Many workplace accidents in the oilfields involve vehicle crashes

Many workplace accidents in the oilfields involve vehicle crashes

Oilfields within the state of Texas cover vast amounts of land. Individuals who work in the oil fields frequently must drive significant distances, which makes them more prone to motor vehicle accidents. In fact, more than forty percent of fatalities that occur in the gas and oil industry involve some type of motor vehicle collision. These motor vehicle accidents can also lead to debilitating injuries, which leave an accident victim with ongoing medical complications.

In many cases, according to state and federal law, employers are responsible for ensuring that oil and gas workers are always safe. Under these rules, employers should have programs and policies in place to keep drivers from becoming fatigued while they are on the job, especially by limiting their work hours and the number of hours that they can drive per day. Drivers may also be individually responsible for causing accidents, primarily if they operate a vehicle in a distracted or inattentive manner or while they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

When workers suffer injuries in motor vehicle collisions that occur in oil fields, they can be susceptible to mounting medical bills, lost income, and other problems. Fortunately, if an oil field worker suffers an injury while on the job, they may be eligible to file a workers' compensation claim with their employer's insurance company. Additionally, they may be eligible to file a third-party claim with the insurance company for the individual who caused the car accident.

After suffering injuries in an oilfield accident, you should consult with an experienced worker's compensation attorney near you as soon as possible. An attorney can investigate the circumstances of your accident and file a claim with your employer's insurer promptly. Additionally, your lawyer can determine if you are eligible to file a third-party personal injury claim stemming from negligence. If you are, your lawyer can handle every step of the process for you and resolve your case efficiently.

Common Causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents in Oil Fields

Many workplace accidents in the oilfields involve vehicle crashes

Motor vehicle accidents in oilfields may occur for a variety of reasons. One common cause of these motor vehicle crashes is driver negligence. A vehicle operator is negligent when they behave unreasonably under the circumstances in effect at a particular time.

First, the vehicle operator may drive while fatigued. Some drivers become fatigued while operating their vehicles for long hours, often on monotonous stretches of road. When a fatigued driver gets behind the wheel without having had sufficient sleep, they may become drowsy, lose their ability to concentrate, and negligently cause their vehicle to collide with another car, bringing about serious injuries. Alternatively, a fatigued vehicle operator may fall utterly asleep at the wheel, causing them to lose control of their vehicle, thereby bringing about a severe accident.

Distracted or inattentive driving is another common cause of vehicle accidents in oil fields. A driver may become distracted if they turn their head or take their eyes off their surroundings for any period of time — no matter how short. For example, a vehicle operator might look away to adjust their mirrors, program a GPS, or reply to a text message. Unfortunately, these activities may cause a driver to take their eyes off the road, lose their ability to concentrate, and bring about a serious accident.

Additionally, vehicle accidents in oil fields may happen when people drive while they are drunk. When a driver comes under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they may experience various physical and mental impairments. Specifically, they may suffer from blurred vision, delayed reflexes, impaired reaction time, poor judgment, impaired muscular coordination, and an inability to judge distances between vehicles. As a result, they may be unable to stop their car in time to avoid a collision, or they may fail to see another vehicle altogether.

If you suffered injuries in a vehicle accident that occurred while working in an oil field, you are not alone. An experienced oilfield vehicle accident attorney near you can meet with you to discuss your accident circumstances, investigate your accident, and explore all of your legal options. Your attorney may then file a workers' compensation claim or third-party personal injury claim on your behalf, seeking the full monetary recovery you deserve for your injuries and other losses.

Injuries in an Oilfield Motor Vehicle Accident

Motor vehicle accidents that take place in oil fields can lead to very significant injuries, some of which may be permanent. Unlike most injuries, which recover after a certain amount of time passes, a permanent injury can cause the accident victim lifelong pain and symptoms. An accident victim who suffers a permanent injury may also need to undergo ongoing medical treatment well into the future.

The injuries that a vehicle accident victim suffers will depend upon the circumstances of the collision and the amount of force involved. Common injuries that drivers and passengers may sustain include soft tissue whiplash injuries, rib fractures, open lacerations, bruises, broken bones, mouth and teeth injuries, internal bleeding and organ damage, traumatic head and brain injuries, cognitive impairments, spinal cord damage, complete and incomplete paralysis injuries, and fatal injuries.

If you suffered any of these injuries in a motor vehicle accident in an oil field, you should seek the medical care and treatment that you need as quickly as possible. Also, you should ensure that you attend all your medical appointments on time and avoid significant treatment gaps. Otherwise, your employer’s insurance company, or the insurance company for the at-fault driver, may believe that your injuries are not severe and refuse to offer you favorable monetary compensation and damages.

Filing a Workers' Compensation Claim for Various Benefits

Filing a Workers' Compensation Claim for Various Benefits

If you suffer injuries in a car accident that occurred while you were working at your job and during the scope of your employment, you may be eligible to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits through the Texas Workers' Compensation System. As part of a workers' compensation claim, you may be eligible to receive various benefits. First, you can recover monetary benefits for all your related medical expenses, including those that a healthcare provider recommends. Additionally, you can recover a portion of your lost income if you cannot work for a period after your accident.

