San Antonio Oil Field Injury Attorneys
Oil Field Injury Lawyers Seeking Justice
Have you been involved in a serious accident in a South Texas oil field? Has a loved one passed away prematurely due to a fatal oil field accident anywhere in Texas? If so, contact our San Antonio Oil Field Injury Lawyers immediately.
We serve people throughout Texas and the nation, including the cities of San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, Austin, Laredo, Midland and Corpus Christi.
At Wyatt Law Firm, we believe in pursuing full justice and compensation for our clients. We will put all our efforts, manpower and experience into fighting for you!
We do not let blatant acts of negligence or carelessness go unanswered. By investigating your claim thoroughly and intensively, we can uncover liable parties that have contributed to your injuries. From negligent employers to careless industrial product manufacturers, we are not afraid to go up against major corporate entities and demand the justice you deserve.
We Represent People After Oil Rig Explosions and Offshore Injuries
If you or a family member suffered serious injuries in an oil field accident in South Texas, you need the right legal guidance right away. The same is true if your family sustained a tragic loss due to a fatal oil field or offshore accident. You want the right law firm on your side that knows how to seek full justice for your losses. You want a San Antonio oil field accident lawyer from Wyatt Law Firm.
Our law firm represents clients across the State of Texas, including in and around San Antonio, Austin, Laredo, Houston, Dallas, Corpus Christi, Midland, and more. We know the protections of injury victims under the law, and we stand up to oil companies and other parties to protect all of our clients’ rights.
Our legal team holds negligent parties who cause injuries fully accountable for all the harm they cause. We bring all of our resources to the table to fight against major corporations, and we do not stop until our clients receive the justice they need and deserve.
After an oil field injury due to explosions or other accidents, do not delay in seeking help from Wyatt Law Firm.
Our Approach to San Antonio Oil Field Injury Claims
One thing our legal team knows is that every injury case is different, so each one needs a unique approach. We take the time to carefully listen to everything our clients have to say, including how the accident happened and how their injuries affect their lives. When we put ourselves in your shoes, we are in the best position to identify all sources of liability and present your injuries and losses most fully and accurately.
Often, our approach compels negligent companies and their corporate insurers to take responsibility for the injuries stemming from their conduct. If not, we know how to escalate your case and will keep fighting until you receive a favorable settlement or jury verdict.
Some of Our Case Results
In 30 years of fighting for injury victims, our firm has recovered over $500 million for our clients. Because – as mentioned – every case is unique, prior results are not a promise or indication of what you might recover. The best way to get an idea of your case’s worth is to consult our legal team directly.
That said, we have experience obtaining successful results for oil field injury victims. For example, one of our clients drove a tractor and tanker trailer to load the trailer with condensate at a loading area. As it turned out, the area did not have proper ventilation, and the company pumped high-pressure and volatile condensate into the tank battery where our client was loading the tanker trailer. The highly flammable vapors in the loading area ignited and resulted in an explosion. We fought for the rights of our clients and were able to secure $3,900,000 from the negligent company.
Some other related results include:
- $1,178,586 for a client who sustained a serious head injury in an oil field accident
- $1,383,872 for a client who suffered thoracic and lumbar spine fusion due to an industrial accident
This is only a small sampling of how we help our clients, and you can look over more of our successful case results here. The best way to learn about our passion and drive for success is to consult with a member of our team.
How to Afford an Oil Field Injury Lawyer in San Antonio?
Another common concern among injured accident victims is how they will afford to pay high legal fees for representation. Many people assume that we charge expensive hourly fees since that is a common practice among law firms for many types of cases. The good news is that our firm does not charge fees this way for our injured clients.
Instead, we take oil and gas injury cases on a contingency fee basis.
- You receive a completely free consultation and case evaluation to determine whether you have a viable claim.
- If we take your case (and you decide to hire us), you pay nothing upfront for our legal services.
- Our law firm can front the costs of your claim, including investigative expenses, court fees, and more, while your case is pending.
- If we are unsuccessful in recovering compensation for you, we charge no payment from you.
- If we obtain a settlement or award for your losses, our fees come directly from your payment, so you never have to come up with any funds out of pocket.
We make sure our clients fully understand how much of their settlement or award we will receive for fees and expenses, so there are no surprises. Our San Antonio oil field injury lawyers know that suffering an oil field injury is difficult enough, and the last thing you need is additional financial stress. We are ready to help, so please reach out for your no-cost consultation as soon as possible.
Demand Compensation For Your Losses And Suffering
Texas has long been famous for its vast oil and gas resources. With new finds in the Permian Basin and elsewhere, the industry has rapidly expanded operations. With this new activity in the oil fields comes increased risks for oil field workers.
Oil field accidents are often caused by:
- Inadequately trained workers
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Explosions and chemical fires
- Exposure to sulfur hydroxide fumes
- Fatigue due to lack of proper rest periods or long shift hours
- Improperly maintained drills and exploration equipment or defective machinery
- Inadequate safeguards at drilling sites and refinery facilities
- Negligent drivers in and around the oil and gas fields
- Lack of safety regulations or emergency protocol
- Trench collapses
- Oil field, pipeline and refinery fires
If you have suffered harm in the Texas oil fields, Wyatt Law Firm will seek maximum compensation for you. We represent oil and gas workers in the Barnett Shale, the Eagle Ford Shale, the Haynesville Shale and other locations in Texas.
Every Oil Field Worker Deserves Justice
Due to the emphasis on profit, many workers and crew members are put to work quickly and are often placed in high-stress situations with little to no industry training. Though safety protocols are implemented to help prevent injury or wrongful death at work, these precautions are essentially useless if employers or product manufacturers act negligently and put the lives of innocent workers at risk.
At Wyatt Law Firm, our mission is helping victims of corporate negligence get justice and full compensation for their losses. We are relentless warriors for truth.
Oil Field Accidents in Texas
Texas is well-recognized for its wealth of oil and gas resources, and many people throughout the state find success working in this industry.
We know that oil field accidents can happen anywhere, including:
With the industry expanding so rapidly, it creates a much greater risk of mistakes and negligence on the part of oil companies and others working at the site or offshore. No matter where your accident and injury happened, we know how to investigate the incident to identify liability. This best allows us to seek full compensation for all of your oil field and offshore injuries and losses.
Types of Oil Field and Offshore Accidents
We help clients after all types of oil field and offshore accidents, and the following are only some examples of how our clients suffered injuries.
Oil Field Fires and Explosions
Whether you work on land-based rigs, inland barges or tugs or offshore vessels, or platforms, you likely work in an environment with combustible materials. There are many reasons why such combustibles can lead to fires or explosions, including improper fuel storage, vessel collisions, failing or inadequate ventilation systems, and more.
Fires and explosions can result in catastrophic injuries, including life-changing burns, amputations, and traumatic brain injuries, among others. Determining what caused an oil field fire or explosion can be a highly technical task.
Tugboat or Barge Crashes
Hundreds of barges move around the Gulf and other waters, pulled by tugs while carrying significant oil-related cargo and equipment. When a barge or tugboat accident occurs, including collisions with other watercraft or hitting underwater obstacles, anyone on deck or in the vicinity can suffer injuries. This can include pilots, captains, mates, deckhands, tankermen, and others who help keep our economy going by working on oil watercraft.
