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How a Texas Oilfield Accident Attorney Can Help Injured Victims
Oil and gas work is difficult and dangerous. Workers are dealing with dangerous chemicals in dangerous conditions. This leads to a great number of on-the-job injuries including some workplace fatalities also known as wrongful death.
Oilfield Injury Attorneys with Experience Investigating Accidents in the Oil and Gas Industry
The combination of tired workers and company neglect is naturally a recipe for disaster. The fact is that oil and gas companies have a duty to keep workers safe. Both oilfield owners and operators, and the companies that make oilfield equipment have a duty of care to make sure thier drilling and extraction equipment is manufactured to high standards and maintained at those high standards.
Frequently, Texas oilfield accidents are caused by the negligence. When this is the case, the liable parties should be held responsible for the damages they’ve caused. This can be done through a personal injury lawsuit.
Building Your Personal Injury Claim
Liability or fault must be shown in order for an injured oilfield worker to recover monetary damages from the negligent person or parties. If a reasonably prudent person would not have done something a defendant did or if a defendant did not do something a reasonably prudent person would have done, that establishes negligence.
Specifically, with an oilfield accident case, there could be several different liable parties because there are a lot of different individuals and businesses involved in oilfield drilling and oil exploration operations, including:
- Oilfield owner/operator
- Oil companies
- Drilling operators
- Equipment rental companies
- Exploration companies
- Machine operators
- Oil pumpers
- Refinery workers
- Saltwater disposal facilities
- Truck drivers
- Oilfield equipment companies and/or manufacturers
- Contractors or subcontractors working in the area
- Regulatory agencies responsible for inspecting equipment and property
- Maintenance companies
Your lawyer will investigate the oilfield accident, gather all the necessary evidence, identify all potential defendants, contact these parties and their insurance companies, file your case in court, take depositions (recorded interviews) of each defendant and any potential witnesses, send discovery requests to each defendant, retain expert witnesses, negotiate, take your case to trial if necessary, secure the highest monetary recovery possible, and, most importantly, keep you informed of the progress of your claim.
Your attorney may need to hire expert witnesses such as an independent medical professional who can write a report concerning your injuries, treatment, and any future medical care. An oilfield accident reconstructionist may be needed to give an expert report on how the accident happened and what steps should have been taken to prevent it. An economist can help to prove lost wages in the past, any ongoing reduction or loss in income, and any future or other economic damages.
Types of Compensation Injured Oilfield Workers Can Recover
Our goal is to make sure each of our clients recovers the most financial compensation possible for their losses following an oilfield accident. As part of this process, we will ask for damages including both special (economic) and general (non-economic) damages. We will fight for your legal right to recover the following types of workplace injury damages:
- Current medical bills related to the injury
- Future medical expenses
- Physical therapy and/or rehabilitation
- Cost of medical devices and/or prescription medication
- Temporary or permanent disability
- Household expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
The total amount of compensation available to oilfield accident victims varies depending on the facts of each case. Some such factors can include the severity of the injuries, how long it takes for the injured worker to recover, the total amount of lost income, and whether there are resulting effects that cannot be medically improved upon. Our attorneys will work with medical and economic experts to properly calculate all expected losses so that we can vigorously negotiate on your behalf.
Common Oilfield Accident Injuries
While accidents can prove deadly, they also cause many other specific on the job injuries in the oilfield.
Broken Bones and Fractures
Equipment can fall on a worker if someone isn’t paying attention to it. Pieces of equipment can also fall on workers. If a worker slips or falls, they can fracture or break any part of their body.
Since oil and gas are highly flammable, if any explosion occurs or warm or hot oil accidentally gets on a worker’s skin, workers can get burned, especially without proper protection.
Catastrophic injuries such as amputations, spinal cord injuries and Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are common in oil and gas jobs. Toxic exposure to hazardous chemicals can lead to long-term illnesses and lung damage. Too much exposure to toxic chemicals can erode a person’s lungs over time and even cause lung cancers such as mesothelioma.
Loss of Vision or Hearing Loss
Vision loss can be caused due to chemicals getting in their eyes, head trauma, repetitive stress injuries, vibrations, and more.
