Common injuries from oil refinery accidents

by Paula A. Wyatt | December 18, 2023 | Blog, Workplace Accidents | 0 comments

Common injuries from oil refinery accidents

It goes without saying that oil refineries are hazardous places to work. In fact, many workers experience significant hazards from the moment they set foot on the premises. Workers can also suffer injuries in accidents that occur at oil refineries. However, at other times, a worker does not even need to be involved in an accident to suffer an injury while they are on the job. This is especially true when chemical spills, collapses, or explosions from a great distance away place the worker in significant peril.

If you sustained injuries while working at an oil refinery, you may be eligible to receive various types of monetary benefits and compensation. First, if you suffered your injury while on the job, you may be eligible to bring a claim for workers' compensation benefits. Additionally, if a third-party individual or entity was negligent under the circumstances and caused or contributed to your accident, you may be in a position to file a third-party personal injury claim with that party’s insurance company.

Whatever your circumstances, you must retain a workers' compensation lawyer to represent you in your case as quickly as possible. Your lawyer can first investigate your accident circumstances and determine your claim-filing eligibility. If you can move forward with a workers' compensation claim and/or a personal injury claim, your attorney can handle every step of the process, from gathering documents to submitting the claim on your behalf to representing you at various legal proceedings.

Throughout every stage of the case, your attorney will keep you aware of new developments and will work hard to maximize the monetary benefits and third-party damages you recover for your injuries.

Common Injuries that Oil Refinery Workers Often Suffer 

Common injuries from oil refinery accidents

Just by stepping foot on a job site, oil refinery workers expose themselves to severe accidents and injuries. Understanding the grave risk of injury while you are on the job may be helpful and may encourage your employer to become aware of (and quickly remedy) possible safety violations. Even though workers' comp benefits are no-fault when they apply, avoiding injuries to begin with is always preferable.

One common type of injury that oil refinery workers sometimes suffer is a burn injury from working around volatile and toxic chemicals. Some workers may suffer serious burn injuries from chemical spills, fires that break out on a job site, and explosions. When an individual suffers a burn injury, they may undergo surgery or other medical procedures and receive extensive medical treatment.

Traumatic Brain Injury from Oil Refinery Accident

Another common type of injury in an oil refinery accident is a traumatic head or brain injury. Sometimes, these injuries can be life-altering and may affect a worker's cognitive abilities, memories, and bodily functions. The most common types of oil refinery accidents that may lead to a traumatic head or brain injury include:

  • Moving or swinging equipment that a worker does not correctly control
  • The force associated with an explosion that occurs on a job site
  • Falling debris which strikes a worker's head or causes them to fall on the ground

Moreover, if a worker is not wearing a helmet or other head protection, they are more susceptible to suffering traumatic head and brain injuries, given their direct exposure to the ground and their surrounding environment.

Finally, spinal cord injuries are an unfortunately all-too-common occurrence at oil refineries. A spinal cord injury may prevent a worker from controlling or moving various parts of their body – or to walk. They can also lead to complete and incomplete paralysis injuries, which may limit or prevent feeling in certain parts of the injured worker's body. A worker who suffers a paralysis injury may also require a wheelchair or other mobility device to get around. Spinal cord injuries at oil refineries can occur because of the force associated with a job site explosion, accidents that involve moving vehicles on job sites, and a fall from tall platforms, ladders, or scaffolding.

If you sustained one or more of these injuries in a job site accident, always retain experienced legal counsel who can handle every aspect of your case for you. A knowledgeable and compassionate workers' compensation attorney near you can file the appropriate claim on your behalf and pursue the monetary benefits and compensation you need for the injuries that you suffered at your job.

Filing a Timely Workers' Compensation Claim for Benefits

Filing a Timely Workers' Compensation Claim for Benefits

Unlike monetary damages in a personal injury claim or lawsuit, workers' compensation benefits are no-fault benefits. Therefore, an individual may be entitled to receive these benefits without regard to how their workplace accident happened or who was ultimately responsible for the accident.

To be eligible for workers' compensation benefits, a worker must only have been working at their job and within the scope of their employment when they suffered their injury. Ordinarily, only employees are entitled to recover workers' compensation benefits. Independent contractors, on the other hand, are not typically eligible for these benefits.

A workers' compensation lawyer near you can determine if you're eligible to proceed forward with a claim for monetary benefits. If you are, your attorney can handle every step of the process for you by gathering the necessary documents and submitting them to the insurance company adjuster who is handling your claim.

Types of Workers' Comp Benefits You Can Recover 

The types and amounts of monetary benefits that an injured worker can recover due to an oil refinery accident will usually depend upon the nature and extent of their injuries, the types of injuries they suffered in their accident, the total cost of their medical treatment, and the amount of time they had to miss from work to seek medical attention and recover from their injuries.

First, an injured worker may be eligible to recover compensation for all of their accident-related medical expenses. Moreover, if they had to miss time from their job to seek medical attention – or simply because of their pain levels – they may be eligible to receive a portion of their lost income.