Malfunctioning or Failing Equipment
Many types of equipment are necessary to keep the oil industry going, and each job requires the use of specialized equipment and tools. When companies manufacture defective equipment or fail to properly inspect or maintain equipment, malfunctions and failures can happen. This can lead to serious accidents and injuries to those who are operating the equipment or in the general area.
Sometimes, equipment accidents happen due to the negligence of the manufacturer or company supplying the equipment. In other cases, an employer might provide inappropriate equipment for the job or fail to maintain the equipment, leading to liability.
The oil industry involves working with many hazardous materials, and inhaling or otherwise coming into contact with toxic chemicals can result in severe and lasting injuries and health issues. Not every oil company takes proper precautions and provides the necessary safety equipment to workers when they might suffer chemical exposure, and this can result in burns, respiratory problems, and more. In addition, companies might manufacture faulty safety equipment, which can also lead to preventable chemical exposure.
Inadequate Safety Training
If you are working on an oil field or offshore job site, having the proper safety precautions and training is imperative to avoid accidents and injuries. Some injuries happen because workers do not receive training on certain equipment or tasks or employers fail to enforce proper safety policies and measures.
When you are working on an oil rig, crane barge, drillship, or any type of vessel with multiple levels, there might be objects that fall from upper levels onto workers below. Pieces of support structures or machinery might not be properly secured or might break off and fall below, causing many workers to suffer traumatic injuries.
Falls and Slip and Falls
Many conditions can cause an oil worker to slip and fall, including slippery surfaces from bad weather or chemicals, tools or debris left out, and more. Falls can also occur because of unsafe equipment and inadequate handrails or safety mechanisms.
Workers might slip and fall on level ground, or they might fall from a high place, such as:
- Upper decks of vessels
No matter where a fall happens, it has the potential to cause severe traumatic injuries.
Working in an oil field or on an oil rig can expose workers to many different weather conditions. Offshore workers might endure high and low temperatures, which can both cause serious health issues. Heatstroke, dehydration, and exhaustion can cause problems if workers do not get proper shelter and breaks in extreme heat. On the other hand, falling overboard or otherwise experiencing exposure to freezing water temperatures can result in hypothermia.
The oil industry relies heavily on truck drivers to work long hours with heavy – and often hazardous – loads. These truck drivers might have to traverse dangerous roadways to deliver their loads, and truck crashes are all too common. Sometimes, the truck driver suffers injuries in a crash, while in other accidents, other motorists suffer injuries.
With the oil industry continuing to boom, it is more important than ever for oil truck drivers to follow all necessary safety regulations and policies. However, oil companies seek ways to best profit from the industry growth, and this can involve cutting corners when it comes to safety.
Because oil truck drivers are not subject to the usual hours of service regulations by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), companies often push drivers to work for too long, causing overly tired drivers to make deadly mistakes.
Some oil companies might fail to maintain trucks in working order, or they might push drivers to repeatedly use roads not suitable for heavy industrial vehicles. Whatever causes an oil truck accident, the results can be life-altering for victims, including oil truck drivers.
Common Causes of Oil Field Accidents
The many different causes behind oil-related industrial accidents include:
- Inadequate training of workers
- Negligence that leads to chemical fires or explosions
- Unaddressed carbon monoxide leaks
- Pushing workers to the point of fatigue or dangerous exposure
- Fatigued truck drivers from overly long driving shifts
- Improper maintenance of exploration equipment, machinery, drills, vessels, or trucks
- Allowing exposure to sulfur hydroxide fumes
- Insufficient safety equipment or safeguards at refineries and drill sites
- Truck drivers who make negligent errors in oil fields
- Not following proper emergency procedures or safety policies
- Conditions that allow trench collapses, fires, explosions, or other dangerous conditions
If you are an oil field injury victim, it is necessary to pinpoint the cause of the accident to determine which party can be liable. It often requires an investigation to uncover the true cause of an injury, especially since oil companies might try to mask negligence or other signs of fault.
For instance, in the event of an oil rig explosion, industry professionals, Coast Guard officials, and other parties should begin investigating the cause of the explosion immediately. If you suffered injuries in the explosion, you need an experienced legal professional protecting your rights and conducting an investigation on your behalf.
While you might believe you can trust the oil company to produce accurate investigation results, always remember that the oil company aims to protect its profits, which means avoiding liability. These companies have insurers and legal teams representing them following an accident, and these professionals are ready to help avoid liability whenever possible. They have resources to avoid payouts to injury victims, and you need resources of your own in the form of a San Antonio oil rig accident lawyer.
To hold an oil company accountable for explosions and resulting injuries, you must establish negligence on the part of another party, such as the captain or company that ignored safety protocols. Sometimes, it is the manufacturer of a defective piece of equipment that should be liable for an explosion or oil rig accident, and proving defective manufacturing can be a highly technical and complex task.
Anyone injured in any capacity in an oil-related accident needs a lawyer who has in-depth knowledge of the industry.
At the Wyatt Law Firm, we know:
- The different players in the oil and gas industry that might be negligent
- How to identify defective equipment
- The many different possible causes of accidents and injuries
We have a network of experts ready to investigate accidents and help to prove the cause of your injuries.
Liability for an Oil Field Accident: How Claims & Financial Compensation Operate in Oil Field Injury Cases
Workers’ compensation is the first remedy for any workplace accident. In most circumstances, it may be your only means of recourse for a workplace injury.
We can summarize the purpose of workers’ compensation into two functions:
- It provides benefits to an injured worker to ensure that you receive the money you need to cover your medical and living expenses while injured.
- It protects your employer from legal liability. Once a workers’ compensation claim settles, you do not have the legal right to file a lawsuit against your employer for that injury. Workers’ compensation benefits should provide coverage to injured workers whether or not the employer was at fault.
Workers’ compensation covers benefits up to a mandated maximum amount, which is often far lower than the damages a personal injury lawsuit for the same injury would allow for. This is why a worker’s compensation claim eliminates your right to bring a personal injury suit against your employer. You receive guaranteed benefits, and it is a financial relief to an employer that would otherwise be liable for much larger sums of damages in the absence of workers’ compensation or if the victim isn’t an employee.
Workers’ compensation benefits can include:
- Medical expenses: These include all doctor and hospital visits, medication, surgery, diagnostic testing, treatment, therapy, physical rehabilitation, assistive or adaptive devices, and any other costs related to your recovery from your workplace injury.
- Lost wages: Benefits provide for the replacement of lost wages if your injury causes you to miss work, up to a specific weekly maximum.
- Survivor benefits: If a family member suffered injuries and died in an oilfield accident, you might receive a percentage of the worker’s average weekly wages. Workers’ compensation also covers a portion of funeral and burial expenses.
Workers’ compensation does not cover damages for pain and suffering, however, or other long-term non-monetary losses a victim will continue to suffer from the accident. There are certain exceptions to the rule barring lawsuits following an oilfield injury suffered on the job, so explore these with the help of a San Antonio oilfield injury attorney.
Personal Injury Lawsuits
So, what if your injury happened due to the negligence of a third party who has no direct affiliation with your employer? In this situation, you can file an insurance claim or personal injury case seeking damages for costs of the injury against the oil company, equipment manufacturer, or another party who was negligent.
In addition, the law allows you to recover financially from both a workers’ compensation settlement and a lawsuit following such an injury. The law does not excuse a third party’s liability due to worker’s compensation claims, and you are free to bring a personal injury lawsuit against third parties whose negligence helped cause the accident.
