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What to Expect During an Oilfield Accident Settlement

by | Nov 30, 2021 | Blog, Oilfield Accidents | 0 comments

Oilfield and oil rig work can be extremely lucrative. However, working in these areas can be particularly dangerous, and if a worker suffers an injury, they may file a third-party damage claim and/or a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.

Injuries that occur in oilfields can be especially debilitating. In fact, according to the United States Labor Department, the number of workers who suffer fatal injuries in oilfield accidents reaches the thousands. In addition, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) imposes five-figure fines in oilfield-related accidents.

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. If you do not have an experienced attorney representing you throughout your oilfield accident case, 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.

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 reach out to a trusted oilfield accident lawyer today to find out more about how we can assist you with your oilfield accident case and pursue all of the settlement compensation you deserve for your accident-related injuries.

Common Types of Oilfield Accident Injuries

What to Expect in Oilfield Accident Settlement

Oilfields and oil rigs can be extremely dangerous workplaces. In some instances, oilfield workers may suffer injuries in slip and fall accidents or even from oil rig collapses and poisonous gases on the premises. Depending upon the circumstances, an oilfield worker can sustain one or more neck injuries, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, muscular sprains, or concussions while on the job.

Some oil rig and oilfield workers suffer injuries because of electrocution. Since electricity is used in these areas to power the equipment that is located on an oil rig or in an oilfield, a worker can suffer serious burn injuries while performing a job duty, which, in turn, can lead to unsightly scarring on the affected area of the worker’s body.

Oilfield workers might also sustain injuries in a slip and fall accident, possibly due to slippery surfaces that often exist around heavy machinery and atop high oil platforms. Slip and falls may happen when the work area gets inadequate maintenance for the safety and benefit of the workers. Likewise, oilfield accidents can involve explosions and fires in the oilfield or on an oil rig.

These incidents are unfortunately common because of the dangerous chemicals and high temperatures in these areas. In addition to suffering a burn injury in an explosion or fire at an oilfield, a worker might also suffer a head injury or nerve damage.

Likewise, oilfield workers may suffer significant injuries when a piece of equipment that they are working on malfunctions. These malfunctions can happen because the equipment is old or is not properly maintained. Malfunctions that involve oilfield equipment can also occur when the equipment is defective in some way. For example, a defect might have occurred in the manufacturing process, or there may have been a safer alternative design that the manufacturer should use when developing the equipment.

Poisonous gas injuries can also occur at an oilfield or on an oil rig. Various chemicals, including hydrogen sulfide, are used in oilfields and are colorless and, in some cases, odorless. Therefore, a worker may not even know that they suffered an injury until it is too late. Poison gas injuries at an oilfield can nausea or vomiting or make workers unconscious and cause painful headaches.

Finally, oil rig collapses can cause workers to suffer serious injuries. This is especially true if the oil rig is located high off the ground and a worker becomes trapped underneath or strikes the ground during a collapse. Oil rig collapses are sometimes the result of poor construction or defective construction materials. Oil rig collapses can cause bone fractures, traumatic head and brain injuries, arm and leg injuries, and injuries to the neck or back (including the various forms of paralysis), some or all of which may be permanent.

If you have been involved in one of these types of oilfield or oil rig accidents and suffered one or more injuries, your first priority should be to seek all of the medical treatment that you need for you to recover fully. Preferably, you should begin seeking medical treatment for your injuries on the same day as the accident.

If you follow up at a hospital emergency room, for example, the emergency room nurse or doctor can ascertain your medical condition after interpreting the necessary imaging studies. Those imaging studies might include X-rays, CAT scans, or MRIs. The doctor or nurse on duty can also recommend follow-up medical treatment, like consulting with an orthopedic doctor and/or attending physical therapy or chiropractic sessions for your injuries.

In any case, you will want to make sure that you treat as early-on after your accident as possible and that you continue treating until a healthcare provider discharges you. If you wait too long to seek medical treatment after your accident, if you miss appointments, or if you discharge yourself from a treatment facility, the insurance company reviewing your case is likely to become skeptical.

For instance, the insurance company may not think that you were injured that seriously in the oilfield accident or that you are not making your medical treatment a priority. Either way, it can affect the ultimate value of your oilfield injury settlement in a negative way.

Once you have finished treating at a particular medical facility, a knowledgeable San Antonio oilfield accident attorney can begin collecting all of your medical records and bills. In addition, while you continue treating your oilfield accident injuries, our legal team can gather other important documentation, including incident reports and witness statements, that will be necessary to prove your case and get you the proper compensation.

While we handle all of the legal aspects of your oilfield injury claim, you can focus your attention on the most important task at that time: getting better and recovering from your injuries. Our legal team will give you the peace of mind that we are handling every aspect of your claim and zealously advocating for your interests.

The Process of Filing a Third-Party Personal Injury Claim and Pursuing a Settlement in Your Oilfield Accident Case

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 such severe injuries that they can’t return to the same job and/or because they suffered a permanent impairment. 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.

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 the injured worker can demonstrate that the oilfield accident happened because of a rig collapse, then the worker might pursue a third-party claim or file a lawsuit against the person or entity that constructed the rig, or against the construction company that provided the defective materials.

In addition, if the oilfield accident happened because of faulty or defective construction equipment, the injured worker can file a product liability claim against the equipment manufacturer.

Lastly, if the oilfield accident occurred because of a slip and fall due to poor maintenance at the facility, the worker can bring a claim against the person or entity responsible for cleaning/maintaining the area

A claim for damages begins by submitting a demand letter to the insurance company for the at-fault individual/entity, plus additional documentation to support the claim. The demand letter typically makes a monetary demand for settlement, and additional documentation such as the accident victim’s medical records, medical bills, lost wage statements, a victim impact statement, and witness reports will also be included. The insurance company adjuster who works on the case will review all of this documentation, and they might make an offer to resolve the case via settlement.

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 of your injuries and damages. When deciding whether a particular settlement offer is favorable or not, consider the cost of your medical treatment, the likelihood of any future medical treatment, the inconvenience that you incurred, the wages that you lost (if any), and the pain and suffering that you experienced. You should also take into account 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 must take your case to a jury trial or a binding arbitration proceeding, your attorney will be with you every step of the way and zealously advocate for your legal interests. An experienced San Antonio oilfield accident lawyer can also help you decide whether you should accept a pending settlement offer or roll the dice and take your case to trial and let a jury decide all disputed issues including the issue of damages.

Talk to a Knowledgeable San Antonio Oilfield Accident Lawyer about Your Case Today

The right legal team can help you pursue a favorable settlement offer with the at-fault person or entity’s insurer. If a good offer does not come, your attorney can zealously litigate the case on your behalf and pursue a favorable jury verdict or arbitration award for you. Consultations with oilfield attorneys are always free, so you have nothing to lose by learning about your potential legal rights. Always get the medical treatment you need for your physical well-being, then consider your legal well-being as soon as possible.