Injuries from an oil rig can seriously derail your life. Not only can you lose functionality in your body and have to transition through a career change, but medical bills and lost wages can leave you and your family in debt. Oil rig accidents often have severe consequences, including debilitating injuries and death. A Houston oil rig accident lawyer from Domingo Garcia can help you explore your options for compensation.
We can support you as we pursue compensation and advise you on settlement negotiations. We’re prepared to stand up to oil companies and any other related parties to get the compensation you deserve. Our team offers free consultations to injured oil rig workers and their families.
Compensation Available to Oil Rig Accident Victims in Houston
To recover damages, you will need to file a claim or lawsuit. Our team can help you determine the best path for your specific situation.
Damages, the compensation you might receive for your losses, are split into two categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are those involving the financial losses associated with your oil rig accident, such as medical bills. Non-economic damages cover the losses that aren’t financial in nature, including emotional or mental trauma.
Damages in an oil rig accident case can include:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental trauma
This list does not include all potential damages. Our team at Domingo Garcia can explain which damages apply to your case.
What If I Lost a Loved One in an Oil Rig Accident?
According to the most recently available data, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that an estimated 25 oil and gas extraction industry workers lost their lives on the job in 2020. While oil rig work is dangerous, employers have a responsibility to lessen those dangers through the reasonable protection of their employees.
We’re here for those who have lost loved ones in oil rig accidents. We recognize what you’re going through and want to help you and your family as you get back on your feet. Wrongful death damages could help you focus on your priorities, not financial insecurities.
These damages include:
- Reduced familial income
- Lost care and maintenance
- Loss of support and services
- Loss of a close personal relationship
- Pain and suffering you and your loved ones experienced due to the loss of your loved one
Per Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 71.004, the surviving spouse, children, or parents can file a wrongful death action.
This area of law is complex; our lawyers can review your wrongful death case and answer any questions you have.
How Much Will I Receive in Compensation?
Houston oil rig accident settlements vary. Some factors that may influence your settlement value include:
- The type and severity of your injuries
- Your earning capacity and income
- The costs associated with your case
- The outcome of insurance or legal negotiations
The circumstances of your case are unique, so these variables may look different for you than for previous oil rig accident cases. For this reason, it’s difficult to assign an accurate value to a case without a close review.
We have recovered several million- and multimillion-dollar settlements for our clients, including a $1,550,000 settlement for an offshore incident.
Common Types of Oil Rig Accidents
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), common oil rig accidents include:
- Explosions and fires: Oil is a highly flammable chemical. If not contained properly, it can ignite, causing catastrophic explosions.
- Vehicle collisions: Oil rigs and oil fields require the use of large vehicles. Dangerous vehicle collisions can take place on oil work sites.
- Falls: Certain components of oil rigs, like derricks, can stand hundreds of feet above the ground. Falling off these components during maintenance or standard work procedures can cause debilitating injury or death.
- Large moving objects: The production of oil entails the usage of large machinery with moving parts. Worksite negligence may lead to workers being trapped or caught in these moving elements.
- Chemicals: Silica dust and hydrogen sulfide, if not contained, can cause illness or injury. These chemicals are often present on oil rigs and in oil fields.
These accidents can cause catastrophic injuries like:
- Head injuries
- Amputation of limbs
Some of the health consequences resulting from negligence aren’t as visible as physical injuries, including cancer and other illnesses. A lawyer can still fight for you if you became ill as a result of your work conditions.
OSHA Mandates Safe Oil Rig Workplace Practices
As an oil rig employee, you’re entitled to OSHA protections. OSHA mandates a range of job site safety requirements, such as:
- Emergency planning: Oil rig supervisors must ensure that their job sites are prepared for a fire or explosion. This preparation can include the maintenance of exit paths and adequate emergency signage.
- Personal protection equipment (PPE): Oil workers must have safety equipment like respirators, helmets, and goggles.
- Containment of hazardous materials: As noted previously, oil rigs are home to dangerous chemicals and materials, like silica dust, sulfides, and petroleum. These substances must be contained properly to avoid chemical leakages and explosions.
- Machinery maintenance: Unsafe oil production equipment can trap, crush, or otherwise seriously injure unsuspecting workers. To avoid this, supervisors should regularly inspect all heavy machinery on site.
Failure to adhere to these safety standards could make you eligible for filing a lawsuit under the Jones Act. You may have other options.
A member of our team can tell you which avenue is your best path for compensation.
State Mandated Safety Regulations
OSHA’s safety regulations are supplemented by Texas Administrative Code § 16.3. State law has mandates for the following:
- Obtaining proper oil well and rig construction permits
- The storage of oil and other dangerous materials
- Penalties associated with the violation of these regulations
It’s important to make note of state-level oil rig violations. These violations could also expose a negligent party to legal consequences.