For example, what if your equipment fails due to an inherent defect, causing you to receive burns while on the oil field? This would be an injury due to the negligence of the manufacturer of the equipment and could give rise to a product liability lawsuit. Perhaps it was an independent contractor outside of your employer who was negligent and caused your injuries. You could file a personal injury lawsuit against that contractor.
Third-party lawsuits often far exceed the financial compensation awarded by workers’ compensation, so it is often lucrative to pursue a claim if the possibility exists. This is, in part, because you can seek damages for pain and suffering, as well as other intangible damages that workers’ compensation will not cover. If your injury is severe, you have a much better chance of receiving full compensation for all losses if you can file both a workers’ compensation claim and a third-party lawsuit.
After an oilfield injury, you should always allow a San Antonio oilfield injury lawyer to evaluate your options for financial recovery. Doing so can maximize the amount you receive and ensure that you get recovery for your pain and suffering whenever possible.
What It Takes to Succeed In Recovering Full Compensation For Your Oilfield Injury
In any scenario, if you suffer injuries in an accident while working on an oilfield, you should receive benefits from workers’ compensation or other sources. However, you must first prove that your injury was work-related and stemmed from the course of your employment. You also must demonstrate the medical treatment you needed and the time you needed to take away from work.
This can be more challenging than you might believe in many situations since insurance companies might try to challenge your claim however they can.
They might try to claim that:
- Your injury occurred away from work, so workers’ compensation coverage should not apply.
- Your injuries are not as severe as you claim, so you did not require all of the time off work that you took.
- Not all of the medical treatment you received was necessary for your injuries.
You will need to provide additional evidence and arguments if the insurer challenges your claim. Sometimes, an experienced oilfield attorney can present additional information or records, and the insurer will start issuing benefits.
If you are filing a personal injury lawsuit against a third party, you will need to establish negligence to recover compensation. Establishing negligence on the part of a contractor, equipment manufacturing company, or anyone else is not an easy task. Even determining the cause of, for example, an injurious explosion on the oilfield in a personal injury case requires significant resources and investigative work. This is because many factors might lead to an oilfield accident, and you need to know which ones contributed to your injuries.
To prove negligence and liability for your oilfield injuries, you need to show that:
- The defendant or defendants owed you a duty of care under the circumstances, such as the duty to manufacture safe and working equipment.
- The defendant or defendants breached the duty of care, such as by manufacturing defective equipment that malfunctioned.
- The breach of duty led to your injuries.
- You suffered losses due to your injuries.
To you, it might seem obvious what happened in your oilfield accident. However, you have to break it down in legal terms and elements to prevail in your injury case. This is what makes having the right attorney imperative to your success. They will know how to investigate what happened and gather sufficient evidence to prove negligence in your lawsuit. Never wait to get started working with a San Antonio oilfield attorney you can trust.
How a Lawyer Can Help You
Thankfully, when oilfield workers suffer harm in serious accidents, they are often capable of obtaining financial compensation to help alleviate some of the financial burdens they face. In many cases, the injured victims feel pressure from insurance companies to accept minimal settlement offers for their injuries and losses.
Rather than accepting these lowball offers or insufficient financial settlements, the injured worker must contact a skilled and experienced oilfield accident attorney in San Antonio as soon as possible. Doing so can ensure the protection of their legal rights and avoid acceptance of a settlement that is much lower than you deserve.
The following are only some of the many ways the right oilfield injury attorney can help during the insurance process:
- Determine whether there are different sources of liability, such as third-party negligence claims
- Calculate your damages
- Communicate and negotiate with third-party insurers to get the highest possible settlement offer
Although most cases settle before litigation, if the insurance companies involved refuse to offer a fair amount, you will need a lawyer to escalate the matter. This might involve appealing the matter to the Texas Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel or filing a lawsuit against a third-party defendant in civil court. Our practice focuses on pursuing actions against third-party defendants.
These are situations that The Wyatt Law Firm handles regularly and achieves successful outcomes for our clients. When you are dealing with the aftermath of a serious oilfield injury, the last thing you need to do is navigate the insurance or legal process. The process is already complicated for legal professionals, and it can be extremely frustrating and difficult for injured individuals with little to no experience with injury claims.
In addition, having legal representation regularly results in higher benefits or settlements for injury victims. The insurance companies know that unrepresented claimants will often accept much less than they deserve, and they feel no obligation to fully compensate claims. Once you have an attorney in your corner, the insurance adjuster will likely take you – and your claim – much more seriously. They know that they can no longer trick you into settling for less than you deserve, and this is only one of many ways that the right oilfield attorney can assist you.
Finding the Right Lawyer for the Job
To find the right lawyer for an oilfield accident case, you need to search for a law firm that has the resources and experience to handle this unique type of injury case. The right attorney will know how to deal with workers’ compensation claims, as well as personal injury lawsuits against third-party individuals and companies, and they should have a proven track record of success in this area.
These lawyers can be found at The Wyatt Law firm based in San Antonio, Texas. Our firm has the investigative resources necessary to handle the complex process of evidence gathering and proving fault in oilfield accidents. Whether your injuries are from an explosion or a defective piece of equipment, our resources allow us to conduct thorough investigations to determine the root cause of the accident.
The right lawyers for the job will determine exactly how much compensation your claim is potentially worth and pursue that as their goal, working to succeed through initial claim settlement or a court verdict. Your lawyer should review every aspect of your injury, including how it happened, who was at fault, and how much it will cost for your treatment and recovery. With the proper lawyer’s advice and representation, you can get the money you need to pay for recovery and life expenses resulting from your injuries. Look no further than The Wyatt Law Firm for help with your oilfield injury claim.
How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost You? Nothing
As you face your medical bills and other financial stress, you might naturally wonder if you can afford to hire an oilfield injury attorney in the San Antonio area. You might imagine that such legal representation will require a significant upfront retainer or extensive hourly fees. The good news for injury victims is anyone can afford an attorney’s services at the Wyatt Law Firm because of our payment structure for injury cases.
Our firm handles oilfield injury claims on a contingency fee basis, meaning all the lawyer’s fees for representing the client won’t be due until after the personal injury case settles successfully, and the client recovers benefits or other compensation. Now, if a client doesn’t receive a favorable outcome and receives no damages or settlement money, our lawyers collect no fees under this payment arrangement.
Instead of the fees coming out of your pocket or requiring an up-front retainer fee, our fees for representation come straight from the final injury settlement or award in the client’s case. That means you pay nothing until you win your case and receive payment.
If you win your case, these fees are a percentage of the settlement or damages awarded, which each client agrees to when they sign a representation agreement. The answer to your question regarding how much a lawyer costs at Wyatt Law Firm is nothing upfront or out of pocket, and you can rest assured knowing you can afford our legal services for your case.
What To Know About Work-Related Injuries In The Oil And Gas Industry
What do I do if I’ve been involved in an oil field accident?
- If possible, it is important that you first notify your supervisor of the incident to ensure there is documentation surrounding the incident.
- After notifying your supervisor, seek medical treatment immediately. It is important that your injuries and symptoms are documented as soon as possible to retain the value of your personal injury claim.
- After you have sought medical treatment, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer, preferably a personal injury lawyer well-versed in handling oilfield accident lawsuits. The personal injury lawyers at the Wyatt Law Firm have decades of experience in handling oilfield accident lawsuits. We are familiar with the entire process of an oilfield accident claim from start to finish.
- Additionally, we will make sure that you receive state-of-the-art treatment for the injuries you sustained as a result of an oilfield accident.
