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Oilfield Accidents and the Law: What Legal Rights Protect Oil and Gas Workers?

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

Oil and gas extraction is an intrinsic part of Texas’ economy, and working at an oilfield or on an oil rig can be a lucrative career. However, oilfields are a statistically dangerous place to work, in part because employers and others do not always provide workers with a safe working environment and conditions. 

According to the United States Labor Department, 1,566 workers suffered injuries in oil fields that were ultimately fatal over ten years. In addition, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that fines levied in incidents relating to oilfield accidents average approximately $16,813.

Even though these statistics have to do with fatalities in oil fields, they do not even address workers who merely suffered injuries there. Some workers who sustain injuries in oilfields have disabilities or lasting effects to such an extent that they cannot return to the same job or occupation. Consequently, they might have to move to a different job—often with less pay. If a worker suffers an injury, they may file a third-party damage claim or a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.

Seek Legal Help if You’ve Suffered an Injury as an Oil or Gas Worker

If you or someone you care about has suffered an injury in an accident that took place at an oilfield, you need knowledgeable and experienced legal representation on your side every step of the way. A knowledgeable and experienced San Antonio oilfield injury lawyer can help you pursue a third-party claim for injuries arising from an oilfield accident. Please call us today to learn more about how we can pursue the benefits and compensation you deserve for your oilfield accident injuries.

A knowledgeable and experienced San Antonio oilfield injury lawyer can help you pursue a third-party claim for your injuries arising from an oilfield accident. Please give us a call today to learn more about how we can pursue the benefits and compensation that you deserve for your oilfield accident injuries.

Which Laws Affect Oilfield Workers?

Oilfield Injuries And The Law

In addition to employment laws that guarantee minimum wages and equal opportunities for all US employees, workers in the oil and gas industry are protected by OSHA regulations that establish safety protocols for workplaces. Other laws with specific applications to oil and gas workers include: 

The Jones Act

The Jones Act is a federal law providing legal protection for maritime workers, including those working on offshore oil rigs. The Jones Act requires employers to provide a reasonably safe working environment and to maintain seaworthy vessels.

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA)

This law provides workers’ compensation benefits to maritime workers who are injured or become ill while working on navigable waters, including those who work on offshore oil rigs. The benefits available under this law exclude eligibility for the Jones Act. However, offshore workers usually qualify for one of these. 

The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA)

 The OCSLA includes laws that establish safety and environmental regulations for oil and gas exploration and production on the Outer Continental Shelf, which includes many offshore oil rigs in coastal regions of the United States. In recent years, this law has been amended to include a liability fund in the event of oil spills. 

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

NEPA requires federal agencies to assess the environmental impact of their actions, including decisions related to offshore oil and gas development. These environmental reviews can result in improved safety and environmental protections for oil and gas workers by identifying potential risks and hazards associated with a project and requiring additional safety measures or mitigation measures to reduce those risks.

Common Oilfield Accidents and Risks

While the above regulatory bodies have done much to improve safety measures for workers on drill sites, the industry continues to suffer from many job-related risks. In 2020, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported over 2,000 cases of accidents and illnesses among extraction workers. Some of the most common accidents on oil-related job sites include: 

  • Vehicle accidents
  • Slips and falls
  • Fires and explosions
  • Collapsed oil rigs
  • Defective equipment

These hazards, among others, can result in severe harm and great losses, from broken bones and traumatic brain injuries to wrongful death and permanent disability. These obstacles can be a challenge to oil and gas workers and their families, who often face mounting medical bills, loss of support, and the emotional strain of wondering how they will cover the associated costs. 

If you find yourself in this situation, we recommend that you contact an oilfield accident attorney as soon as possible to discuss the details of your case. 

A Lawyer Can Help You Understand Your Rights as an Oilfield Worker

It’s important for workers, especially those who have suffered an accident or injury on their job sites, to understand their rights and what forms of recovery may be available to help them during times of need. 

A qualified personal injury attorney with experience in oilfield accidents can help elucidate what your legal options may be and help you pursue the means to obtain compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and non-economic losses. Depending on your situation, you may be eligible to recoup damages through a third-party claim, workers’ compensation, or both. 

At Wyatt Law Firm, our attorneys understand the nuances of the laws affecting oil and gas workers and how they may or may not influence potential outcomes in your unique circumstances. Moreover, we know when to rely on outside experts who can provide keen insight into the factors contributing to an accident, such as mechanical defects. If someone’s negligence led to your injury, we will work to get to the bottom of how and why and ensure that you receive the compensation you’re entitled to.

Talk to our Knowledgeable San Antonio Oilfield Accident Attorneys about Your Case Today

The right legal team can help you negotiate a favorable settlement with the at-fault person or entity’s insurer. If these parties do not make a reasonable offer, your attorney can zealously litigate the case on your behalf and pursue a favorable jury verdict or arbitration award for you. 

You have nothing to lose by learning about your potential legal rights through a free consultation with one of our oilfield attorneys. Always get the medical treatment you need for your physical well-being, then contact us regarding your legal well-being.