Oilfield accidents can result in serious injuries or even death, and the aftermath can be overwhelming. In such cases, it is important to have an experienced oilfield accident lawyer by your side to help you navigate the complex legal process and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. An oilfield accident lawyer can help you understand your rights, gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court if necessary.
An experienced oilfield accident lawyer can help you understand your rights and protect them. They can also help you navigate the complex legal system and work to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. An oilfield accident lawyer will provide you with personalized attention and fight for your legal rights. They can help you understand your options, seek justice, and receive the financial compensation you need to get back on your feet.
Who is an Oilfield Accident Lawyer?
An oilfield accident lawyer is a legal professional who specializes in representing individuals who have suffered harm in accidents that occurred in the oil and gas industry. These lawyers help their clients navigate complex legal issues surrounding oilfield accidents, including worker compensation claims, personal injury lawsuits, and environmental damage claims.
They work to ensure that their clients receive fair compensation for their losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. With a deep understanding of the oil and gas industry and relevant laws and regulations, an oilfield accident lawyer is a valuable resource for anyone who has been impacted by an accident in this field.
Oilfield Injuries and Safety Regulations
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates health and safety in work environments across the country. There are many OSHA safety requirements oil and gas workers and employees must adhere to. Failing to do so is not only a legal violation, it also increases the risk of workplace accidents, injuries, and fatalities.
OSHA safety regulations are specific to the industry and type of operation. OSHA safety regulations include:
- Minimum training requirements
- Immediate worker supervision
- Rig floor supervision
- Constant well control
- Minimum equipment and machinery standards
- Equipment cleaning and maintenance requirements
- Blowout prevention equipment installed and tested
- Hazardous substances properly labeled
- Hard hats, eye protection, and safety-toe footwear requirements
- Loose or flammable clothing, jewelry that can be snagged, and loose hair prohibited
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements, including hearing and respiratory protection
- Fall protection gear for work 10 feet above the lower surface
- Vehicle minimum distance requirements
- CPR-trained individual and first aid kits at worksites
- Emergency eye and body wash stations
- Immediate accident and injury reporting and treatment
- Accident investigations
Factors that Contribute to Oilfield Accidents
Oilfield accidents can have serious consequences, including injury and loss of life, as well as damage to equipment and the environment. There are several factors that contribute to such accidents, including:
Negligence and Recklessness of Employers and Employees: This is when employers or employees fail to act with reasonable care in the performance of their duties. This can include not following safety procedures, using equipment improperly, or disregarding warning signs.
Poor Maintenance and Upkeep of Equipment: If equipment is not properly maintained and kept in good working condition, it can become a hazard and increase the risk of accidents. This can include failing to replace worn or damaged parts, not conducting regular inspections, or neglecting to perform necessary repairs.
Lack of Proper Safety Measures: This refers to the absence of safety measures designed to minimize the risk of accidents. This can include failing to provide protective equipment, not marking hazardous areas, or neglecting to train workers on safety procedures.
Inadequate Training of Workers: Workers who are not adequately trained are more likely to make mistakes and be involved in accidents. This can include failing to train workers on the proper use of equipment, not providing training on emergency procedures, or neglecting to train workers on the dangers of specific tasks.
Common Oilfield Accidents
These are the common oilfield accidents:
- Oil truck accidents
- Other transportation accidents
- Oil field explosions
- Oil field fires
- Oil well fires
- Oil well blowouts
- Oil refinery accidents
- Gas refinery accidents
- Drilling accidents
- Fracking accidents
- Machinery and equipment malfunctions
- Machinery and equipment failures
- Personal protection equipment failures
- Poisoning incidents
- Hazardous material exposure
- Struck by object accidents
- Slip and falls
- Falls from heights
- Confined space collapses
- Crush injuries
Common Oilfield Injuries
These are the common types of oilfield injuries:
- Multiple and complex bone fractures
- Torn ligaments, tendons, and muscles
- Severe lacerations
- Facial and dental injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Hypoxic or anoxic brain injuries
- Neck and back injuries, including herniated discs, ruptured discs, and fractured vertebrae
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Respiratory injuries
- Vision or hearing loss
- Fire-related, electric, or chemical burn injuries
- Crush injuries
- Nerve damage
- Traumatic or surgical amputations
What Should I Do After an Oilfield Accident?
You should get medical treatment immediately after the accident. Then, report the accident to your supervisor and inform them of your injuries. Gather photos and videos if you can as this could strengthen your injury claim.
Why Do I Need an Oilfield Injury Lawyer?
If you’ve been hurt on an oilfield in Texas, the last thing on your mind may be calling a lawyer. But it’s important for you to do so as soon as possible after your accident. Maybe you just want to focus on your recovery. Maybe you think you can get more money on your own. But if you face big oil and big insurance without a lawyer, you will probably end up leaving money on the table. Money that you need to pay your bills and move on with your life.
