The oil industry is one of the biggest in the US and in the state of Texas. According to statistical data, 13.9% of all Texas employees are oil rig workers, oil field workers and other employees in this industry. In total, 2,508,870 Texans work for big oil companies. Unfortunately, although it is a well-paying job, employment in the gas and oil industries carries risks. However, this does not mean that employers should not do everything in their powers to eliminate unsafe conditions which may cause a fatal oilfield accident or oil truck accident. If you work in this industry and suffered severe or catastrophic injuries due to a workplace accident, you should contact an oilfield accident lawyer at Dunn Sheehan LLP as soon as possible.
On your own, you have very few chances to get justice and a fair financial compensation from your employer. Big oil companies have an army of lawyers and insurance adjusters and use various tactics to undermine your chances of successfully filing a worker's comp claim or a personal injury lawsuit. Oilfield injury lawyers know how to counter these tactics and hold these companies responsible for all types of accidents leading to severe or fatal injuries.
According to the CDC, there were 69 oil rig fatalities across the US in 2017, out of which 44 were in the state of Texas. Moreover, it was ascertained that, at national level:
Worse, a recent study indicates that oil rig and oil field worker fatalities are underreported at the federal level. This means that the actual number of oil rig and oil field workers who lose their life on the job is larger. This is a clear result of the oil companies' power to silence accident victims and their families and classify their life-changing accidents as "non-work related".
Accidents causing severe injuries in the oil and gas industry can occur in several places: at the site where oil and gas are extracted (oil field, oil rig) or during the transportation of these highly flammable substances. Actually, according to an analysis done by the New York Times in 2012 (but still relevant today) the biggest risk to oil field workers is not at the rig itself, but on the road. Oil truck accidents can have catastrophic consequences for the driver and for other innocent users of the roads who happen to be caught in the oil truck explosion.
With these ideas in mind, here are some of the most frequent causes of oil field and oil rig accidents:
Dealing with one of the most flammable substances known to man should involve maximum precaution in every aspect of the work of extracting it. However, sometimes there are OSHA violations or lax approaches to enforcing safety rules and they can result in a terrible explosion, claiming lives and leaving oil field workers with catastrophic injuries.
There are many types of heavy machinery on oil fields. When one of them malfunctions or is improperly secured, it may topple over, crushing one or several persons underneath it. Many oil companies do not take machinery out of operation for regular maintenance or repairs, because they do not want to reduce the daily production and, ultimately, their profits.
In this situation, victims of crush injuries should seek the maximum compensation allowed by law with the help with an experienced oilfield accident attorney. Although they are operating in one of the riskiest industries, many oil companies allow defective machinery to be actively used by their employees, creating hazardous conditions for them.
Many oilfield workers are put in charge of complex machinery without receiving proper training in terms of:
On an oil rig or oil field, lack of training can lead to a fatal accident and the oil or gas company should be held responsible for the fact that they did not do everything reasonably possible to prevent such an accident.
In some cases, injured workers on oil rigs or oil fields suffered a severe accident because they did not receive adequate safety equipment. An oil or gas accident can have terrible consequences even when workers are using OSHA approved gear. In its absence, they can suffer the most horrific injuries due to employer negligence.
Many transportation accidents, explosions on oil rigs and other oilfield accidents are caused by fatigued employees who have to work longer hours than allowed by federal laws. Sleep deprived truck drivers and oilfield workers have a reduced capacity to focus and to react to dangerous situations in order to avoid an accident.
Ultimately, the responsible parties for these accidents are negligent employers who put profits above their workers' lives and well being.
In some of the worst cases handled by our personal injury attorneys, the oil field or oil rig had few to no safety procedures for risky operations, in complete violation of OSHA regulations. This is a flagrant breach of federal laws and can lead to a deadly accident at any moment.
The success of your oilfield accident claim depends a lot on how you act from the first moments after the incident. Remember that your employer does not value you as much as they do their profits. Thus, they will try to latch onto any element which would allow them to dismiss your claim or reduce your compensation amount.
Here are the best courses of action for oilfield accident victims:
Even if you do not feel badly injured, stop working at once. First of all, you may make your injury worse. Secondly, when you try to negotiate your worker's compensation insurance payout, your employer may claim that you are not as badly hurt as you claim because you continued working.
Unless you suffered life threatening injuries, you should report the incident to the person in charge of workplace safety. This is a crucial first step in preparing your worker's comp report.
During a worker's comp medical evaluation, you will have to see medical professionals approved by your employer. However, for emergency medical care, you have the right to demand to be taken to the hospital of your choice, where you will get a correct evaluation of your injuries and professional treatment.
You must be very careful about what you say in front of your employer's representative or the insurance adjusters sent by the employer's insurance company. You must refuse to give any formal statement or sign any document. In most cases, the document is a settlement for a very low amount, which also includes a waiver that prevents you from taking any further legal action against your employer.
As we explained throughout this article, your employer is not looking out for your best interests. You are valuable to them as long as you are capable of working hard and earning revenue for them. When you are injured due to their negligence, you are on your own.
But that is not really true - because you have the right to protect your own interests with the assistance of a skilled oil rig accident lawyer. At Dunn Sheehan LLC, you will find a dedicated team of oilfield injury lawyers who are not afraid to take big oil and gas companies to court.
You will receive our full attention and experience and we will fight to obtain the maximum compensation you deserve for your medical expenses, lost wages and other economic and non-economic damages.
We work on contingency fees basis, meaning that we don't get paid until we win your case in court. Call us now to discuss your case with an experienced oilfield accident attorney: 214-367-5911.