Texas is the nation’s leading state in crude oil and natural gas production. In 2020 alone, the state accounted for 43% of the nation’s crude oil production and 26% of its commercial natural gas production.
These numbers are encouraging, as thousands of jobs have been created in Texas due to the booming oil industry and a growing interest in hydraulic fracturing.
The work is known to be fast-paced, but it’s also dangerous. Workers may face the risk of serious injury or death every day.
Oil companies benefit when work sites operate around the clock. But heavy machinery, truck traffic and working conditions pose a variety of accident hazards for workers.
Some of the most accident-prone jobs in oilfields include:
- Transporters or truck drivers
- Machine operators
In addition, the most common places where accidents happen include:
- Oil pumps
- Salt water disposal systems
Whether you were injured in a workplace explosion or a truck accident caused by increased traffic around an oilfield, you should get in touch with an oilfield accident lawyer.
During the decline in working hours during the COVID-19 pandemic, 25 fatalities occurred in Texas. According to reports from the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers, the largest proportion of fatalities were attributed to incidents involving transportation, contact with objects, equipment, fires and explosions.
Types of oilfield accidents in Texas
Workers in the oil and gas industry are subject to extremely hazardous working conditions in oilfields. Taking shortcuts in safety, supervision and maintenance at these work sites can present real risks of serious, devastating and potentially fatal injuries.
If you have been involved in an oilfield accident that resulted in an injury, here are the types of injuries that may entitle you to compensation to cover your current and future needs.
- Head and brain injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Bone injuries
- Limb and extremity injuries
- Soft tissue and skin lesions
Workers who suffer any of these injuries may be entitled to compensation from their employer or other responsible parties.
Our oilfield accident attorneys at the Law Offices of George Salinas can help determine who is responsible for your injuries and the amount of your compensation. Remember that you have rights!
How can you get compensation after an injury?
When a worker suffers an oilfield accident, it may have been caused by several factors. The employer may have intentionally caused the injury, or it may be the result of human error.
Many accidents in the petroleum industry are caused by employer negligence, which means that an employer failed to provide a safe working environment.
With the help of an oilfield accident attorney, you can initiate the compensation process through the following steps.
First, an oilfield accident attorney will determine whether your workplace injury is eligible for a workers’ compensation or a personal injury claim.
In Texas, employers aren’t required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. However, if your employer has insurance you may file a workers’ compensation claim.
Workers’ compensation provides benefits even if the accident was your fault. However, compensation is limited to economic damages, such as medical bills and lost wages for a specific period of time. Note that workers’ compensation doesn’t pay for pain and suffering caused.
If your employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance, you can sue. There are some situations in which you can initiate legal proceedings for damages such as:
- Sue a third party, such as a manufacturer for a defective product;
- Initiate legal proceedings against a third party for negligence;
- Sue if your employer intentionally harmed you;
- Sue if your employer used a toxic or illegal substance.
Personal injury claims are based on fault, which means you must prove that your employer was responsible for your injury.
Your employer must pay your medical bills and rehabilitation costs related to these injuries. However, you may be able to sue for more than just medical expenses, since this type of accident involves two types of damages.
Medical bills fall into this category. Economic damages also include items such as loss of income and future earning capacity.
If you can easily calculate the cost of an expense related to your accident, it’s likely to be an economic loss.
However, non-economic damages include emotional damages. These are difficult to calculate, but can have a significant impact on your life. For this reason, non-economic damages are an important part of your compensation.
A personal injury attorney can help you calculate all damages to formulate a suitable settlement request. Keep all medical receipts and bills as proof of your expenses.
Oilfield negligence lawsuits in Texas
To sue your employer for negligence, you must prove four elements.
Duty of care
Your employer has a duty of care to provide you with a safe working environment.
Breach of duty
In the event that the employer has breached this duty by allowing dangerous conditions in the workplace, you may initiate a lawsuit. Oilfield injuries often result from these accidents:
- Oil rig explosions
- Electrical fires
- Machine malfunction
- Inexperienced workers mishandling equipment
- Falling equipment and slippery or unstable drilling surfaces
While some circumstances are beyond the control of your employer, he/she must always act responsibly to protect workers.
Catastrophic injuries due to non-compliance
If your employer’s breach of duty caused your injuries, your attorney can gather all the evidence to prove negligence at your workplace.
Many oilfield accidents cause significant damages, i.e. catastrophic injuries that can be compensated by the courts. But if you suffered a minor scrape or bruise, this injury may not be significant enough to file a lawsuit.
If you’re confused about meeting these requirements of negligence, a personal injury attorney can help evaluate your case. Your attorney will let you know if you have adequate evidence of negligence to file a personal injury case.
Can you get compensation for the death of a loved one in an oilfield accident?
Yes, you can sue for your loved one’s death if an intentional or negligent action caused the oilfield accident. Texas law states that these types of deaths are caused by someone’s “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.”
In the event that another employee caused the death of your loved one, the employer may still be liable, for the employee was acting as an agent of the company.
The surviving spouse, children or parents of a worker killed in an oilfield accident may sue for wrongful death against the employer or company.
If these family members haven’t filed a wrongful death lawsuit within three months of their loved one’s death, the executor of the estate can file a lawsuit within two years of their loved one’s death. After that time period, the statute of limitations will bar their claim and a court will dismiss the case.
Choose the right oilfield injury lawyer
When you file an oilfield injury lawsuit, you’ll want an attorney experienced in this complicated type of litigation. Oilfield injuries can be a challenge for an attorney practicing in an area such as family law.
Many oilfield workers are injured each year, so you may be referred to several attorneys. However, a consultation gives you the opportunity to explain your case to an attorney and get an opinion of your legal options.
Ask questions to determine if the lawyer is right for your case. Here are some things to find out:
- How often do you represent oilfield injury victims?
- Do you require an upfront fee or work on contingency fees?
- How much are your contingency fees?
- How long do you think this case will take to settle?
- How long do your clients typically wait for a settlement?
Get help with your oilfield injury case
Has a loved one been injured or killed in an oilfield accident? You deserve compensation if your employer’s negligence caused the accident. Our oilfield injury lawyers at the Law Offices of George Salinas can help you evaluate whether you have a workers’ compensation case against your employer.
In addition, our team will also determine any legal action against oilfield equipment manufacturers or third parties.
At the Law Offices of George Salinas, we can help build your oilfield injury claim to negotiate the best possible compensation settlement. Legal expenses can be costly, so you won’t pay us unless we win your case.
Get in touch with our team and schedule your free consultation!
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