A Texas oil field accident can happen in an instant, changing your life. An accident may leave you injured, out of work, and wondering how to pay your bills. Even worse, an oilfield accident could claim the life of someone you love.
When an accident occurs, you may feel helpless and unsure of whether you deserve compensation. If you need assistance, you’re in the right place. At The Zimmerman Law Firm, our attorneys can help evaluate the circumstances of the accident and let you know what compensation may be available.
Know that you’re not alone in this experience. Thousands of other families have suffered oilfield accidents, and our lawyers have represented many of those victims.
As our attorneys have learned through years of helping oil field accident victims, you should do a few things to prepare for a possible injury lawsuit. Take the following steps to give yourself the best chance of obtaining maximum compensation.
Seek Medical Attention
Your priority must be getting medical treatment for serious injuries. By delaying medical treatment, you risk worsening your injury. You also put your ability to recover compensation in question. If your employer assumes you are uninjured, it may be hard to claim otherwise later.
Don’t hesitate to take care of yourself, and let our investigators gather key accident evidence. Your employer may request that you visit a company doctor. This is fine as a first step, but a company doctor may attempt to minimize the extent of your injuries. If you doubt a company doctor’s medical evaluation, you can obtain a second opinion from a neutral doctor.
Don’t feel pressured to return to work before you have recovered from your injuries. That could make things worse. Instead, get the treatment you need, and save all medical reports and invoices.
Report Your Accident to Your Employer
Inform your employer of your accident and any potential hazard to other employees. Document these details when you notify your employer of the accident:
- Date and time of notification,
- Who you notified, and
- Your employer’s response.
Complete an incident report, a written account of your accident on a form provided by your employer. Describe the facts of your accident to your employer in an honest manner, but don’t hesitate to contact an attorney for advice if your employer’s questions seem hostile or make you uncomfortable.
You usually have a limited time to inform your employer of an accident if you want to qualify for workers’ compensation. Make this report right away. When your employer reports the accident to workers’ compensation, this begins a formal accident investigation. Once the accident investigation is underway, you should not speak to investigators without advice from an attorney.
Gather Accident Information
If you don’t need immediate medical attention, gather any available accident evidence. Take photos of the accident scene and surrounding work environment.
Write down the names and contact information for witnesses to the accident. Write down what you remember about the accident, including details like the time of the accident and sequence of events before the accident.
If you’re hurt and unable to gather these details, don’t worry. Write down anything you remember once you’ve received medical attention. Our investigators can gather other needed details from the scene of the oil field accident. Note others at your workplace who have experienced similar oilfield accidents, and our attorneys can follow up with them.
Contact an Oil Field Accident Lawyer
You should contact an oilfield accident lawyer as soon as possible after your injury. An attorney can help you get appropriate medical care and advise you on steps to recover compensation. An experienced oilfield attorney also knows the tactics your employer may use to try to deny your claim.
Our attorneys can coach you on questions to expect before interviews or other interactions with your employer or the insurance company. We always advise you to give honest answers, but we help you think through your experience so that you don’t feel intimidated or caught off guard.
Our law firm employs skilled investigators who will gather and review all available evidence from your accident. We can determine who was responsible, which may be a different conclusion than your employer asserts. Our attorneys will fight for your just compensation and help you explore all legal options to get the money you need.
What Compensation Is Available?
When you meet with our attorneys, we’ll inform you of possible strategies to obtain injury compensation.
The most straightforward and first step usually involves filing for workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system of recovery, meaning that even if you caused your accident, you can still file a claim.
In Texas, if your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance, it will pay for your medical treatment and a portion of your average weekly wage.
Texas workers usually receive from 70 to 80% of their average weekly wage on workers’ compensation, with required maximums and minimums. For instance, you cannot earn more than $971 per week through workers’ compensation, even if that amount is less than 70% of your average weekly wage.
However, you can only receive workers’ compensation benefits for so long. Your workers’ compensation will cease when any of these events occur:
- You reach maximum medical improvement, meaning further medical treatment won’t help you recover;
- You return to work (at the same wage as before the accident); or
- You received temporary wage compensation for 104 weeks.
There are some exceptions to these limitations. For instance, if you can’t return to your previous job, you may be eligible for retraining that would allow you to work another job. Also, if you need spinal surgery, you may receive wage benefits for longer than two years. If you are permanently injured, you will be eligible for additional payments.
Family members of an employee who was killed on the job may be able to receive workers’ compensation death benefits for a limited time.
Workers’ compensation provides the money you need to pay some of your bills while you seek medical treatment. However, it is not usually a permanent income solution. Further, workers’ compensation does not allow you to recover for pain and suffering.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
A personal injury lawsuit allows you to recover for financial expenses like medical bills and lost wages as well as emotional costs like pain and suffering. However, it can be difficult to find a path for filing a personal injury lawsuit if your employer carries’ workers’ compensation insurance. However, you may be able to sue a third party who was responsible for your injury.
After years spent helping victims of oil field accidents, our attorneys know the avenues to explore to get you maximum compensation. If you can file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, we’ll inform you of that potentially lucrative option.
Contact an Oilfield Injury Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in an oil industry accident, you need a lawyer. At The Zimmerman Law Firm, our attorneys have assisted employees injured in oil field accidents for decades.
We know how oil companies work and the tactics they may use to try to deny you compensation. We’ll help you fight these big companies in pursuit of justice for your family.
Contact us today for a free consultation. You can ask us any questions and get our opinion on your claim. If you decide to hire us, we work on contingency. That means you owe us no payment until we settle your case. We’re here to help whenever you’re ready to start fighting for the compensation you need.