Do I have a legal claim if I already received worker’s compensation?
Yes, you may have a legal claim, even if you received worker’s compensation benefits. Please note that the Wyatt Law Firm does not handle worker’s compensation claims but we are eager to represent you for a personal injury claim. A personal injury lawsuit may enable you to recover money above and beyond workers’ comp, such as compensation for pain and suffering.
What if I was exposed to chemicals while working on the job? Do I still have a case?
Absolutely. Exposure to harmful chemicals while working in an industrial environment is a serious situation. Exposure to chemicals such as carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, methane, among many other compounds can be harmful. It is important that you first seek medical treatment and then contact a personal injury attorney that is experienced in handling claims related to toxic chemical exposure.
I got fired for using my stop-work authority. Do I have a case?
Wyatt Law Firm applauds you for taking appropriate measures to ensure safety where you work. However, we are a personal injury firm, seeking maximum compensation for damages caused by negligence. If you give us a call, we are happy to refer you to a firm that handles employment law.
What happens if I can’t work anymore because of my injuries?
You may be entitled to disability compensation because you have lost your vocation and earning ability. At the Wyatt Law Firm, we fight hard for maximum compensation because we realize that major accidents change lives forever, even preventing people from returning to work.
Can I claim lost wages?
Yes. Wyatt Law Firm helps clients claim lost wages as well as future damages for loss of vocational ability.
What if I had a prior oil field accident and got re-injured?
It’s proof that you work in a dangerous industry! If your oil field accident aggravated an old injury, you are still entitled to seek compensation, including damages for chronic pain or permanent impairment.
Common Oil Field Accidents And Their Causes
Danger lurks everywhere in the oil and gas fields of Texas. Despite safety regulations and improvements in equipment and procedures, thousands of serious accidents happen every year. These examples are all too typical:
- Despite wearing a hard hat, a worker suffers a traumatic brain injury when a piece of equipment falls on their head.
- A worker suffers serious burns when leaking gas is ignited by a spark.
- An overworked truck driver causes an accident when delivering supplies to a work site.
How Do Oil And Gas Field Accidents Happen?
These are the most common types of accidents that occur on drilling and production sites in Texas:
Equipment failure — Oil drillers and producers use a wide range of equipment and tools in their work. This equipment is subject to failure due to poor design and construction, inadequate maintenance, mechanical failure, insufficient inspection procedures and other causes.
Well blowouts — Oil and gas wells have robust control mechanisms to minimize the possibility of blowouts. But sometimes they fail due to poor design, manufacture, maintenance or a mistake on the part of a petroleum engineer or worker. The cause or causes of a blowout can be complex, requiring intensive investigations by technical experts.
Explosions and fires — These can be sudden and unexpected events resulting from a well blowout, stray spark, static electricity, open flame or friction. The injuries suffered by workers can be catastrophic and potentially fatal.
Truck accidents — Every oil or gas site attracts many vehicles, including those transporting workers to the site, delivery trucks delivering supplies such as fracking sand, and other service trucks. Collisions can happen at the site itself or on the highways and roads leading to the sites.
Caught between and crushing accidents — These can happen when equipment falls on a worker, a vehicle backs up over a worker or in other ways. Again, the injuries can be serious and potentially fatal.
Toxic exposure — Hydrocarbons are inherently toxic. When workers are exposed to them in closed spaces, serious injury or death can happen. Storage tanks in particular are dangerous. For example, oil workers have to take great care when opening a thief hatch while doing a sampling procedure lest they inhale toxic levels of gas. Exposure to hydrogen sulfide gas is also quite hazardous.
Fracking accidents — During the fracking process, toxic chemicals can leak into the atmosphere, soil and water table. These expose both workers and members of the public to serious injury.
Who Can Claim Compensation?
Most, if not all, oil and gas workers are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits following a workplace injury. But when an injury is caused by the negligence of a third party such as an equipment manufacturer, contractor or service provider, they can claim additional money. In many cases, the value of a third-party claim can far exceed that of the work comp benefits the worker receives.
Fatal Oil Field Accidents
Every year, over 100 oil field workers die after suffering from fatal oil field accident injuries. Many of these workers died on Texas worksites or while working for Texas-based oil and gas corporations, and four out of every ten workers died in worksite transportation accidents. The U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) reports that oil field fatalities most commonly occur following:
- Falls (elevated falls and slipping accidents)
- Thermal explosions resulting in fires
- Pressurized explosions resulting in shrapnel propulsion
- On-site motor vehicle and transportation accidents
- Latent cancers due to chemical exposure
- Crushing injuries due to poor machine guarding
- Suffocation due to confined space toxicity
Whether your loved one died immediately following gas explosions, passed away after months in a coma, or died from terminal cancers caused by oil field carcinogens, our San Antonio wrongful death lawyers help families who might recover financial compensation.
Oil and Gas Accident Injuries Frequently Leading to Fatalities
Most fatal injuries sustained on the job qualify beneficiaries for no-fault death benefits through workers’ compensation insurers while depriving them of the right to bring a claim against the employer. However, where the death was the result of grossly negligent conduct on the part of the employer, additional punitive damages may be recovered. Moreover, if the negligence of a third party caused the death, then both compensatory and, depending on the nature of the conduct, punitive damages may be recovered.
Experienced wrongful death lawyers can help families identify evidence linking your loved one’s death directly to oil site injuries and toxicity. In most cases, the following fatal conditions happened due to oil field accidents and events:
- Heart Attacks – As the leading cause of death in the United States, especially among men, most insurers initially deny death benefits when a cardiac arrest was the cause of death. However, oil industry employees have an increased risk of suffering from cardiopulmonary disease and cardiac arrest due to the chemicals frequently released on gas and oil sites. Employees trapped in confined spaces with toxic air quality or forced to inhale smoke may suffer from sudden heart attacks. Common oilfield chemicals resulting in diseases contributing to heart attacks include sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, PAHs, HF acid, hydrogen fluoride, carcinogens, and tar sand by-products.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries – Struck-by accidents resulting in concussions or other head injuries may not seem serious when they first occur. The employee may clock out for the day and attempt to recover overnight. However, these injuries may result in brain bleeding and resulting swelling that cause sudden headaches and brain death overnight. Any delay between the initial accident and the claimant’s death, especially if the claimant left work without assistance, often result in initial denials that experienced attorneys can overcome.
- Cancer – Similar to heart attacks from drill site toxins, insurers often deny benefits to families of employees who eventually die from cancers. Experienced San Antonio workers’ compensation attorneys might help families prove that their loved one’s condition stemmed from a toxic work environment.
- Burns – Most insurers do not deny benefits after oilfield workers suffer from widespread burns after explosions. However, they may deny coverage if the employee dies from burn-related infections, lung damage, or other complications in the months following the accident. Families might still recover death benefits in such cases despite insurance denials.
Obtaining Wrongful Death Compensation and Death Benefits From Workers’ Compensation
While our attorneys at the Wyatt Law Firm do not handle workers’ compensation cases, we believe it is important for families to understand their rights and what the workers’ compensation system can and cannot do for them following a tragic loss.
Fatal oil and gas accidents frequently kill skilled workers in the prime of their careers, including those working grueling hours to provide for their families. Nearly all deadly drill site accidents qualify families to demand lost wage, funeral, and medical compensation from their loved one’s workers’ compensation insurer. Though Texas does not require employers to maintain this coverage, nearly all oil and gas companies provide insurance. Employers without insurance expose themselves to direct liability for workplace deaths.