What Should I Do After an Oil Rig Accident?
The aftermath of an oil rig accident can be frightening and confusing; however, taking a few important steps can get you on the track to recovery and ultimately help your legal case.
Contact a Doctor
Your single priority after suffering from a debilitating injury should be to see a doctor. Sometimes, it’s not obvious how severe your injuries are. A licensed medical practitioner can diagnose your injuries and get you the care you need.
Seeking medical advice could play a crucial role in building your case, too. Medical records and input from your doctor can function as evidence. Whether filing a claim or a lawsuit, these records can prove your losses and bolster potential court proceedings against negligent employers.
You should also follow your doctor’s advice as closely as possible for two reasons. First, ignoring their advice could put your health at risk. Second, failing to adhere to a doctor’s orders could suggest that your injuries aren’t as severe as you claim, giving insurance companies or defending attorneys reason to doubt the severity of your losses.
If you don’t leave the scene of the accident in an ambulance, you should take some time to gather evidence, if possible. This could include names and contact information of those involved and cell phone images of the accident scene. You can return to the scene later to gather evidence, if necessary.
Don’t fret if the severity of your accident prevents you from gathering thorough evidence. Our team is familiar with the evidence-gathering process and can take over this part of the case. Even if you’ve already gathered evidence, we’ll likely seek additional information and secure protected evidence you might not have access to.
Inform Your Employer
It’s crucial that you make your employer aware of your accident. If you don’t inform them in a timely fashion (usually within 30 days), it may be more difficult to prove that your injuries were connected to the accident.
Reporting requirements vary depending on the type of accident you’ve suffered. Our team can review the requirements relevant to your case to ensure that you meet filing and notification deadlines.
Consider Speaking With an Attorney
Injury cases are complex, especially in oil rig cases where the proper legal avenue for your case may not be very clear.
Failure to adhere to legal procedures could result in your case being thrown out or in a lowered settlement value. It may also be difficult to juggle your case while dealing with the recovery process.
These are some points of advice to keep in mind when seeking a lawyer:
- Many law firms, ours included, work on a contingency-fee basis. This means that we do not charge anything up front. Financial concerns shouldn’t prevent you from hiring a lawyer.
- See what past clients have to say about working with the firm. Thoroughly research local law firms and review their previous case results. Testimonies from previous clients can also speak volumes about their experience handling similar cases.
- Rely on initial meetings with law firms to gauge their culture. Could you see yourself getting along with their team?
Our firm’s high ratings and excellent Avvo rating show that we will fight for fair compensation for you as we have for many others. You can speak with a member of our team to put our client support to the test.
What Should I Avoid Doing After an Oil Rig Accident?
There are two key missteps that oil rig accident victims often make:
- Providing your doctor with misinformation about the accident: Don’t worry if you can’t clearly remember the events of your accident. It’s better to be honest and say that you don’t remember than to risk wrong information jeopardizing your case.
- Giving statements, recorded or otherwise, without contacting a lawyer: Insurers and other parties involved in your case may ask for a recorded statement. Doing so without legal advice could negatively impact the outcome of your case, especially if you accidentally use language that could give them the wrong idea of what caused your injury.
Working With an Oil Rig Accident Lawyer from Our Firm
You are entitled to a safe working environment. In the absence of safety measures, or in the event of an accident, our attorneys are prepared to do what it takes to pursue a fair settlement. Here’s how we can support you as you navigate the aftermath of your oil rig accident.
Reviewing Case Evidence
To lay the groundwork for your case, we can review relevant evidence, which may include:
- Medical records that detail the extent of your injuries
- Surveillance footage
- Eyewitness statements
- Inspections and maintenance reports
- Your accident report
- Any previous accident reports
- Any other pieces of evidence relevant to your case
This evidence will play two important roles. First, we can use it to establish the monetary value of your case. We’ll approach settlement negotiations with this value in mind to help you avoid unfair offers. Second, this evidence can go towards establishing negligence, a crucial element of filing both insurance claims and lawsuits.
Negligence, in a legal context, refers to when a party responsible for the well-being or safety of others neglects their duty.
If you are holding your employer liable for your injuries under the Jones Act, you would need to establish the following four elements of negligence:
- Duty of care: Your employer had a responsibility to maintain machinery on the rig to decrease the likelihood of malfunctions.
- Breach of duty: An oil rig component was not properly maintained.
- Causation: This lack of oversight resulted in a malfunction that caused an explosion on your job site.
- Damages: You suffered severe burns and hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses because of this negligent behavior.
Negotiations for a fair settlement may involve insurers, opposing legal counsel, or whole legal teams for large companies. Coming to an agreement through negotiation will require consistent communication with all of the relevant parties.
