Corpus Christi Oilfield Injury Law Firm
Why You Need an Attorney After an Oil Rig and Refinery Accident
Working on an oil rig or at an oil refinery is challenging and dangerous work. The industry provides jobs and supports the Texas economy, but at a price. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S. oil and gas extraction industry (both onshore and offshore) has a combined fatality rate seven times higher than that faced by all other U.S. workers. Moving equipment, the threat of fire or explosions, and breathing harmful gases are just a few of the factors that contribute to both fatalities and serious injuries.
The Patel Firm PLLC
An oil rig or refinery accident is a serious matter that demands accountability. At the Patel Firm PLLC, we utilize the latest technology, and we aggressively pursue justice for our clients. We also stay in communication with you so that you never wonder about the status of your case.
Having someone on your side, protecting your best interests, is crucial during the stressful time that follows a serious accident. Knowing that your case is in good hands affords you the peace-of-mind that you need to concentrate on your health and family. We work hard to ensure that our clients don’t pay out-of-pocket for injuries that resulted due to no fault of their own.
You don’t go to work expecting to leave severely injured. When an accident occurs due to a coworker playing a prank or safety equipment that fails, demand justice and contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
We proudly serve residents of Corpus Christi and all of Texas. Don’t trust your case to just any personal injury lawyer. Let us put our experience and knowledge of Texas law to work for you. Our legal team is highly skilled in negotiating fair settlements on behalf of our clients as well as litigating complex cases. It is our pleasure to serve you during this challenging time in your life.
How Oil Rig and Refinery Accidents Occur
Working on an oil rig or at a refinery is hard work. There are plenty of opportunities for something to go wrong at any moment. While all jobs have a certain level of danger, oil industry jobs are especially hazardous due to the potential for fires and explosions. Powerful drills and exposure to dangerous vapors are all a part of the job.
When an accident occurs due to the reckless behavior or negligence of someone else, it can change the life of an injured individual. The reality is that dangerous behaviors and actions that result in harmful accidents are 100 percent preventable.
Research by several federal agencies identifies the top types of oil rig or oil refinery accidents. The following list contains a few of the key causes of oil industry accidents:
Transportation accidents – The data from the CDC lists transportation accidents as the leading cause of injuries and fatalities for oil industry workers. The transportation of equipment and workers is necessary due to remote locations and especially for offshore facilities. Aircraft accidents—necessary for lifting, transporting, and delivering equipment—are among the highest causes of fatalities and serious injuries.
Struck-by, caught-in, and caught-between accidents – These accidents account for three of every five on-site fatalities, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Multiple hazards cause struck-by, caught-in, and caught-between accidents, including:
- Moving equipment (particularly cranes)
- Falling equipment
- High-pressure lines
Falls – Oil industry workers often have to conduct tasks at levels high off the ground. Falls from elevated equipment and without the proper safety guards in place can result in devastating injuries.
Confined spaces – OSHA lists confined spaces as another area of concern for oil rig and refinery workers. Many workers in the oil industry must enter storage tanks, reserve pits, and other confined spaces around a wellhead. Health hazards associated with confined spaces at an oil rig or refinery include exposure to hazardous chemicals and possible asphyxiation. If a confined space has the potential for such danger, OSHA requires that it becomes designated as a permit-required area, constantly monitored, and tested before entry.
Poorly trained workers – Sometimes, businesses focus more on getting the job done, rather than getting it done right or safely. Putting new employees into service before they receive all proper training places them and all other workers at risk for serious harm. Profits before people is a popular phrase that sadly refers to too many of our nation’s key industries.
Some coworkers are simply careless and fail to take important safety measures. No matter how much training a company provides, there will be employees who ignore or don’t care about the associated risks of their work. Their negligent behavior places everyone around them at risk for serious injuries.
Chemical exposure – Inhalation of toxic vapors and the exposure to diesel particulate matter from diesel engines can place workers at risk for health issues. Without the proper respiratory, eye, and face protection, employees may suffer caustic burns and/or develop breathing issues.
The need for immediate medical transport from an oil rig or refinery requires anxiously waiting for a helicopter or ambulance. When a catastrophic injury occurs in a remote location or at an offshore site, every minute counts. These types of serious injuries require much more than any onsite first aid can provide.
No matter how carefully you perform your necessary tasks, it only takes a second for a tragic accident to occur. When the accident is the result of reckless behavior or negligence on the part of another person, company, or both, you may be entitled to financial compensation.
Types of Injuries Caused in Oil Rig and Refinery Accidents
In the oil industry, the constant movement of machinery and dangerous risk of fire leaves no room for careless mistakes or negligence. When coworkers or companies fail to adhere to government and state safety regulations, they place everyone on the site in harm’s way. Here are just a few examples of injuries that can occur from an oil rig or refinery accident:
- Burns – Workers in the oil industry face the risk of serious burns due to possible explosions and fires. The very nature of their work involves working around flammable gases, such as well gases, vapors, and hydrogen sulfide. Ignition sources, such as cigarettes, can cause the worksite to erupt in flames. A patient with severe burns often requires treatment at a specific burn center, resulting in travel for family members. Burn treatment may involve painful skin grafts and cosmetic surgery.