If the employer maintains workers’ comp coverage, Texas law states that this becomes the exclusive remedy against employers for families of oil field employees killed in workplace accidents. However, special expectations apply after fatal workplace accidents.
Surviving spouses and children of wrongfully killed loved ones may demand exemplary (punitive) damages directly from employers who intentionally or recklessly caused the death. This exception often applies when the employer intentionally or carelessly cuts safety corners, including refusing to replace failing pipes or provide safety equipment.
Demanding Death Benefits after Fatal Oil Field Accidents. Families of employees killed on the job, including on the drill site or while being transported to and from the rig, may generally obtain immediate death benefits from workers’ compensation insurers.
These benefits are payable to the deceased employee’s spouse for his/her lifetime unless the spouse remarries, in which case the surviving spouse receives a lump sum payout equally to two additional years of death benefits. Benefits are equal to 75 percent of the deceased’s average weekly wages. Additionally, the workers’ comp carrier must generally reimburse families for up to $10,000 in funeral expenses and any medical bills related to the deceased’s treatment.
If the deceased had both a spouse and minor children, the spouse receives 50 percent of the benefits, and the dependent children split the remaining 50 percent. Children may receive these benefits until they turn 18 or until the age of 25 if they’re full-time college students. Dependent adult children with mental or physical disabilities, however, may receive lifetime benefits.
Other family members may also recover temporary death benefits if the deceased left no surviving spouse or minor children:
- Adult children
Non-family members cannot generally recover death benefits from workers’ compensation insurers even if they were dependent on the deceased.
Calculating Workers’ Comp Death Benefits After Drill Site Accidents. Insurers calculate your entitlement to lifetime benefits by using special average weekly wage (AWW) formulas. You determine AWW by adding together all the wages and benefits earned by the employee in the thirteen (13) weeks immediately before the fatal accident and dividing those wages by thirteen. Importantly, these calculations include the value of health insurance premiums, overtime pay, bonuses, car allowances, and other benefits the employee previously received.
Alternative calculations may be used, including calculations based on similarly situated employees, if the employee did not work in the weeks before the accident. Beneficiaries (generally spouses and children) may also include income from the second job’s income lost due to the oil field accident. However, Texas sets the maximum weekly death benefit at $1,007 as of 2021. Because oil field employees generally command high salaries due to worksite dangers, many families cannot live on this limited income.
Appealing Workers’ Compensation Insurance Denials. Because spouses may demand lifetime death benefits, which can amount to millions in lost wages, insurers adjusters often find ways to deny families needed death benefits. In most cases, insurers may claim the death occurred while the claimant was off-duty, occurred due to preexisting conditions (heart attack unrelated to job site accidents), or the deceased’s conduct disqualifies his/her family from obtaining coverage.
For example, adjusters may claim the injury occurred due to the worker’s intoxication or reckless conduct. It’s important to speak with Texas workers’ comp lawyers immediately after receiving these denials, as families must appeal these denials within 90 days of receiving the initial rejection letter.
Filing Texas Wrongful Death Claims After Fatal Oil Worker Injuries
Workers’ compensation death benefits may provide immediate relief to struggling families; however, they cannot fairly compensate loved ones for their devastating loss. Further, death benefits do not include financial compensation for the pain and suffering experienced by the deceased or payments to loved ones for the emotional, physical, and social losses associated with sudden fatalities.
Importantly, most families don’t realize that Texas workers’ compensation laws only protect their loved one’s employer and employees of that employer (co-workers) from civil liability. They do not protect non-employers –product manufacturers, drill site owners, independent contractors, and employees of other companies—from liability for causing the worker’s wrongful death. It also does not prevent families from demanding punitive damages from employers for intentional and reckless safety violations resulting in the death of an employee.
Parties Eligible to File Wrongful Death Claims and Litigation Deadlines. After fatal Texas oil rig accidents, beneficiaries might file wrongful death litigation under Texas’ wrongful death statute. Only the surviving spouse, children, or parents of the deceased may generally benefit from wrongful death settlements and/or verdicts. Similarly, the decedent’s estate may also assert a claim under the Texas survival statute. If the claim arises out of the gross negligence of the employer who provides workers comp, then only the surviving spouse and children may assert a claim.
Though these individuals have two years from the date of death to file wrongful death lawsuits, they must generally initiate litigation within three months. If they do not, the executor or administrator of the estate—appointed under the will or by default—may bring the case on behalf of the claimant’s beneficiaries.
Wrongful Death Damages Available After Fatal Oil Field Accidents. Eligible claimants may bring wrongful death claims against non-employers who carelessly, recklessly, or intentionally caused their loved one’s fatal injuries. In such cases, claimants may generally demand both economic and non-economic damages above the limited lost income benefits provided by worker’s compensation insurers.
These damages may include:
- The additional 25 percent of the deceased’s lost wages, including the value of future raises
- Lost inheritance and retirement benefits
- Any unpaid funeral costs and medical expenses
- The value of the deceased’s physical pain and emotional suffering before death
- Loss of consortium (physical spousal companionship)
- Lost parental guidance
- Lost social companionship
Studies demonstrate that juries generally calculate non-economic damages, such as lost consortium, by multiplying the value of the family’s direct economic losses. Juries may apportion damages between eligible family members and often award young families substantial non-economic damages in wrongful death cases.
Additionally, families might demand exemplary damages when intentional conduct or extremely reckless conduct results in fatal oilfield accidents. Proving that oil companies sacrificed worker safety for profit, generally by showing multiple OSHA violations, may result in high-value punitive damages awards designed to protect other employees from potentially fatal accidents, in addition to compensatory damages intended to compensate families for their losses.
Timeline for Recovering Compensation Following San Antonio Workplace Deaths
Most wrongful death claims, whether filed with worker’s compensation insurers or against negligent third parties, settle with liable insurance companies. This may include lump-sum settlements received from workers’ compensation, property, automotive, and disability insurers responsible for providing death benefits. Eligible family members should begin receiving workers’ compensation benefits and funeral reimbursement almost immediately after filing their initial claims.
Attorneys may work with workers’ comp insures to request lump-sum payouts for spouses and children thereafter or file quick appeals and demand retroactive benefits. It takes substantially less time to obtain workers’ comp benefits because of the state’s no-fault system. Provided families show the accident occurred on the job and the injuries resulted in their loved one’s death, insurers should pay death benefits regardless of fault.
It takes longer to settle wrongful death cases with liable third-party insurers because these claims require beneficiaries to show that the death resulted from unlawful conduct, which may include general worksite negligence or product defects. Viable cases often settle within 14 months following the fatal oilfield accident. If families elect to litigate their claims, it may take years to recover jury verdicts.
Wrongful death lawyers may recommend filing litigation if insurers refuse to accept liability or make lowball settlement offers that do not reflect your financial and emotional losses. Juries may award wrongful death damages, including high-value punitive damages, regardless of insurance limits.
Benefits of Retaining Experienced Oil Field Injury Attorneys in Wrongful Death Cases
The compassionate San Antonio injury attorneys at the Wyatt Law Firm will help families navigate the complex claims process following fatal oil and gas accidents without any upfront fees or costs. We understand that you need time to grieve, which is why our wrongful death lawyers can handle nearly all administrative matters arising after fatal oilfield accidents.
