. The man who was killed worked for a company that was a contractor to oil-giant Chevron Corp.
Following an investigation, state regulators determined that an improperly supervised and trained contractor was told to loosen equipment on the wellhead to bring it into production. A lockpin from the equipment was ejected from the well, which allowed the gas to escape. The victim and his coworker, on the jobsite a few days later, heard a hissing sound, and the well exploded while they were in the area. The family of the man who was killed filed a suit for wrongful death against Chevron, with regards to the accident.
Chevron Corp., through the local subsidiary Chevron Appalachia LLC, will now pay $5 million to settle the suit. From the settlement, $2.9 million will be used to create a trust fund for the son of the victim, who was born months after the worker’s death by his fiancee.
A spokesperson from Chevron stated that it is important to protect both the environment and people, and that the company will do all it can to ensure accidents such as this do not occur in the future.
As this shows, wrongful death suits due to the act of negligence or an unsafe or hazardous working conditions can lead to substantial settlements. In a wrongful death suit, the family of the deceased can seek financial recovery for the damages they suffered due to their loved one’s death. Pennsylvania wrongful death attorneys may be able to advise those who lost loved ones due to the negligent act of an employer as to their legal options.
Source: . Pittsburgh Post-Gazette “Chevron to pay $5 million to settle wrongful death suit,” Stephanie Ritenbaugh, May 28, 2015