Oil Field Injury Attorney in Houston Texas
An Environment & Energy Publishing (E&E News) analysis of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) data showed that jobs involving support activities for oil and gas operations had the highest number of severe injuries and the highest severe injury rate. Between October 2015 and October 2016, the industry had 349 severe injuries and a severe injury rate of 148.9 per 100,000 workers.
Under Texas law, if the injured worker’s employer carries worker’s compensation insurance, an injured worker cannot sue his employer but is instead limited to the inadequate benefits provided by Texas state compensation laws. Many injured workers may believe this is their only avenue for recovery of damages.
In truth, often oil field injuries are caused by the negligence of third parties, such as contractors, or the failure of equipment manufactured and/or maintained by other companies. These potential parties can be sued for all types of damages available under Texas law, including loss of the worker’s ability to earn money, medical expenses and physical pain and mental anguish. For this reason, it is critical for you to quickly retain legal counsel when you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an oil field accident so that your potential legal rights can be evaluated and protected.
The Law Office of Richard Schechter, P.C. represents clients in Houston and across the State of Texas, including workers injured or killed in the Permian Basin Eagle Ford Shale or Barnett Shale oilfields. Call (800) 734-5612 or complete an online contact form to have our attorney provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a free consultation.
Oil Field Injuries Lawyer in Houston, TX
The types of injuries that victims suffer in oil field accidents are much more serious than most other workplace accident claims. In many cases, victims may need to seek benefits for lengthy periods of time due to their inability to return to work.
Some injured workers are never able to return to their previous jobs, and there are also cases in which victims cannot maintain any type of gainful employment because of the nature of their injuries. It is not uncommon for catastrophic injury claims to involve the need for full-time assistance with daily living activities.
Victims in some oil field injury cases may be contacted by representatives from an insurance company representing a negligent party. You should refuse to make any recorded statement until you have legal representation.
Contact the Law Office of Richard Schechter, P.C. as soon as possible. Our firm will investigate and evaluate your legal rights, file claims against the liable parties on your behalf and begin exploring the possibility of a settlement. We will file a lawsuit if the insurer refuses to provide a satisfactory amount of compensation.
Common Causes of Oil Field Injuries
Oil field accidents can involve workers performing any one of a number of different functions, including drillers, truck drivers, machine operators, and pumpers. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the three most common events in injury cases for drilling oil and gas wells were traffic accidents, being struck by objects or equipment, and fires or explosions.
Other kinds of accidents include defective or malfunctioning equipment, rig collapses, and slip and fall accidents. Some workers contract diseases or illnesses because of exposure to toxic chemicals and others may be electrocuted on the job.
Many of these types of incidents stem from the negligence of another party, including:
- Failure to comply with safety requirements
- Failure to provide workers with proper safety equipment
- Failure to maintain equipment
- Failure to properly train employees
- Failure to properly communicate safety procedures
- Improper scaffolding or rig construction
The nature of the negligence that actually caused your injury is not always easy to determine. The Law Office of Richard Schechter, P.C. will conduct an independent investigation and make sure important evidence is secured so the negligent parties can be held liable.
You should understand that your employer may not be the only liable party in an oil field accident. When another party contributes to the accident that caused your injuries, you can pursue damages from that party also.
Types of Oil Field Injuries
The first thing a worker should do after being injured in an oil field accident is seek medical care, either by visiting a hospital or family doctor. Receiving prompt medical care is important because there may be a more serious injury than you realize, perhaps involving delayed symptoms, and because documenting your injury helps protect an injured person’s legal rights if the negligent party tries to claim the injuries were not serious or the accident never actually happened.
In some cases, injured workers may suffer sprains or strains that can keep them out of work for prolonged periods of time, but full recovery is generally possible. Unfortunately, however, there are sometimes serious and catastrophic injuries that may involve an entire lifetime of care. Those include, but are not limited to:
- Burn Injuries — Victims sometimes suffer chemical burns while working with caustic substances. Other times, workers may suffer severe burn injuries when working with flame or hot objects. Both types of burns are serious and may cause permanent disfigurement.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) — A person who suffers a TBI does not always exhibit the same symptoms as seen with other types of injuries, but the effects are potentially far-reaching. TBI victims suffer from various physical, psychological, and cognitive issues caused by their injuries.
- Spinal Cord Injuries — The extent of damage a spinal cord injury causes depends on the specific vertebrae affected. Some injuries result in loss of function from the neck down, while others may affect function only below the waist.
- Amputation — An injury that results in a traumatic amputation or necessitates subsequent surgical amputation will have an immeasurable impact on all facets of a person’s life.
- Eye Injuries or Vision Loss — Workers who have their sight permanently altered by an oil field accident face a number of challenges not only in returning to work, but also in just navigating their daily life.
- Back and Neck Injuries, Including Herniated Discs — These types of injuries can have a permanent impact on a worker’s quality of life and future ability to earn income.
- Fractures — Unfortunately, fractures are quite common in the oil field. Broken bones can occur due to falls, defective equipment, vehicle accidents, or even explosions. Depending on the severity, a fracture can take months to heal properly.
Oil field workers who regularly handle or work around certain chemicals may also be at risk of developing certain diseases or illnesses.
Damages for Oil Field Injuries
In a state compensation claim against an employer, state law only allows for limited benefits, including medical care the insurance company agrees to provide, limited weekly benefits for a limited time to replace lost wages earned, and death considerations.
However, damages may be sought in civil actions against other negligent parties (or “non-subscriber” employers not covered by state compensation insurance). If you file a lawsuit against a negligent party in an oil field accident case, a jury has the right to award you full compensatory damages designed to compensate you for the rest of your life.
Compensatory damages may include a combination of economic damages and noneconomic damages. Economic damages are calculable losses, including medical expenses, lost income, loss of earning capacity and out-of-pocket expenses. Noneconomic damages are more subjective, and may include pain and suffering, emotional distress and/or aggravation of a pre-existing condition.
When an oil field worker is killed in an accident, his or her surviving spouse, children, or parents can file a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death lawsuit can seek damages for lost earning capacity, lost inheritance, the mental anguish the survivors experience due to the loss of their loved ones and other considerations.
Contact a Houston Oil Field Injuries Attorney
Did you suffer serious injuries or was your loved one killed in an oil field accident in Texas? Do not delay in seeking legal representation.
The Law Office of Richard Schechter, P.C. fights for oil field accident victims in Houston and many other surrounding areas.
Our firm will work hard to make sure that you receive everything you are entitled to. You can have our lawyer review your case and help you understand all of your legal options when you call (800) 734-5612 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
Schedule a Free Consultation