Working in the oil and gas extraction industry can be hazardous for employees facing several environmental and health issues. From explosions to vehicle tip-overs, oilfield workers are at risk for catastrophic or even fatal injuries. Those who survive their accidents may be forced to leave the industry because of their injuries.
If you or a loved one was seriously injured or killed in an oilfield accident in Texas, you might qualify to pursue compensation for the injuries and damages you sustained. A Texas oilfield accident lawyer from Domingo Garcia can represent you. We have attorneys representing major cities and areas throughout the state, such as Houston and Dallas. The first consultation is free when you call.
People Who Suffered Catastrophic Injuries on Texas Oilfields May Qualify to File
Oilfields involve dangerous working conditions due to machinery, equipment, and toxic chemicals. Workers must adhere to strict safety regulations to reduce as many injury cases as possible. However, they may still be at risk of sustaining a catastrophic or fatal injury, such as:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries (SCIs)
- Back injuries
- Broken limbs or fractures
- Crushed limbs or torso
- Amputated limbs, fingers, or other appendages
- Organ damage, such as lung-related problems
- Electrical burns
- Chemical burns, including gas burns
If you suffered another type of injury not listed in this article, you might still have a case against the oilfield company or a related party. Our team can review your case for free to hear what happened, then explain what legal options may be available to you.
Types of Oilfield Accident Cases We Handle
At Domingo Garcia, our personal injury attorneys handle various types of construction and oilfield rig accident cases in Texas. Some common accident cases within these fields include:
- Vehicle accidents, such as tip-overs and collisions
- Chemical explosions or fires
- Heavy equipment accidents, such as mechanical malfunctions or crushing
- Drilling rig accidents
- Debris-related accidents, such as collapsing platforms or debris falling off vehicles
Certain parties may be liable for negligence depending on the type of accident you or your loved one was involved in. For example, if you were injured in a drilling rig accident, you may be entitled to file a civil action against the drilling operators who were handling equipment.
Our team can identify which parties may be liable for your injuries, then take action on your behalf to fight for your financial recovery.
How Much Compensation We Can Fight for Depends on Your Damages
Suppose you were injured on an oilfield work site in Texas. In that case, you may qualify for several types of compensatory damages, which you can claim in your demand letter when notifying the defendant about your case. Many people who decide to sue another party for compensation might only consider demanding financial recovery for medical expenses or lost wages. Still, there are various injuries you may be able to recover if they apply to you.
Our team can listen to how your injuries affected your life, whether you had to leave your job or found yourself in a deep depression over your physical condition. We can explain which damages to claim in your case, then ask for specific evidence to prove their values or that you experienced them. We can then calculate the approximate value for your damages, and this total figure can serve as our compensation goal for your case.
Economic Damages Include All Financial Damages
The first category of damages we may ask about can involve your economic damages, which encompass all financial losses. This can range from expenses you had to immediately cover after the accident to debts you now have if you could not cover those costs and needed to take out loans to do so.
Some common examples of economic damages include:
- Medical expenses: This can include costs for surgeries, ambulance rides, emergency room care, hospitalization, doctor’s appointments, and lab work. We factor in costs you had to pay in the past and expenses you might have to pay in the future if you are still receiving medical treatment or have permanent injuries.
- Lost income: If your injuries prevented you from being able to work, you might be able to recover the wages you lost. Whether you had to call out of work for a few days/weeks or step down from your position, we aim to fight for the income you lost since you were not physically or mentally able to do so. If your employment also included benefits that you lost out on, we may pursue related damages.
- Reduced earning potential: Similar to lost wages, this type of damages applies to plaintiffs who were able to work at a limited capacity but may have had to take a lower-paying position or switch careers to earn income. We can calculate the difference in salary and consider what you should have been making had you not gotten injured.
- Legal expenses: Going to court is costly and can take ample time before a case settles. We may demand that the defendant cover your legal expenses if your case does go to trial instead of settling with an out-of-court negotiation deal.
Evidence that can help prove these values may include medical invoices from doctors or hospitals, tax returns, recent paychecks, and court fee invoices. If other financial damages apply to your case, we can include them in your demand letter.
Non-Economic Damages Include All Physical, Emotional, and Mental Damages
Once we calculate your economic damages, we can then go over your non-economic damages. This category includes all physical, emotional, and mental losses since these types of damages initially do not have a monetary value. Our team can use court-approved formulas to assign a financial figure to these damages, then build a profile around you that shows how your injuries personally affected you.
Some examples of non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering: “Pain and suffering” is often used as an umbrella term for all forms of physical and emotional pain. Whether you suffer from chronic pain or inflammation because of a spinal cord injury or you now have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to the traumatic events you experienced, you can claim this damage if your injuries have caused you significant pain.
