Houston Oil Field Injuries Lawyer
Oil fields in Texas and across this country employ thousands of workers and serve as the backbone of the American energy sector. Working on an oil field can be incredibly dangerous, however, and accidents are unfortunately common.
If you or a loved one have sustained injuries in an accident at an oil field, you need an attorney knowledgeable in Texas industrial regulation and personal injury law. You may be entitled to compensation that can reimburse you for medical bills as well as pain and suffering. Oil field injury cases are complicated, but we have the experience and resources needed to fully investigate your case, identify the various parties that may be liable for your injuries, and hold them accountable.
Contact the oil field attorneys at Gibson Hill Personal Injury right away at (713) 659-4000 to schedule a free consultation. We’ll review your accident in detail and provide a clear, honest assessment of your case and your legal options. We’re ready to start building a strong case on your behalf.
Why You Need A Lawyer
The hazardous environment of an oil field means that accidents can be devastating, causing life-altering injuries that require expensive medical care. Oil companies and their insurers understand this, and they will use every legal resource at their disposal to avoid paying out for insurance claims.
A skilled industrial accident lawyer is essential. They can investigate the accident to determine whether crucial safety procedures were neglected, required maintenance was missed, or some other factor resulting from negligence caused you to become injured. A good lawyer can answer all your questions about how to proceed with your case and can negotiate with the insurance company or file a lawsuit if necessary.
Why Should I Hire Gibson Hill Personal Injury To Handle My Case?
The Houston oil field attorneys at Gibson Hill Personal Injury have been helping clients recover compensation for their injuries for years. We are skilled litigators, and we understand Texas industrial accident law. We take pride in our ability to provide our clients with top-quality legal representation and individualized attention to their legal needs.
When you hire our firm, you bring in a team of advocates who will work tirelessly to get you the best resolution possible, so that you can put this terrible ordeal behind you. As our client, your health and success are important to us, and we will fight to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Causes of Oil Field Accidents
Oil fields are industrial work sites, and the presence of heavy machinery, hazardous substances, and dangerous conditions mean that the risk of injury is great, especially if safety procedures are not observed. Following are some of the most common causes of oil field accidents:
- Equipment – Heavy equipment such as rigs and drills are complex machines that require specialized operation and regular maintenance. Inspections are necessary to ensure that all machinery is working properly. A loose or rusty screw may cause a large piece of equipment to fail. Lubrication and pressure levels must also be checked and maintained to ensure an explosion does not occur.
- Transportation – Large trucks and trailers are required to transport equipment and workers around the site. A crash could be more devastating than a normal traffic accident because of the size and weight of transport vehicles and the presence of hazardous chemicals.
- Lack of training – All workers on an oil field require a certain level of specialized training and an understanding of safety procedures. Accidents may occur because a worker is asked to do a job they aren’t trained to do, or because they ignore an indication that something is wrong.
- OSHA violations – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is the federal agency responsible for regulating safe workplace conditions. A Center for Public Integrity analysis of OSHA data found 10,873 violations committed by oil and gas extraction companies between 2008 and 2018. These violations can range from failing to wear protective gear around dangerous chemicals to neglecting mechanical safety standards. Sixty-four percent of the violations were classified as “serious,” and three percent were tagged as “repeated.”
The fatality rate in the oil and gas extraction industry is around seven times higher than that of other industries, according to a 2014 study. Working at an oil field carries many risks to workers’ health and safety, and the high potential for accidents means that a worker needs to be prepared if their health or life is put in jeopardy.
Injuries in Oil Field Accidents
Long-lasting and permanent physical damage is not uncommon in oil field accidents. Some of the injuries that may occur at an oil field include:
- Burns from fire or chemicals
- Respiratory injuries from hazardous substances or smoke inhalation
- Contusions from heavy impacts
- Bone fractures and breaks sustained in a transport accident or from a fall
- Head trauma, causing a concussion or sometimes brain damage
- Spine and neck damage from a vehicle crash, possibly leading to partial or full paralysis
- Lacerations from flying debris in an explosion
- Muscle strains and sprains from slips, trips, and falls
- Electrocution from faulty wiring
It’s incredibly important to get medical attention after any accident. You don’t have to use the doctor provided by your employer—you may see your own physician.
