Oil field workers are exposed to significant workplace risks on a daily basis. When accidents occur as the result of employer or co-worker negligence, oil field workers can be injured, permanently disabled, or even killed.
In other states, employees who are out of work while recovering from workplace injuries can often rely on workers' compensation benefits to help make ends meet. However, in Texas, carrying workers' compensation insurance is optional for businesses, which means some employers may choose not to offer it.
This doesn't mean that injured oil field workers whose employers have opted out of the workers' compensation program are out of luck.
Instead, it gives employees the ability to seek compensation for their injuries through traditional personal injury lawsuits. The potential hang up to this approach is that it requires accident victims to prove that the parties named in their lawsuits were negligent. This can be as simple—or as difficult—as showing that the employer or co-worker failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the accident.
If you're considering suing an employer or co-worker for negligence that led to an oil field accident, here's what you should know.
Examples of Oil Field Negligence
On the oil field, negligence can come in many forms, and in such an inherently hazardous workplace, even relatively minor-seeming instances of negligence can lead to catastrophic accidents.
Examples of negligence that can cause accidents on the oil field include:
- An employer who violates safety regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
- A fellow oil field worker who notices a mechanical malfunction, but fails to alert other crew members or have it repaired.
- A vehicle driver or equipment operator who makes an error that results in an accident.
- An employer who provides inadequate training or tools.
- An employer or foreman who fails to provide effective protection against falls.
- An employer or supervisor who doesn't take the proper steps to ensure that employees are protected from exposure to harmful chemicals or gasses.
Compensation Sought in Oil Field Accident Cases
After an oil field accident, injured oil field workers often face insurmountable medical expenses. Fortunately, a victim pursing a settlement through a personal injury lawsuit can seek compensation for past and future accident-related medical costs, as well as wages lost during the treatment and recovery period, and the loss of earning potential if the accident rendered him or her permanently disabled and unable to work.
Additional damages sought in oil field accident personal injury cases can include physical pain and suffering, mental anguish and emotional trauma, scarring or disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life.
In wrongful death cases brought by the families of workers killed in oil field accidents, additional damages can include loss of income, loss of benefits, loss of love, companionship and guidance, loss of consortium (for surviving spouses), and more.
Workers' Compensation After Oil Field Accidents
Workers' compensation is a “no-fault” system, so for injured oil field workers whose employers offer the program, it may be the fastest and surest path to compensation. However, while workers' compensation programs provide payments for medical bills and time missed from work during recovery, this compensation is limited.
Also, workers' compensation doesn't allow injured workers to seek benefits for non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Do You Need an Oil Field Accident Attorney?
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a devastating oil field accident, you may be at a complete loss as to what to do next. Not to worry. McGartland Law's award-winning oil field accident attorneys can walk you through all of your legal options, and help you determine the best course to compensation.
Contact McGartland Law today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation to review your case with an experienced legal professional. McGartland Law can help you fight for the financial award you need after a devastating accident.