Compensation for Serious Oil Field Injuries
Texas is the No. 1 energy production state, employing tens of thousands of people in oil fields and refineries offshore.
However, this industry leadership comes at a cost.
Serious injuries in the oil industry cost many workers their livelihoods and, in too many cases, their lives.
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says that oil field workers face seven times the rate of serious injury of all other industries. If you were injured on the oil field, you have the right to compensation.
Types Of Oil Field Injuries
Dangerous working conditions with heavy machinery and toxic chemicals injure many oil field workers each year.
Here are some of the injuries oil workers sustain:
- Head and back injuries,
- Spinal cord injuries,
- Traumatic brain injury,
- Amputation of limbs or digits,
- Crushed limbs,
- Gas and chemical burns,
- Multiple broken bones,
- Damage to the lungs,
- Sludge-related injuries, and
- Electrical burns.
These oil field injuries often leave workers severely disabled or even claim their lives. Workers may not be able to work and provide for their families after suffering such terrible injuries. Meanwhile, injured employees face expensive medical treatment and may suffer mentally and emotionally during their recovery.
When you are injured or lose a loved one on the oil field, you deserve just compensation. Pursuing compensation can provide for you and your family, giving you the medical care and income needed after your oilfield accident.
An experienced oilfield injury lawyer can protect your rights and pursue the maximum compensation on your behalf.
Types of Oil Field Accidents
Long hours and insufficient safety regulations put many oil field workers at risk.
Each year, workers are injured or killed in accidents such as these:
- Vehicle tip overs and collisions,
- Equipment malfunctions,
- Drilling rig accidents,
- Collapsing platforms, and
- Explosions and fires.
Oil companies must protect their employees from dangerous conditions. When a worker is injured in an oil field accident, the oil company should pay, either through workers’ compensation or a lawsuit.
Workers’ Compensation for Oil Field Injuries
Most states require employers to subscribe to workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation protects employers from lawsuits and provides medical care and income to injured employees.
If your employer subscribes to workers’ compensation, you should file a claim soon after your accident. Workers’ compensation is not a fault-based system, which means that even if you caused the accident, you can still recover compensation. Of course, there are some exceptions, such as if you were intoxicated, committing a crime, or not on duty when your accident happened.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Provide?
Workers’ compensation provides payment for medical care and a reduced wage while you are disabled. If your injuries permanently prevent you from resuming your regular job, workers’ compensation may pay for job retraining.
Workers’ compensation provides a certain level of recovery for oil field injuries, and the Texas workers’ comp lawyers at The Zimmerman Law Firm can help you if your recovery claim is denied or called into question.
While this system of compensation is helpful for injured employees, it may not pay enough to cover an employee’s housing and bills. When your employer has workers’ compensation insurance, you usually cannot sue. However, some states, like Texas, do not require employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
Suing for Oil Field Injuries
When your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, you may be able to sue for injury compensation. To successfully sue your employer, you must show that someone acted negligently and this caused your injury. For instance, maybe your supervisor didn’t provide proper training to employees or a fellow crew member neglected to clean an oil spill.
More often than that, however, we file third-party lawsuits when the negligence of a party other than your direct employer contributes to your injury or — in the worst-case scenarios — the death of a family member.
For instance, if a manufacturing defect caused a platform you were standing on to collapse, you probably sustained severe injuries. In that case, our attorneys could sue the platform manufacturer for your injuries. In a products liability lawsuit, you can sue to recover medical expenses, lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering.
To sue the manufacturer or designer of faulty oil field equipment, you must prove one of these products liability points.
The oil field equipment had a design defect that made it dangerous. The designer could have chosen a safer design. With a safer design, the equipment would still work well and would reduce the risk of injury. You suffered injuries because of this design defect.
Perhaps the oil field machinery was well designed but the manufacturing facility made a mistake. If a manufacturing defect made the equipment dangerous and you were injured, you can sue.
Failure to Warn
Sometimes, even the best designed and constructed oil field equipment is dangerous. However, the manufacturer should warn you about dangerous aspects of machinery. If the manufacturer failed to post a warning and you had no reason to suspect the danger, you could sue for your injuries.
When Should You Take Legal Action?
After an oil field accident, you have a limited time to recover compensation for your injuries.
You should take these steps to protect your compensation potential:
- Report your injury to a supervisor,
- Seek immediate medical treatment,
- Do not return to work if you are injured, and
- Contact an experienced oil field accident lawyer.
The statute of limitation prevents you from filing a lawsuit after some time passes. For instance, you have only two years to file a personal injury, wrongful death, or product liability lawsuit in Texas.
Some exceptions apply to this rule, but you should contact an oil field injury attorney quickly so the statute of limitations doesn’t bar your claim.
Do You Need an Oil Field Accident Lawyer?
If you were injured or lost a loved one on the oil field, you need a skilled oil field accident attorney. Oil company insurance attorneys do not have your best interests in mind. If you try to negotiate with the insurer on your own, they may try to take advantage of you by offering you less money than you deserve.
When you have a skilled attorney on your side, the insurer can’t trick you into taking a low settlement.
Your attorney will take these steps to try to get you maximum compensation:
- Investigate your accident,
- Gather available information,
- Interview witnesses,
- Review your medical records,
- Calculate a fair damages request,
- Negotiate with the insurer, and
- Take your case to trial if necessary.
Most reputable oil field accident attorneys work on contingency, which means that you owe nothing until your attorney settles your case or wins a verdict. A contingency payment structure levels the playing field, so you can hire the best attorney for your case even if you are struggling to make ends meet.
Experienced in All Kinds Of Oil Field Accident Injuries
The Zimmerman Law Firm is experienced in providing assistance at the non-subscriber, workers’ compensation, and civil lawsuit levels. We have been helping accident victims for decades, and we have the experience and skill to help you fight even the biggest oil company.
We invite you to call our attorneys to schedule a no-charge, no-obligation case evaluation. You can visit our offices, or we can meet virtually or come to your home or hospital—whatever is safest and most convenient for you.