Oilfield Accident Lawyer in Houston Ready to Help You
Oilfield workers provide Americans with the energy they need to run their cars, homes, and businesses. This is a necessary yet dangerous occupation that can lead to severe or even fatal injuries.
If you or a loved one is considering pursuing compensation for your injuries, a Houston oilfield accident lawyer from our office can help. We handle all the difficult legal tasks on your behalf and never charge attorney’s fees until you get your money. This way, nothing has to stand between you and getting justice.
Our Houston Oilfield Accident Lawyers Understand What Causes Oilfield Accidents
If you work in an oilfield, you are already familiar with why it is such a risky place to work. Hazards come from both the people you work with if they are negligent in their duties and from the hazards inherent in being around materials like oil, gas, hot metal, and so on.
As such, oilfield accidents have many causes, including:
- Motor vehicles: Large trucks, including construction equipment, often frequent oilfields. A collision between a truck and an employee, another vehicle, or a piece of machinery can do serious damage, especially if the truck carries hazardous material.
- Flammable materials: Oil and gas are extremely dangerous substances that must be stored and handled carefully. Otherwise, fires and explosions may result.
- Chemicals: Like oil, some chemicals may be highly flammable. They can also be toxic and increase a worker’s risk of developing certain diseases.
- Heavy objects: Workers can become trapped under or between large objects like machinery or oil barrels.
- Hot objects: Tools like arc welders and the materials they are used on can quickly reach perilous temperatures. They can even send sparks flying onto the hands or faces of the people working on them.
- Heights: Drilling for oil involves working on and building tall structures, like oil wells, workover rigs and digging deep holes in the ground. Both could pose a danger to employees who venture too close to a ledge, with or without proper safety gear.
- Other workers: All it takes is a moment’s inattention or “clowning around” cutting corners to cause an accident. Even if a worker means well, they may be compromised by fatigue or overwork.
Following proper safety protocols can minimize these risks, but accidents still happen. Ignoring safety protections only increases the risk.
Can Oilfield Accidents Be Deadly?
Yes, oilfield accidents do sometimes claim the lives of victims. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 44 workers in the “oil and gas extraction industries” lost their lives due to workplace accidents in 2020. This is a significant drop from 2019 fatalities, which claimed the lives of 104 workers, but as the oilfields become busy again coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic the statistics are likely to revert to the pre-pandemic numbers.
Fatal oilfield accidents happen in many of the same ways as non-fatal accidents, including motor vehicle crashes, amputations, burns, explosions, and falls.
Knowing that your loved one was part of a risky profession is no consolation for their loss, and we would like to express our condolences for all you (and they) have gone through. Domingo Garcia Houston Oilfield Accident Lawyers can support you during this time by fighting on your behalf for all the compensation you and your loved one deserve in a wrongful death case.
What Injuries Do Houston Oilfield Accident Lawyers See Most Often?
Oilfields can be very hazardous and can lead to severe work injuries such as:
- Head injuries: If you are hit on the head by a falling object, or if you fall from a great height like a scaffold, you could suffer a skull fracture, concussion or even a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
- Burns: Oil and other chemicals commonly found on oilfields are highly flammable. One spark can cause a major fire that devastates victims.
- Cancer or chronic illness: Prolonged exposure to oil or chemicals, especially without proper protection, can cause serious, even terminal illnesses like cancer and respiratory problems.
- Amputated limbs: Falling from heights, being hit by a vehicle, or getting trapped between machinery or heavy objects (e.g., oil drums) could all do irreparable harm to your hands, feet, arms, or legs.
- Permanent disability: All the above could have a lifelong impact on your health and mobility by causing paralysis, chronic pain, brain damage, or severe scar tissue.
- Mental trauma: Suffering a devastating injury can cause mental health issues. If you knew your workplace was unsafe and constantly worried something might happen to you, your trauma could be even worse.
