The oil field is the most dangerous workplace in America. A recent study by OSHA found that more workers were killed and injured in the oil field than in any other U.S. industry. The same study revealed that in Texas alone, nearly 80% of oil field injuries and deaths could have been prevented with safer procedures and equipment.
The oil field injury attorneys at The Callahan Law Firm are dedicated to fighting on behalf of injured workers. We have represented oil field workers and surviving family members of oil field workers who were injured or killed in drilling rig accidents, work-over rig accidents, as well as workers who were injured while on a well site tending to the pump or storage tanks.
For more than 25 years, the oil field injury attorneys of The Callahan Law Firm have fought to protect the rights and interests of injured oil field workers and their families. We know that the big oil companies and their insurers will try to avoid paying you the fair compensation you deserve. We have been on the inside of insurance companies, so we understand their tactics. Now we use that experience to fight insurance companies on your behalf.
We work tirelessly to secure fair and full compensation for you. Our mission is to obtain the financial resources you need to get treatment, pay your bills, support your family, and begin your recovery after a serious oil field accident injury.
Do not hesitate to talk to a Houston oil field injury lawyer about your case. Contact The Callahan Law Firm today to schedule a free initial case evaluation. We can discuss your case, and you will learn about pursuing financial compensation for your injuries and damages.
The Risks of Working in an Oil Field
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, one recent year saw 69 fatalities in the oil and gas industry. Texas led the way with 44 fatalities. Oklahoma had six fatalities that year, and Louisiana had three.
The top fatal events included:
- Vehicle incidents, account for 29 fatalities or 42 percent of all oil and gas industry fatalities
- Explosions and fires, accounting for 10 fatalities
- Being struck by objects, accounting for 9 fatalities
Other fatality-related events included crush accidents, falls from heights, exposure to harmful substances or environmental contamination, being struck by a falling object, electrocutions, and pipeline accidents. In addition to these tragic deaths, there were thousands of injuries to oil field workers in the same time period. Given the dangerous nature of oil field work, persons injured in oil field accidents often have more severe injuries than workers in other industries.
What Types of Claims Can Be Made for a Personal Injury in an Oil Field Accident?
When an injury happens on the job, the injured employee will often make a workers’ compensation claim with the employer’s insurance company. Unfortunately, the benefits available through a workers’ compensation claim are very limited.
Depending on the nature and severity of the injury, an oil rig worker could receive the following benefits from workers’ compensation:
- Reasonable and necessary medical treatment for the work-related injury or illness
- Partial wage replacement for days missed from work, or for a reduction in duties or hours necessitated by an injury that results in a reduction in earnings
- Disability payments
- Vocational rehabilitation for training in a new job within a worker’s physical capabilities
However, some employers in Texas and other states choose not to subscribe to worker’s compensation insurance for their employees. If you are employed by one of these non-subscriber employers and are injured on the job, you are not eligible for worker’s compensation benefits. Instead, you will have to make a non-subscriber claim against your employer’s private insurance plan. However, because these private non-subscriber plans do not have some of the same protections found under worker’s compensation laws, you are at the mercy of the insurance company to decide what medical care you should receive and whether you should get wage replacement benefits. Often, the only way to get the full compensation you deserve in these claims is to hire an attorney and file a lawsuit against your employer. Only then will your non-subscriber employer and its insurance company be forced to pay you the compensation you deserve. If you have been injured while working in the oil field and were employed by a non-subscriber employer, you need an attorney who has experience in representing injured oil field workers in non-subscriber lawsuits.
Depending on the facts of the accident, additional legal claims can be made. Oftentimes there are workers from many different companies working together on a drilling site or work-over site. If an employee from a different company or a piece of machinery from a company different from your employer caused or contributed to your injury, a claim of negligence can be filed against that company. In these types of injury cases, you may be eligible for the following compensation:
- Medical expenses in the past and future
- Lost wages in the past and future
- Impairment in the past and future
- Pain and suffering in the past and future
If you have been injured as a result of work in the oil field, there are many factors to consider when evaluating your legal options. That is why it is important to talk with an experienced lawyer who has successfully represented individuals and families in oil field cases.