- After your injury, someone from your employer or their insurance company may give you an unsolicited cash offer. They aren’t trying to be nice. They are hoping you take this lowball offer rather than pursue legal action. A lawyer will advise you to turn it down and not speak with anyone on your own.
- An oilfield accident lawyer will conduct thorough research to determine who is at fault for your accident. It is not always obvious, and it is important to identify all negligent parties.
- A lawyer can calculate the full value of your losses related to your accident and make sure you aren’t shortchanged.
- An oilfield accident attorney will fight to get the full amount you deserve in any settlement.
- If your employer or the insurance company won’t agree to a fair settlement, a lawyer will help you take them to court.
- If you are injured on an offshore drilling platform, a lawyer will help you figure out which maritime laws may apply to your claim.
Legal Remedies for Oilfield Accident Victims
Oilfield accidents can result in severe injuries and fatalities, leaving victims and their families with physical, emotional, and financial burdens. To help cover these losses, the following legal remedies may be available to oilfield accident victims:
Compensation for Medical Expenses and Lost Wages: Victims of oilfield accidents may be eligible for compensation to cover the cost of medical treatment and rehabilitation, as well as lost wages or earning capacity if the injury prevents the victim from working.
Pain and Suffering Damages: In addition to compensation for medical expenses and lost wages, victims may also be able to recover damages for pain and suffering, which can include physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish.
Punitive Damages: In some cases, a court may award punitive damages to an oilfield accident victim in addition to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Punitive damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer for particularly egregious conduct and are not awarded in every case.
Wrongful Death Claims: If an oilfield accident results in a fatality, the victim’s surviving family members may be able to file a wrongful death claim to recover compensation for their loss, including loss of support, loss of consortium, and funeral expenses.
It is important for oilfield accident victims to consult with a personal injury attorney who has experience in these types of cases to ensure that they receive the compensation they are entitled to.
Oilfield Accident Damages
When you are injured in an oilfield accident, you may be entitled to compensation either through the workers’ compensation system or a personal injury lawsuit.
Third -Party Oilfield Injury Claims
If you find you are covered by worker’s compensation you may have a workers’ comp claim.. However, you may also be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit if:
Your employer does not provide workers’ comp insurance. This is known as a non-subscriber claim.
You are an independent oil contractor and not covered by workers’ comp.
The at-fault party is someone from outside of your employer. This is known as a third-party liability claim.
Through a personal injury lawsuit, you can pursue compensation for economic and non-economic damages, including:
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
- Emotional Distress
- Scarring and Disfigurement
- Disability/Physical Limitations
- Reduced Earning Capacity
- Reduced Quality of Life
Texas and New Mexico both allow punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, if you can prove the at-fault party acted recklessly, intentionally, or maliciously. New Mexico does not cap the amount of punitive damages you may receive, but Texas does.
In Texas, a jury may award you the greater of two times the amount of economic damages plus an amount equal to any noneconomic damages up to $750,000; or $200,000.
How Much Money Can My Oilfield Accident Lawyer Help Me Recover?
When it comes to oilfield accidents, no two are exactly the same. Any accident that happens on the oilfield falls under the umbrella of oilfield accident. This may be an accident with heavy machinery, being hit by a truck, exposure to dangerous chemicals, or any number of other possibilities. Types of injuries suffered on oilfields vary widely, too. Examples include severe back injury, burn injury, head injury, and more.
How much money we are able to recover for you depends on many factors. First of all, any personal injury claim requires that we prove your injuries were caused by negligence on the part of your employer (or other plaintiff). If negligence is proven, how much you receive will depend on the type of injuries, how serious they are, your salary before the accident, the cost of your recovery, and if and when you will be able to return to work.
We will not be able to tell you how much money your claim is worth until we sit down and discuss your accident with you and go over your bills, expenses, and other losses. That said, you can expect to receive compensation for:
- Lost wages due to your inability to work during recovery
- Lost earning capacity if your injuries are so bad you will be out of work permanently
- All medical bills, including hospital stays, medications, and medical devices
- Expected future medical bills and expenses
- Therapy and rehabilitation
- Household help that you need due to your injuries
- Personal property loss or damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of consortium.
How Will My Oilfield Injury Lawyers Determine Liability?
When you suffer an injury in the oilfield, the fallout can be awful for you and your entire family. You and your loved ones are probably confused, nervous about the future, and filled with questions. You may be wondering who is at fault for your injury.
Oilfields are complicated workplaces with many moving parts. There are almost always many companies and contractors working together. This means that liability when there is an accident is not always clear-cut. Depending on your accident, one or more parties may be legally responsible. Liable parties may include your employer, a contractor or a contractor’s employee working on the same job site, or the owner of the premises. In some cases, a manufacturer of defective equipment may be responsible.
If I’ve Been Injured on an Offshore Platform, Can an Oilfield Accident Attorney Help?
