Do you work in the Bakken region? Your employer is required to have workers comp

In January of this year, a Billings businessman with operations in the Bakken oil fields pleaded guilty to 292 misdemeanor counts of failing to provide workers comp and a felony charge of employer misconduct. Here are the details, according to an article from the Helena Independent Record, and information from the Montana Department of Labor and Industry.

* The businessman, of Black Gold Energy Services, failed to provide workers compensation for up to ten employees between June, 2011, to the fall of 2013.

* The Department of Labor and Industry contacted the man -- whose business supplies trucking services in the Bakken region -- numerous times about the issue.

* In 2011, the man told an investigator that he didn't have any employees in Montana, only in North Dakota, and that he carried North Dakota workers compensation. It was later determined that he did, in fact, have Montana employees.

* According to the man's attorney, no workers compensation claims were made against the company.

* The state recommended that the man receive a deferred two year sentence and pay restitution costs of more than $61,000, along with a $5,000 fine.

* Businesses working in the Bakken oil fields are required to carry workers compensation insurance to provide without regard to fault wage loss benefits and medical benefits to workers who suffer an on-the-job injury or an occupational disease.

* Workers comp is designed to assist the worker in returning to his or her job as soon as possible.

* In order to qualify for workers comp, injuries must be reported via notice to the employee's supervisor, employer, or insurer within 75 days. Within 12 months, a First Report of Injury document must be submitted to the employer, the insurer, or the Department of Labor and Industry.

* The insurer has up to 75 days after the First Report of Injury document has been submitted to accept or deny the claim.

Have you experienced an oil field accident in the Bakken area? Does your employer have workers compensation insurance? We will work to get you the money you need to recover, which may even be more than what is offered to you through workers comp. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

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