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When to Get a Lawyer for Oil Rig Accidents

Grimes & Fertitta > Personal Injury  > When to Get a Lawyer for Oil Rig Accidents

When to Get a Lawyer for Oil Rig Accidents

Oil rig accidents happen more often than you might think, and definitely more often than they should. Thousands of people are left in pain and uncertainty every year, wondering how they are going to get back to work to feed their families — and that’s if they survive.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an industrial accident, a plant explosion, or a construction accident, you may be wondering if it would be worthwhile to get a lawyer involved. The answer is almost always yes. If personal injury or wrongful death occurs in the workplace, you should call a lawyer, and we’re here to tell you why.

When you decide to bring in a Houston offshore accident lawyer to help you seek justice, make Grimes & Fertitta your first call. Our Houston personal injury lawyers are waiting to fight for what you deserve, call (713) 224-7644 and ask us to fight for you.

How common are oil rig accidents?

OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) reports that over 4,000 workers in the oil field are injured on the job every year. And Texas accounts for a high percentage of these: in 2020 Texas accounted for 43% of the nation’s crude oil production. Every year, many of those 4,000 workers have their livelihoods endangered by either their employer or a third party — and some of them lose their lives.

What is the death rate on oil rigs? There are over 100 oil rig deaths per year, along with more than 4,000 workers who are injured.

Danger is endemic to the sector. Should you sustain a serious injury in an oil rig accident, you should hire the best personal injury lawyers in Houston to take on your case for you so that you can take the time necessary to heal.

Common causes of oil rig disasters

Working onsite in the oil field is dangerous. Many people enter the field acknowledging this but are unaware of just how dangerous it can be. Here are just a few of the hazards that workers face every time they step on-site oil rigs, drilling sites, and chemical plants:

  • Explosions or fires caused by sparks from machinery igniting flammable materials can leave you with burns and lung damage from exposure. There are also production tank fires and well blowouts to worry about.
  • Heavy equipment and tools can crush you and leave you with broken bones. Concussions, and other head and brain injuries from things like swinging pipes and falls from derricks are common.
  • Hazardous materials can leave you with toxic chemical exposure.
  • Unsafe work environments encourage injury. Something as simple as tripping on tools or debris can leave you with life-altering spinal injuries.

Not only could these injuries plague a worker for a lifetime, leaving an uncertain future for their families and loved ones, but they can and often do lead to wrongful death.

Continue reading: 5 most common workplace accidents

Common injuries from industrial accidents and oil rig explosions

Oil rigs and their dangerous work environments expose workers to a number of hazards that can result in a large range of serious injuries. Common injuries sustained in oil rig accidents include:

  • Burns and respiratory issues. Explosions or fires caused by machinery sparks can lead to severe burns and lung damage due to exposure to flammable materials.
  • Crush injuries. Heavy equipment and tools on the rig can cause crush injuries, resulting in broken bones and, in some cases, life-altering spinal injuries.
  • Toxic chemical exposure. Handling hazardous materials can result in toxic chemical exposure, leading to long-term health issues.
  • Head and brain injuries. Accidents involving swinging pipes or falls from derricks can cause concussions, head injuries, and traumatic brain injuries.
  • Spinal cord injuries. Unsafe work environments and falls can lead to spinal cord injuries, affecting mobility and overall quality of life.

It is crucial to recognize the severity of these injuries and seek legal assistance promptly to ensure proper compensation for medical expenses and other damages.

What to do after an offshore accident

As is the case for most accidents, having a game plan after an oil rig accident can help make sure that you get the care and the compensation that you need.

  1. Seek safety immediately. 
  2. Check for injuries and receive medical attention. 
  3. Report the accident.
  4. Document the scene if it is safe to do so. 
  5. Contact an industrial accident attorney to protect your rights. 

Do not speak to anyone from your employer or the insurance company outside of reporting the incident itself. Do not accept any offers until you have had the chance to speak with an attorney who will look to ensure that you’re getting the true cost of the harm you’ve suffered, not just a lowball offer from a large company that knows what a vulnerable time in your life this is.

How can an oil rig accident lawyer help with your recent oil rig accident?

