sunrise over oil fieldThe oil industry is crucial to Texas’ economy. Unfortunately, oil fields can be a highly dangerous place to work in. Accidents can result in burns, explosions, permanent injury, and even wrongful death. While it is understandable that an injured individual or their family members may be unsure how to proceed after such an accident, the fact of the matter is that one must take immediate action to protect their rights. This article will discuss how to proceed after such an incident and what rights one may have. I am a Laredo personal injury lawyer who serves south Texas. Contact my office today to schedule an initial consultation.

If you are involved in an oil field accident then it is crucial that you do not try to continue working. Instead, you should immediately report your injury to an appropriate supervisor. Next, it is important to seek immediate medical care and to do so with a doctor/medical provider of your choosing. Do not sign any paperwork that is presented to you by your employer, by lawyers, or other individuals. Such paperwork may be an attempt to have you sign away your legal rights. Next, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer will focus on the important business of protecting your rights while you focus on the important business of getting healthy.

Many believe that their only recourse is through the worker’s compensation system after an oil field accident. This is not the case. First, not all Texas employers are covered by worker’s comp. This means that you may be able to bring an action against your employer directly. Even if your employer is covered by worker’s compensation, you can still bring an action against any third-parties and sub-contractors who bear responsibility for the accident. Examples of responsible third-parties can include equipment manufacturers, companies responsible for maintaining the equipment, companies that were responsible for conducting safety inspections, etc.

The calculation of damages in such a case will consist of several factors. An individual will be entitled to past and future lost wages (who pays this amount can be impacted by whether or not worker’s compensation is involved). They will also be entitled to past and future medical expenses as well as compensation for pain and suffering. If it can be shown that the accident was the result of blatant and wanton disregard for safety, then punitive damages may also be appropriate. It should be understood, however, that Texas is a comparative fault state. This means that if a worker is found to be partially responsible for the accident then their compensation will be reduced by their share of the blame. An example of this would be a worker who suffers $1m in damages but is found by the jury to be thirty-percent responsible for the accident. Under this scenario, the worker would receive $700,000 ($1m – 30%). How the jury will rule in any given situation will always depend on the facts of the case as well as the individual jurors.

If you or a family member have been involved in an oil field accident then it is important that you speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Counsel will take immediate steps to identify the potentially liable parties and will guide you through the process of making the appropriate claims. If you are in need of assistance then contact my Lardo office to speak with a personal injury lawyer. We look forward to speaking with you.