Oil Field Accident Statistics
Oil field accidents are common because of the dangerous working environment. The risk for serious injury and death is far higher for oil and gas workers than it is for other industries in America.
According to the latest data compiled by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the 876 active drilling sites in the oil and gas industry in 2017 reported a total of 69 workplace fatalities. Texas led the nation in oilfield fatalities that year, with 44 of the 69 occurring in the Lone Star state.
A full 62% of these workplace fatalities occurred during well servicing operations. The largest percentage of those fatalities, 42%, were due to vehicle incidents near the drill site. Another 24% were due to contact injuries, such as being struck by falling equipment or improperly secured drilling gear.
Laws Governing Oil Field Accidents in Texas
There are several laws and regulations that govern safety practices and requirements for working around oil and gas extraction. These laws can help determine liability and what level of compensation you are owed after an accident at a drill site. These laws include, among others:
- Oil Pollution Act: governs federal response to oil spills, sets out what safety regulations are necessary and how to handle accidents at drill sites. The Oil Pollution Act requires oil production companies to submit plans to the federal government detailing how they will respond to a spill or other emergency.
- Texas Workers’ Compensation Act: Texas law does not require companies to provide worker’s compensation insurance, but if your employer does not provide it, you can sue in federal court to obtain compensation, and your employer cannot claim employee negligence.
There are many other laws that may apply to an injury sustained while working at an oil production or drilling site. This is one of the reasons why having an attorney with experience in oil field accidents is key to obtaining compensation. With over a decade of experience, Gibson Hill Personal Injury can help you navigate the complex legal pitfalls associated with this kind of injury.
Oil Field Accident Claims Process
The process of filing a personal injury claim after your accident begins with finding a qualified attorney. Gibson Hill Personal Injury has experience in oil field injuries and can help you make sure your employer takes your claim seriously. The claims process usually begins with the following:
- Discovery/Investigation: Your attorney will launch an investigation into your accident. They will collect evidence that may include photos of your injury, medical records, company reports on the accident, eyewitness accounts, or a written testimonial of the day of the accident.
- Filing the Claim: You must notify the insurance company and your employer that you intend to file a claim for damages or compensation.
- Insurance Negotiations: The insurance company will respond by approving or denying your claim. They may also offer a settlement, a payment amount lower than your claimed amount that is designed to stop your case from going to court.
If you’ve received a settlement offer from an insurance company regarding your oil field accident, it’s important to have the help of an experienced attorney that can accurately determine if the amount is suitable for your accident. If you accept a settlement without having an attorney review your case, you may not receive the compensation you deserve, and you may accidentally terminate your right to future benefits.
Frequently Asked Questions
You probably have many questions right now. Although your attorney is the best source of information about your case, here are a few answers that may help.
What should I do after an accident?
The most important step after any accident is to seek medical attention immediately, even if you don’t think you’re injured. You may be suffering from internal damage or a concussion, which will not show symptoms until later. Delaying medical care for these injuries can cause them to become much worse. A medical diagnosis will also be important to the success of your case. If you don’t see a doctor, the insurance company may try to argue that you weren’t injured or that your injuries don’t warrant compensation.
You should report the accident to your supervisor. Be very careful about signing any forms or making any official statements. Let your attorney review anything before signing.
Get pictures of the accident scene, if possible, and keep them together in a file with medical receipts and other records and documentation. This will all serve as important evidence later.
Who is liable for my accident?