How an Oil Field Injury Lawyer in Texas Can Help with Your Case
When you have been injured in an oil field accident, you may not know how to get compensation for your injuries and damages. At The Callahan Law Firm, our experienced Houston oil field injury attorneys can help you by:
- Conducting a thorough, independent investigation of our own into your accident to determine how it happened and who may have been responsible for the accident.
- Identifying the party or parties liable to you for your injuries and the financial resources that may be available to you, including whether you may be entitled to pursue a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury claim, and whether liable parties have insurance coverage to pay compensation to you.
- Filing claims for compensation on your behalf, including claims with your employer (or its insurer) and with the state, or filing personal injury claims against at-fault parties and their insurers.
- Aggressively negotiating for a settlement of your claim that provides you with fair and full compensation for your injuries.
- Always preparing your case as if it were going to trial so that if the other side refuses to offer a fair settlement, we can give you the best possible opportunity for securing the financial recovery you need and deserve.
At The Callahan Law Firm, our legal team has extensive experience to help clients with complex oil field injury cases. Our founding attorney Michael S. Callahan has a background in mechanical engineering that allows him to thoroughly understand the technical aspects of your accident. Attorney Casey M. Brown previously defended insurance companies, so he knows how they fight against injured victims’ claims.
Mr. Callahan also possesses board certification in Personal Injury Trial Law from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. That distinction is held by fewer than two percent of all attorneys in Texas. You can trust that if your case must go to trial, our legal team has the knowledge and skill to get you the favorable results you deserve.
We offer all prospective clients a free case review to discuss the details of their case and to answer their questions. When we represent you in your oil field injury case, you owe us no fees unless you win
Time Limit for Filing an Oil Field Accident Claim in Texas
If you can file a personal injury claim for your oil field accident injuries, you generally have two years from the date of your accident in which to file a personal injury lawsuit. This two-year period is known as the statute of limitations. The two-year period may not begin to run until you become aware of the facts and circumstances of your injury. If you fail to file your claim or lawsuit within the deadline that applies to your case, you will likely have your claim or suit permanently dismissed.
What to Do If You Have Been Hurt in an Oil Field Accident
After you’ve been injured in an oil field accident, you can immediately take steps to help protect your legal rights. Taking these steps will put you in a good position to obtain financial compensation for your injuries and damages:
- Report your accident to your employer. Report your accident and injuries to your employer as soon as possible. Your employer will likely prepare an accident or incident report and will also likely initiate the workers’ compensation claim process with their insurer (if your employer has workers’ compensation insurance) and with the state Division of Workers’ Compensation. If you delay reporting your accident, you may lose key evidence or information. You may also give your employer cause to doubt your report of the accident or the injuries.
- Document the accident scene. This involves taking photos of the accident scene (if possible and safe to do so). Photograph what you believe caused the accident. Also, photograph warning signs or safety equipment. In addition, get the contact information of any eyewitnesses to your accident. If any third parties – other companies or their employees – may have been responsible for your accident, get their contact and insurance information.
- Get examined by a doctor. Even if you do not think you were seriously hurt in your oil field accident, you still need to get examined by a physician. You may not feel significant pain or other symptoms of injury for days or even weeks following your accident. A doctor doing a physical exam may be able to identify any injuries. Promptly diagnosing your injuries allows you to persuasively argue that those injuries were caused by the oil field accident and not by something else, such as a pre-existing condition. Prompt diagnosis also allows you to get treatment more quickly and potentially improve your prognosis.
- Talk to an oil field accident lawyer from The Callahan Law Firm. You may need to make quick decisions about your legal rights and options for compensation. Contact us as soon as possible after your oil field accident. That allows us to promptly begin investigating your accident and building your case. We can also advise you on what steps to take following your accident.
Common Injuries from Oil Field Accidents
Workers injured in oil field accidents are often faced with more severe injuries than those in other industries. Common oil field injuries include:
- Burns from explosions and fires or chemical burns
- Head injuries from being hit by equipment or from getting thrown during an explosion
- Amputation and Crush injuries from being crushed under equipment
- Respiratory issues from breathing in toxic fumes or chemical exposure
- Eye injuries due to flying debris
- Hearing loss because of the levels of noise from the equipment and machinery
How Oil Field Accidents Can Be Prevented
There are many things a workplace can do to ensure the safety of its employees and prevent or limit accidents in the oil field. The following is a list of safeguards every employer should take to keep their staff safe when working on an oil field:
- Ensure all equipment is regularly inspected and maintained.
