Hire an experienced attorney from The Doan Law Firm to protect your rights in an Oil Field Accident
Even though making the United States “energy independent” from imports of foreign oil imports has long been an economic policy goal, numerous factors have acted as barriers to making this dream a reality. However, the Trump Administration has promised to remove many such obstacles to increased domestic oil production. If these regulatory barriers are indeed removed, or at least relaxed, it is projected that the oil industry can expect another “boom” in employment.
As in every other industry, a “boom” in employment can easily lead to workers who are not aware of the risks that have always been associated with the oil and gas industry. In particular, new workers may not be aware of the potential for serious injury. In this article, an oil and gas industry accident lawyer will review the more common aspects of oilfield injuries and the legal resources available to accident victims.
What are the Most Common Types of Oilfield Accidents?
Although the oilfield industry is heavily regulated at both the federal and state levels, the oil exploration and production industry remains one of the most dangerous types of employment in terms of workplace injury.
The majority of oilfield injuries have occurred due to:
Equipment malfunctions due to improper use by inexperienced workers, poor maintenance, or being operated in a manner other than intended.
Fires and explosions due to methane or natural gas leaks coming into contact with electrical sparks
Improper training of oilfield workers
Failure to enforce, or to follow, established safety procedures
There are, of course, many other situations that can lead to oilfield worker injuries and many of these situations may not be immediately obvious. In such cases, it may be necessary to hire an experienced oilfield accident lawyer to determine what was responsible for an injury and who is liable for paying compensation to an accident victim.
How Often Do Oilfield Accidents Occur?
Anyone who works in the oil and gas production industry knows all too well that oilfield activity has always been a matter of “boom or bust.” Unfortunately, this “boom or bust” cycle can also lead to a loss of awareness regarding safety issues at drill sites.
The exact number of oilfield accidents is hard to come by due to several reasons, including:
There is no federal mandate that these accidents be reported to a central data collection agency.
Oilfield accidents often involve workers that are not always on the drill site, such as truck drivers that transport drilling equipment or drilling supplies.
Many oilfield accidents occur in remote locations and an injured worker’s injuries are often treated at hospitals that are hours away from the accident site.
Some drilling operators have been known to encourage injured workers to mislead accident investigators or insurance adjusters about the circumstances of a worker’s injuries.
Regardless of the number of accidents in oilfields, or the circumstances behind such accidents, an injured worker has the legal right to be compensated for their injuries. This compensation can include:
Payment of all medical expenses that are directly related to the worker’s injuries
Compensation for wages and other income that were lost due to their injury
Compensation for “non-economic” issues such as pain caused by their injury, psychological issues, and disruption of family life.
In the event that a worker is killed in an oilfield accident, the worker’s family is entitled to receive compensation for:
Loss of the worker’s financial support over the worker’s expected lifetime
All medical expenses incurred because of the worker’s injuries
Expenses related to the worker’s death such as funeral expenses and legal expenses such as probate costs and attorney’s fees
An Oilfield Accident Lawyer Can Help Those with On-the-job Injuries
Although an injured worker will usually be eligible for benefits under a state’s worker’s compensation program and/or an employer’s private disability insurance coverage, such programs will very rarely cover all the injured worker’s medical expenses, the worker’s lost wages, or other expenses. In many cases, it will become necessary to file a lawsuit against the employer or others that may have played a role in a worker’s injuries.
From the information presented here, and on other pages on this site, it should be clear that oilfield injury cases are often quite complicated. Although every accident attorney is trained in the law of personal injury and liability, relatively few lawyers have experience in handling complex oil field injury cases. For these reasons, anyone injured in an oilfield accident will be well-served by contacting an experienced oilfield accident lawyer to gain a better understanding of their legal rights regarding compensation for their injuries.