Oil rig accidents can cause substantial injuries and damages. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and uncertain about what to do after an oil rig accident. For example, how are you supposed to report the accident? What kind of follow-up medical treatment do you need? How are you supposed to pay for all the expenses you now have because of the accident?
After experiencing an oil rig accident, you likely have legal options. You may be eligible for compensation to help cover your costs from the accident. A Texas oil rig accident lawyer from Domingo Garcia can help you get started with your case. An oilfield accident attorney from our firm can handle your case from start to finish.
Is Working on an Oil Rig Dangerous?
Oil rigs are the platforms machinery workers use to drill for oil. Oil rig workers help to extract and then process the drilled material.
Working on an oil rig can be risky, so employees need the right training and tools for their job. Oil rig workers may have to operate heavy machinery like forklifts or drills, increasing the risks in the work environment. Oil rig workers may also assist in maintaining oil rig equipment which can have exposure and other safety risks.
Your specific risk will depend on your job and the tasks you do on the oil rig. So, some oil rig workers can be at a higher risk for accidents than others. It is essential to be aware of these potential dangers so that you can work to minimize your risk of experiencing an oil rig accident.
Potential Dangers and Injury Risks in the Oil-related Industry
Due to the nature of the equipment and the industry, working on an oil rig comes with specific hazards and risks. Your oil rig accident could range from mild to severe. Some oil rig accidents may even result in death. As noted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), some potential health hazards in oil and gas extraction activities include the following:
- Fatigue related to long shifts and work shifts at abnormal times
- Exposure to diesel particulate matter, hazardous chemicals, hydrogen sulfide, or silica
- Work in or exposure to low oxygen environments
- Exposure to loud noises, which can cause hearing damage
- Exposure to extreme temperatures, including very hot and cold environments.
OSHA also notes the following potential safety risks and accidents in the oil and gas extraction industry:
- Vehicle collisions and struck by accidents
- Exposure to explosions, fires, or electrical hazards
- Falls, including falls from platforms and equipment that are very high above the ground
- Danger from work in confined spaces
- Injuries from repetitive lifting or other repetitive tasks
Can I Prevent an Oil Rig Accident?
It is not always possible to prevent an oil rig accident; however, getting the proper training can reduce your chances of an oil rig accident. Make sure you are familiar with your company’s policies and regulations so that you can do your job safely.
Some jobs on an oil rig will require specific training before you are qualified to do them. For example, if your job involves operating a forklift, you will need appropriate training on how to handle a forklift safely. If you are working in areas high off the ground, you will need to know about safety measures and how to safely get up and down from high places.
Finally, you should also use appropriate personal protective equipment for your work on an oil rig. For example, some jobs may require eye and face protection. Make sure to follow up with your employer if you are unsure about what personal protective equipment you need to perform a specific task.
Possible Injuries on an Oil Rig
Injuries will depend on the type of oil rig accident you experienced. Sometimes, injuries will only require minimal intervention and healing time. Other times, you may experience permanent disability or disfigurement. Potential injuries in an oil rig accident include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries: Falls from great heights or even slipping and falling can lead to traumatic brain injuries. These can be life-threatening in some cases, and some may lead to permanent brain damage. A traumatic brain injury can change your ability to function and communicate with others.
- Fractures: These can happen due to struck-by accidents, vehicle collisions, or falls. They can take a long time to heal properly; some may require surgical correction to ensure appropriate recovery. While fractures heal, your ability to use the affected area is minimal.
- Spinal cord injuries: These can lead to life-long disability and impairment. Complete spinal cord injuries cause the loss of feeling and movement below the level of the injury. So, depending on the spinal cord injury, you may be unable to use your legs or all of your limbs.
- Sprains and soft tissue injuries: Sprains, cuts, and bruises can be painful, and some can take a long time to heal. Some may prevent you from doing certain aspects of your job until they have had time to heal.
- Amputation: Struck-by, caught in-between, collisions, and crushing injuries could lead to losing a limb. These injuries can lead to severe impairment and limit your capacity to do specific jobs.
- Burns: Burns can range from minimal, first-degree to severe third-degree burns. Some burns may lead to severe disfigurement. Others may require extensive use of skin grafts to repair. Swelling after certain burns can lead to a cut-off airway, so doctors may have to act quickly to assist with breathing while these burns heal.
- Exposure-related illnesses: Exposure to certain substances can lead to disease or severe disorders like cancer. Sometimes, it may take years to fully realize the impact of certain exposures.
After experiencing an oil rig accident injury, you may be able to recover compensation. Our Texas oil rig accident attorneys can help.
