Workers in the oilfields around Dallas provide vital energy that the rest of the country relies on. This work is important but it can also be dangerous. When accidents happen, they frequently have debilitating or even fatal consequences. If you or a close family member suffered injuries in an oilfield accident, now is the time to seek legal counsel. Monetary compensation could be available based on the extent of those injuries. Reach out as soon as possible to discuss your case with a team member and work with a Dallas oilfield accident lawyer from Domingo Garcia.
How Serious Are Oilfield Accidents?
When accidents happen in oilfields, the resulting damage and bodily injuries are typically extensive. Many injuries are fatal, with survivors often facing permanent disability. According to the Journal of Petroleum Technology (JPT), there were 20 fatal injuries in the oil and gas industry in 2021. These fatalities stemmed from 15 individual incidents.
This number of fatal injuries represented an increase from the year prior, although those numbers might have been skewed by the effects of COVID-19.
When fatal injuries occur as the result of an oilfield accident, a wrongful death lawsuit could be appropriate. For those who survive the accident, a personal injury lawsuit could provide a measure of justice. In either case, our attorneys are prepared to fight for the compensation you deserve. Our aggressive, thorough approach to compensation could provide you with the fair outcome you deserve.
What Are Common Causes of Oilfield Accidents?
There are countless ways to suffer injuries in an oilfield accident. These accidents can happen in different ways, and the injuries that result can also vary. Understanding the nature of these accidents is an important first step in pursuing a monetary award. Some common examples of oilfield accidents include:
Oilfields are home to a wide variety of motor vehicles. Often, large trucks are present in oilfields to move machinery or raw materials. When these trucks collide with workers or other vehicles, the impact can result in catastrophic injuries. There are additional risks when an accident involves a truck carrying hazardous or dangerous material.
Tall structures are commonplace in Dallas oilfields. In addition to working on tall structures like oil rigs, there are also frequently deep holes involved in the drilling process. Falls from a great height—either from a tall structure or into a deep hole—frequently result in serious or fatal injuries.
Severe burns are also common in oilfield accidents. These burns can occur as the result of contact with hot objects like arc welders. In addition to burns caused by hot objects, it is also possible to suffer these injuries when fires break out. This is a constant risk, given the presence of flammable material nearby.
The heavy machinery present in an oilfield can represent a serious risk of injury. Workers could be crushed or caught in this machinery when attempting to move or operate it. When it is negligently installed, injuries could also result from heavy machinery falling or trapping a worker.
What Is an Oilfield Accident Injury Case Worth?
Your case value depends on your damages. In addition to the financial cost of medical care, survivors could also face permanent physical and emotional hardships. Although financial compensation cannot erase these injuries, it can provide the injured with resources that allow them to live a full and comfortable life.
Financial compensation comes in two distinct categories: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages allow you to recover your financial losses related to your injury. Ultimately, these damages return you to the same financial position you were in prior to the accident. Non-economic damages are not so easily measured. These subjective losses—like your physical pain and suffering—do not have an objective value. It is up to your attorney to establish the value of your non-economic damages.
Within these categories or compensation are specific types of damages. Some of the common examples of compensation in an oilfield accident case include:
The unfortunate reality for those injured while working on an oilfield is that there could be a significant financial disruption that follows an accident. Many workers spend weeks, months, or longer recovering from their injuries. During this time, they could miss out on the wages their family relies on. A civil lawsuit could help you recover any wages you lost during your recovery.
Medical care can be expensive, particularly for severe injuries. Even the cost of emergency medical treatment alone is often high. These costs can skyrocket when long-term medical treatment or pain management is necessary. From hospitalization to physical therapy, the cost of your medical care could be recovered in a personal injury lawsuit.
Pain and Suffering
The severe injuries common with oilfield accidents can have lasting, painful effects. While some pain fades over time, some injuries like amputations or brain damage can leave a worker with a lifetime of chronic pain. It could be possible to recover non-economic damages based on your pain and suffering.
Diminished Future Earnings
Some workers injured in the oilfields are never able to work again. Those who are eventually able to return to the workforce could have lasting disabilities that limit the positions they can fill. With fewer options available, it is not unusual for workers injured in an oilfield accident to face diminished future earnings when they return to the workforce.
It could be possible to secure compensation based on the difference between their future earnings and what they could have made had the injury not occurred.
Another example of non-economic compensation includes damages based on disfigurement. From scarring to the loss of a limb, serious injuries can lead to permanent physical disfigurement. This disfigurement can have physical and emotional consequences as the basis for monetary compensation.