Despite the devastating nature of your trauma, families must file wrongful death and workers’ compensation claims quickly to preserve their rights to financial recovery. There’s little to no risk associated with contacting us for free today for a confidential case consultation. We don’t get paid unless we recover needed insurance settlements or wrongful death verdicts for the families of Texas oil workers who died on the job.
Hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking,” is a controversial method used by many oil field companies. To extract oil and natural gas from the ground, oil field workers can drill and inject fluid into the ground at a high pressure point. Due to the increased pressure levels, shale rocks containing natural sources of oil and gas fracture, releasing crude oil or natural gas into oil wells.
Although fracking is a common method of extraction, it comes at a price.
During the process of shale rock fracturing, toxic chemicals leak out of the wells and release into the environment. Thousands of employees, oil workers, and innocent property owners have sustained serious injuries, damages, and fatal losses due to irresponsible fracking practices.
Have You Suffered Injury or Toxic Exposure Due to Fracking?
As a result of fracking, hundreds of chemicals, carcinogens (cancer-causing agents), and toxic gases seep out into the surrounding environment, including formaldehyde, lead, mercury, methanol gas, radium, and uranium. The toxic chemicals released during the process of hydraulic fracturing can leak into surrounding soil, gas wells, nearby groundwater, and public drinking water sources.
Workers are not the only ones who might feel the effects of fracking operations, as anyone in the vicinity is at risk of exposure to harsh chemicals, injuries due to explosions, vehicle crashes, and many other dangerous accidents. Whether you are a fracking employee, contractor, or someone unrelated to the fracking operation, always learn about your legal options following a fracking accident and injury.
Common Fracking Injuries
There is a wide range of injuries and illnesses that stem from fracking work, and some common ailments associated with fracking include:
- Sensory impairment due to toxic exposure – Workers can experience difficulty with their vision, hearing, or other sensory abilities.
- Respiratory failure due to toxic exposure – Breathing problems, lung irritations, and long-term respiratory conditions are common among fracking workers.
- Neurological damage due to toxic exposure – Some fracking chemicals can cause brain damage, resulting in a wide range of cognitive and physical impairments that might be irreversible.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning – Fracking workers might have exposure to CO, which can result in long-term neurological, cardiac, and respiratory effects, as well as death in some cases.
- Burn injuries caused by oil rig explosions and fires – If a fire or explosion happens, workers can suffer severe and disfiguring burns, as well as health issues due to smoke inhalation.
- Crushing injuries – These injuries happen due to equipment accidents, vehicle accidents, explosions, and more. A crushed limb might lead to a severe condition called compartment syndrome, which might require surgeries or even amputation.
- Various types of cancer – The chemical exposure possible during fracking can result in leukemia, lung cancer, and other life-threatening types of cancer.
No matter what the nature of your injuries might be from a fracking accident, you likely face significant losses. Your medical bills alone might be high, and you might not be able to work any longer due to your condition. You should learn who was responsible for the fracking accident so that you can know who should be responsible for your injuries and losses.
Dangerous Fracking Chemicals
Fracking operations use many chemicals, and some companies use more than 600 at one site. These chemicals can cause harm to people even when exposure levels seem relatively low. Fracking chemicals can be similar to those in disinfectants, paint thinner, pesticides, and other known toxins.
Oil workers on fracking sites can suffer exposure to heavy metals, silica, nerve poisons, and carcinogens. These chemicals can cause several types of cancer, diseases like silicosis, and other life-threatening health conditions. Research also indicates that some common fracking chemicals can lead to hormone issues that cause infertility or birth defects, including low birth weight.
Fracking operations primarily use silica sand to create fractures in rocks and prevent the cracks from closing. If an operation fails to properly control the silica sand, which workers refer to as “frac sand,” it can cause serious health problems when inhaled. Workers who inhale frac sand can develop silicosis, cancer, and other life-threatening conditions.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) determined that silica exposure is an official safety hazard for those working in fracking operations. NIOSH found that 92 of 116 samples of air from fracking sites spanning five states had more than the recommended levels for worker safety. Petroleum industry advocates successfully oppose decreasing the permissible silica levels in fracking.
To make matters worse, NIOSH also found that face masks were not adequate to reduce silica exposure of workers below the permissible limit. When workers have insufficient safety equipment and exposure to unsafe levels of silica sand, they can develop silicosis.
Silicosis is an interstitial lung disease that directly stems from the inhalation of silica. Silica in the lungs can result in pulmonary fibrosis, which is permanent lung scarring. This is from inflammation from the silica dust, and the inflammation can impede breathing ability. There is no cure, and the condition is progressive, often developing over one to three decades. Lung capacity and functioning reduce, and victims might need oxygen or other respiratory devices for breathing.
People with silicosis can then develop other serious complications, including:
- Progressive massive fibrosis (PMF)
- Kidney disease
- Lung cancer
- Autoimmune disorders
- Chronic bronchitis
The American Lung Association deemed hydraulic fracking as one of the most high-risk occupations when it comes to silica exposure and associated health problems.
Hydrogen Sulfide Exposure
Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless gas that smells like rotten eggs and can be extremely dangerous, even deadly, if inhaled. Workers in oil and gas fields are particularly vulnerable. When companies improperly monitor hydrogen sulfide, or there is a breakdown in equipment or a process, death or serious injury is possible.
Hydrogen sulfide exposure can result in respiratory irritations, eye irritations, convulsions, dizziness, weakness, headaches, mood issues, apnea, or even coma. Workers need immediate medical attention following signs of exposure.
Fracking companies should always follow the NIOSH guidelines for the safe management of chemicals on fracking sites. When they fail to do so, or another type of accident occurs, the results can be severe or even fatal.
Benzene is an often colorless gas common in fracking operations. NIOSH states that benzene can lead to cancer or be toxic to the kidneys, liver, or nervous system. After a year or longer of benzene exposure, workers can suffer serious effects on their bone marrow and red blood cells, possibly causing anemia. Workers might experience excessive bleeding and might be more susceptible to infection.
Benzene exposure can lead to fertility issues, leukemia and other cancer in blood-forming organs, and other health problems. There is no antidote to benzene poisoning, though anyone with signs of benzene exposure should seek professional medical attention. Some signs include tremors, dizziness, confusion, rapid heart rate, fatigue, or loss of consciousness. The long-term effects of benzene exposure are unclear, and many fracking workers might face life-long health problems because of improper benzene control at a fracking site.
Your Rights after a Fracking Injury
Like any other type of accident and injury, the law provides the right to hold others accountable for your losses in certain situations. Workers’ compensation should cover some of your losses, but these claims often fall far short of full compensation for your long-term losses. In addition, some Texas employers choose not to carry workers’ compensation insurance, so injured workers must take other legal action.
To financially recover in a personal injury claim, it is not enough to show you suffered injuries due to fracking. Instead, you must prove that another party was negligent and caused the fracking accident that led to your injuries.
Unfortunately, injured oil field workers are often at a disadvantage when seeking compensation for negligence. While you might know that someone else’s mistake caused your injuries, providing adequate evidence of negligence is another story altogether. To make things more difficult, corporations facing injury lawsuits have deep pockets and do not hesitate to defend themselves aggressively.
The Wyatt Law Firm is more than a match for the attorneys and insurance companies that corporations hire to help them avoid liability. We have a record of success in cases involving oilfield and industrial accidents and aggressively pursue justice and maximum compensation for our clients. Do not hesitate to contact us right away after a fracking accident and injury.
Common Causes of Fracking Accidents
As discussed above, chemical exposure is a major cause of many fracking injuries. However, other types of accidents can happen as well that result from the negligence of another party.