Workplace fatalities are the worst-case scenarios for any oilfield accident; and, unfortunately, these preventable deaths can happen in various ways when working in distilleries, drilling sites, or oilfields. Wrongful death can occur slowly or very suddenly in tragic oilfield accidents.
Types of Oilfield Accidents
When you combine fast-paced, challenging, and dangerous oilfield work with the heavy equipment, tools, and machinery used in the oilfield, it can bring about accidents that lead to serious oilfield injuries and sometimes even death. The most devastating types of oilfield accidents are blowouts and explosions. A blowout is the uncontrolled release of crude oil and/or natural gas from an oil well or gas well after pressure control systems fail. Fires and explosions are caused by flammable gases and fire starters. In addition, other common causes of oil and gas accidents include:
- Being trapped in confined spaces
- Equipment malfunctions or failures
- Failure to perform regular maintenance checks
- Fracking accidents
- Hazardous chemical exposure
- Inadequate operations and safety training
- Moving heavy piping
- Oilfield truck accidents
- Release of dangerous fumes
- Rig collapse
- Trips, slips, and falls
- Truck and vehicle collisions
- Use of defective machinery
These accidents can, and often do, result in catastrophic injury on the job in the oilfield or even death. In fact, the occupational fatality rate for oil and gas workers is seven times higher than that of any other industry; and, this type of work also often appears on lists of the most dangerous professions. Oilfield drilling work is considered one of the most dangerous industries in the United States, with a fatal injury rate of 46 per 100,000 workers.
There are virtually limitless causes of oilfield accidents. Whether it’s due to machinery malfunction, spills, or other environmental factors, human error is usually found at the root of any workplace accident. Proper investigation and questioning can help find the truth about what caused a worker’s injury. In addition to the cases mentioned above, other causes of oilfield accidents include:
Defective, faulty equipment – If a company fails to properly inspect and maintain the equipment used in its oilfield, it can lead to the equipment malfunctioning and injuring a worker.
Explosions and fires – Oilfield explosions are sudden and unpredictable. It is hard – if not impossible – for workers to get out of the way fast enough to avoid being catastrophically injured in an oilfield fire.
Exposure to toxic chemicals and materials – Refineries, drilling sites, and oilfields all emit toxic fumes that can harm workers internally and/or externally if they are not given the proper training or the proper personal protective equipment (PPE).
Rig collapses – When oil rigs go down, they can hurt more than one person and can result in a workplace fatality. Improper maintenance of rigs or failing to adhere to the rules regarding how to check rigs for stability are dangerous but unfortunately, common corners oilfield companies like to cut in order to put profits before people.
Well blowouts – When pressure control systems fail, crude oil can release from an oil well and permanently damage or burn everything around it, including anyone working nearby.
Transportation – Natural resources extracted from the ground have to be transported from the drilling site. This is where oil rig trucks come in. These big rigs can experience explosions as well since they play a huge role in transporting workers, drilling equipment, waste, and oil and gas from the oilfield. Workplace trucking accidents can also occur when equipment is not properly secured on a truck. The roadways around an oilfield can be rocky and unkempt as well, causing truck accidents similar to those that would happen on any bad road.
Spills – If any oil is released or spilled, this enhances the chances of workers slipping or having equipment fall on them. In addition, if just a little spark occurs, it can cause the spill to turn into a huge fire, the likes of which could happen very quickly.
Contact the Injury Attorneys at Liggett Law Group Today
Oilfield accidents can cause catastrophic injuries, and many injured workers will never be able to work again. These injuries can be life-changing emotionally and financially. As skilled oilfield accident lawyers, we know how to investigate your claims, examine the evidence, and determine the best case to be made for damages. We will pursue every opportunity available to get you the compensation you need and deserve. If you or someone you love is an oil rig or oilfield worker that suffered serious injuries while on the job, an oilfield accident lawyer can help.
Always a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one has been left seriously injured while working in the oil industry, the Lubbock oilfield injury lawyers at Liggett Law Group can give you the representation you deserve.