In some oil refinery accidents, workers suffer such severe injuries that they cannot return to the same job or employment. In those situations, they can recover vocational rehabilitation benefits. The primary purpose of these benefits is to provide the resources necessary for a worker to re-enter the workforce in a job that they can perform, given their injuries and limitations.

Finally, if a medical provider determines, based upon a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that they suffered one or more permanent injuries in their accident, they may be entitled to various permanency benefits. To receive permanency benefits, a qualified medical provider will typically need to evaluate the accident victim and formulate a rating as a percentage of impairment to a particular body part(s). This percentage will then translate into a certain number of weeks of monetary compensation, which comes from the worker’s average weekly wage (AWW) at that time.

A knowledgeable workers' compensation lawyer in your area can determine the types of benefits you may be eligible to recover, depending upon the facts and circumstances surrounding your accident, as well as the extent of your injuries. Your attorney can then file the necessary workers' compensation claim to pursue the maximum monetary benefits you deserve.

Third-party Claims and Lawsuits Arising from Work Injuries

In some oil refinery accident cases, injured workers can also file a third-party personal injury claim against a negligent individual, along with a workers' compensation claim seeking various monetary benefits. For example, an injured oil refinery worker may be eligible to file a third-party claim with the insurance company for a negligent:

  • Motor vehicle operator who caused an accident while they were on the job
  • Manufacturer of defective oil refinery equipment that malfunctioned while on the job
  • Supervisor or manager who failed to properly supervise a job site or workers on the site

To recover monetary compensation in a personal injury claim, the injured worker must establish several legal elements of proof. First, they must demonstrate that the at-fault individual or entity (someone other than their employer) owed them a duty of reasonable care, which they subsequently violated. Next, the injured worker must show that both the occurrence and their injury directly resulted from the third party's negligence.

When a worker can satisfy these legal elements, they may be entitled to various types of monetary damages over and above their workers' compensation benefits.

A skilled workers' compensation attorney in your jurisdiction can determine if you may be eligible to file a third-party personal injury claim against a negligent individual or entity. If you can move forward, your attorney can handle every step of the process for you by filing a claim on your behalf and aggressively negotiating with insurance company representatives for settlement compensation.

Moreover, suppose the insurance company does not make you a fair and reasonable monetary settlement offer. In that case, your lawyer can file a personal injury lawsuit in the state court system on your behalf and, if necessary, take your case to a civil jury trial or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceeding, like mediation or binding arbitration.

During a civil jury trial that takes place in court, your attorney may call witnesses to the stand to testify in support of your case, introduce documentary evidence (including medical records, medical bills, and reports by experts), and make compelling arguments on your behalf in pursuit of favorable monetary compensation. The jury will then decide what, if any, financial compensation to award you for your oil refinery injuries.

At a mediation session, a neutral mediator will meet with both parties and help them reach a favorable settlement, while at a binding arbitration proceeding (which takes place outside of a courtroom), a neutral arbitrator will listen to all of the evidence that the parties present, evaluate the case, and determine the types and amounts of monetary compensation to award the oil refinery accident victim.

Recovering Third-party Monetary Damages after an Oil Refinery Accident

The law may entitle you to various third-party damages in addition to your workers' compensation benefits upon sustaining injuries in an oil refinery accident. The third-party damages you may be eligible to receive in your case will likely depend upon the size and scope of your workers' compensation award, along with the severity of your injuries and the extent of your medical treatment. First, you may be in a position to receive compensation for anticipated medical costs, especially if a healthcare provider determines that you suffered a permanent injury in your oil refinery accident.

In addition to recovering economic damages in a personal injury claim or lawsuit, you may also receive compensation for your intangible losses. These monetary damages may compensate you for all of your related disabilities, long-term care costs, loss of spousal companionship and consortium, permanent scarring, past and future pain and suffering, inconvenience, and emotional anguish.

A qualified workers' compensation lawyer in your area can determine the types and amounts of monetary recovery you may receive as part of your personal injury claim. Then, your attorney can work to maximize the financial damages you obtain, either through a favorable insurance company settlement offer or a successful litigation result at a civil jury trial or ADR proceeding.

Call an Experienced Workers' Compensation Attorney about Your Oil Refinery Accident Today

Paula A. Wyatt
Workers' Compensation Lawyer, Paula A. Wyatt

Workers at oil refineries put their lives on the line every day. Given the high potential for accidents, it is no surprise that oil refinery workers suffer severe and sometimes permanent injuries in job-site accidents. If you recently sustained injuries while working at an oil refinery, you need to consult with a skilled San Antonio personal injury attorney as soon as possible. If you wait too long to retain legal counsel, the statute of limitations may prevent you from recovering the monetary compensation you deserve.

A lawyer will first determine your eligibility for filing a workers' compensation claim and or a third-party personal injury claim. Your attorney can then take the necessary legal steps on your behalf to secure the benefits and monetary damages you deserve for your accident-related losses while you focus on recovering from your injuries.


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