- Proper training for all employees, whether full-time or contractors.
- Use of anti-pressure devices to help prevent explosions.
- Limit driving time and work hours to prevent exhausted workers.
- Utilize respiratory equipment to prevent breathing in toxic fumes.
- Proper use of safety equipment such as eye masks, gloves, and helmets.
Oil Field Regions
There has been a recent boom in drilling and exploration for oil and natural gas in a number of shale fields around the nation. Contact us if you have been injured in any type of accident involving oil or natural gas exploration in any national shale region such as the Permian Basin, Barnett Shale, Bakken Shale, the Eagle Ford Shale, or the Marcellus Shale.
We are based in Houston, the energy capital of the world, and we have the capacity to represent victims of oil and gas exploration accidents nationwide.
- Texas – From our Houston law offices, we represent people injured on shale exploration sites such as the Permian Basin, Eagle Ford Shale, Barnett Shale, and Haynesville Shale.
- Louisiana – The Haynesville shale region, also known as Shreveport Shale, stretches between Texas and Louisiana. It is widely thought to be one of the most abundant shale sources of natural gas.
- Colorado – Energy companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars tapping into the shale oil deposits in the Niobrara, Lewis, and Pierre shale exploration sites in Colorado.
- New Mexico – The Lewis and Pierre shale fields stretch into New Mexico as well, along with the Leonard, Barnett, and Woodford shale sites.
- Wyoming – The DJ basin, which includes the Niobrara shale, is an active oil and gas exploration region that extends into Wyoming.
- Pennsylvania – The Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania is the subject of heavy exploration due to high concentrations of natural gas.
- North Dakota – The Bakken Shale, also known as the North Dakota Shale, located in the Williston Basin, stretches down from Canada into North Dakota and Montana.
Talk to an Oil Field Lawyer in Texas Now
If you have been injured in an oil field accident in Texas or elsewhere throughout the country, learn more about the compensation you may be entitled to for your injuries and damages. You will also learn how our Houston oil field injury lawyers can ensure you receive maximum financial compensation in your case.
To protect your health and your rights, you should take the following steps after a workplace accident:
- Seek medical attention immediately.
- Verbally notify your employer of the accident as soon as possible.
- Report the accident to your employer in writing when you are able, and keep a copy for yourself.
- Contact an experienced workplace accident attorney to discuss your legal options, which may include a personal injury claim, a workers’ compensation, or both, depending on your situation.
- Keep track of your time off from work and medical providers.
- Follow your physician’s treatment plan.
The legal team at The Callahan Law Firm handles personal injury claims in a wide range of workplace injury cases, including those that involve:
While you can file a workplace injury claim without the assistance of a lawyer, it can be a confusing and challenging process, especially if you are still recovering from injuries. An experienced attorney can provide the guidance you need and handle the details of your claim to help you get the most compensation available under the law.
If your employer does not have workers’ compensation coverage or if a third party was responsible for your accident, having an experienced workplace accident lawyer becomes even more crucial as the attorney can help determine who is responsible, ensure a proper investigation is done and critical evidence is preserved, and file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party on your behalf.
If a personal injury lawsuit needs to be filed because of a workplace accident, under Texas law, the general rule is that the lawsuit must be filed within two years from the date of the accident. If you miss the deadline, you will likely lose your right to make your claim. That is why it is important to consult with a workplace accident lawyer as soon as possible to determine your rights when your claim must be filed, and take the necessary steps to maximize your financial recovery.
It depends. If you were hurt on the job because of the negligence of a third party (a person or company – not your employer – who caused your injury), your claim can include compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, physical impairment, and more. If the negligence of your employer caused your injury and your employer did not have workers’ compensation insurance, you may be able to make a claim for negligence against the employer for compensation for these same elements of damages. If your employer did have workers’ compensation at the time of your injury, a workers’ comp claim can be made for benefits such as medical care and lost wages. And if a loved one tragically passed away due to work-related injuries, your family could be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death claim or death benefits from workers’ compensation. In many instances, more than one of these claims can be made. A knowledgeable workplace accident attorney can determine the type of claim or claims that can be made to ensure you and your family are fully compensated under the law.