You can also obtain a permanency rating from a medical provider. That provider may determine you suffered one or more permanent injuries in your oil field vehicle accident. The percentage rating the medical provider assigns to your injury will determine the number of weeks of permanency benefits you may receive.

Injured workers can also recover various types of worker's compensation benefits depending on their circumstances. Those benefits may include vocational rehabilitation benefits, medical travel benefits, and lifetime income benefits for certain permanent injuries, such as an amputation, complete blindness, or spinal cord injury. Additionally, if a worker suffers fatal injuries in an oil field vehicle accident, surviving family members may be eligible to recover various types of death benefits.

Keep in mind that workers' compensation benefits are no-fault benefits. Therefore, they are available to accident victims regardless of how their accident occurred and who was responsible for the accident. A skilled workers' compensation attorney can determine the types and amounts of benefits you may be eligible to recover, depending upon the facts and circumstances of your accident. Your lawyer will do everything they can to maximize the benefits you ultimately receive for your accident-related injuries and other losses.

Filing a Third-party Personal Injury Claim

Filing a Third-party Personal Injury Claim

In some cases, an individual who suffers injuries in an oil field vehicle accident may be eligible to file a third-party personal injury claim against the at-fault driver who caused the accident and their motor vehicle insurance company. Unlike workers' compensation claims, these types of claims are third-party in nature. Therefore, to recover monetary compensation, the accident victim must satisfy their legal burden of proof in the case.

First, they must demonstrate that the other driver owed them a duty of reasonable care, which they subsequently violated. Individuals who operate vehicles on Texas oil fields have a duty to follow all applicable traffic regulations and drive safely and carefully. When they fail to do so, they may be responsible for the accidents and injuries that result from their negligence. In addition to demonstrating that the at-fault driver violated their legal duty of care, the injured accident victim must establish that as a result of this violation, their vehicle accident occurred and that they suffered one or more physical injuries.

As part of a third-party personal injury claim, an injured worker may be eligible to recover additional damages. However, the insurance company may take into account that the accident victim already received workers' compensation benefits. As such, they may adjust their settlement offer in the third-party case accordingly, depending upon how much compensation the accident victim has already recovered. Additional third-party damages that injured vehicle accident victims may recover include compensation for anticipated medical costs if a medical provider determines that the accident victim suffered a permanent injury, future lost earnings, inconvenience, mental distress, pain and suffering, permanent disability or disfigurement, long-term care costs, loss of spousal companionship and consortium, lost quality of life, and loss of the ability to use an injured body part, such as from a spinal cord injury or paralysis injury.

A knowledgeable workers' compensation attorney in your area can determine if you are eligible to file a third-party personal injury claim as a companion case to your workers' compensation claim. If so, your lawyer can resolve your workers' compensation claim and then turn their attention to the third-party claim. During every stage of the process, your attorney will aggressively advocate for your legal rights and pursue the maximum amount of monetary compensation you are entitled to receive for your injuries.

Contact an Experienced Oilfield Accident Lawyer in Your Area Today

If you sustained injuries in a motor vehicle accident that occurred on a Texas oil field, you need to retain an experienced attorney who can handle every step of the process. First, your lawyer can review the circumstances of your car accident with you and determine your eligibility to file a workers' compensation claim with your employer's insurance company. If you are eligible to move forward with a claim, your attorney can gather the appropriate documentation, forward that documentation to the insurance company, and pursue the monetary benefits you deserve.

Your attorney can also determine if you are eligible to file a third-party personal injury claim arising from your motor vehicle accident. If so, your lawyer can file this claim with the at-fault driver's insurer and handle all settlement negotiations on your behalf. If the insurance company refuses to make you a fair monetary settlement offer, then your lawyer may file a lawsuit and litigate your case to a favorable resolution through the state court system.

Also, if your case proceeds to litigation, your attorney can represent you at all legal proceedings, including a discovery deposition, civil jury trial, mediation session, or binding arbitration proceeding. During a civil jury trial or binding arbitration hearing, for example, your attorney can introduce evidence on your behalf, call witnesses to testify in your case, and make arguments on your behalf. At a civil jury trial, the jury will decide the outcome of all disputed issues, while at a binding arbitration proceeding, an arbitrator will determine the amount of monetary compensation to award you.

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

Throughout the entire process, your attorney will do everything they can to fight for your legal rights and interests and recover the maximum compensation you deserve for your injuries and other losses. Best of all, your lawyer can perform this service for you while you focus on what is most important: fully recovering from your injuries.

If you've experienced an oilfield accident, consulting with a lawyer is crucial. An experienced San Antonio personal injury lawyer can assess the circumstances and determine if you have a viable third-party claim. Don't hesitate—schedule a consultation to understand your rights and explore avenues for compensation related to the oilfield accident.


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