Fatalities in the Oil Field Industry
Fatal accidents can happen in the oil field due to the job’s nature and potential dangers. In 2020, there were 44 deaths in the oil and gas extraction industries in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Some deaths on an oil rig can be immediate; other times, a person may experience severe injuries that ultimately cause death.
Death could also happen if an oil rig worker doesn’t get proper treatment after experiencing a work-related injury. If your loved one died in an oil rig accident, you might be eligible to recover compensation via an oil rig wrongful death case.
What to Do After an Oil Rig Accident
Oil rig accidents can cause a certain level of shock and feeling overwhelmed. However, it’s important to remember a few basic guidelines after experiencing an oil rig accident:
- Get appropriate medical treatment: Even if you feel fine initially after an oil rig accident, it can be helpful to have a medical professional examine you. Sometimes, you may need emergency medical treatment to diagnose your condition and provide life-sustaining intervention. After initial treatment, you may need follow-up care like corrective surgeries or physical therapy.
- Follow the advice of medical professionals: Medical professionals may give you certain restrictions and guidelines after an oil rig accident. For example, if you hurt your back, they may advise you not to lift above a certain amount while your back heals. It can be helpful to follow medical advice to ensure that you maximize your chances of making a full recovery.
- Report the accident to appropriate parties: You may need to report your accident and fill out related paperwork to document what happened. This may include reporting the accident to your employer and any related insurance companies. It is usually a good idea to report the accident as soon as possible while the information is fresh.
- Collect evidence of what happened and the damages you sustained: Evidence can help you as you work towards a compensation payout in your oil rig accident case. This could include things like taking pictures of where the accident happened and of the injuries or damages you sustained. If possible, you should also keep track of any medical bills or other expenses related to the accident.
- Consider getting legal help from a qualified oil rig accident attorney: You can find a Texas oil rig accident attorney that specializes in the area where your accident occurred. This can involve careful research and getting consultations from more than one law firm. It can be helpful to consult with an attorney early on in your case so that you can understand your legal options for recovering compensation.
Responsible Parties in an Oil Rig Accident Case
Sometimes, more than one person or group may be responsible after an oil rig accident. Therefore, you might end up seeking compensation from more than one person. A few possible responsible parties include the following:
- Another oil rig worker or others present at the accident: Your fellow worker may have had a responsibility or job that they failed to do that contributed to your accident. For example, if you were in a vehicle collision, the other driver might be responsible for the accident.
- Equipment manufacturers or suppliers: If suppliers or manufacturers fail to provide proper equipment, it can contribute to oil rig accidents. For example, supplying personal protective equipment that fails to meet quality standards could cause harm to oil rig workers.
- A non-subscriber employer: Your employer may be directly responsible for what happened. For example, they could have failed to implement proper safety protocols or failed to give you the training you needed to do your job safely.
Our Texas oil rig accident team will carefully go over who may be responsible for your accident. From here, they can help you determine who you may be able to collect compensation from.
Non-subscriber Employers and Oil Rig Accidents
Every state has slightly different laws when it comes to workers’ compensation requirements. For example, in some states, all employers must have workers’ compensation. Typically, workers’ compensation covers things like your medical bills if you experience a work-related accident. It also typically gives you a portion of your wages for a certain amount of time while you recover from your injuries.
Workers’ compensation offers some protection to employers so that employees have a reduced ability to sue their employers. However, according to the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), some employers can choose to be non-subscribers, meaning they do not have workers’ compensation. In this case, you may be able to take further legal action against your employer to recover compensation.
Domingo Garcia does not assist with worker compensation claims. However, we may be able to help you take legal action against your employer if your employer is a non-subscriber.
Negligence in an Oil Rig Accident
In an oil rig accident, you were likely hurt due to the careless actions or inaction of another party or group. Our attorneys will work to prove this negligence to help you recover compensation. In an oil rig accident, the components of negligence could look something like this:
- A group or person had a certain duty to help you perform your job as an oil rig worker safely. For example, perhaps, your non-subscribing employer had a particular duty to train you, or a supplier company had a duty to provide you with proper safety equipment.
- That group or person failed to perform their expected duties, and you experienced an oil rig accident because of their failure to act.
- You experienced injuries or other damages in the oil rig accident because of the person or group’s actions.
Proving negligence will involve a careful review of what happened and what factors and actions contributed to your oil rig accident.
Compensation After an Oil Rig Accident
Compensation should help to cover the costs related to your oil rig accident. It should help you move forward after the accident so you don’t experience additional financial costs. It can be challenging to determine how much you may be able to recover in compensation. But a careful review of facts can help experienced lawyers estimate how much your case is worth. After an oil rig accident, you could receive compensation related to the following:
- Medical bills and expenses: You may have bills from medical treatment, such as the emergency care you received and follow-up care visits. You may also be able to receive compensation for anticipated future medical costs related to the accident.