This can be a complicated question to answer. There may be several parties that hold some level of liability for an accident at an oil field. The oil company may be liable if safety procedures weren’t followed or employees were not properly trained. The property owner might be responsible if unsafe conditions were present at the site. Transport vehicle or equipment operators could be at fault if they were intoxicated or reckless. Third-party maintenance companies or manufacturers could be held liable for faulty components or equipment. The situation may be more complicated if you or other parties are independent contractors. Texas law treats liability differently when contractors or subcontractors are involved.
Is workers’ compensation an option?
Texas does not require employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer does have workers’ comp, it may cover your medical bills and some portion of lost wages. You can collect workers’ comp benefits no matter who was at fault for the accident. If workers’ comp is not available, however, or if it is not enough to cover your bills, you may be able to file a claim against a third party that was negligent. Your attorney will be able to offer more specific information about your options.
How do you investigate an accident at an oil field?
Our legal investigators can request all documents related to the accident, including maintenance documentation, accident reports, and safety records. We will interview witnesses and take pictures of the scene. It is important to begin an accident investigation as soon as possible, before conditions change. We can call on experts who are familiar with OSHA safety regulations and with the type of equipment involved in the accident to determine whether negligence was a factor in your injury.
What can I be compensated for in an oil field accident?
The type and amount of compensation you receive will depend on the particulars of your own accident and the severity of your injuries. Compensation in a major injury case like an oil field accident can sometimes take the following forms, however:
- Payment of medical bills
- Prescription drug reimbursement
- Help with the costs of long-term care and rehabilitation
- Payment of wages lost due to time away from work
- Physical and mental health treatment
- Damages for pain and suffering
- Reimbursement for loss of household income
- Funeral and burial arrangements
Consult with your attorney to get a better understanding of what compensation may be available in your own case and how it could help with your own medical bills and other expenses.
How long will my case take?
Each personal injury case is unique, and the time it takes to completely resolve a case depends on the severity of the injury, the circumstances surrounding the accident, your employer’s response to the accident, and the insurance companies involved.
For example, say you’ve been injured on the job at an oil field. The accident was recorded on video, there were several eyewitnesses, and your employer’s insurance company immediately admits fault and agrees to pay your claim. In this scenario, your case could be resolved in a matter of weeks or months.
Take the same hypothetical scenario and change the circumstances, and the outcome can change drastically. You were working alone, there were no cameras present and no eyewitnesses to your jobsite accident. With less evidence to support your claim that your employer is at fault, your employer’s insurance company might not be so fast to approve your claim for damages. They may offer a settlement amount far below what you deserve, which means you may have to file suit in court. In this version of this scenario, your case would take considerably longer to resolve, perhaps even years.
In either version, an experienced attorney is key to making sure your case is handled as quickly and fairly as possible.
What information should I bring to my consultation?
You should bring as much information as you have available. This can include, but is not limited to the following:
- Photos of the job site before and after the accident
- Photos of your injury
- Written statements from eyewitnesses
- Medical records
- Employer information
- Employer accident reports
- Your written testimonial of the day of the accident
- Employer insurance information
All of this information will be vital during the discovery/investigation phase of your case when we gather evidence to support your claim that your employer was at fault. The more detailed information and documentation you can provide regarding your case, the easier it will be to build a case against your employer and request compensation for damages.
Speak With a Houston Oil Field Injury Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident at an oil field, you need an attorney who understands Texas industrial injury law. Contact the oil field accident lawyers at Gibson Hill Personal Injury as soon as possible to review your case.
Gibson Hill Personal Injury has the knowledge and experience to handle your oil field accident claim, and we’re ready and waiting to help you get the compensation you deserve. We’ll take on the insurance companies and fight to get you what you need to move on with your life.
An accident of this nature can be devastating, and your focus right now should be on what matters most: your own health and recovery and your family’s well-being. We understand what a difficult time this is for you, but you don’t have to face this situation alone. Call our Houston personal injury attorneys at [phone number] or fill out our contact form right away to schedule a free consultation.