Many fracking accidents involve transportation, as fracking truck drivers can suffer injuries in serious truck crashes. If another driver caused a truck accident, you can file a claim against that negligent driver. On the other hand, truck drivers for fracking operations can cause injuries to others in crashes, and other injured motorists or pedestrians can hold the truck driver accountable for their injuries.
Some truck accidents happen because fracking companies require drivers to use unsafe roads for such heavy vehicles. If road hazards cause a crash and injuries, it might be the fault of the company that improperly used that road or the entity that failed to maintain the road.
Fracking companies have many contractors and subcontractors working on worksites, and these individuals can make harmful mistakes. If a contractor is negligent and causes a fracking accident and injuries, any injured victims can seek to hold them liable for their losses. This is true of anyone on the job site who is not a direct employee of your company.
Fracking involves a wide variety of tools and equipment, both large and small. From heavy machinery to safety equipment, everything must work properly to prevent fracking accidents and keep workers safe.
Unfortunately, manufacturers can make mistakes, and defective equipment can make it to a fracking site. If equipment malfunctions – no matter what type – you can suffer injuries, and the manufacturer should be responsible. In this situation, you would need to file a product liability claim against a company that negligently produced the equipment or participated in the supply chain.
In some cases, a fracking company might knowingly and intentionally place fracking workers in harm’s way. Companies might know that chemical levels are too high and still send workers to work anyhow, knowing that exposure will happen. Fracking companies might also send workers to complete a job knowing they do not have adequate safety equipment for a risky job site. While these cases can be more challenging than negligence claims, they are not impossible, and companies must pay for the harm they caused.
Proving Negligence in Fracking Claims
To prove that your fracking injuries happened due to negligence, you must show that:
- Another party owed you a duty of care, such as the duty to produce safety equipment that is in proper working order for its purpose.
- The party breached the duty of care, such as by producing safety equipment that does not function properly or has defects.
- You suffered injuries because of the duty breach, such as by inhaling toxic chemicals due to defective safety masks.
- You incurred losses due to your injuries, which can include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
While you might intuitively know that someone else caused your fracking accident, this is not enough to prove a negligence claim. Instead, you need to provide reliable evidence to sufficiently prove each element of negligence above.
Evidence in fracking cases can be complicated. It might include:
- Investigative reports
- Analysis by oil and gas industry experts
- Witness statements
- Employment records
- Maintenance records
- Video footage
- Chemical testing of fracking sites
First, you want to act quickly with the help of an experienced fracking accident attorney to ensure that companies do not destroy possible evidence. Your attorney can notify the company of possible legal action and instruct the company to preserve all records and other potential evidence. If the company still destroys important documents or information, it can face penalties down the road.
Next, you want a law firm handling your case with a network of oil and gas experts who can weigh in on what caused the fracking accident. These experts can identify which – if any – parties were negligent and should share in the responsibility for injuries.
Our fracking accident lawyers know how to investigate fracking accidents and pursue claims against all negligent parties on behalf of our clients.
If you suffered injuries in a fracking accident, always:
- Get the medical diagnosis and treatment you need
- Follow your treatment plan as closely as possible
- Do not talk to insurance companies without legal representation
- Never accept a monetary offer from an insurance company or a private party without first having a lawyer review your situation
Many people do not even realize they have options for compensation other than workers’ comp benefits. This is not easy to determine, and you need the right lawyers to make the correct call for you.
We regularly identify when negligence caused a fracking accident to ensure our clients receive full compensation for their losses.
Once you file a claim, you should not communicate with the insurance company on your own. These insurers will do almost anything to convince you to accept an inadequate settlement offer. If you accept an offer that won’t pay your bills, it is impossible to go back and request more funds, and you must pay for many of your losses.
Our attorney knows how to stand up to the insurance companies and legal teams of fracking corporations, and we fight for the maximum financial recovery in every fracking and oil field injury case. The sooner you reach out to our team at the Wyatt Law Firm, the sooner we can begin protecting your rights and interests.
Oil Field Explosions
Explosions are one of the most common oil field accidents. They are often fatal. When they cause serious injuries, the accident victims often require lifetime medical care, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.
Oil Field Accidents Can Have Complex Causes
Texas oil and gas field sites contain dangerous equipment and combustible materials used in the drilling process. Batteries can leak explosive gases. Electrical equipment can short-circuit. Then there is the oil or gas itself, which is highly explosive by its very nature. A single stray spark from a tool can cause a huge explosion and fire.
When you read initial media reports about oil field explosions, one fact stands out. They rarely if ever state what caused these accidents. Usually, the cause can be determined only after a lengthy and thorough investigation. Often, it turns out that a series of events combined to cause a blast.
At Wyatt Law Firm, we have the investigative resources needed to determine how explosions occur. With the help of experienced drilling engineers and other oil field experts, our attorneys will conduct a comprehensive investigation to determine the cause of the explosion and to assign liability.
Oilfield Fires and Explosions
Anyone who works on an oil field knows how dangerous a fire is. And when a blaze erupts, oil workers get seriously injured or die.
The sad thing is, many disastrous oil field fires can be prevented. But drillers, production companies, equipment suppliers and other parties fail in their duties to oil field workers.
Oil Field Truck Accidents
The rapidly growing Texas oil and gas industry demands a lot from its drivers: they must work long hours, manage heavy loads and drive on unsafe roadways. As a result, many oil field workers are victims of road accidents. In other cases, oil field truck drivers cause accidents that harm other drivers.
Oil And Gas Truck Drivers Follow Different Regulations
The oil and gas industry is booming, and the industry giants are doing everything they can to capitalize on that growth. Truck drivers in the industry are exempt from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) service laws, which were put in place to protect truck drivers and others on the road. For oil and gas truck drivers, waiting time does not count toward hours of service; this can extend a work shift by several hours.
Not only are drivers’ shifts too long, the infrastructure to support their work is not substantial enough for the demands. Often, it takes a lawsuit to document poorly maintained equipment or heavy use of roads that were not built for industrial traffic.
San Antonio Oil Field Injuries/Oil Rig Explosions/Offshore Injuries FAQs
The oil and gas industry is a complicated one, and injuries to workers can lead to complex aftermaths and legal claims. The following are some questions our oil field injury attorneys hear, along with some brief answers. If you suffered injuries and want to discuss your specific situation, reach out to our team directly for your free, no-obligation case evaluation.
What Should I Do After an Oil Field Accident and Injury?
If you sustain injuries in any type of oil industry accident, you cannot expect to simply receive compensation automatically without taking action. There are steps you can take to preserve your rights following an accident, and it is important to follow them to ensure you receive fair benefits or compensation for your injuries and losses.
Notify Your Employer – You should let your supervisor or another appropriate representative of your employer know that the accident happened and you suffered injuries as a result. Sometimes, you might not be able to notify them right away due to the severity of your injuries. If this is the case, you should notify them as soon as your health is stable enough.
Get Proper Medical Treatment – Never ignore the signs of a possible injury after an oil field accident. Some people might feel the need to “tough it out” or expect that soreness or other symptoms might dissipate naturally. However, to receive compensation for your injuries, you should have a prompt diagnosis.