If you are disabled in an accident, it can dramatically reduce your independence and quality of life. This loss of independence is not only emotionally difficult, but it can bring financial hardships as well. Compensation could be available to make a home wheelchair accessible or cover the cost of mobility devices.
Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Following an Oilfield Accident
Some of the injuries that occur in oilfield accidents prove to be fatal. These fatal accidents can upend entire families, causing extensive emotional and financial trauma for everyone connected with that person. A monetary award cannot undo that trauma, but compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit could ease some of the stress and suffering of surviving relatives.
Under state law, there are limits on who can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit following an oilfield accident. Only specific immediate relatives have the right to pursue this type of legal action. The right to file a wrongful death lawsuit is limited to surviving spouses, children, and parents of the decedent.
If there are multiple parties entitled to pursue a lawsuit, one or more of them could sue on behalf of all eligible relatives. If a lawsuit is not filed within three months of passing, the decedent’s estate could file a lawsuit for wrongful death.
Wrongful Death Damages
There are some damages available in a wrongful death case that are not recoverable through a personal injury action. For example, a successful wrongful death lawsuit could provide surviving relatives compensation for their loved one’s pain and suffering or final medical expenses. Other end-of-life expenses related to the funeral or burial could also be recovered.
The unexpected loss of a family member can have long-reaching effects. These cases can lead to damages based on the loss of companionship or financial support from a loved one’s income. Compensation could also be available based on the sense of grief you experience. Our firm could help you understand what types of compensation you might be entitled to recover in wrongful death action.
Our Results Speak for Themselves
Our firm is proud to fight for fair compensation for injured oilfield workers. These accidents can alter the course of your life forever, and you deserve justice from the negligent parties that allowed this accident to happen. You also deserve legal counsel that understands how to aggressively pursue an oilfield accident case.
Our attorneys have successfully recovered millions of dollars in settlements for workers injured in oilfield accidents. Some of the settlements we have recovered for oilfield accidents and gas explosions include:
- $12.5 million following a gas explosion caused by aging gas lines
- $1.075 million for an oilfield blowout settlement.
- $1 million for a wrongful death settlement following a gas tank explosion
Oilfield Workers Are Protected by Law
There are state and federal laws designed to protect oilfield workers from unreasonably dangerous conditions. Regulations are in place to reduce accidents, limit the risk of blowouts or explosions, and ensure that wells and other structures are sound.
Unfortunately, oilfields do not always meet the standards set by federal and state law. When these standards are violated, it could be evidence of negligence in a personal injury lawsuit.
Protections for oilfield workers in state law can be found in Chapter 3 of the Texas Administrative Code. These protections provide specific guidance on who can dig and operate a well, including regulations on the necessary permits.
There are also regulations regarding the operation of oil wells. These regulations cover everything from the depth of wells to the safety measures that should be taken. This includes not only building and operating an oilfield, but also storing and transporting oil and other hazardous material.
There are also consequences written into the statute regarding the failure to comply. Companies in violation of these statutes could face financial penalties if they risk or cause harm to individuals or the environment. In addition to these penalties, violations of these statutes could also serve as evidence of negligence in a personal injury lawsuit.
There are also protections for oilfield workers written into federal law. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets out guidelines for protecting workers in dangerous professions, including oilfield workers.
Some of OSHA’s oil and gas industry standards include:
- Hazardous Surfaces. There cannot be dangerous hazards in the places where employees travel or work. This includes removing debris and storing dangerous material in appropriate places.
- Electrical Equipment. There is a constant risk of electrocution in oilfields. Employers must ensure all equipment and structures are wired safely and according to federal standards.
- Blowout Protections. OSHA regulations also require protections for well blowouts. These safety measures should protect workers when a well suddenly releases pressure or explodes.
- Safety Equipment. Many workers handling dangerous tasks are required to wear appropriate safety gear, including eye protection. This safety equipment must be provided by the employer.
- Heavy Machinery. Safety regulations are also in place regarding the heavy equipment used in the oil and gas industry. Machines should be properly maintained to avoid accidents and always have safety guards and other measures in place.
Steps to Take After an Oilfield Accident in Dallas County
If you were hurt in an oilfield accident, the steps you take could have a significant impact on your future. This is true not only of your health but for your financial future as well. Taking the following steps could be in your best interest following an oilfield accident.
Seek Medical Care
Following an oilfield accident, your health must take priority. No matter how serious your injuries might be or how brief your exposure to harmful substances might have been, it is important for you to seek out legal counsel as soon as possible. Any delay could cause your condition to worsen or limit the extent of your prospective recovery.