We’re prepared to take over this responsibility for you. With us in your corner, you won’t need to fret over keeping in touch with the liable party or their representatives. We’ll sit down with those responsible for your injuries and fight for the settlement value we think is appropriate.
Pursuing Compensation and Handling Denials
As noted previously, your case may involve a lawsuit. If you need to take your case to court, we can:
- Prepare you for courtroom participation
- Act as your legal representative during courtroom proceedings
- Use available evidence to make your case to the jury
We won’t let an insurer or another party strongarm you into an unfair settlement deal. If you’re getting lowballed, we’ll know and advise you on working towards a case outcome that is fair compensation for your losses. We will protect your right to compensation.
Hiring a lawyer is about more than getting results. This might sound counterintuitive at first; however, keep in mind that the aftermath of an oil rig accident can be difficult. You may struggle to pay medical bills amidst aggressive contact from insurers. Juggling settlement negotiations while recovering from a debilitating injury isn’t easy.
Here’s how we can take that weight off your shoulders:
- Regular case updates: Legal cases have multiple moving parts, and progress may be slow-moving. Throughout this process, we’ll keep you updated on important changes.
- Straightforward answers to your questions: Terms like “affidavit” and “subrogation” may be confusing for someone without a legal background. If you find yourself confused by the language involved in your case, we’ll provide you with simple explanations. No legalese—just concise, simple answers.
- Bilingual support: Texas is home to a large Latino population. We provide our services in both English and Spanish to accommodate more members of our community. This helps to ensure you are comfortable and understand the process.
- Medical bill assistance: Your insurer may attempt to collect your fees prior to the conclusion of your case. If this occurs, we can work with you to find options that will buy you time until your settlement arrives.
How Much Time Do I Have to File an Oil Rig Accident Case?
As previously mentioned, oil rig cases are complicated. You may face different deadlines depending on the route your lawyer advises you to take. You might also be bound by Texas’ statute of limitations, which states that you have two years from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit for an oil rig accident.
If your accident happened offshore, you may file a claim under the Jones Act. If you were to file a lawsuit under the Jones Act, you would have three years from the date of your accident.
Deadlines are one important reason to file on time, but there is another equally important one. Finding and analyzing evidence takes time, not to mention that some kinds of evidence are time-sensitive, including video footage and forensic evidence. If you wait too long, you may lose valuable evidence to time.
Our team is familiar with keeping cases on track. We can assist you with filing important documentation and ensure that you meet your deadlines.
How Long does It Take to Settle an Oil Rig Accident Case?
Several factors can draw out a case.
Oil rig accident cases rely on the use of medical documentation to determine a case’s value and as evidence to prove liability. Before a case can be resolved, you must provide proof of your injuries as well as the past and future financial costs of treatment. This may be hard to determine early in the healing process.
Additionally, the evidence collection process can take weeks or even months to complete. Once our team has sufficient evidence, we can begin pursuing compensation. If your case involves a lawsuit, you could be waiting longer for a settlement or court award.
For these reasons, patience is key. We encourage our clients to remember that results take time. During this process, we’ll never leave you in the dark. We’ll be communicative and provide you with case updates as we make progress.
What Should I Know About Oil Rig Accident Lawsuits?
Oil rig accident lawsuits involve several steps. These terms and definitions may help you better understand what the process of filing a lawsuit might look like:
- Petition: A petition is a document that initiates a lawsuit. This document will contain information about the liable party’s errors. It will also include the “why” of your lawsuit—why you believe the actions of the negligent party mean that you’re owed damages. The negligent party will receive another document, called a citation to notify them of the pending lawsuit.
- Discovery: Discovery describes the process of your lawyers gathering evidence by getting oath-bound statements from involved parties.
- Mediation: Mediation presents an alternative to a civil trial and entails a meeting between both parties involved in a lawsuit. These meetings are supervised by a mediator. If both parties can come to a settlement agreement during mediation, it’s possible to avoid trial. This approach is often more cost-effective and less time-consuming than civil trials.
Remember, two oil rig accidents rarely pan out the same way. We can prepare you for whatever your case entails.
You May Be Asked to Provide a Deposition
During a deposition, you’ll be asked to provide a recorded statement. These statements can be used by both sides of the courtroom during a civil trial. This is why you may want to hire a lawyer to guide you through the deposition process.
Even if you are being completely honest about your accident and your injuries, the wrong language could put your case in jeopardy.
Work With Our Team of Oil Rig Accident Lawyers
Our team at Domingo Garcia has supported personal injury clients for 35 years. With us acting as your advisors and legal representatives, you won’t have to face an oil company or another liable party alone. Contact our offices for a free case evaluation.
We handle cases on a contingency-fee basis. This means that you do not pay us a retainer or any upfront fees. You only pay us at the end of your case when you recover compensation. You do not need to worry about affording legal representation when you work with us.