The oil industry employs thousands of people across the state of Texas. While the jobs provide many people with stable incomes, oil field jobs are physically demanding and dangerous. Many oil field workers suffer injuries. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 49 Texas workers in the oil and mining industry died from work-related injuries in 2019.
Oil field workers use heavy machinery and work around combustible chemicals and liquids and gases under pressure. They may sustain serious injuries in oil field accidents that affect their ability to handle the physical demands of being a rig worker. If you’ve been injured while working in the oil industry, contact a Corpus Christi oil field accident lawyer right away.
The injury attorneys at Herrman & Herrman have more than 100 years of combined legal experience. We can help you understand the sources of compensation available to you after an oil field accident. We have the resources and skills needed to pursue the money workers need after an accident. Our legal team includes a former insurance adjuster and several former insurance defense lawyers. We know how insurance companies think and how to respond to their tactics.
To learn about our services, call any of our office locations or visit our contact page for a free initial consultation.
What Do You Do After an Oil Field Accident?
If you’ve been injured in an oil field accident, it’s crucial that you take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your right to pursue compensation.
Here’s what you should do after an accident:
- See a doctor right away – Be sure to see a doctor or go to a hospital as soon as possible. Delaying treatment could make your injuries worse and complicate the claims process. Seeing a doctor right away gives you a chance to document your injuries and begin treatment immediately.
- Document the accident – If possible, take pictures of the accident scene and the surrounding area so you have a record of what happened. If there are any eyewitnesses, get their contact information and ask them to write down what happened in detail. When you’re able, write down what happened in your own words in as much detail as you can remember. Hold on to all your medical records.
- Report your injury to your supervisor or a manager – You may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits from your employer if you were injured on the job. Texas does not require employers to have workers’ compensation insurance. Even so, many businesses do provide workers’ comp benefits to injured employees. To claim workers’ compensation benefits, you need to inform your employer of your injury as soon as possible. Make sure to notify your supervisor or a manager in writing as well as letting them know verbally. Keep a copy of the written notification. Workers’ compensation pays benefits regardless of who caused an accident. If another oil field company (not your employer) working at the same location caused your injuries, you may have a right to file a personal injury lawsuit against that at-fault company, seeking compensation for your medical bills and other losses.
- Don’t talk to any insurance companies – Your employer or the insurance company involved in your case may try to pressure you into accepting a settlement because they know you have expensive medical bills. Do not sign any settlement agreement until you’ve spoken to a knowledgeable attorney. If you agree to a quick settlement, you may be shortchanging yourself and giving up your chance to recover full compensation for your injuries.
- Speak to an oil field accident lawyer as soon as you can – A knowledgeable oil field injury attorney at Herrman & Herrman can start working on your personal injury case or workers’ compensation claim while you recover from your injuries. We can start gathering evidence, deal with insurance companies, and file a claim on your behalf.
The Most Common Oil Field Injuries in Texas
Because they work around heavy machinery, large vehicles, and toxic chemicals, oil field workers in Texas are vulnerable to injuries on the job.
Some of the most common injuries that oil field workers suffer include:
- Broken bones
- Crushed limbs
- Amputated limbs or digits in the hands and feet
- Damage to the lungs from inhaling noxious fumes
- Chemical burns
- Burns and other injuries from industrial explosions
- Electrical shocks and burns
- Head and back injuries
- Spinal cord damage, which can lead to partial or complete paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries
Types of Oil Field Accidents
The hazardous conditions involved in working in the Texas oil fields can make workers vulnerable to many kinds of accidents, including:
- Industrial equipment failures – Oil field workers use all kinds of industrial machinery from construction vehicles and oil drilling equipment to cement mixers and heavy trucks. This heavy equipment can be dangerous if handled improperly or operated by an inexperienced user. Mechanical stress, inadequate maintenance, and design defects can cause equipment to fail, leading to serious accidents.
- Fires and explosions – Oil, natural gas, and their derivatives are extremely volatile and can ignite or explode if handled improperly. Tanker trucks, storage tanks, and oil wells themselves can release flammable vapors. These vapors can ignite if exposed to open flames, static electricity, and other heat sources.
- Well blowouts – Uncontrolled pressure in a well can lead to a blowout. These accidents can cause a wide range of serious and fatal injuries.
- Fracking accidents – Hydraulic fracturing involves injecting water under pressure into a borehole to help extract oil or natural gas. This process is dangerous and can cause an explosion. Chemicals used in the process can harm workers who are exposed to them.
- Vehicle accidents – Any worksite where large vehicles are can be dangerous to workers, especially if drivers aren’t paying adequate attention. An oil field worker could be struck or run over by a truck or construction vehicle. Workers also may be injured in oil field traffic accidents caused by other vehicles. You may have a right to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance for your injuries.
- Slips, trips, and falls – Oil field workers often work on raised platforms and in environments where spilled liquids are common. An oil field worker may suffer serious or fatal injuries in a fall from an oil rig or other elevated surface.
Workers’ Compensation for Oil Field Injuries
Many oil fields and oil drilling injuries qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. To qualify for benefits, you must have been injured while performing a work-related task.
Workers’ compensation benefits cover all medical bills related to your injuries as well as a portion of your missed wages.
While most states require the majority of employers to have workers’ compensation coverage, Texas allows employers to decide whether to provide workers’ compensation. If your employer does not have workers’ compensation coverage and you’re injured on the job, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against your employer and anyone else who’s liable for your injuries.
Compensation for Serious Oil Field Injuries
If your employer does not offer workers’ compensation coverage, or if a separate, third party was responsible for the accident that injured you, such as a drunk driver or the manufacturer of defective equipment, you may be able to pursue compensation for your losses in a personal injury claim.
You may be able to seek compensation in a personal injury claim that covers:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages if your injuries are the result of outrageously negligent conduct or intentional misconduct
How Long Do You Have to Contact an Oil Field Injury Attorney?
Texas allows two years from the date of the injury to file a personal injury claim. Because of the time needed to investigate an oil field accident and prepare a claim, it’s generally a good idea to speak to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. You may need to file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer. The sooner you speak to an oil field injury lawyer, the greater your chances are of getting compensation for your injuries.
Do You Need an Oil Field Accident Lawyer?
While you are not required to have a lawyer to file a personal injury or workers’ compensation claim after being injured, you will be at a decided disadvantage pursuing an oil field injury claim without legal representation.
You should seek the guidance of an oil field accident lawyer to help you understand the legal options available to you. A lawyer at Herrman & Herrman can help you navigate the claims process, identify who is liable for your injuries, gather evidence to build a strong case, and negotiate aggressively for the full compensation you need.
Get a Free Case Review from an Oil Field Injury Attorney Now
Oil field injury cases can be incredibly complex. It is important to turn to a knowledgeable law firm that has experience handling oil field injury claims. Get a free initial consultation with Herrman & Herrman today by calling our office or visiting our contact page. We’ll listen to your story and help you understand your rights and legal options to help you move forward.