Seeing a doctor once following an accident is rarely enough. It is critical for you to follow the treatment plan laid out by your doctor to the letter. Not only could this improve your chances of a full recovery, but it could also help you document your injuries in the case of a personal injury lawsuit.
Document the Accident
If you are physically able to do so, collect any evidence from the scene of the oilfield accident. This could include taking pictures of the machinery that injured you or the motor vehicle that struck you. While any evidence you can collect is helpful, remember that your health comes first. You should never put yourself at additional risk of injury or death to secure evidence related to an injury case.
Notify Your Employer
If you are injured while working on an oilfield, it is important to notify your employer as soon as possible. If you wait to notify your employer of any injury you sustained on the job, it could weaken your future personal injury case. Providing notice as close to the time of the injury as possible could strengthen your case moving forward.
Contact a Dallas Oilfield Accident Lawyer from Domingo Garcia
It is not in your best interest to pursue an oilfield accident case on your own. The owners and operators of these oilfields have tremendous resources and an army of lawyers on their side. Contacting an attorney from our firm to serve as your advocate is a vital step following an oilfield accident.
What does an Oilfield Accident Attorney Cost?
You might be surprised to learn you have an opportunity to pursue your oilfield injury case without paying anything up front for legal counsel. Our attorneys take injury cases on a contingency-fee basis. This gives you the best opportunity to secure fair compensation without carrying steep financial risk.
Hiring an attorney for a contingency fee is a best-case scenario. Our firm will get to work right away on your case before you ever owe us anything. We will work tirelessly to secure the outcome you deserve, and you will only owe us legal fees if we secure compensation in your case
Our fee is made up of a portion of the compensation we recover on your behalf. The percentage we take for our fee will never go up as your case progresses. This approach gives you the opportunity to pursue justice no matter your current financial position.
How Long do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
It is important to avoid any delay when it comes to filing an oilfield accident lawsuit. This is true both for personal injury cases and wrongful death actions. Waiting too long to move forward can make it difficult to secure the evidence needed for your case to succeed. However, the primary pitfall that comes with delay is the statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations is a deadline that applies to every type of civil lawsuit in Dallas.
According to the law, you must file your case within a minimum amount of time or lose your opportunity to do so forever. This deadline not only applies to a lawsuit but also applies to negotiating potential injury settlements as well. Whether you are pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit or a personal injury lawsuit, you generally have two years to file your case (Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003). This two-year period begins to expire the day the accident occurs.
If you wait too long, the defendants in your case could move for a dismissal with prejudice. This type of dismissal ends your case and bars you from ever pursuing compensation for your injuries again. Our firm could help you manage all the legal deadlines that come with an oilfield accident case. This includes ensuring you file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires.
There Are Countless Injuries That Can Result from an Oilfield Accident
Not all oilfield accidents are the same. Some involve explosions, while others occur as the result of a motor vehicle collision. These accidents can also result in exposure to harmful chemicals or other substances. When injuries or illnesses occur due to unsafe conditions in an oilfield, financial compensation could be available. Some common injuries include:
There are many flammable substances found in oilfields. In addition to the oil itself, these locations frequently contain other chemicals that are flammable. Faulty electrical work or negligent storage of these substances could result in a fire that leads to severe burn injuries.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Many of the injuries that occur in oilfields involve sudden impacts. This includes being struck by a motor vehicle, falling from a great height, or having an object fall on your head. These impacts can lead to a variety of traumatic brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries can have life-long consequences that are difficult to diagnose, much less treat.
Paralysis is another serious outcome that can occur in an oilfield accident. An incident that results in a severe impact to a person’s head, neck, or back could lead to spinal cord damage resulting in paralysis.
The heavy machinery that is frequently used in the oil and gas industry can result in significant crushing injuries. When a person is caught in heavy machinery or between machinery and a fixed object, amputation is not uncommon.
Not all oilfield accidents result in sudden, traumatic injuries. It is also possible for an accident to result in chronic illnesses, including cancer, due to the chemicals and substances stored at these locations. Negligence could result in the exposure of oilfield workers to theses dangerous substances.
Call Now for Your Free Consultation
Domingo Garcia has served as advocates for the injured for more than 35 years. We understand the serious impact an oilfield accident has on the injured, and the same is true for the families of those who do not survive.
If you are considering legal action following an oilfield accident, now is the time to seek legal counsel. You can expect the parties responsible for your injuries to have insurance companies and law firms at their disposal. Hiring a Dallas oilfield accident lawyer from our firm could help you even the playing field. Contact us as soon as possible for your free consultation.