Working in the oil and gas industry is a hazardous job, with injury and illness rates more than double those of any other private industry. If you or someone you know has been injured on the job, it’s important to be aware of your rights. You could be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits or a third-party personal injury claim. For assistance in filing either type of claim, contact Rodriguez & Associates for a free consultation.
Common Injuries in Oil Field Accidents
Oilfield workers face a unique set of risks and hazards on the job, making it essential for them to understand the risks of injury and the steps they need to take if they experience one. The following are some of the most common types of injuries experienced in this line of work:
Heavy Equipment Failures—equipment malfunctions are a common risk in the oil and gas industry. These types of accidents may lead to serious injuries, from cuts and bruises to amputations and death.
Fires and Explosions—Oilfield workers are also at risk of fire or explosion due to the nature of their work. These types of accidents are often caused by negligence such as failing to follow safety protocols or using outdated equipment.
Well Blowouts—A blowout is an uncontrolled release of high-pressure gas or oil from an underground wellbore. They can be caused by equipment failure or improper maintenance and can result in serious injury or even death for workers near the site of the blowout.
Fracking Accidents—Fracking is a process used by oil companies to extract natural gas from deposits deep underground. Unfortunately, fracking can lead to serious accidents due to the high pressure involved in forcing out gases from beneath the surface. This type of accident has been known to cause fires and explosions, resulting in serious injury to workers nearby.
Truck and Vehicle Accidents—Oilfield workers rely on trucks and other vehicles for transportation between sites as well as for transporting materials and tools needed for their work. Accidents often occur due to driver negligence or mechanical failure, leading to serious injuries for those involved in the crash.
Slip and Falls—Oilfield sites are often slippery due to spilled fluids or debris on the ground, making them hazardous environments for workers who may not be wearing proper safety gear such as non-slip shoes or hard hats with face shields. Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common causes of workplace injury claims in this sector so it’s important that employers take steps to ensure their sites are kept clean and free from potential hazards at all times.
Understanding Injury Claims in California Oilfield Accidents
If you’ve been injured in an oilfield accident, it’s important to understand the legal process that determines how your claim is resolved.
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that offers protection for both employers and employees in the event that an employee is injured at work. This insurance provides medical coverage and financial assistance to replace wages lost due to missed workdays as a result of the injury. It can also provide benefits if a worker becomes temporarily disabled as a result of their job.
When filing a workers’ compensation claim, there is no need to prove liability. The only requirement is that the accident occurred while you were performing job-related duties. By making a claim, you will forfeit your right to sue your employer.
Notification of Injury and Choosing a Doctor in Workers’ Compensation Claims
The most important step in filing a workers’ compensation claim is notifying your employer as soon as possible after the injury has occurred. It is highly recommended that you notify your employer in writing right away, but it must be done within 30 days of being injured on the job.
Make sure you include details such as the date, location, and description of the accident or incident where you were injured, as well as any medical treatment received.
If you fail to notify your employer within this 30-day deadline, you could end up forfeiting your right to collect any benefits.
Additionally, if you predesignated a personal physician or medical group before being injured, then you can have them treat your work-related injuries immediately after they occur. This can help speed up the process and make sure that all aspects of your injury are properly documented and considered when filing a workers’ compensation claim.
However, if you didn’t predesignate a doctor, an employer or insurance company usually has the right to choose which doctor will treat you for the first 30 days. After that, you may select any physician or facility located within a reasonable geographic area from your residence or place of work.
Of course, if you need emergency medical attention, you should seek help right away.
In some cases, such as those involving defective equipment or negligence by other parties such as contractors, subcontractors, landowners, or manufacturers, you may have the right to sue a third party after an oilfield accident instead of or even if you collect workers’ compensation benefits.
Common examples of third parties include trucking companies and shipping companies that may have contributed to causing an oilfield accident. Depending on what caused the oilfield accident and how severe it was, there could be multiple defendants named in a lawsuit—all of who could potentially be liable for damages incurred by the injured worker.
In this case, you would have to prove that the party was negligent, as opposed to just showing that you were injured in a workers’ compensation claim.
Proving Negligence in Third-Party Oil Field Claims
To successfully pursue a third-party injury claim in oilfield accidents, an injured person must prove the other party was negligent. This involves establishing four key elements: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages.
Duty of Care
The first element the injured party must prove is that the defendant owed them a duty of care. For example, if a third party is responsible for maintaining equipment, they have a duty of care to do this to keep the workers safe.
Breach of Duty
The second element is a breach of duty. The other party must have breached their duty of care owed to you. If an oilfield worker was injured because machinery was not properly maintained and operated, then it could be argued that there was a breach of duty on behalf of the party who failed to uphold their obligation to ensure proper maintenance and operation standards.
The third element is causation. The breach of duty must have caused your injuries. This can be shown through witness statements or through expert testimony from medical professionals who can provide evidence about how your injury was caused by the defendant’s actions or inaction.
You will need evidence such as medical bills and/or lost wages to demonstrate that you suffered losses because of the defendant’s negligence. Additionally, if you are seeking compensation for pain and suffering due to emotional distress caused by the incident in question, you may need expert witnesses – like therapists and psychiatrists – who can attest to this fact in court.
Contact Rodriguez & Associates For Help With Your Oil Field Injury Claim
If you’ve been injured in an oil field accident, a qualified personal injury lawyer can help your fight for the maximum possible financial compensation for your injuries. Here’s why you should work with us:
- We provide “big firm results with small firm service” which means that while your case may be complex, our attorneys will provide personalized attention – something many firms cannot do due to their size or lack of resources or experience.
- We prioritize strong communication with our clients at all times because we know that when you don’t understand something or need clarification, it can be unsettling.
- You will always receive timely responses and clear explanations should any questions arise during the process so that you can stay informed about what is going on with your case. You never have to feel like you are bothering us.
For help after an oil field injury, contact Rodriguez & Associates to schedule a free consultation.