Over the past decade, many states, including Montana, have enacted so-called workers' compensation "reforms" that are causing catastrophic hardships to the workers who need the benefits most. The alleged reforms include a law enacted in 2011 in Montana that allows insurance companies, once they accept a claim, to choose the doctors who will treat an injured worker. The Montana law also allows insurance companies to change a worker's doctor any time they want.
The development of technology to extract oil from the Bakken Shale fields of Montana and North Dakota has brought an unprecedented economic boom to the region. Well-paying jobs have attracted a lot of Montana workers to the oil industry. The work is tough and it can be dangerous. When a Montana oil field worker suffers a workplace injury accident or an occupational disease, they may be left wondering how to provide for their family.
Mining has long been one of the most hazardous occupations in America. Coal mining in Montana is unfortunately no exception. One of the hazards is the heavy equipment used in open-pit mines, including the giant trucks used to haul the coal. One of those trucks, weighing 230 tons, was involved in an accident at a coal mine in southeastern Montana recently. Tragically, the driver was killed.
The Bakken oil fields in Montana and North Dakota have provided substantial returns for oil companies. Unfortunately, sometimes safety takes a back seat to profits. In November of 2010 a Montana man, now 30 years old, suffered devastating injuries in a fire at a drilling rig. Recently, the man recovered a settlement worth at least $10 million.
The oil fields of the Bakken Shale have provided good-paying jobs for a lot of Montana workers. But those jobs have come with a downside, as many oil field work accident victims and their families can testify. Oil field work is hazardous and unforgiving. And sometimes it can be fatal. The latest death occurred recently at a well in Toole County, north of Kevin, Montana.