How an oil rig accident lawyer can help
If you suffered injuries or your loved one lost their life while working on an oil rig, consider contacting our oil rig accident lawyers in Texas. We offer free consultations, so you’ve got nothing to lose. Call today for more information.
Oil rig accident injuries are pretty common in the US and are very dangerous. Several factors increase the risk of injuries and deaths to oil rig workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states that 489 oil and gas extraction workers died from 2013 to 2017. Notably, Texas oil workers seem to have the highest fatality rate.
In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data showed that Texas recorded the highest oil rig deaths – 44. Fortunately, if you’re an oil and gas worker who’s sustained a job injury, you may be able to get financial compensation from the responsible parties. Reach out to our oil field accident lawyer in Texas to see if we can help you recover a fair settlement.
Understanding Oil Rig Accidents
Work in the oil industry generally involves contact with materials that result in adverse health outcomes. For example, gas workers often encounter flammable gasses. Similarly, heavy machinery can also cause injuries to workers.
Consequently, there are several types of oil field accidents. Below are a few of the most common types of oil rig accidents.
Oil Rig Explosions
Explosions often happen on offshore and onshore oil rigs. This is because the oil and gas industry primarily deals with flammable materials. Therefore, any mistakes can result in significant explosions or fires. Call today to speak with a oil rig injury lawyer.
Slip and Falls
Many oil and gas workers operate on a drilling platform or elevated equipment. Oil and other liquids can spill, making these environments slippery. So, many employees often slip and fall while walking on rigs.
Oil Well Blowouts
A blowout is an uncontrolled release of crude oil or gas from oil wells. They happen when the well’s pressure release system fails. There are three types of oil rig blowouts, namely:
- Surface blowouts
- Subsea blowouts
- Underground blowouts
Furthermore, blowouts can occur at any stage, including:
- Well testing
- Oil production
- Well completion
This type of accident occurs when oil companies transport a piece of machinery or oil workers from one rig to another. However, oil industry crashes are different from ordinary motor vehicle accidents. This is because of the heavy equipment or hazardous materials being transported. So, the consequences of such a collision are often worse than a regular car wreck.
Oil Rig Accident Injuries
Oilfield workers can sustain minor to catastrophic wounds in a mishap. The severity of the injuries often depends on the nature of the accident. However, examples of severe injuries that occur in the oil and gas industry include:
- Chemical burns
- Other catastrophic burn injuries from fire
- Wounds from gas accidents during explosions
- Soft tissue injuries
- Crush injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal injuries to vital organs
- Nerve damage to various body parts
- Loss of limb (amputations)
Fatal injuries are also common in the oil industry. Oilfield accident victims sometimes pass away at the worksite. Conversely, an oilfield accident victim may die while receiving medical treatment. Whatever the case, the decedent’s legal beneficiaries can file a legal claim against the at-fault parties.
Causes of Oil Rig Accidents
Different factors are responsible for the oil and gas industry’s high injury and death rate. Thankfully, many of them are preventable with proper training and maintenance. We explain the major causes of oil rig mishaps below.
The oil industry primarily deals with heavy equipment. Unfortunately, poor or outdated industrial machinery sometimes gets onto oil rigs. This defective machinery then causes equipment malfunctions. Suppose defective drilling or other equipment causes your oil rig accident. Then, you can file a claim against the manufacturer or your employer.
Lack of Proper Training
Oil rig jobs are specialized responsibilities. So, oil and gas companies usually spend significant sums of money on the initial and continuous training of employees. However, lack of training on using heavy equipment on job sites is becoming common because of the industry’s fast growth. Sadly, these inexperienced workers without adequate training endanger the entire workforce.
Even after extensive training, oilrig workers still need continuous supervision. This ensures that oil companies and workers maintain industry safety standards and precautions. This could include wearing protective equipment and other safety equipment. If an oil company fails to provide proper supervision, it can easily result in a serious oil rig accident.
What Should I Do After an Oil Rig Accident?
Oil rig mishaps are somewhat common. So, oil and gas workers should know what to do immediately after an accident. The steps you take can significantly affect your medical and legal recovery chances. So, follow our tips below.
Get to Safety
Immediately after an oil rig accident, your priority should be getting to safety. This is because the mishap could escalate and further endanger your life. For example, oil rig explosions and fires can spread quickly. So, if possible, it’ll be best to leave the rig entirely or find the safest place to be.
Check for Injuries
Examining yourself for injuries before leaving the accident scene can be dangerous. So, once you’re safe, you should check your body for any wounds. For example, suppose there are other victims at the site.
Then, you should also examine them and render help where possible. Furthermore, you should seek medical attention. Oil companies often have on-site clinics for emergencies. Therefore, you can see your company doctor.
