What Causes Oil Field Injuries?
Working in the oil and gas industry is inherently dangerous, requiring people to labor in extreme weather with heavy machinery and powerful, sometimes unpredictable forces.
Unfortunately, a lack of effective government regulation along with the inconsistent application of safety protocols results in a great number of injured oilfield employees.
A boom in the oil and gas industries in recent years has strengthened the U.S. economy; however, this robust productivity has also resulted in disastrous consequences for the health of over 100,000 oil rig workers.
In Texas alone, there were 65 deaths reported in 2012 -- this number representing a 10-year high. From 2007 to 2012, the U.S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 663 fatal injuries nationwide in oilfield workers, and 40% of these deaths occurred in Texas.
If you or a loved one were injured, contact the oilfield accident attorneys at Schmidt & Clark, LLP today.
You may be entitled to seek compensation through a personal injury claim for medical bills, lost salaries, pain and suffering, and more. Contact us today at (866) 588-0600 for a free consultation.
Types of Oilfield Accidents
- Falls from rigs and equipment
- Equipment failures and/or defective products
- Oil truck accident
- Frac tank mishaps
- Well blowouts
- Explosions and fires
- Toxic chemical spills
- Toxic gas inhalation
Types of Common Oilfield Injuries
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Severe burns
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Oilfield Accident Statistics
The recent explosion of the oil industry has been accompanied by one of the highest injury rates of all occupations, according to a May 2017 E&E News analysis of workplace injury data . By many criteria, oil field workers have the highest injury rate in the U.S., the researchers found.
Data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) suggests that severe injuries among oil workers  are in line with the industry's high number of injured worker deaths.
"It's not at all surprising," said former OSHA chief David Michaels. "It's consistent with the very high fatality rate."
The severe injuries sustained by oil and gas workers — defined as those causing hospitalization or loss of a body part — ranged from major burns sustained in explosions to injured hips from falling in the office lobby.
The most commonly reported injury was amputation, most often fingers and fingertips. Next were fractured, mostly of the legs.
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Workers Compensation Insurance
If you have been injured in an oilfield accident, you may be confused about whether you are covered by a workers' compensation claim.
Because your injury occurred at your place of work, a workers' compensation claim may be an option.
However, sometimes the amount you could receive is not enough to maintain financial stability while you recover.
It is important to note that each case will be different, but there may be other options available to help you recover maximum financial compensation for oilfield injuries.
In most states, employers are not required to carry workers' compensation insurance. This means that if your employer does not carry workers' compensation insurance, you will not receive benefits.
Even if they do have this type of insurance, it may not cover everything you need.
Also, you will have a limited amount of time to file a claim.
A workers' compensation claim can cover financial compensation to accident victims for the following:
- Medical expenses for immediate medical treatment
- Limited compensation for lost wages
- A percentage of medical bills for a permanent impairment
Oil field Worker compensation insurance will provide coverage for medical bills and lost wages while you are out of work, but not for pain and suffering. If someone other than your employer, fellow employee, or you caused your oilfield accident, they are considered a third party. They are not liable to pay the oil field worker compensation claim.
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5 Workers Dead in Oklahoma Oil Rig Explosion
January 23, 2018 - Five people were reported missing and presumed dead after a massive explosion tore through an Oklahoma oil drilling rig, sending plumes of black smoke into the air and effectively totaling the rig, according to emergency officials.
More than 20 workers were at the natural gas well site when the explosion occurred around 8:45 a.m., according to ABC News. Aerial footage showed fires still burning on the collapsed derrick more than 4 hours later.
“Pretty much everything that is on location is on fire,” said Kevin Enloe, Pittsburgh County Emergency Management Director, in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy.
Emergency workers were pulled out of the area, which also contains several other live wells after several subsequent explosions and aftershocks were reported.
The explosion occurred west of Quinton, Oklahoma, about 100 miles southeast of Tulsa. Firefighters let the fire burn down and weren’t putting water on it to keep from spreading possible hazardous materials at the site.
2 Men Injured in Oklahoma Oil Field Explosion
April 3, 2018 - Two oil field workers in Wewoka, Oklahoma, were injured when an oil and gas pumping unit exploded near U.S. 270 and State Highway 56.
The pumping unit was being installed when the oil rig explosion occurred, according to Kevin Greene, Fire Chief of Wewoka.
The oilfield accident was the result of a motor backfiring and igniting natural gas, Green said.
The injured workers were flown by helicopter to a hospital for medical treatment of a serious condition from the oil field injury.
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The surge in U.S. Oil Production was Marked by an Increase in Workplace Injuries
The U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasted in its 2018 report that U.S. crude oil production averaged 10.7 million barrels per day (b/d), up from 9.4 million b/d in 2017.
These numbers are staggering when considering U.S. oil production was less than 4 million barrels per day a decade ago.
Unfortunately, oilfield mishaps at U.S. drilling sites have resulted in a growing number of oil worker injuries, to the point where these incidents are “affecting not just workers but also shareholders as litigation grows at a rapid clip against the oil and gas companies involved,” according to Barani Krishnan, the senior writer/editor at Investing.com.
Compensation for Serious Oil Field Injuries
Oil and gas companies employ tens of thousands of people in oil fields and refineries throughout the U.S. However, this lucrative industry comes at a cost.
