Oilfield accidents cause hundreds of deaths and injuries each year, and many of these tragedies take place right here in our backyard. For workers and their families, the physical and emotional trauma from these accidents can be devastating, placing a scary question mark on the future. Plus, insurance companies often make the process of getting compensated for the staggering cost of treatment and lost wages a nightmare.
We want you to know there is hope. The oilfield injury attorneys at Pierce Skrabanek have the experience necessary to fight for you against these companies – and with significant victories for our clients against large corporations like Exxon and BP, we have the track record to show for it.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an oilfield accident, contact our legal team today at (832) 690-7000. Our oilfield injury lawyers are eager to help you stand up to big oil companies and get what you deserve.
Oil & Gas Statistics
Oil and gas workers are subjected to some of the most dangerous working conditions in the country. A 2013 study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that out of 4,405 Americans who died from workplace injuries, 112 of them – 2.5% – worked in the natural resource industry.
These numbers reflect that more than 19 out of 100,000 people in the oil and gas industry are killed each year, while other private businesses experience a death rate of just over 3 out of 100,000. The difference is shocking, and it reflects the stunningly dangerous conditions workers operate in.
The country’s massive demand for oil over the last decade has often led oil companies to focus more on maximizing profits than on ensuring the safety of workers. Between 2004 and 2008, there was a 21% increase in fatal work injuries in the U.S. – and in Texas alone, there were an average of 39 oilfield-related deaths between 2007 and 2011, as reported by the Houston Chronicle. The same investigation found that Texas accounts for 40% of all oilfield deaths in the country, and nearly half of these are caused by motor-vehicle crashes and workers being struck by machinery or equipment.
The lack of enforcement for safety procedures by oil and gas companies, and the absence of strict government inspections, both contribute to disastrous oilfield accidents. The statistics are a tragic reminder of how often someone is forced to pay for this with his or her health — or life.
Causes of Oilfield Accidents
The equipment used on an oilfield is extraordinarily dangerous. Even the slightest misstep can cause someone to suffer catastrophic injuries. Some of the most common causes of these accidents are:
- Employer negligence
- Defective or improperly maintained machinery
- Worker fatigue
- Trench or mine collapses
- Inadequate safeguards at drilling and refinery sites
Types of Oilfield Accidents
Common types of oilfield accidents include:
- Fire and gas explosions
- Boating, aircraft or truck accidents
- Drilling operation blowouts
- Toxic chemical exposure
- Crane operation mishandling
- Slips and falls
Common Injuries After an Oilfield Accident
- Serious burns
- Back and spinal injuries, including fractures and herniated discs
- Chemical burns
- Torn muscles and ligaments
- Loss of vision or hearing
- Traumatic brain injuries and head trauma
Oilfield accident injuries often require extensive medical care, surgeries and physical therapy that can ruin finances and inhibit your ability to recover. Having the right attorney at your side through this process can make a major difference in your quality of life going forward as you begin the healing process.
What to Do After an Oilfield Accident Injury
The first thing you need to focus on following an oilfield injury is your health. With the dramatic nature of oilfield accidents, making sure you receive medical attention as soon as possible is the first priority. If possible, take or have someone take pictures and videos of the accident site, any equipment that was involved and the injured parts of your body.
Second, report the injury as soon as you are medically able to your employer. This needs to happen so there is documented record of the injury happening, and the claims process can begin. Even if you are still able to work, stop immediately and contact an attorney.
Do not give any formal statements or sign any documents regarding the accident before speaking to your oilfield injury attorney first. You may be signing away important rights or agreeing to a settlement that pays you much less money than you’re owed.
Recovering Compensation for Oilfield Injuries
Compensation for oilfield injuries is usually recovered through workers’ compensation. This insurance also covers death expenses in the event of a fatal accident.
Oilfield accidents are often the result of negligence or improper conduct, and losing your health or your life due to this dangerously reckless behavior is unacceptable. You may also be able to receive damages from a personal injury lawsuit if the negligence of a third party contributed to your injury. A third-party lawsuit is separate from a workers’ compensation claim, and may entitle you to additional money in TX.
Remember never to agree to any settlement offered by an insurance company before your oilfield injury lawyer investigates the accident for possible defective equipment, employer negligence or other issues. Call our Houston office today at (832) 690-7000 for a no-obligation, no-cost consultation with our oilfield accident attorneys.
At Pierce Skrabanek, we find out what was responsible for your injury, we stand up to oil and insurance companies, and we don’t stop until you receive the justice you deserve.
I have never filed a lawsuit, how does this process work?
The first step in this process is to call our law firm for a free case evaluation. We will analyze the facts of the case and the law that applies to your case. If we agree to accept your case, we will send you a contract and a medical authorization. These documents allow us to collect your medical records. We will review your medical records, including operative reports, nurse’s notes, doctor’s notes and laboratory results. We will also bring in medical experts to help evaluate your case if necessary.
Once we have confirmed your injuries, we will file a lawsuit against the Defendant(s). Once we have filed the lawsuit, “discovery” begins. Discovery is an exchange of information between the parties. This document exchange will include accident reports, corporate documents, medical records and other documents. During this process, depositions will be taken. Depositions are oral examinations conducted under oath when both parties are present. Depositions are taken with a court reporter who types up a transcript of the questions the lawyer asks and the witness answers. Sometimes, a videographer will be present to film the examination.
What type of compensation will I receive?
Some of the compensation that we will work to obtain for you includes loss of income, disability, property damage, medical bills, ongoing medical treatment costs and pain and suffering. We understand the financial, emotional and physical stress that an accident can cause; we will fight hard to obtain the maximum recovery for you.
How much is my oilfield accident case worth?
This depends on several factors including the type of injury sustained, past and future lost earnings, future medical treatment, medical expenses and pain and suffering. We will also look into the negligence of the company. The first step to obtaining a potential value on your case is to contact one of our attorneys for a free case evaluation. We will analyze the facts of your case and the law to assess the best way to approach your case. For more information regarding our experience in oilfield accident injury cases, please visit our case results page.
What are the top 10 states for oilfield and pipeline accidents?
*Assault on America: A Decade of Petroleum Company Disaster, Pollution, and Profit, National Wildlife Federation, 2010
How many oilfield accidents occur in a year?
From 2000-2009, approximately 2,554 significant accidents, 161 fatalities and 576 injuries occurred onshore in the United States. From 2001-2007, approximately 1, 442 incidents occurred offshore. These included 302 injuries, 476 fires, 41 fatalities and 356 pollution events.
In Texas, the largest producer of oil and gas, from 2004 to 2008, the number of fatal work injuries increased by 21%.
What are the five greatest oil spills?
1977- The Hawaiian Patriot spilled 30 million gallons
1979- Ixtoc I spilled 140 million gallons
1989 Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons
2010 BP Deepwater Horizon spilled 210 million gallons
What are the most common injuries that occur in oilfields?
The most common injuries include slip and falls, burns, head injuries and orthopedic injuries including spine and neck injuries.
What are the most common oilfield accidents?
Transporting heavy equipment/machinery, gas leaks, explosions, blowouts, pipeline fire and drilling rig malfunctions.
How much revenue do oil companies make?
It was reported in 2009, that the top 10 petroleum producing companies generated $2.8 trillion in revenue and $150 billion in profit in 2009.
For more information regarding oilfield accident injuries, please contact Pierce | Skrabanek. We have the knowledge and experience necessary to represent you. We handle all cases on a contingency basis which means we don’t get paid unless we win your case. We have obtained millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for clients.