Document the Accident
After an oil rig mishap, you can file a claim for damages against the liable parties. An experienced oil rig injury attorney can explain your legal options and chances of success. So, documenting the accident scene is vital. You should take pictures and videos of the site if it is safe to do so, as this will become crucial evidence during the compensation process.
Liable Parties in an Oil Rig Accident
The oil and gas industry employs several classes of people. This is necessary because of the various responsibilities in an oil company. So, anyone from this long list could be liable when an accident occurs. However, we’ve classified all the possible responsible parties into three groups.
Manufacturers’ liability only comes up in cases of defective equipment. Companies rely on these equipment makers for their tools. So, suppose any heavy machinery failures result from a manufacturer’s negligence. Then, you can sue such a manufacturer.
However, you’ll have to prove that the machinery left the factory defective. In cases like this, working with oil rig injury lawyers with product liability experience can be very helpful because they’ll know what steps to take to acquire proof.
Your employer is probably the first party to consider for oil rig accident liability. The company is mainly responsible for the oil rig and its facilities. In addition, it has other responsibilities such as responsible hiring and providing safety equipment.
Therefore, you can file a compensation claim if the company fails in these responsibilities. Moreover, your employer will be vicariously liable for the actions of the following:
- Maintenance crew
- Safety inspectors
- Company executives
Finally, your oil rig accident could be the fault of a third party. This is common with transportation crashes. Therefore, you can proceed against the negligent driver of the other vehicle that hit you.
What Are the Legal Options for Injured Oil Rig Workers in Texas?
Now, let’s talk about the legal options after oil rig accidents. In law, every “injury” that occurs due to negligence deserves a remedy. So, you can get the compensation you deserve through different means. Here are some things you can expect if you file a lawsuit with an experienced oil field accident lawyer:
Firstly, Texas oil rig employees can file a workers’ compensation claim with their employer. Workers’ comp is insurance coverage for employees that sustain on-the-job injuries. However, this insurance isn’t mandatory for Texas employers.
Therefore, you must determine whether your oil and gas company has a workers’ compensation policy. An oil field injury lawyer can help you file a workers’ compensation claim if it’s an available option.
Personal Injury Lawsuits
You can file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party. This could be any of the groups we’ve mentioned above. The following federal and Texas laws will govern your lawsuit:
- Oil and Pollution Act
- Death on the High Seas Act
- Jones Act
- Wrongful death laws
- Personal injury laws
In a personal injury claim, you must be able to prove the defendant’s fault to recover damages in court. If you’re considering going this route, you should consult with oilfield injury lawyers. They’ll be able to tell you if you have a valid case and can help you through the process.
Finally, you can also accept an insurance settlement from the at-fault party. This option applies to your employer, the manufacturer, or a third party. Parties usually settle out of court to prevent a lengthy litigation process. However, you may want an experienced oil field accident lawyer to look over the settlement and ensure that what you’re being offered is fair.
Importance of an Oil Rig Accident Lawyer
Do I need an attorney for my oil rig accident case? This is the question bothering many injured oil and gas workers. Hiring an oil rig accident attorney can sometimes increase the chances of recovering fair compensation.
For example, an experienced lawyer will know which legal options are best for your case. They will help you put together a list of things you should be able to recover compensation for. Then, they can gather and preserve the evidence necessary to prove your claim. Establishing the total amount you deserve is another area where attorneys can help you. So, reach out to the lawyers at Herring Law Firm today.
Statute of Limitations for Texas Oilfield Injuries
Suppose you want to file a claim for compensation for any of the types of accidents in the oil and gas industry. Then, it’ll be best to know that you don’t have all the time in the world. Instead, you must initiate the lawsuit process within strict timelines.
This is because of the Texas Statute of Limitations. This statute governs when you must start a civil claims process in court. You have only two years to file your lawsuit in court.
Suppose you’re filing a wrongful death claim against oil and gas companies. Then, you also have two years to approach the court. However, the clock starts ticking from the day the injured oilfield worker dies. Ignoring this statutory period means that you’ll lose your right to compensation.
Therefore, having an experienced oil field injury attorney is vital. An excellent oilfield injury lawyer and their law firm will ensure you initiate your claim promptly. With decades of experience, we know the relevant timeframes for a personal injury claim against oil companies.
Get the Maximum Compensation for Your Texas Oil Rig Injuries
Oil field workers often find proceeding against oil and gas companies challenging. This is also the case for their insurance companies. The oil and gas industry is wealthy enough to build a formidable legal team. Therefore, many oil and gas workers don’t pursue compensation benefits after oilfield accidents.
Fortunately, oilfield workers can also get experienced oilfield injury lawyers from the Herring Law Firm. Our oil field injury lawyer have spent several years helping injured workers get compensation for their injuries. So, if you hire us, you can rest assured that you’re getting professional legal representation. All you have to do is call us today for a FREE consultation.