Serious injuries in the oil industry cost many workers their livelihoods and, in too many cases, their lives.
According to OSHA, oil field workers face 7 times the rate of serious injury of all other industries.
If you were injured in the oil field, you have the right to compensation through the filing of a personal injury lawsuit. Contact an experienced oil field injury law firm today at (866) 588-0600 for a free consultation.
Oil Field Injury Settlement Compensation Results
- A plaintiff was awarded $2,000,000 after being seriously injured when he fell from scaffolding while working for an insulation company at a natural gas processing facility. The jury determined that the general contractor failed to ensure all workers were a safe distance away from the area where they were testing the system.
- A plaintiff was awarded $1,100,000 in compensation after being severely injured in an oilfield drilling accident. It was determined that the defendants failed to ensure work was being performed safely.
- Plaintiff experienced a severe head injury in an oil rig accident. The case settled for $1,000,000.
- Plaintiff was a derrick hand on an oil drilling well who suffered a severe head injury when a piece of steel fell on him. The steel had been poorly welded into place by a third-party welder before the accident. Plaintiff was awarded $1,000,000 in compensation.
- Plaintiff was awarded $350,000 after being injured when a third-party contractor was operating in an unsafe manner.
- An oil field worker was severely injured when another worker dropped an object on him from on top of a drilling rig, striking the plaintiff on the head and shoulder. Plaintiff suffered soft tissue injuries to his neck and shoulder, resulting in $6,500 in medical bills. The case was tried and a verdict was rendered for $160,000 in favor of the plaintiff.
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Suing in Oil Field Injury Cases
When oil and gas companies do not have workers' comp insurance, an injured worker may be able to sue for maximum compensation following an oilfield accident.
To successfully sue your employer, workers injured must show oilfield injury lawyers that someone acted negligently and this caused their injury.
For instance, maybe a supervisor didn’t provide proper training or personal protective equipment to employees or a fellow crew member neglected to clean an oil spill.
Personal injury lawyers typically file a third-party liability claim when the negligence of a party other than the plaintiff's direct employer contributes to the injury or death of a family member.
For instance, if a manufacturing defect caused a platform a worker was standing on to collapse, that person most likely experienced severe injuries.
In that case, oilfield accident lawyers could sue the platform manufacturer for those injuries.
In a product liability lawsuit, an oilfield injury law firm can sue to recover medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more.
To sue the manufacturer or designer of faulty oil field equipment, you must prove one of these products liability points:
- Design defect - The oil company field equipment had a design defect that made it dangerous. The designer could have chosen a safer design. With a safer design, the equipment would still work well and would reduce the risk of injury. An oil field injury attorney could prove that you suffered injuries because of this design defect.
- Manufacturing defect - Perhaps the oil field machinery was well-designed, but the manufacturing plant made a mistake. If a manufacturing defect made the equipment dangerous and resulted in an oilfield injury, you can sue with the help of an oil field accident lawyer.
- Failure to Warn - Sometimes, even the best-designed and constructed oil field equipment is dangerous. However, the manufacturer should warn you about the dangerous aspects of machinery. If the manufacturer failed to post a warning and you had no reason to suspect the danger, an experienced accident attorney could sue for your injuries. Contact Schmidt & Clark, LLP, today for a free case review.
When You Should Take Legal Action?
If you've been injured in an oil field accident, you have a limited time to recover compensation for your injuries.
You should take these steps to protect your potential compensation:
- Report your injury to a supervisor
- Seek immediate medical treatment
- Do not return to work if you are injured
- Contact an experienced personal injury attorney
The statute of limitation prevents you from filing a personal injury lawsuit after some time passes.
For example, you only have 2 years to file a personal injury, wrongful death, or product liability lawsuit in most states.
Some exceptions apply to this rule, but you should contact a personal injury lawyer immediately so the statute of limitations doesn’t bar your claim.
Do You Need an Oil Field Accident Lawyer?
If you or a loved one was an injured worker, you need an experienced law firm. Oil companies do not have your best interests in mind.
If you try to negotiate with an insurance company on your own, they may try to take advantage of you by offering you fewer workers comp than you deserve.
When you have a skilled attorney on your side, the oil companies can’t trick you into taking a low settlement.
Your attorney will take these steps to try to get you maximum compensation:
- Investigate your accident
- Gather available information
- Interview witnesses
- Review your medical records
- Calculate a fair damages request
- Negotiate with the insurer
- Take your case to trial if necessary
Most reputable oil field accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you owe nothing until your attorney settles your case or wins a verdict.
A contingency payment structure levels the playing field, so you can hire the best attorney for your case even if you are short on funds.
Get a Free Oil Field Accident Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Lawyers
The law firm of Schmidt & Clark, LLP is dedicated to protecting the rights of the American oil and gas worker and is one of the only firms willing to handle this type of complex litigation throughout the entire United States.
Again, if you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in an oil field accident, you should contact our oil field accident lawyers immediately by using the form below or calling our law firm toll-free 24 hrs/day by dialing (866) 588-0600 for a free case review and legal advice.
You may be able to recover compensation from an oil company in a lawsuit and our oil field injury lawyers can help.