Different oil field injuries can result in symptoms that you might discount, including:
- Soft tissue injuries
- Stress fractures
- Ear or eye injuries
If you feel disorientation, stiffness, soreness, ringing in your ears, or any other signs that something might be wrong, it is always best to seek medical treatment. Doctors can properly evaluate you and diagnose any injuries, which provides a record that your injuries stemmed from the oil field accident and not another event. Once you have a treatment plan in place, make sure you follow it so you can reach maximum recovery.
Call Our Offshore Injury Lawyers – Once your physical condition is under control, do not delay in consulting with an experienced attorney who handles oil-related accident and injury claims. We need to start investigating the cause of the accident as soon as possible, especially since the oil company will begin its own investigation immediately. You want to make sure you have the representation you need from the start of the process.
Can I File a Claim Against My Oil Employer?
Generally, injured workers seek benefits for job-related injuries through the workers’ compensation system or under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) for those injured on navigable waters. For this reason, many injury victims do not realize there might be other sources of compensation available.
While our team at the Wyatt Law Firm does not take on workers’ compensation cases, we do help injured workers determine whether they have claims for negligence arising from their accident and injuries.
We can examine whether a party’s negligent conduct led to your injuries and file personal injury lawsuits against:
- Oil and gas companies
- Manufacturing companies
- Any other party responsible for your accident
Never assume that workers’ compensation is your only legal recourse, as these claims often provide much less than you might receive in a personal injury case. For example, workers’ compensation benefits do not cover pain and suffering or other non-economic losses, but a personal injury case can. Discuss your rights to complete compensation with a member of our legal team.
What Should I Do if an Insurance Company Contacts Me Directly?
In some situations, an insurance company for an at-fault party might contact you to discuss what happened. You should be wary of discussing any details of the accident with an insurance representative without the representation of an oil injury attorney.
First, insurance adjusters want you to say something that allows them to avoid liability or downplay your injuries and losses. It is all too easy to make a seemingly harmless remark that jeopardizes your injury claim. Even answering that you are “fine” can lead the adjuster to allege your injuries are not as serious as the claim states
Second, some insurance companies will try to get you to accept a settlement offer that is much lower than you need and deserve. They might offer you money right out of the gate, hoping that you will simply want a quick check in your hand. Beware of early settlement offers, as they are generally insultingly low. This is especially common when an injured worker does not yet have legal representation.
If you accept an inadequate settlement, you cannot go back and ask for additional funds. If you say something that the insurer misinterprets, it can be difficult to backpedal later. When an insurance company calls you, politely decline to discuss anything at length and then reach out to an oil field injury attorney. We can handle all of your communications with insurers to preserve your rights and work toward a settlement that covers all your past and future losses.
How Much is San Antonio My Oil Injury Claim Worth?
This is a question that we cannot answer without knowing the specific details of your case. However, we can describe some common losses for which our clients recover after this type of injury:
Medical expenses – Medical care is expensive, even for seemingly minor injuries. Even one trip to the emergency room can result in a pile of medical bills from several different providers. If your injury requires ongoing medical care, you can face thousands – or more – in expenses.
If your accident was someone else’s fault, there is no reason why you should be responsible for paying a dime for your medical care. Our attorneys know how to take all of your treatment into account, including surgery, hospitalization, medications, medical devices, therapy, and more. We work to ensure that you receive full compensation for your medical bills and losses.
Lost wages – Many oil field accidents result in injuries serious enough to keep you out of work. Even if you only missed a few days of work, it can result in enough lost income to negatively affect your budget. Many people injured in offshore accidents must miss weeks or months of work while they recover. This might be because their doctors instructed them to rest or their injuries impede their ability to perform their job duties. In either situation, you should not have to incur any lost wages due to your injuries, and we can seek compensation for your lost earnings.
Future losses – For many people with severe injuries, the losses do not stop with the resolution of an injury claim or lawsuit. Instead, they might need ongoing care and support for years to come, or they might continue losing earnings long after the case is complete.
For this reason, we have economic and medical experts who can help us calculate an accurate estimate for your future losses. We then seek compensation for these losses, even though you have not experienced them yet.
Intangible losses – If you suffered a serious injury, its effects likely go far beyond your wallet. You might experience pain from your injuries, suffering from limitations, and other adverse effects on your life. While these losses do not directly stem from financial bills or costs, you still deserve to recover financially for intangible losses.
Some common intangible losses in serious oil field injury claims include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental trauma
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Lasting disfigurement and disability
- Loss of consortium (which applies to the spouse of an injured individual)
We fight for all the intangible losses you experienced just as hard as we fight for your financial losses.
What if an Explosion Caused Permanent Injuries?
If this is the case, you are not alone. Oil field explosions are highly dangerous events that can result in life-changing catastrophic injuries. Some of these injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) that results in permanent cognitive or physical impairments
- Complete spinal cord injuries that cause permanent paralysis
- Severe burns that require treatment in burn centers and leave you with permanent scarring
- Amputations of extremities, digits, or limbs
- Permanent inner ear damage that causes hearing loss
If you sustained an injury with permanent effects, it can change almost every aspect of your life. You deserve compensation for the lasting impact of your impairments, disabilities, or disfigurement from your injuries. This is in addition to the losses for future lost earning abilities, loss of quality of life, and more.
How Long Should I Wait to Contact a San Antonio Oil Field Injury Attorney?
Suffering injuries in a serious oil-related accident can be traumatizing. Your entire life can seem to halt as you spend time in the hospital, undergoing surgery, and recovering at home. Between the costs of treatment and the impact on your family’s life, you have a lot to worry about. Many people in this situation wonder how long they can put off contacting an oil field injury lawyer and beginning the legal process.
The reality is that the sooner you get our legal team involved, the better it can be for your case.
Time is not unlimited when it comes to filing a personal injury lawsuit following an oil field injury because:
- Texas has a two-year statute of limitations during which you must file a claim, or the court will likely dismiss your lawsuit.
- Evidence of fault and liability can disappear after the oil company or other parties conclude their investigations, and you want your own representative investigating the accident to gather evidence to support your negligence claim.
Further, you do not need to feel stressed regarding the start of the legal process. Our San Antonio oil field injury lawyers handle every aspect of your claim, such as:
- Identifying all parties that might share liability for your losses
- Calculating your past and future losses
- Filing insurance claims with all the appropriate insurance companies
- Communicating with insurance companies
- Negotiating if an insurance settlement offer is inadequate
- Filing a lawsuit in civil court if necessary
- Handling every part of the litigation process
In reality, calling a lawyer should take the stress off your plate. You can rest assured that we are protecting your legal rights and pursuing compensation while you continue to focus on your physical recovery.
Speak With Our Experienced San Antonio Oil Field Injury Attorneys Right Away
After an oil field explosion or another type of accident, evidence can disappear quickly. You should not rely on the oil company’s investigations, as you want your own representation to determine who should be accountable for your injuries.
Contact a San Antonio oil field injury lawyer at the Wyatt Law Firm right away. You can use our online form or call our San Antonio office at (210) 340-5550 to discuss a possible case and how we can help.
Paula and her team at Wyatt Law Firm represented me professionally and fought hard for every dollar to the very end! She takes her cases personal and actually gets to know you, building a great relationship! She put me in touch with world class doctors right here in Texas! I could not be more pleased!!! I would definitely recommend Wyatt Law Firm to anyone in need of an attorney! At the end of the day, they offer caring, stress free, professional, hard working, services to hard working and honest American people! Don’t waste your time elsewhere!!!
Wyatt Law Firm, PLLC
21 Lynn Batts Lane, Suite 10
San Antonio, Texas 78218