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Third-Party Claims and Oil Field Accidents

by | Mar 13, 2023 | Blog, Oilfield Accidents | 0 comments

According to the United States Labor Department, thousands of workers suffer fatal injuries in oilfield accidents annually. Oil rig explosions, slip-and-falls, and other on-site injuries are all too common in the industry. However, even non-fatal accidents can prove financially demanding or even catastrophic. 

If you or a person you care about suffered an injury in an oilfield accident, you might be eligible to recover various forms of monetary compensation. If you suffered your injury on the job, you might file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. However, in many instances, workers may file third-party claims based on negligence. This is especially true if the oilfield accident occurred because of an equipment malfunction or another contractor on the site created a dangerous situation that harmed you.

A knowledgeable and experienced San Antonio oilfield injury attorney will be in a position to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and work to get your third-party personal injury case settled favorably. If the insurance company refuses to offer you the damages you deserve for your oilfield accident injuries, our legal team can file a lawsuit in the Texas court system and litigate your case to a prompt and favorable conclusion.

Please contact a trusted oilfield accident lawyer today to learn more about how we can assist you with your oilfield accident case and pursue the compensation you deserve for your accident-related injuries.

Pursuing a Settlement as Part of a Third-party Claim Arising from an Oilfield Accident

If you have suffered an oilfield accident injury while you were on the job and working in the scope of your employment, you may file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits compensate injured employees for all of their accident-related medical expenses and a portion of their lost wages.

In some instances, oilfield workers suffer a permanent impairment or such severe injuries that they can’t return to the same job. In the event a healthcare provider can demonstrate, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that you suffered a permanent injury, you might also seek various permanency benefits as a part of your workers’ compensation claim.

What to Expect in Oilfield Accident Settlement

When You Can File a Third-Party Claim

Although injured oilfield employees cannot file a lawsuit against their employers (that’s what the workers’ comp system is for), they may file third-party claims against individuals or entities who caused/contributed to their oilfield accident.

For example, if you suffered a slip and fall injury while on the job, you might bring a claim against the person or entity responsible for maintaining the area where you fell. To be successful, you will need to demonstrate that the at-fault person or entity knew of the defective condition and failed to warn about or remedy it within a reasonable time.

In addition, if you suffered an oilfield accident injury because of a defective piece of drilling rig equipment, you might bring a claim against the manufacturer of that equipment, claiming that the equipment had defective manufacture or design. You might also take legal action against the person or entity responsible for maintaining the equipment and keeping it in good repair.

Regardless of who or what caused or contributed to your oilfield accident and injuries, you do not typically file a lawsuit in the case right away. The exception is if the at-fault party is disputing fault or liability in your case. In most other instances, parties first attempt to settle the case.

The Settlement Process in a Third-Party Claim for an Oil Rig Accident

The settlement process begins when your lawyer submits a demand package, including a demand letter, to the at-fault party’s insurance company. While a settlement demand letter will usually ask for a specific monetary amount, the letter will also come with various accompanying documents to support that amount. These include your medical bills and records, lost wage statements, photographs of your injuries, photographs of the incident scene, and witness statements.

Once the insurance company reviews all of this information, the adjuster working on your case might offer to settle. Your attorney will typically need to negotiate with the insurance company several times to pursue a better offer. In most instances, the insurance company will not offer its best settlement right off the bat. If the case is not settled for a reasonable amount of money, though, your attorney can threaten litigation.

Filing a Lawsuit in a Third-Party Oilfield Accident Claim

Most oilfield injury cases do not go all the way to trial, but they settle at some point beforehand. The parties may also elect to take the case to mediation or arbitration, which are types of alternative dispute resolution in personal injury matters. A knowledgeable legal team can help you explore all these legal options and help you decide on the best one for your oilfield accident case.

The litigation process starts when you file a lawsuit in the Texas state court system. However, the parties can still settle their case favorably until the trial concludes. It sometimes just takes filing a lawsuit to convince the insurance company to offer up more favorable settlement compensation. If that does not happen, the parties may take part in discovery (including depositions) and, if necessary, try the case in front of a jury.

At a jury trial, the jury will decide the outcome of all disputed issues in the case, including damages and monetary compensation. Instead of taking the case to trial, the parties might prefer alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, such as binding arbitration or mediation. In any case, a knowledgeable oilfield accident lawyer in San Antonio at the Wyatt Law Firm can help you make the best decision for your case.

Monetary Compensation as Part of a Third-Party Claim or Lawsuit

If you sustained injuries in a San Antonio oilfield accident and a lawyer can prove all the legal elements of your claim, you may recover damages. The monetary compensation you can recover after an oilfield accident will depend upon the nature and extent of your injuries. Generally speaking, the more serious your injuries and the more expensive your medical treatment, the higher your potential damages.

First, you can file a claim for all your accident-related medical expenses. In addition, if you have missed time away from work because of the extent of your injuries, you can file a lost wage claim. If you suffered such serious injuries that you cannot return to work in the oil industry, you may pursue a claim for loss of earning capacity.

In addition, following an oilfield accident and injuries, you might pursue monetary compensation for inconvenience, pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and permanent disability, resulting from the injuries you suffered in your accident.

An Attorney Can Negotiate Toward the Best Possible Resolution

A knowledgeable oilfield accident attorney can negotiate with the adjuster on your behalf and work to pursue a favorable settlement offer that fully and fairly compensates you for all your injuries and damages. When deciding whether a particular settlement offer is favorable, consider the cost of your current and future medical treatment, the inconvenience you incurred, the wages you lost (if any), and the pain and suffering you experienced. You should also consider whether you suffered a permanent injury based on your medical reports.

If, after some negotiation, the insurance company offers you a fair settlement, you can resolve the case, and it will be over. However, if that does not happen, your attorney can file a lawsuit in the Texas state court system on your behalf. Just by filing a lawsuit, you do not guarantee that your case will go to trial. However, your case will start heading toward a trial posture, and the parties will complete the discovery process. During this time, your case can still settle at any point along the way.

If you do not have an experienced attorney representing you throughout your third-party insurance claim, the insurance company will take advantage of you and fail to provide the settlement compensation you deserve. After all, the at-fault person or entity’s insurance company will do everything it can to pay out as little settlement money as possible in your case.

These cases are technical, and you want an attorney who will seek all possible sources of liability, including third-party liability. An experienced San Antonio oilfield accident lawyer can also help you decide whether to accept a pending settlement offer or roll the dice, take your case to trial, and let a jury decide all disputed issues. 

Speak With an Experienced San Antonio Oilfield Accident Lawyer About Your Case Today

Compensation following an oilfield injury can come from different sources, and the most important factor is ensuring that you seek and receive as much financial recovery as you need and deserve. The first step is to get a skilled oilfield accident and injury attorney on your side.  

At Wyatt Law Firm, we will never settle for less than you deserve, and we have the resources and ambition necessary to stand up for your legal rights. Don’t wait to reach out for the assistance you need. Contact us today for a free consultation and get the right help on your side.