- Emotional distress: An extension to pain and suffering, “emotional distress” (sometimes referred to as mental anguish) refers to depression, anxiety, insomnia, and any other mental conditions that stem from the stress of the accident. Being injured, losing your job, and losing your ability to enjoy life are changes that can deteriorate your mental health, and our mission is to have this damage recognized.
- Permanent disability: Because working in oilfields often involves operating heavy machinery and equipment, accidents that might occur can permanently disable an individual. Injuries like amputation, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries can incapacitate an individual so severely that they may not be able to perform bodily functions without assistance or in general. If you now qualify for disability benefits, we also aim to demand compensation from the liable party.
- Physical disfigurement: Other injuries may cause permanent changes in one’s physical appearance, such as scarring or burns from toxic chemicals, loss of limb, or crushing injuries. If your injuries permanently alter your appearance, we may demand compensation on your behalf.
- Diminished quality of life: Regarding all your damages, if the overall quality of your life has decreased because of your injuries, we want the liable party to be held accountable for their negligence. Having to grieve the loss of your former life can be overwhelming and require years of physical and mental therapy. We want these changes recognized when representing your case.
While these are some prominent examples of compensatory damages, you may qualify for other specific damages not listed here. Each personal injury case is unique, so our team can make sure to discuss your situation thoroughly before submitting your claim or lawsuit.
We May Suggest Filing Actions Against Third Parties if Necessary
Oilfield drilling is a complex industrial process involving multiple businesses and contractors working together. So, while you might be an employee for an oil company or work individually as a contractor, you may have the right to file a claim or lawsuit against separate parties you work with if their actions or inactions contributed to your accident injuries.
For example, the following parties may be held liable in a Texas oilfield accident:
- Oil companies
- The oil company’s owner or operator
- Oilfield equipment companies, including manufacturers
- Truck drivers
- Machine operators
- Drilling operators
- Oil pumpers
- Maintenance companies, whether for vehicles or heavy equipment
- Equipment rental companies
- Well exploration companies
- Disposal facilities, such as for saltwater or waste
- Refinery workers
- Other contractors or subcontractors
- Regulatory agencies
Should there be more than one liable party involved in your case, our team may suggest whether it may be in your interest to file multiple claims to demand compensation.
Our Legal Services Include Private Investigation and Evidence Collection
If you decide to hire Domingo Garcia to represent you, we will work hard to build you a comprehensive case. This generally involves investigating your oilfield accident to retrieve as much evidence as possible and critical facts about the accident.
We understand that your injuries may have prevented you from documenting the accident, so our investigation can involve filing appropriate legal motions to retrieve this information from the oilfield company and any other involved third party. Some factors we can want to confirm during our investigation may include:
- Whether the defendant or another party committed an OSHA violation: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates work standards in various fields of labor in the United States, including the oil and gas extraction industry. OSHA reports on its website that 489 oil and gas extraction workers were killed between 2013 and 2017 due to safety and health hazards that could have been avoided had employers taken better precautions.
- What details were included in the official incident report: Texas oil and gas extraction companies must file a report whenever an accident occurs. We can review this report to confirm the date of the accident, where it took place, who was involved in the incident, and any details about the actual accident (i.e., how it happened). We may bring up arguments pointing out these details if we find any errors or room for doubt/inconsistency in the report.
- What actions did the defendant take after you were injured: Beyond the actual event, we may also investigate whether the oilfield company took appropriate steps to get you medical care, accommodated your injuries, or even retaliated against you. This helps build a profile on the defendant and emphasizes whether they acted in negligence or malicious intent.
If you believe other information may be helpful in your case, you can relay those leads to our legal team, and we can handle them in our investigation.
What Type of Evidence Should You Include in a Texas Oilfield Accident Case?
For your Texas oilfield accident case, we can collect the following types of evidence:
- Photographs of the accident scene and your injuries
- Any video footage that might have captured the accident, such as footage from surveillance cameras on the worksite or dashboard cameras on vehicles
- Workers’ logs that contain details relevant to the accident, e.g., who operated certain machinery/vehicles
- Eyewitness testimony from other people on the oilfield
- Expert witness testimony, such as mechanics, engineers, or chemical workers who can provide insight into the hazardous conditions at the oilfield
- Blackbox information from vehicles, if applicable
- Lab work that can confirm what types of chemical substances were present at the scene, which can be helpful in cases involving explosions or toxic chemicals
We may consult other expert professionals who can provide insight on what kind of evidence we can need to collect to support your claims.