- Lost wages or reduced earning capacity: Compensation can help to cover the wages you would have made if the accident had not happened. This can include the wages you lost during the time you took to recover. In situations of disability, compensation can also help cover the money you would have been able to make long-term if you had not experienced the accident.
- Out-of-pocket expenses: You may have additional costs from the accident, such as travel expenses. You could have other fees from modifications related to new disabilities. For example, if you have to renovate your house to accommodate your new disability, compensation could help to cover these expenses.
- Pain and suffering: This can include the physical pain you experienced from the accident and the emotional pain and suffering.
In cases of severe debilitating or catastrophic injuries, you may be able to recover more in terms of non-economic damages. For example, you could receive compensation for diminished quality of life. You may also be able to recover more from pain and suffering in oil rig accidents that lead to severe disability or were extremely traumatic.
In wrongful death cases, compensation can help to cover the costs of your loved one’s death, such as burial and funeral costs. Compensation can also be related to loss of financial support or loss of companionship.
Payouts to Past Clients of Domingo Garcia
We help our clients in several specialty areas, working to help them get the compensation they need to move forward after accidents. Here are just a few of the settlements we have recovered for our clients. These amounts are the settlements only and do not include fees and expenses.
- $1,075,000 settlement after our client experienced an oilfield blowout incident
- $26,500,00 settlement in a “failure to train on fall protection equipment.”
- $3,175,000 settlement after a failure to maintain equipment incident that resulted in a hand amputation
- $2,850,000 settlement after an incident of negligent operation of a forklift that resulted in leg injuries and fractures
- $2,150,000 settlement in a machine guard negligence case: The employer was a non-subscriber, and the client suffered a hand injury.
Your specific compensation amount will depend on what happened in your oil rig accident. It will also depend on who was responsible for the damages you sustained.
What are the Benefits of Working with an Oil Rig Accident Attorney?
Your Texas oil rig accident attorney’s goal is to help you recover an appropriate compensation amount related to your oil rig accident. To do this, they will need to carefully review the facts of the case, who was responsible, what damages you sustained, and the costs related to the incident.
A Texas oil rig accident lawyer will be familiar with Texas’ unique laws and regulations that will apply to your oil rig accident case. Your lawyer will have the legal experience and resources to negotiate a settlement on your behalf. Because of their position and resources, they may be able to help you recover a higher amount in compensation than you would be able to get on your own.
Your oil rig accident attorney helps handle all of the vital paperwork in your case to ensure everything goes smoothly. They are your legal counsel and serve as your legal representation in any proceedings. Your lawyer can also offer you advice about accepting offers from insurance companies. Often, initial offers are low and do not cover your costs related to the accident.
Your oil rig accident attorney will keep you updated about your case’s progression and work to answer any questions you may have related to your case.
How Long Do I Have to File an Oil Rig Accident Lawsuit?
Sometimes, your lawyer will be able to negotiate a settlement in your oil rig accident case outside of court. This is ideal and is usually much less of a hassle than filing a lawsuit. However, sometimes you may end up filing a lawsuit to recover compensation.
Under Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code section 16.003, you have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit or a wrongful death lawsuit. It can be tempting to wait to consult with an attorney, particularly because you have a lot of things to focus on after the accident. However, if you are interested in pursuing compensation, it can be useful to consult with a specialized oil rig accident lawyer to help you with your case.
Working with an attorney early on helps to ensure you don’t miss the deadline for filing an oil rig accident lawsuit or a wrongful death lawsuit.
Can I Afford to Hire an Oil Rig Accident Lawyer?
It can be scary to think about legal fees and costs. Without the right legal advice, deciding how to move forward with your case can be difficult. This is why we offer all of our clients an initial consultation for free. This consultation lets you explore what our firm has to offer. With thirty-five years of experience behind us, we will work to get you the compensation you deserve after your oil rig accident.
If you choose to work with our firm, we operate on a contingency fee basis. This means that we will only charge you for our legal help if we assist you in recovering compensation. We take a percentage of the compensation you recover to cover our legal fees and expenses. After your initial consultation, you can ask more about how our fee structure works.
Begin Your Oil Rig Accident Case Today with a Free Consultation
Take a deep breath. You do not have to handle your oil rig accident case alone. Our legal team at Domingo Garcia is ready to help you with your case. You can start working with us from the moment of your free consultation. At your consultation, we will review what happened in your case so that you can make a decision about moving forward and about working with our firm.
We are ready to answer your tough questions about your oil rig accident case. You can contact us today to get started with your free consultation.