The oil and gas industries play a large part in the state economy of Texas. The workers in these industries take big risks to do these jobs. There are many ways that someone can hurt themselves while working in an oil field. If you are looking for Texas oil field accident lawyers because you or your loved one is dealing with an injury you suffered while at work, you are in the right place. The Hartley Law Firm has the information you are looking for and can help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact us today.
Common Causes of Oil Field Accidents
The types of injuries that could happen to an oil field worker are almost limitless. Pretty much anything can happen in an oil field. However, there are some injuries and accidents that occur in oil fields more frequently than others.
Oil field jobs involve climbing and working heights. There could be high platforms or equipment operating high above the ground. But there is any number of other pieces of equipment that could be involved in a fall. Falls can be deadly at the worst. At the least, they can lead to broken bones and concussions.
If a piece of equipment or a part is faulty, it could cause equipment failure, leading to dangerous accidents.
Lack of Maintenance
It is very important that the construction equipment used in these jobs is up to par and that everything is working as it should.
Ignoring Industry Safety Standards
Oil field workers have some of the riskiest occupations in the country. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the industry have many safety protocols to force employers to take fewer risks with their workers’ lives. Even so, employers have their eyes on the bottom line and may feel pressure to slack on safety measures to increase productivity. When employers do not pay rigorous attention to safety, accidents can happen more frequently and catastrophically.
Explosions and Exposure to Toxic Vapors
An oil field explosion could happen due to flammable vapors from wells, equipment, and trucks. Pressurized gas, like hydrogen sulfide, might collect in a poorly ventilated area, and any ignition could cause an explosion. There may also be flammable liquid waste from oil fields that could ignite and cause an explosion. These incidents could lead to burns, disfigurement, loss of limbs, and other terrible injuries. Exposure to the vapors can also lead to poisoning, injuries, and death.
Oil rigs are located in remote areas, requiring transportation of workers and equipment across long distances. There are also vehicles used at the site for transportation and construction. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, vehicle crashes account for four out of ten deaths of workers in this industry. There is no limit to the type of injuries that could happen from a vehicle accident.
Are Oil Field Injuries Covered Under Workers’ Compensation in Texas?
Yes, workers’ compensation insurance covers oil field accident injuries if the employer has enrolled in the Texas Worker’s Compensation System. It also covers benefits such as funeral and burial costs if the person dies because of their injuries. You do not have to prove that your employer was negligent or to blame for your injuries when you are filing a workers’ compensation claim.
However, Texas does not require employers to carry workers’ comp insurance. If your employer does not subscribe to the Texas workers’ compensation system, you must file a lawsuit against them to recover compensation for your injuries. These cases are referred to as “non-subscriber” cases, which simply means that the employer is a “non-subscriber” to the Texas Worker’s Compensation System. Even if your employer does have the insurance, it likely will not cover all your costs. Workers’ compensation insurance provides injured employees with benefits for only a percentage of their medical bills, lost wages, and possibly short-term disability benefits. It does not cover non-economic damages like pain and suffering. You must report your injuries to your employer within 30 days of the accident, and you must file your claim within one year to receive benefits.
If your employer is covered under the workers’ compensation insurance system, you must go through that system to receive compensation. You cannot sue your employer in court when they have workers’ compensation insurance coverage.
However, you may still be able to recover additional compensation from any third parties involved. For example, a manufacturing company that made a defective piece of equipment involved in the accident might be liable for the faulty product in a product liability claim. Or if a subcontractor did their job improperly, they could be liable for any resulting injuries (e.g., an electrician failed to wire something correctly, leading to someone’s electrocution). Your oil field accident lawyer will look into your claim to determine if any other parties are liable for your injuries besides your employer.
What Compensation Could I Receive After an Oil Field Accident Lawsuit?
In personal injury lawsuits in Texas, the compensation you can recover includes:
- Past and future medical bills,
- Past missed income,
- Future lost wages,
- Physical impairment or disfigurement, and
- Pain and suffering.
Unlike in workers’ compensation claims, Texas courts take the accident victim’s responsibility into account. The law of proportionate responsibility says that someone who was 51% or more responsible for their own accident cannot recover any compensation at all.
Do I Need an Attorney After an Oil Field Injury or Fracking Accident?
If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury or death from an oil field injury, fracking accident, or another worksite incident, you must hire a lawyer to help protect your rights. Medical bills and other related expenses can be extremely costly for an injured worker and their family. You could also end up being forced to take time off while you heal, or you may be out of work indefinitely. If your loved one died, you might be wondering how you will pay for their burial costs. In any event, if someone else was negligent and responsible for your injuries, you have the right to compensation. In Texas, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations.
How Do I Win a Personal Injury Case?
To win compensation in a personal injury case, you must prove that the party you are suing was negligent. Negligence in personal injury claims means that someone had a duty to act in a reasonable manner and that they failed to act appropriately. When their negligence leads to an accident that caused injuries, they are liable for the damages.
Your employer and their insurance companies do not want to accept responsibility for your accident. They will do what is necessary to pay as little as possible toward your damages while claiming that they are acting fairly to you. These businesses likely have their own sophisticated legal teams whose jobs are specifically to make sure their clients get the best possible outcome. To do this, they must downplay the level of their negligence and their responsibility for your injuries. They will also likely claim that you are at least partially to blame for the accident.
You can help your own claim by seeing a doctor as soon as possible after your accident. It is a very wise idea to keep a record of all of your medical visits and treatments. You should also record how your injury affects your everyday life, i.e., if it prevents you from doing things you had no problem doing prior. A well-supported and documented claim is key to a successful outcome.
How Can an Attorney Help Me?
Your lawyer can help explain to you what your legal options are. They can help you file your workers’ compensation claim if necessary. They can also help you figure out if there are any third parties involved. They will help you gather all the information and evidence you need to support your claim. That also includes whatever information your employer may have that you do not. Your attorney will represent you in any negotiations with your employer or their insurance company. If they cannot reach an appropriate settlement agreement, your lawyer will resolve the issue through the court system.
It is hard to overestimate the importance of having a qualified attorney assist you with your claim. These matters can be complex, especially for someone that does not deal with them on a regular basis. If you try to handle your case on your own or fail to hire an attorney with the right experience, you could end up wasting valuable time or leaving money on the table.
Contact Our Texas Oil Field Accident Attorneys at the Hartley Law Firm
Austin Hartley is an experienced trial attorney helping injured victims in Texas. The Hartley Law Firm handles every stage of their client’s personal injury claims. We can also assist you with your workers’ compensation claim. We work hard for our clients to settle their cases quickly, and we will keep you informed throughout the process. The Hartley Law Firm will fight to get you the compensation you are owed for your injuries and suffering. Contact the Hartley Law Firm to learn how we can assist you with your oil field injury claim.
The Hartley Law Firm handles other types of cases as well, including:
- Personal Injury
- Wrongful Death
- Bike Accidents
- Head and Brain Injury
- Burn Accident Injury
- Bus Crash Accidents
- Catastrophic Injuries
- Construction Site Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Uber & Lyft Accidents
- Car Accidents
- Trucking Accidents
- Premises Liability
- Worksite Accident Injury
- Dog Attack
- Sexual Abuse
- Medical Malpractice
- Nursing Home Abuse
- Spinal Cord Injury