As common as fatal injuries are, the number of deceased workers is far smaller than the number of workers who sustain catastrophic injuries but survive. Living with injuries like those listed above can lead to more suffering, including:
- Pain and Mental anguish: The pain of a serious injury often leads to mental health issues, which can compound any trauma suffered due to the accident.
- Additional injuries: For example, if you hurt your left leg, you may start to rely more on your right leg. This puts added pressure and wear and tear on the right leg, and it too may begin to bother you to the point where you seek treatment.
- Side effects from treatment: Certain medications may have side effects, and surgery could alter how you move or feel. Even successful treatments could necessitate permanent lifestyle changes. You might have to avoid certain foods, situations, or activities.
- Loss of Earnings Capacity: Your ability to work or compete in the workforce can be affected by a serious oil field injury. This can cause your ability to work at your previous job description to be severely compromised and leave you without the ability to perform the physical tasks necessary in the oil field.
What Compensation Can Oilfield Workers Receive?
Our Houston Oilfield Accident Lawyers will fight to help injured oilfield workers receive full compensation after an accident.
One way to get compensation is by seeking a settlement or a jury award. If you can find compelling evidence of negligence on the part of your employer or another party (e.g., a coworker or a building parts manufacturer), you can sue them for:
- Pain and suffering
- Lost independence or quality of life
- Loss of consortium
- Medical expenses
- Other expenses
- Loss of wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of job opportunities
If your loved one was an oilfield worker who passed away after an accident, the types of compensation you can seek are slightly different. A wrongful death lawsuit allows you to sue for:
- Your loved one’s pain and suffering
- Your loved one’s medical expenses
- Your sense of grief
- Loss of companionship
- End-of-life expenses, including the cost of a funeral
- Loss of financial support following the sudden loss of your loved one’s income
A Houston oilfield accident lawyer from our law firm can help you determine which types of compensation you can or should pursue based on your situation.
What Protections Do Oilfield Workers Have?
Both the federal and state government have passed laws to protect workers in dangerous industries, including oilfield workers. This both prevents accidents and gives workers a way to seek justice when accidents happen. The Houston oilfield accident lawyers at Domingo Garcia help our clients understand their protections and what it means to them.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) maintains a long list of standards and requirements that dangerous workplaces, including oilfields, must abide by to keep workers as safe as possible. These pertain to just about every aspect of the work environment, including:
- Workways and work surfaces: Places where employees walk and work must be cleared of obvious hazards, e.g., compressed gas canisters must be in good condition and stored in a safe place.
- Personal protective equipment: Appropriate face and eye protection must be issued to all employees who work with molten metal or flying particles. For instance, arc welders need filter lenses of a certain shade. Fall protection must be provided to all workers required to work more than 6 feet above ground.
- Machinery: Oilfield workers may use various kinds of machinery, depending on their job. All machines must be kept in good working order at all times. Machine guards, for example, are essential. Wellheads and other oil field equipment must be regularly inspected and maintained because of the high likelihood of corrosion.
- Electrical equipment: All electrical equipment must be wired correctly and use the proper amount of voltage to minimize the risk of fires, burns, explosions, or other accidents. This is especially important for those who work around flammable materials.
- Blow Out Protection: Must be provided during all workover operations to prevent a sudden pressure release and explosion.
- Workover Rig Set Up: Must be done in a safe manner to prevent tip-over or collapse during operations.
Any OSHA violation is a serious matter that should be addressed right away. You have a right to report possible violations without fear of repercussion. OSHA’s website provides detailed instructions for workers who believe their employer has created an unsafe work environment.
Chapter 3 of the Texas Administrative Code provides specific instructions regarding oilfield management, including:
- What permits are required to dig a well
- How deep a well can be in certain circumstances
- Penalties that companies must pay if they risk or do damage to human life or the environment
- How to store oil and other materials
Any violation of these state laws can be grounds for a lawsuit. Our firm is very familiar with the state (and federal) laws governing oil drilling, so we can help you identify exactly which law was violated and how that could translate into compensation for you and your family.