Your employers have an obligation to provide you with a safe work environment and are required to closely follow regulations set forth to ensure this. If you were placed at risk because of a violation of any of these regulations, you are owed compensation. Because of the vast amount of resources available to large corporations, this compensation can be hard to actually get, but with the right attorney on your side, you can have a better shot.

These are a few ways in which your attorney might approach the case:

  • Workers’ Compensation can be a complex prospect. Texas offers “no-fault” workers’ compensation, meaning you are eligible for compensation even if you are deemed at fault for your own injuries. This sounds like a good thing but can limit your options immensely. Workers’ compensation can be thought of as a settlement; it covers a portion of the cost but does not account for pain and suffering, or lack of ability to work moving forward. Workers’ compensation might be the right option, but it doesn’t hurt to receive counsel.
  • The Jones Act applies to offshore drilling only. It also stipulates that liability be established and assigned to your employer.
  • Filing a lawsuit happens when your employer doesn’t offer workers’ compensation (or you don’t wish to take it) and it can be assigned to either your employer or a third-party claim.

Types of damages that can be pursued in oil rig accidents

There are many possible types of damages in a lawsuit, but in most personal injury cases, the following types are the most common.

Special compensatory damages

Special compensatory damages are also referred to as economic damages and are generally intended to be reimbursement for any expenses incurred because of your accident.

  • Medical expenses such as hospital bills, ambulance fees, surgery costs, physical therapy costs, and medication costs.
  • Damage to your personal property that occurred during the accident.
  • Loss of past and future wages as a result of the accident.

General compensatory damages

General compensatory damages address overall harm from less quantifiable sources. Determining general damages suffered and maximizing compensation for them requires a bit more than presenting receipts and hospital bills.

  • Pain and suffering as a result of the accident can refer to physical complications you will endure for an extended period of time. This will be assessed by your medical provider.
  • Mental anguish refers to things like depression and PTSD that can result from an accident.
  • Physical disfigurement or impairment is reserved for if the accident left you with any sort of disability that would prevent you from functioning the way you did beforehand.

Continue reading: Can you sue for emotional distress?

Wrongful death damages

Wrongful death damages are intended to cover damage resulting from the death of a loved one.

  • Funeral expenses can help cover the cost of the service and burial.
  • Loss of companionship is most often awarded to spouses.
  • Loss of financial contribution can take into account the victim’s income and its effect on surviving family members.

Punitive damages

Punitive damages are less common and are meant to punish the party responsible for the accident to ensure that they do not repeat their mistakes. If whoever caused your accident did so with reckless disregard or is a repeat offender you may be able to receive punitive damages.

Why you need to act fast after an offshore accident

Timely action is absolutely essential in the aftermath of an oil rig accident. Here’s why acting swiftly is crucial:

  1. Preservation of evidence. Acting quickly allows for the collection and preservation of crucial evidence, like photographs and videos, at the scene of the accident, which can be vital in building a strong case.
  2. Witness statements. Gathering witness statements while the events are fresh in their minds increases the credibility of your case and provides a clearer picture of the incident.
  3. Statute of limitations. Legal claims for oil rig accidents are subject to the Texas statute of limitations for personal injury, which is generally two years from the date of the accident. Failing to initiate legal action within this timeframe may result in losing the right to compensation.
  4. Prioritizing your health. Swift action ensures timely medical attention, documenting injuries and their connection to the accident, strengthening your case for compensation, and making sure that you get the care that you need.

From the moment you are injured, you need to move quickly. You shouldn’t under any circumstances do anything that will put your health in jeopardy, but you also should not wait to collect important evidence and enlist a winning oil rig disaster lawyer.

Suffering after an oil rig accident? Call Grimes & Fertitta today.

Whether you need an oil rig explosion attorney or an industrial accident lawyer for a heavy equipment malfunction, the aftermath of oil rig accidents can be impossible to handle alone — but you are not alone.

The personal injury law experts at Grimes & Fertitta believe in justice for the hardworking people who risk their lives every day to work in the oil and gas sector. Wondering if you have a case? There may be compensation for the hardships you have endured. Call Grimes & Fertitta at (713) 224-7644 or contact us online and let us fight for you.

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