Our society functions largely on infrastructure, and our economy thrives on building projects and new construction. Likewise, thousands of people are employed in construction - a field that involves big machinery, heavy equipment and often dangerous work environments. The same can be said for gas drilling, especially here in North Texas.
Drilling for natural gas is a huge business in the Fort Worth Area. The downside is that more on-the-job accidents are occurring. Like construction, working on a drilling rig is dangerous and the associated injuries are often serious and life-changing.
If you've been hurt in a workplace accident, you should consult with a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal options and find out whether you're entitled to make a claim.
Common Construction Zone Accidents
Construction accidents in Dallas-Fort Worth are never to be underestimated. Many times, an accident that could have been prevented results in a serious injury. A few common causes of workplace injury include:
- Malfunctioning equipment
- Inexperienced coworkers
- Unsafe working conditions
- Falling objects
- Exposure to harmful substances
- Trips and falls, including falling from heights
Common Oil Field Injuries
With over 1,800 oil rigs located around the United States, many oil rig workers are sent off to remote locations for months at a time to work on-site. However, the conditions can be harsh and the demands of working on an oil rig can be more than a human body can take. Oil rigs are some of the most dangerous workplaces in the United States, with dozens of fatalities and hundreds of injuries every year.
Oil field injuries occur due to some of the following common problems:
- Falls, including falling from heights
- Equipment failure
- Falling objects
- Inhaling sulfur or other harmful fumes
- Explosions and fires
- Inadequate safety or safeguards
- Pipeline work
- Negligence of other employees
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
If you’ve ever worked on a construction site or with dangerous products or chemicals, you’ve probably heard of OSHA. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is a thorn in the side of many employers, but OSHA rules and regulations exist to protect you, the worker.
Yes, construction sites are more hazardous than, say, your local office, but OSHA rules exist to regulate construction sites and ensure you work in a safe environment. If your construction site isn’t in compliance with OSHA rules and regulations and you’re injured, you could be looking at a potential negligence claim against the general contractor, subcontractor or premises owner.
Who's Going to Pay For Your Medical Bills?
Usually, construction workers and oil rig workers are covered under worker's compensation. I've written extensively on worker's comp. You can read more about it here.
However, worker's compensation isn't the only compensation you can receive. If your injury was caused by the negligence of another company, faulty equipment due to a manufacturers' error, or any other person or organization who's direct negligence contributed to the accident, you can also make a claim against their insurance.
Why is this important? Worker's compensation doesn't always cover all your expenses, so depending on the severity of your injuries, the only way to be fully compensated is to make a separate injury claim. For instance, it is hard to get worker’s comp to pay for all of the necessary medical treatment, so the payment for that must come from an injury case. And comp only pays for a portion of your lost wages, not all of them. And finally, workers comp does not pay for the all-important pain and suffering. The only way to obtain compensation for these damages is through a separate personal injury claim.
Should You Hire an Attorney to Represent You?
For many people, the cost of an attorney is a huge factor in this decision. However, you should know that some personal injury lawyers, including the ones at the Anderson Law Firm, don't charge you a dime until they win your case. If we don't win, you don't owe us anything. In other words, the upfront cost of hiring a lawyer should not factor into your choice.
So, how do you know if hiring a lawyer is right for you? I break it into two questions. One: could you prove with one hundred percent certainty (in front of a jury) that the construction zone workers caused your accident? Two: could you pay for your medical bills, damage to your car and other expenses if you fail?
If you answered no to these questions, it's time to consult with an attorney. An experienced lawyer will take your case over, using their connections and knowledge to construct a solid case on your behalf. They will know how to gather evidence, talk to witnesses, what to say (and not to say) to the insurance company, and so on.
As with any serious auto collision, time is of the essence when it comes to gathering evidence in support of your claim. Thorough evidence that documents the construction zone signage, striping, cones, layout, etc. is vital in order to successfully pursue a claim against the general contractor’s insurance policy. The sooner you start the claims process (and hire an attorney, if that's what you've decided), the better.
Time is a Factor
After an accident, a lot of people feel hesitant and therefore wait to take any action at all. While I understand that you don't want to rush things, I need to stress the importance of a quick investigation. In order to gather evidence, your lawyer will need to conduct an investigation of the scene of the accident immediately after you were hurt. If you wait too long before deciding to pursue compensation, evidence can wash away.
Consult the Anderson Law Firm
Our lawyers are very familiar with the inherent danger associated with construction and working in the oil fields and we can help you successfully navigate through the barriers put up by big contractors and their insurance companies. We would like to help you begin what may be a very long recovery process due to your serious injury. It is important that an investigation be conducted immediately before evidence disappears and witness memories fade. We can work together to help you recover from your pain and suffering, as well as help you recover financially due to your lost wages and incurring medical bills.
The Anderson Law Firm makes hospital and house visits because we understand how these accidents can leave you immobile. Mark Anderson handles all cases on a contingency basis, meaning unless a favorable outcome is reached, you pay nothing.
Call our office for your free consultation. Call 817-294-1900 or Contact us online today.
Other Articles You Might Be Interested In:
Vicarious Liability: The Legal Responsibility of Employers
Don't Show Me The Money: Why Taking The Insurance Company's Initial Offer Is Shooting Yourself in the Foot
You May Be Entitled To Compensation In Addition To Your Worker's Comp
Making A Wrongful Death Claim on Behalf of Someone Who Has Died