What Should I Do After a Houston Oilfield Accident?
If you were involved in an oilfield accident, taking swift action is essential to both save your life and preserve your rights. This should involve all the following tasks.
See a Doctor
First and foremost, see to your own health. When it comes to serious injuries, you cannot be too careful. Call 911 to get immediate care. You can always see your own doctor or a doctor appointed by your employer later.
Once you have seen a doctor, follow their instructions to the letter. This is important not just for your health but also to show others that you are truly injured and that you are making every effort to get better. If you ever disagree with your doctor’s assessment, let us know so we can investigate and take any action necessary.
Document the Scene
If possible, collect evidence from the accident scene before you leave. This could include using your cell phone to take pictures of anything that seems relevant, such as the specific place in the oilfield where the accident happened or getting contact information from anyone who witnessed the accident.
While documenting the scene can help you get compensation, do not risk your health to do so. Stay away from materials that exploded or could explode, and do not delay getting medical attention to talk with others. Your safety always comes first.
Inform Your Employer
Tell your immediate boss or manager what has happened as soon as possible. This could serve as an important form of evidence if you decide to file a lawsuit: the sooner you tell your employer about the accident, the easier it is to connect your injury to the accident, and the harder it would be for the liable party’s insurance company to argue that your injury had an unrelated cause.
A Houston oilfield accident lawyer from Domingo Garcia can ensure you report everything in the correct way and do not omit important information.
See a Houston Oilfield Accident Lawyers that Specializes in These Cases
Trying to file for benefits or start a lawsuit can be a very difficult and time-consuming task. Trying to do so when you have suffered a catastrophic injury is too much to expect of anyone.
Instead of going it alone, consider hiring an attorney to represent you throughout your case. To find the right law firm for you, follow these steps:
- Research various firms. You can look at the websites of different firms or ask friends, family, or coworkers if they know any good oilfield accident attorneys.
- Speak to as many firms as you want. We offer free, no-risk case reviews that can be completed over the phone.
- Ask the firm as many questions as you need to understand the services they offer and get comfortable with their operations. You may want to write a list of questions beforehand, so you do not forget any.
- Only hire a law firm with the right experience with oilfield accidents and one you trust to have your interests at heart.
Domingo Garcia takes pride in offering Texans responsive legal advice, and our clients recognize the effort we put into every case. Victor Escobar, a former client, remarked, “My attorney was very experienced and professional. I recommend this law firm, everyone is very intelligent in how they handle themselves and help us get the best results for our situation.”
Our Houston Oilfield Accident Lawyers Are Committed to Helping Oilfield Accident Victims
Domingo Garcia firmly believes that all oilfield workers are entitled to:
- A safe working environment
- Take legal action if their rights are violated
- Receive appropriate compensation for all workplace injuries
We can provide you with an oilfield accident lawyer who serves Houston. Our entire team can work tirelessly to protect your interests in the following ways.
Filing Paperwork and Fighting Denials
We can ensure that your demand letter and other paperwork meet all requirements and are sent to all the right people. If your claim is denied—and all too many valid claims are wrongfully denied—we can figure out why, meet with the insurance agent to negotiate, and even go to court if necessary.
Filing a Lawsuit
Filing a lawsuit is one of the most effective ways to get the amount of compensation you need after an accident. To have a strong case, you must submit enough evidence to prove that someone else’s negligence played a role in causing your injury. Examples of negligence include the following:
- Your employer failed to provide OSHA-mandated safety equipment, or they pressured employees to work very long hours.
- The manufacturer who built the equipment you were using did not recall the equipment even after learning of a potentially dangerous flaw.
- A company that your employer contracted with did not properly train their employees in workplace safety standards.
Know your rights. Domingo Garcia can educate you about all your rights, responsibilities, and obligations under the law and how you can use the law to get compensation and fair treatment from anyone who wronged you.
