You may not realize it, but oil rig accidents occur frequently. While some accidents are unavoidable, others could be prevented with better training and safety gear.
Each year, thousands of oil rig workers are left injured, in pain, and unsure how to earn a living for their families after sustaining an injury while working on an oil rig. If you find yourself in this situation, we recommend contacting our Texas oil rig accident lawyers at The Burkett Law Firm. With decades of experience representing the hard-working men and women in the oil industry, you can feel confident that we will fight to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Oil Rig Accidents Are Serious and Frequent
Working on oil rigs is a dangerous job. If you work in the field, this is likely something you acknowledged and accepted when you first started. Unfortunately, you may not have known just how dangerous it is. Some of the hazards you will face as an oil rig worker include the following:
- Fires and explosions: These are usually caused by sparks emitted by igniting flammable materials. In situations like this, workers are often left with burns and lung damage due to exposure to smoke and chemicals. It’s also possible to be exposed to well blowouts and production tank fires.
- Tools and heavy equipment: The “tools of the trade” can crush oil rig workers and leave them with fractured or broken bones. It’s also not uncommon to experience head and brain injuries, such as concussions, because of swinging pipes, falls, and falling tools.
- Hazardous materials: Each day, oil rig workers are exposed to hazardous and potentially toxic materials that can leave them with respiratory injuries and more.
- Unsafe working conditions: If conditions on an oil rig are unsafe, it means injuries are more likely. Even accidents like tripping over debris that should have been thrown away or tools can cause life-changing spine or head injuries.
Injuries like the ones described above can leave an oil rig worker with issues for the rest of their life. Not only do these injuries potentially end their career, but it leaves them unsure of what to do or how to provide for their family.
In other cases, incidents like the ones above cause fatal injuries. In these cases, it may be possible for the surviving family to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Statistics About Texas Oil Rig and Oil Field Accidents
According to data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), over 4,000 oil field workers are injured annually. The state of Texas accounts for many of these workers. For example, in 2020, the Lone Star state accounted for 43% of the crude oil production in the U.S. Each year, many of the 4,000 injured workers have their lives and livelihoods disrupted by their employer or third party. Unfortunately, some even succumbed to the sustained injuries.
For oil rig workers, while 4,000 are injured annually, around 100 die.
While most workers expect dangerous conditions, it doesn’t mean that injured workers don’t have recourse if this happens. However, to ensure your rights are protected, you should hire Texas oil rig accident lawyers to review and investigate your case.
Why Hiring Texas Oil Rig Accident Lawyers Is a Smart Move
When a company hires you, it has an obligation to provide you with a safe work environment. The employer must also follow the rules and regulations that have been set.
You could recover compensation if your injury occurred because these regulations were violated. Many resources are available to large oil companies. Because of this, injured workers often find it difficult to acquire the compensation they deserve. However, when you hire Texas oil rig accident lawyers from The Burkett Law Firm, you can feel confident you have aggressive, experienced advocates on your side who will help you get the compensation you deserve.
When you hire us, we can help in a few different ways. These include the following:
It’s often difficult to recover workers’ compensation benefits. The state of Texas offers “no-fault” workers’ compensation, which means you can recover benefits even if it is determined that you are at fault for the injuries you sustained. While this may sound like a good thing, it may limit your options.
Receiving workers’ compensation benefits is a type of settlement; however, these benefits only cover part of the costs you incur. It does not account for your pain and suffering or your inability to work in the future.
For some oil rig workers, seeking workers’ compensation may be the best choice. However, it does not hurt to seek advice from Texas oil rig accident lawyers.
It’s important to note that if you accept workers’ compensation benefits, you forfeit your right to file a personal injury lawsuit. Because of this, you need to ensure it’s the right option for you.
The Jones Act
As an oil rig worker, you engage in offshore drilling. This applies to those workers only. Under this Act, it is stipulated that liability must be established and assigned to the worker’s employer.
File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If your employer does not provide workers’ compensation or opts not to take it, you can file a lawsuit against your employer or a third party.
What Type of Damages Can an Injured Oil Rig Worker Receive?
When you file a personal injury lawsuit, you can receive several types of damages. While this is true, in most cases, you will find that the most common damages awarded include:
Economic damages refer to the tangible costs an accident and injury caused. These include:
- Medical costs: This includes things like ambulance fees, physical therapy costs, medication costs, surgery costs, and hospital bills.
- Personal property damage: If your personal property was damaged during the accident, you could have the cost of repair or replacement covered.
- Loss of past and future pay: If the accident results in you being unable to work now and in the future, it’s possible to recover the money you would have earned if you had continued working.
While economic damages are usually easy to prove with bills, pay stubs, and repair costs, this isn’t the case with non-economic damages. These are more subjective, but something you can still recover compensation for. Common non-economic damages an injured oil rig worker can receive include:
- Pain and suffering: An oil rig accident and injury likely caused pain and suffering. This can refer to the physical issues you endure after the accident too. Usually, a medical provider is asked about the extent of your pain and suffering based on your injuries, treatment, and recovery.
- Mental anguish: If you experience PTSD or depression because of the accident and injury, you can recover compensation for mental anguish.
- Physical impairment or disfigurement: This is reserved for situations where the accident resulted in some type of disability that keeps you from functioning how you did before it occurred.
Wrongful Death Damages
A wrongful death claim can be filed if an oil rig accident and injury result in the worker’s death. Damages paid for these types of claims include:
- Funeral costs: Wrongful death damages will typically cover the costs of the worker’s funeral, burial, and other last-right services.
- Loss of companionship: If the worker who died was married, their spouse might be entitled to compensation for the loss of companionship that occurred when they lost their spouse.
- Loss of financial contribution: The deceased worker may have been the primary provider for their family. If this is the case, those they leave behind can receive compensation for the loss of their financial contribution.
Punitive damages are not commonly awarded in personal injury cases. However, if egregious actions occurred that resulted in the accident, they may apply. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the party who is found to be at fault for the accident. The goal of the damages is also to ensure the at-fault party and others avoid the same actions or inactions in the future.
Let Our Texas Oil Rig Accident Lawyers Help You Get the Compensation You Deserve
If you are injured in an oil rig accident, our Texas oil rig accident lawyers at The Burkett Law Firm can help you recover the compensation you are entitled to. You have several options for recovery, and we will explore each one based on the facts of your case to help you find the one that best suits your needs.
Contact our offices today to schedule an appointment and to speak to our experienced and professional legal team. We are ready to fight for you.