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) – The CDC defines a TBI as a bump, blow, jolt, or penetrating head injury that disrupts normal brain function. The heavy-duty equipment used at oil sites involves moving parts. A blow to the head by a piece of machinery or a serious fall can result in a life-changing TBI. Severe TBIs can affect cognitive and motor function, along with sensation and behavioral changes.
- Broken bones – With more than 200 bones in the human body, breaking one or more on the job is a real possibility. The type of break you suffer will determine your length of recovery. Future surgeries, extensive physical and occupational therapies, and loss-of-use are all real possibilities. Those who sustain severe breaks or crushed bones may face the amputation of limbs.
- Spinal cord injuries – The spinal cord serves an important bodily function in communicating with the brain. By sending and receiving messages, the spinal cord helps control movement and sensation. When damaged, this communication stops or becomes very limited. Patients with a spinal cord injury may suffer from paralysis, and many require a power chair for mobility and home modifications. The estimated yearly costs associated with a spinal cord injury reaches into the millions of dollars.
- Internal injuries – You may feel fine immediately following an on-the-job accident when, in reality, you have internal injuries. These types of injuries are especially concerning because they don’t always show outward signs. Diagnosis of an internal injury, such as internal bleeding or organ damage, requires a medical professional and testing. Always accept or seek medical treatment after an accident on an oil rig or refinery—even if you don’t feel injured.
An accident that occurs on an oil rig or at an oil refinery can result in one or more of the serious injuries listed above. A victim may sustain burns and a head injury. The true extent of an injured individual’s injuries may not be known until he or she reaches a trauma center or local hospital.
Any delay in medical care can add to a victim’s health issues. Getting the victim to a medical facility as soon as possible is essential for his or her survival. If you have experienced serious injuries because of someone else’s reckless behavior or negligence, contact the Patel Firm PLLC to schedule a free case evaluation.
When an Oilfield Job Becomes Fatal
Texas law allows parents, children, and the spouse of a decedent to file a wrongful death suit. Any possible compensation is typically based upon the following information:
- The decedent’s profession
- The decedent’s financial prospects had he or she lived
- The role the decedent played in the beneficiary’s life
- The medical bills of the decedent for the injuries that resulted in his or her death
There are two types of claims that can occur when death occurs from workplace injuries. A wrongful death claim applies when death happens immediately at an accident location. A survival action applies when the decedent initially survives an injury but later succumbs to the injury.
Understanding the complex laws involving wrongful death claims requires the skills of a highly experienced legal team. At the Patel Firm PLLC, our wrongful death lawyers treat our clients with the respect they deserve during this emotional and stressful time. Let our legal team handle the details of your claim so that you can focus on grieving and supporting your family.
Your Corpus Christi Oilfield Injury Lawyers
Everyone deserves to work in a safe environment. While there are associated risks with any job, no one expects to become severely injured, or killed, due to a negligent workplace.
Working on an oil rig or at an oil refinery is a job that comes with great responsibility. With the proper training, safety equipment, and dedicated coworkers, employment in the oil industry can result in a rewarding career. OSHA sets safety regulations that the oil industry must follow; however, some regulations are often ignored to create shortcuts. It is these shortcuts that can place employees at risk for great harm.
When an on-the-job accident occurs due to the negligence of a company, defective equipment, or a careless coworker, your career may suddenly end. Depending upon the severity of your injury, you may never return to the career that you had before the accident.
Stressing about lost wages and medical bills during this difficult time will only delay your recovery. When an insurance company representative makes you an attractive settlement offer soon after your accident, don’t accept it right away; contact us. While the amount may seem like a large sum of money, chances are it won’t cover your future medical needs. Don’t speak with any insurance representatives, and don’t sign anything, before consulting an attorney.
Insurance companies are only looking out for themselves—not you. At the Patel Firm PLLC, our legal team is aware of the tactics that insurance companies use to avoid paying fair settlements. We put our experience and skills to work for our clients, and we don’t stop until we secure the compensation that you deserve. If we are unable to reach an out-of-court settlement that suits your needs, we will take your case to trial.
While every case is different, you should contact us to determine your eligibility to seek financial compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Time is of the essence, however, so don’t delay. State laws regarding the statute of limitations for filing personal injury cases are strict. The sooner we review your case, the sooner we can get to work for you.
The oil industry employs thousands of Texans. No one should suffer severe and life-changing injuries simply because of negligence at the workplace. To schedule your free case evaluation, call the Patel Firm PLLC at 361-400-2036, or contact us online.