The Lone Star state is the number one producer in the U.S. of crude oil and natural gas, according to government statistics. That kind of production requires thousands of employees and Texas has traditionally been home to half of all oil and gas workers in the country.
With so much production comes risk. Jobs in oil and gas are notoriously strenuous, performed in extreme weather conditions, and feature long hours. In a nine-year time frame, in fact, more than 1,500 oil and gas workers died while on the job. According to the Center for Disease Control, the fatality rate for oil and gas workers is seven times higher than any other industry. Thousands more oil and gas employees were injured, some very seriously.
If you or a loved one works in the Dallas area oil and gas industry, being hurt or killed on the job is a real risk. If that happens, you (or your family) may need the services of the Anderson Injury Lawyers.
Our experienced legal professionals can assess your situation and determine if a claim is viable. Free, no obligation consultations are available by calling (214) 327-8000 or reach out through our online contact form.
$280,000 Settlement After Worker's Compensation Refused to Pay
Workers’ Compensation in the Oil and Gas Industry
If you’ve been in the workforce, you likely already know there is a state-run system in place called workers’ compensation that serves like an insurance company of sorts for on-the-job injuries. Employers pay “premiums” – the amount of which is based on the risk of the industry and the company’s “experience”, basically its safety record. When an employee is hurt on the job in the course of his employment, workers’ compensation is there to quickly provide money for lost wages and medical expenses. It is a trade-off that employees make for swift compensation rather than having to sue an employer for personal injury.
Accidents that occur in the oil and gas industry may be subject to workers’ compensation if the employer provides benefits under the system and your injury is covered by it. There are times when workers hurt on the job find that the employer is not covered by workers’ comp or the injury was caused by something or someone outside of the employer, such as a defective product or a negligent vendor. If that is the situation, the experienced oil and gas injury lawyers at our firm can determine if you have a personal injury claim.
Types of Accidents and Injuries
While there is no all-encompassing list of every possible injury you might experience in the oil and gas business, there are some that are prevalent.
- Oil and Gas Explosions: Whether during drilling or refining, the risk of explosion is high due to the flammability of the products and the process. Such accidents are among the most serious and often deadly.
- Falls: Workers in this industry often are at great heights. A misstep or faulty equipment could lead to harm.
- Transportation Accidents: There is a lot of coming and going at oil and gas worksites. The more transportation used, the more likely a vehicle-related accident.
- Failure to Shut Down: Because of the inherent dangers of oil and gas, there are protocols in place to “shut down” when there is equipment failure. If these procedures are not followed, injury-causing accidents can occur.
- Exposure to Chemicals: Lack of protective gear or an equipment failure could lead to exposure to caustic chemicals resulting in injuries.
- Moving and Falling Objects: Massive machines, huge drilling platforms, and complex refinery operations increase risk of being struck by equipment, hit by a falling object, or caught in machinery.
- Negligent Hiring/Training/Supervision: If there are personnel who put others in danger or cause accidents, those responsible for them being on the jobsite may be liable for injuries they cause.
The types of accidents cited above could result in all manner of injuries, including:
- Head (traumatic brain injury (TBI) to fractures and lacerations)
- Broken Bones
- Sprains and Strains
- Back Injuries (breaks, herniated discs, soft tissue)
- Spinal Cord
- Nerve Damage
- Eye Injuries and Hearing Loss
Most serious of all, your loved one may have died from an accident on the job in the oil and gas industry. If that is your situation, we are so sorry for your loss. Please contact us so we can help you with your legal options. It may be that a wrongful death lawsuit is appropriate.
Who Is Potentially Liable for Your Injuries?
When hurt on the job, naturally your employer may be liable for your injuries. As discussed, workers’ compensation could be the way you will be made whole for your damages. But a third party personal injury suit could be an option as well.
Parties that could be liable for damages from a personal injury suit such as:
- Employers (where WC unavailable)
- Other Contractors on site
- Equipment Manufacturers: you could fall because of defective scaffolding
- Maintenance Providers: a loose stair railing or a slick floor could lead to injury
- Vendors/Service Providers: material providers might negligently stack goods that fall causing injury
- Motorists/Employer of Motorist: a driver could be reckless and run through a work zone hitting you. If that driver was working and within the scope of his duties, the employer could be liable for his actions.
Compensation for Damages
Ultimately, what the Anderson Injury Lawyers want to do for you is obtain all the compensation for your damages that you deserve. You are entitled to:
- Medical bills: This includes current and any in the future that are a result of the injury
- Lost wages
- Physical and mental pain and suffering
- Disfigurement: being disfigured, including amputations, receives additional compensation
- Physical limitations
- Reduced earning potential: if you’re disabled and unable to return to your regular job, the damages award will be increased
- Loss of normal life
What to Do After an Injury Occurs
It is vitally important that you do (or don’t do) certain things after an injury occurs. Obviously, when the injury is serious some of these items won’t be applicable. But it is just as important to remember these tips once you are well enough to function and communicate.
- Seek medical care immediately: Don’t try to “tough it out.” Yes, workers in oil and gas are as tough as they come and likely have high pain tolerances. But you do yourself no favors by ignoring an injury. Continuing to work could lead to greater harm that may be irreversible or take longer to rehabilitate.
- Tell your employer: You must give your employer notice of your on the job injury. If the injury is covered by workers’ compensation this is an absolute requirement to get benefits, but for the purposes of a potential personal injury claim it is also important so that the incident is documented.
- Don’t Provide a Statement: Your employer and any insurer involved will be anxious for you to make a formal statement. Don’t. You should always seek counsel first to protect your rights.
- Don’t Sign Anything: As with not giving a formal statement, never sign documents without talking to an attorney. An insurer wants to provide as little compensation as possible and will be pushy about settling before you even know the extent of your injuries and recovery.
- Call Us: An experienced Dallas personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the complex legal matters that arise after a workplace accident. The Anderson Injury Lawyers work on a no win, no fee basis.
Contact Us About Your Options After an Oil and Gas Injury
We understand that after an accident you have many concerns. You need to rehabilitate your injury and return to work, and the bills may be piling up. The workers’ compensation system might not be available for some reason and now you’re faced with uncertainty about how to proceed. We can help figure it out. Our personal injury attorneys have decades of experience in making those responsible pay. Before you think of settling an oil and gas injury matter, call us.