Texas is the national leader in oil production, and the oilfields around Fort Worth are an important part of that. The workers in this industry perform an important role, but it is also a dangerous one. Accidents can happen at any time in an oilfield, and the consequences are often severe. This is especially true when the owners or operators of oilfields fail to take the basic steps necessary to protect their workers. If you were hurt in an oilfield accident, you have the right to pursue legal action. The same is true if a close family member of yours died in a fatal oilfield accident. Whether you are considering a personal injury lawsuit or a wrongful death action, you could benefit from discussing your options with Domingo Garcia’s Fort Worth oilfield accident lawyer.
Oilfield Workers Are Protected by Law
Both state and federal law highly regulate the construction and operation of oilfields. These regulations are designed to protect workers and the public in general. While there are consequences for noncompliance, the unfortunate reality is that many oilfield employers fail to comply. The result of this failure is often severe or fatal injuries.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
There are important protections for oilfield workers under federal law. These protections are written into regulations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). These regulations apply across all aspects of the oil and gas industry. Some of the most prominent examples include:
- Work Surfaces. The places where oilfield workers spend their workdays must be free of dangerous hazards. This includes walkways, work surfaces, and external areas.
- Heavy Machinery. The machinery used in oilfield work must be in safe, working order. This includes appropriate safety features like machine guards.
- Spills. There are countless substances, from water to oil and even harsh chemicals, that are present in oilfields. OSHA has safety regulations designed to prevent spills that could result in injury or illness.
- Electrical Equipment. Electrocution is a serious outcome for some oilfield accidents. Employers have a duty to ensure wiring is done properly to avoid potential electrocution.
- Blowout Protection. Blowouts are one of the most dangerous causes of oilfield accidents. OSHA regulations prevent the pressure buildup that can lead to explosions.
The State of Texas does not leave the regulation of oilfields to federal authorities. There are also state statutes that govern the management and operation of oilfields. These regulations spell out the duty that an employer has to keep their oilfield workers safe from dangerous hazards. Some of those regulations cover:
- Permitting guidelines for constructing a well
- Regulations on the depth and size of a well
- Safety guidelines on storing oil
- Penalties for noncompliance with state statutes
Why Regulatory Violations Matter to Your Case
The failure of oilfield operators to comply with state and federal law is significant. There are substantial fines that come with violations of the law. The state also has the power to pull permits allowing a company to build or operate these fields. Additionally, the violation of these regulations could have a substantial impact in an oilfield accident lawsuit.
To recover compensation through a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, your attorney must show the oilfield accident occurred due to an act of negligence. One common way to establish negligence occurred is by highlighting violations of state or federal law that contributed to the accident.
These violations can have an oversized impact on your lawsuit, but discovering them on your own can be difficult. The right attorney could help you make the case that these violations are clear signs of negligence in your case.
What Is the Average Settlement for an Oilfield Accident?
It is common to wonder about the average settlement amount in an oilfield accident case. This is true for personal injury cases and wrongful death actions alike. Most people have little experience with resolving this type of legal action and do not have a frame of reference for what a settlement might look like in their case.
While this information could be helpful, the reality is that there is little information regarding the average value of an oilfield accident settlement. This is because the details of these settlements are frequently confidential. Due to the lack of public information, there is no simple way to determine the average settlement value.
Thankfully, you do not need guidance on the average value of a settlement to understand what your case might be worth. Our firm could review the facts of your case to help you understand your possible settlement value. You could be entitled to various types of damages, which include:
The cost of medical care for injuries related to an oilfield accident can be substantial. These injuries are often catastrophic, requiring long-term or even permanent treatment. The cost of emergency transportation and treatment alone can be high. If your injury case is successful, you could recover the costs associated with your medical treatment.
One of the most difficult aspects of suffering a major injury in an oilfield accident is the inability to immediately return to work. When you miss weeks or months of work, you are likely to lose out on the pay that comes with it. This sudden drop in income could result in financial hardship for you and your family.
Thankfully, replacing those lost wages could be possible through a personal injury lawsuit. When you pursue civil action following your injury, you could replace the wages you lost. This includes both past and future wages lost during your physical recovery.
Serious injuries in oilfield accidents often lead to permanent scarring or disfigurement. This could come in the form of burns, deep scarring, or even amputation. In addition to the medical expenses related to these injuries, the scarring and disfigurement you experience could have a steep emotional cost. This emotional trauma could serve as the basis for a monetary award.