Build Your Case
We want to present the strongest case possible to the liable party, their insurance company, and, if necessary, a judge and jury. We can do this by:
- Collecting evidence of your injury, including medical bills, photos, and testimony from your doctor or another medical professional
- Collecting evidence that the injury happened at work, including surveillance footage, your report to your employer, and testimony from coworkers
- Collecting evidence of the liable party’s guilt, including inspection reports, testimony, audiovisual evidence, and so on
- Using the evidence we collect to calculate how much money you are entitled to in the damages listed above (pain and suffering, loss of wages, etc.)
Negotiate with Others
It may be necessary for us to sit down with representatives from the other side to discuss the merits of your case. Some insurance companies are easy to negotiate with, while others may prove resistant to paying fair compensation. Either way, we are ready for whatever they do.
Provide Personalized Support
The team at Domingo Garcia understands that every client is a unique individual who requires personalized care and representation. As necessary, we can offer you some or all the following services:
- Spanish-language assistance: The BLS reports that, as of 2021, 14.5 percent of oil and gas extraction workers were “Hispanic or Latino.” We want to represent all Houston oilfield workers, so we have Spanish-speaking team members who can assist those who are more comfortable with that language.
- Assistance with medical bills: If your insurance company tries to collect payment for medical bills before your case is settled, please talk to us. Our own insurance company can cover your bills until we resolve your case.
- Legal explanations and advice: The legal process can be very confusing, especially for someone who is an expert on oilfields but not in the law. We can spend as much time with you as you need, making sure you understand your options, why your case is progressing as it is, and what decisions you must make along the way.
- Regular updates: We want clients to have the time they need to recuperate from devastating oilfield accident injuries, but we do not want you to feel confused or out of the loop. Our team contacts clients frequently to let them know what is happening and what progress we have made.
Finally, no matter how long or how difficult your case is, we never charge attorney’s fees until after you receive compensation. If we cannot secure any money for you, you do not have to worry about paying those fees.
Our most important task is to make clients feel as safe as possible after the trauma of an oilfield accident. If there is anything else we can do to achieve that goal, we always hope our clients will tell us so we can help them in the ways they truly need.
How Much Is an Oilfield Accident Settlement?
Every oilfield accident victim is entitled to enough money to help them pay bills and compensate in some small way for the physical, mental, and emotional suffering they have gone through. This amount varies greatly, depending on:
- How serious the injury is — for example, quadriplegia is more severe than paraplegia and may therefore be worth more, both in terms of pain and suffering and the effect it has on your career
- How many injuries you sustained — for example, sustaining oil burns on your face, neck, and hands versus only on your hands
- How much money you make — the higher your salary, the more you can collect for lost wages or lost earning capacity
- How much money you have lost — the more you must spend on medical treatment, the more compensation you can pursue
In one case, Domingo Garcia secured a $1,075,000 settlement after a blowout incident on an oilfield.
In another oil field case, Domingo Garcia recovered $3,250,000 settlement for an employee of a workover rig that suffered severe hand injuries when a corroded Christmas tree (part of the wellhead) became disconnected from the rig’s lift.
When an oil field worker was killed as a result of the gross negligence of his employer, a Domingo Garcia Houston oilfield accident lawyer recovered $4,500,000 for his family.
When a worker suffered flash burns when he was injured on an offshore drilling rig, Domingo Garcia secured a 1,550,000 settlement for him.
When you hire one of our Houston oilfield accident lawyers to represent you, we can carefully review your case to make sure you ask for enough money to cover your needs. You should not have to worry about how you will support your family in the aftermath of a life-changing injury.
After an Oilfield Accident in Harris County, Get Help
Domingo Garcia has spent the past 35 years helping oilfield accident victims recover fair compensation and hold irresponsible employers, manufacturers, and others accountable for their actions. Now we want to help you as well. Call today for a free consultation to find out what one of our Houston oilfield accident lawyers can do in your case.