Have you or your loved one been hurt while working on an offshore platform? Because of the dangerous work conditions and heavy equipment involved in the work, injuries on offshore platforms are common. Often these injuries are due to negligence on the part of the employer or a third party.
Figuring out which laws provide protection to injured offshore platform employees can sometimes be difficult. There are many factors that come into play. These include the location and type of the platform, whether it is permanent or moveable, and more.
Some offshore workers are protected by a federal law called the Jones Act. This is a special law designed to protect seamen who are hurt on the job due to the fault of their employer. Under the Jones Act, people who meet the legal definition of seamen are not eligible for workers’ compensation, but they may sue their employer for damages. The law also allows family members of seamen killed on the job to sue for lost wages, funeral expenses, and more.
Workers who do not qualify to sue under the Jones Act may be protected by other maritime laws. If you’ve been hurt while working on an offshore drilling platform, you may not know what steps to take. There are specific time requirements that must be met when filing these types of claims. It’s important to call a lawyer as soon as possible after your work-related injury.
Can Oilfield Injury Lawyers Help if My Loved One Was Killed in an Oilfield Accident?
Due to the dangerous conditions, heavy equipment, and toxic chemicals that are involved in oilfield work, these injuries tend to be very serious. And, sadly, often they are deadly. When an oilfield worker is killed, the family’s world is turned upside down. As they grieve, they are also faced with life without their loved one’s support and income.
If you are a close relative of a worker killed on an oilfield, the lawyers can help you file a wrongful death lawsuit against the parties that contributed to your loved one’s death. Not just anyone can file a wrongful death lawsuit. You must be a close relative of the deceased — a spouse, parent, or child. Siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, and other relatives are not eligible. Generally, wrongful death lawsuits in Texas have a two-year statute of limitations. This means you must file your lawsuit within two years of your relative’s death.
***Please note: Always speak directly to an attorney to understand the exact deadline(s) that apply to your claim(s).*** In general, you can receive the following damages in a wrongful death lawsuit:
- Pre-death medical expenses due to the accident
- Funeral and burial costs
- Lost earning capacity, or the money your loved one would have earned and used to support the family
- Lost care, support, counsel, and maintenance the deceased would have provided the family
- Lost love and companionship
- Lost inheritance, or what the deceased likely would have saved over a normal lifetime and left to the family.
If your loved one was a seaman as defined by the Jones Act, you may be eligible for compensation under that law.
Statute of Limitations for Oilfield Accident Suit
If your oilfield accident took place in Texas, you have two years to file a lawsuit. If it took place in New Mexico, you have three years. These time limits are known as statutes of limitations, and they begin to run the day you suffer your injuries.
Oilfield Accident Claims Process
Your lawyer can guide you through the claims process, including:
- The Investigation: All of the available evidence will be collected and analyzed to determine who is responsible for your oilfield injuries.
- The Workers’ Comp Analysis: If you have workers’ compensation insurance, the state Workers’ Comp Bureau will review the facts and make a finding regarding your claim.
- Third-Party Liability/Non-Subscriber Claim: If the law entitles you to file a lawsuit against your employer, a third party, or both you must give the insurer notice of your claim within a reasonable amount of time.
- Insurance Negotiations: Many injury claims are resolved through an insurance claim before trial. The insurance adjuster will likely offer you a settlement, but do not immediately say yes. It is better to consider whether the settlement fairly compensates you. In most cases, it will be for less than what’s appropriate in your case. An oilfield accident attorney is better equipped to enter negotiations and pursue a higher amount.
Oilfield Accident Lawsuits and Trial Preparation
Filing a lawsuit is not only about going to trial; it is about gathering as much information as possible and showing the at-fault party and their insurer that you are serious about your claim.
During litigation, the case will go through discovery. This involves the use of depositions, interrogatories, and requests for documents to gather a large amount of information and documentation. This evidence may strengthen your claim. It also helps identify weaknesses, which can be addressed during settlement negotiations or trial.
Your case may also benefit from hiring one or more experts that will testify regarding elements of your case. This may include oil and gas industry professionals, engineers, accident reconstruction, vocation, economic, or medical experts, who can offer an informed and professional opinion regarding the cause of the accident, your injuries, and the value of your damages.
What Are the Worst Oilfield Accidents?
Oilfield accidents occur all over the world, and they range in severity. Deepwater Horizon is the most infamous oilfield accident and remains as being the largest oil spill in the history of marine oil drilling operations. There are countless other disasters that have left a significant impact on those involved and their families, such as Piper Alpha, Ocean Ranger, and Bohai 2 to name a few.
Oilfield accidents can be complex, and the potential for injury is real. That’s why it’s so important to have an experienced oilfield accident lawyer on your side. An experienced lawyer can help you understand the legal landscape, ensure your rights are protected, and fight for the compensation you deserve. An oilfield accident lawyer will work hard to ensure you get the justice you deserve, and that your rights are protected after an oilfield accident.