Diminished Future Earnings
Even if your injuries heal, you could face physical or mental limitations for the rest of your life. These limitations could impact your ability to earn a living. Even if you can return to the workforce, you might be limited in the jobs you can perform.
If you are required to take on a career that pays less due to your disabilities, your personal injury case could result in compensation for those diminished future wages.
Pain and Suffering
Severe injuries frequently lead to lasting physical pain. If you are dealing with these injuries, the pain you suffer through no fault of your own could last longer than your recovery time. Injuries involving nerve or brain trauma can even lead to chronic pain that follows you for the rest of your life.
The compensation you recover in your personal injury case should reflect the pain you would not have suffered but for your oilfield accident.
Oilfield Accidents and Wrongful Death Actions
Tragically, oilfield accidents often have fatal consequences. In addition to potential personal injury cases, these accidents could also result in wrongful death actions as well. Wrongful death cases are similar to personal injury lawsuits in that they seek justice on behalf of the injured. However, these cases allow survivors to pursue a lawsuit in cases where the injury victim is no longer alive and cannot file a lawsuit on their own.
Only certain family members have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Specifically, the law allows the surviving spouse, children, and parents of a person that dies in an oilfield accident to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
However, these family members must pursue the case within three months of the accident. If they do not, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate has the right to move forward with the case.
Wrongful Death Damages
In addition to the damages available in personal injury cases, wrongful death lawsuits allow for additional types of compensation. For example, a successful wrongful death lawsuit could recoup the lost services and support that surviving family members would have received had their loved one lived.
These cases can also cover the costs of funeral and burial expenses. What’s more, the surviving relatives could be entitled to damages based on their emotional pain and anguish due to the death of a loved one in an oilfield accident.
You Could Learn About Your Options During a Free Consultation
Hiring an attorney and pursuing an injury case following an oilfield accident is a big decision. Thankfully, you do not have to make that decision without being informed of your legal options. Our firm knows that a lot goes into pursuing an oilfield accident lawsuit. That is why we offer the injury victims and their surviving relatives the opportunity for a free consultation.
Your free consultation gives you the chance to ask any questions you have about your case. This could cover what your case is worth, how much time you have to file a lawsuit, and what roadblocks might stand in your way. Our attorneys could also advise you on what to expect from the legal system while answering your questions about how your case might play out.
At the end of your consultation, you are never obligated to hire our firm or work with us in the future. We will not pressure you to work with our firm, but we are confident our track record and experience will speak for themselves.
Our Firm Has a Record of Success with Oilfield Accident Cases
Experience is invaluable when hiring an attorney for your oilfield accident case. Our firm has had past success with pursuing justice for those injured in oilfield accidents. The good news is you do not have to take our word for it. You can see from our settlements that we previously secured favorable outcomes for those injured in accidents related to oil and gas accidents. Some of these outcomes include:
- $ 3.2 million when a rusted-out piece of oil field equipment failed.
- $ 4.5 million when a dangerous well-site led to the death of our clients, spouse and father
- $12.5 million for a natural gas line explosion
Our prior success does not guarantee you will get the outcome you desire. What we can guarantee is our firm will work tirelessly to help you secure a favorable outcome in your oilfield accident case.
There Are Two Ways to Resolve an Oilfield Accident Case in Your Favor
When our firm takes on oilfield accident injury cases, there are two distinct ways we can resolve them in favor of the victims. The first is to reach a negotiated settlement with the responsible party. The second is to take the case to trial and obtain a verdict. Both options could result in the financial compensation you deserve.
Oilfield accidents routinely lead to negotiated settlements. These settlements could occur fairly early in the process—even before a lawsuit is filed. Some settlements only come about after years of negotiation. What is important to understand is that—common or not—securing a fair settlement offer is never easy. This is especially true if you are acting as your own attorney. Our firm could use our experience to help you obtain a reasonable settlement.
Settlements are common but never guaranteed. If the at-fault party refuses to take responsibility for their negligence, a trial could represent your best opportunity for fair compensation. Our firm is prepared to build the strongest case possible for trial while working for a possible settlement along the way.
What Should I Do After a Tarrant County Oilfield Accident?
There are important steps you should take following an oilfield accident. Acting quickly and carefully can help you protect both your health and your future legal case. These steps occur as soon as possible in the aftermath of an oilfield accident.