You Generally Have Two Years from Your Oilfield Accident to File Your Case
All personal injury cases in Texas must abide by the state’s statute of limitations, which serves as a legal deadline. Per the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003, plaintiffs must submit their cases within two years of the oilfield accident to pursue compensation in civil court. If your loved one passed away because of their injuries, then the statute of limitations alters the deadline to two years from the date of their death.
To identify your case’s statutory deadline, we may request a copy of the official incident report, which the oilfield company or another third party at the scene may have filed. We may request a copy of the decedent’s official death certificate for wrongful death cases. Our office can obtain these documents on your behalf.
We Can Submit Your Case and Give Updates as Developments Occur
When you hire a Texas oilfield accident lawyer from Domingo Garcia, you do not have to worry about filling out tedious legal paperwork. We offer administrative services, meaning:
- We can review relevant legislation to confirm critical deadlines, legal requirements, and basic steps we need to take for the court to accept your case.
- We can notify the appropriate parties about your intention to sue, including the defendant, the defendant’s attorney and insurer, and your county’s court office.
- We can submit all necessary legal documents and evidence to the court for review on your behalf.
Our team can also provide case updates so that you know where your case stands. Should you have questions, we can also answer them to ease any concerns you might have. When you become a client at Doming Garcia, we are always within reach, whether by phone, email, or online on our website.
Your Texas Oilfield Accident Attorney Can Work to Negotiate a Settlement
Going up against an oilfield company or any other large entity involved in the oil and gas extraction industry can be intimidating. However, we want to encourage you to take a stand, as our lawyers can fight the battle for you.
Our team has won several multimillion-dollar verdicts for people injured in oilfields or related construction accidents. Some of our highest case results include:
- $12.5 million for a client who suffered injuries in a gas explosion caused by the defendant’s failure to replace natural gas lines that were deteriorating
- $3 million for Juan Rolan’s surviving family after he passed away in a crane accident
- $1 million for a client who was severely injured in an oilfield blow-out incident
- $1 million for a client who was wrongfully killed in a gas tank explosion accident
We Can Prepare Your Case for Trial if Necessary
Our team can handle out-of-court negotiations on your behalf and discuss a potential settlement deal for your case. We know common tactics that defendants and their insurance companies use to stall negotiations, such as denying claims on minor technicalities or taking the most extended amount of time to respond within legal limits. However, we won’t let your case get swayed by these efforts.
We aim to prepare a lawsuit on your behalf to use as leverage against the defendant so that they cooperate. However, if the opposing party does not want to agree to your compensation demands, we can be prepared to fulfill the civil action and take your case to court. Your Texas oilfield accident attorney can represent you and give legal counsel when necessary.
Lost a Loved One? Surviving Families May Qualify for Wrongful Death Actions
According to the most recent data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the age group with the largest percentage of fatally injured workers from oilfield accidents was between the ages of 21 and 30 (25 percent) in 2017, followed by people aged between 41 and 50 (23 percent).
Most oilfield accidents involve vehicle collisions, but other common causes of fatal oilfield accidents include:
- Oil production
- Yard operations
- Drilling operations
- Well servicing, intervention, or workover
- Well completion
- Waste management
If you lost a loved one who worked on an oilfield in Texas, you might qualify to file for compensation on their behalf. Coping with the loss of a spouse or family member can be an emotionally overwhelming task. Hiring a Texas oilfield accident lawyer can be an option since our team can manage your case from start to finish. We can update you as your wrongful death lawsuit progresses while you grieve privately.
There May Be Additional Damages Available for You to Pursue
Wrongful death lawsuits differ from standard personal injury lawsuits in that there may be additional forms of compensatory damages that the plaintiff can pursue. These damages may be related to the decedent’s (deceased individual) death, which then applies to the surviving family and not the decedent specifically. For example, damages specific to wrongful death cases include:
- Costs for funeral arrangements, such as wake services, burial services, or cremation services
- Medical debts inherited by the surviving family
- Loss of financial support from the decedent if the surviving family relied on their income
- Loss of parental guidance for the surviving child(ren)
- Loss of consortium or companionship for the surviving spouse
- Loss of love, affection, and other emotional needs from the decedent
- Loss of inheritance
Our team can review which damages may apply to your case before drafting a demand letter on your behalf.
Call Domingo Garcia Today to Get a Free Case Evaluation from Our Team
If you or a loved one was injured in an oilfield accident in Texas, you might be entitled to receive compensation for your damages. Our team at Domingo Garcia can review your case in a free consultation when you call, then determine how our attorneys can help you build your case. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you do not have to pay any attorney’s fees unless we win your case.
Call now to learn more about how our firm’s Texas oilfield accident lawyer can serve you.