Notify Someone of the Accident
Who you tell about an oilfield accident will depend on your reason for being there in the first place. If you are an employee, you should notify your supervisor as soon as possible that an accident occurred. If you are visiting an oilfield, you should let someone employed at the location—preferably a supervisor—know about the accident as soon as possible.
This immediate notification could prevent the injury from worsening, protect others from being injured, and put the owner or operator of the oilfield on notice that an injury claim could be coming.
Seek Medical Care
You should have any injury resulting from an oilfield accident checked out by medical professionals. Serious injuries require immediate, emergency medical care. This treatment should be your top priority, given that nothing is more important than your health and wellbeing. Having a doctor evaluate your injuries immediately could give you the best chance of recovering fully.
Medical care is not just good for your physical health. Seeking treatment is also important for your personal injury case. The records from your treatment could be invaluable for your attorney when it comes time to establish the extent of your injuries.
Talk to an Attorney
One of the most important steps you can take following an oilfield accident is speaking with legal counsel. You could be entitled to compensation due to your injuries, and an attorney that understands these cases could help you secure the outcome you deserve.
An attorney could also serve as your advocate, speaking with insurance providers on your behalf so you don’t have to. The sooner you talk to an attorney, the sooner you can pursue a lawsuit for your injuries.
What does a Fort Worth Oilfield Accident Lawyer Cost?
If you are concerned about the financial cost of hiring an attorney for your oilfield accident case, rest assured your financial circumstances do not have to prevent you from pursuing justice. Our firm is proud to take on these cases regardless of your financial position.
We understand those injured in oilfield accidents often face sudden and unexpected financial challenges. Our approach to billing allows you to move forward with your case despite your ability to pay for our legal fees up front.
When you hire our firm, we take your case on something known as a contingency fee-basis. This approach works in your favor, as you will never owe us anything unless we obtain compensation on your behalf. The way this approach works is that we keep a percentage of the damages we secure in your case.
No Win, No Fee
If we are unsuccessful in our efforts and can’t secure compensation in your case, you will owe us nothing. That means you never risk walking away with less than you started with when working with our firm.
Who Is Responsible for Oilfield Accidents?
A vital aspect of any oilfield accident case is determining who was ultimately responsible. Before you can recover compensation through a personal injury or wrongful death claim, it is necessary to identify the at-fault parties. It might not be clear who was at fault for an oilfield accident until a thorough investigation is completed.
Your attorney could dive deep into the facts of the case to determine who was to blame. In some cases, the blame is entirely on the owner or operator of the oilfield. However, there are multiple parties that could be at fault in an accident. These parties could include:
Oilfield Companies or Their Supervisors
Most of the time, the actions of the oilfield company or their supervisors will play a major part in causing an accident. These companies are obligated under the law to protect their employees from unreasonably dangerous hazards. When they fail to do so, they could be liable for the harm they cause.
The companies and their supervisors must actively evaluate working conditions to ensure their compliance with safety standards. If the employers and supervisors fail to take reasonable steps to review safety hazards, they could be liable civilly.
Not all accidents occur as the result of owner negligence. In some cases, owners and supervisors will take every step possible to keep an oilfield safe, only to have an accident happen regardless. This could be the case when accidents occur due to defective equipment or machinery.
The oil and gas industry is reliant on various pieces of heavy machinery. This equipment can be dangerous, especially when it is not working properly. Defective equipment could result in burns, crushing injuries, and exposure to harmful material, among other injuries. When these accidents occur due to a defect, the manufacturer could be liable for any injuries that occur.
There are often third parties present in and around oilfields. These parties are not owners or employees, although they could be authorized to be present within the oilfield. Some common examples of third-party providers include inspectors or delivery vehicles.
Like anyone else, these individuals are not immune to mistakes. If they are careless or reckless, they could cause a serious oilfield accident. When they do, it could be possible to hold them accountable through legal action.
Contact Domingo Garcia Now for Your Free Consultation
If you were hurt in an oilfield accident, the consequences of that accident could change your life forever. This includes limiting your ability to meet your own basic needs or maintain viable employment. A personal injury lawsuit could provide you with the financial resources needed to address these challenges and move forward with your life.
Domingo Garcia is ready to help you fight for a fair outcome in your oilfield accident case. With the guidance of a Fort Worth oilfield accident lawyer, it could be possible to secure the compensation you deserve. Do not put your recovery at risk by acting as your own attorney. Reach out as soon as possible for your free consultation.