Midland Oil Field Injury Lawyers
CALL (800) 863-5312 to speak with Midland oil field injury lawyers
Texas produces more crude oil than any other state in the U.S. and is responsible for 43% of all crude oil production in the nation. In 2019, Texas boasted 2.5 million jobs in the oil and gas industry, which is nearly 14% of all jobs in Texas. Midland County ranks at the top of oil-producing counties in Texas, and Midland oil field injury lawyers have helped some of them—victims of oil field accidents—get compensation for their injuries.
This article describes the various types of oil field accidents, what to do if you have been in one, and how a personal injury lawyer can help. If you were injured in a Midland oil field or fracking accident, you can reach the Zinda Law Group oil field accident lawyers at (800) 863-5312 and receive your free case evaluation.
Is working in the oil fields dangerous?
While Americans are typically informed about the price of gas as it rises and falls, they might not think about the workers in the oil and gas extraction industry who work to produce that fuel. In the United States alone, more than 120,000 employees work directly in the oil fields extracting oil and gas. It is inevitable that some will be injured while on the job; unfortunately, some are injured fatally.
The oil and gas extraction industries account for well over half of fatal injuries under the umbrella of the private mining industry. Since Texas is the largest producer of oil in the country, it is not surprising that it has had by far the most fatal injuries compared to other states. There were 199 oil and gas industry injuries in Texas from 2007 to 2011 compared to 64 injuries in Oklahoma, the state with the second highest number of injuries.
How do these injuries happen, and who is to blame when they happen? Sometimes, when an oil field injury could have been prevented if the employer had followed industry standards of care, he might be negligent under the law. However, other parties such as the manufacturer of the equipment used might have to take responsibility for an injury. depending on the circumstances.
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Types of disasters Midland oil field injury lawyers see
While accidents can happen anywhere (such as on a commute to an office job or on a slippery floor in a grocery store), some risks are specific to outdoor work, especially work involving heavy machinery and equipment. Therefore, in an oil field, risks are involved with both exposure to the elements and the nature of working with oil. The following are just a few of the countless ways that someone can be injured in an oil field.
Since oil field and fracking take place outside, workers might not get much protection from weather conditions. This can be especially dangerous in the summer, for the average daily high temperature for Midland in July is around 95 degrees Fahrenheit. If workers are not monitored carefully, they could suffer heat stroke in extreme heat.
Ironically, weather-related injuries are some of the more easily prevented injuries. This makes them all the more tragic when an employer fails to take precautions to protect employees. Midland oil field workers count on their employers to help protect them from the sun, lightning storms, and other unworkable weather conditions.
Slip and Fall Injuries
As we said earlier, accidents can happen anywhere. Slip and falls are extremely common and increase in dangerousness as the height of the fall increases. Falls from elevated surfaces occur frequently in construction jobs and in oil field and fracking jobs.
Elevated rigs can lead to serious falls for workers who are anything other than meticulously cautious. This illustrates why employers must understand the importance of training and providing personal protective equipment (PPE). Without these, the injuries from slipping and falling can range greatly, from broken and fractured bones to life-changing injuries like back and spine injuries and head injuries.
Another unfortunately common injury in an oil field is gas poisoning. Hydrogen sulfide is a dangerous, colorless gas that comes up often in oil and gas fields.
It smells strongly of rotten eggs, but that is just a nuisance when considering that workers who are exposed to hydrogen sulfide risk apnea, coma, convulsions, dizziness, headache, weakness, irritability, insomnia, and upset stomach. Someone who is exposed to dangerous amounts of hydrogen sulfide first experiences nausea, then will fall unconscious, and could eventually die if the exposure does not stop.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), this gas is one of the most dangerous gases for workers in the United States and is responsible for many inhalation deaths. Again, workers need the correct PPE to ventilate out the hydrogen sulfide.
Fires or Explosions
When we talk about oil and gas field disasters, many people probably think of fires or explosions. Of course, gas is extremely flammable, and pressurized gas can easily cause an explosion or fire when a spark touches it.
Fires and explosions can seriously burn employees, sometimes disfiguring them. Employers should protect employees from these injuries by making sure that pressurized gas is insulated from any risk of sparks. One of the best ways to do this is by complying with industry standards.
Finally, electrocution is another possible injury that Texas oil field workers could receive. The exposure to chemicals that conduct electricity presents an increased risk of electrocution for employees. Electrocution injuries Zinda Law Group oil field accident attorneys have seen include burns, unconsciousness, and in extreme cases, death.
Who is responsible?
Now that you are more familiar with the kinds of injuries that are common in Midland oil and gas fields, we can delve into how such accidents happen to cause the injuries. The injuries listed above give rise to two types of personal injury cases: negligence on the part of the employer and defective equipment. Understanding who or what caused your injury can give you a better idea of whom to sue and what kind of legal theory is appropriate in your case.
Your Negligent Employer
All of the injuries mentioned above could have been (under the right circumstances) due to employer negligence. The employer might have provided the employee with poor or outdated PPE or might have inadequately trained employees on certain tasks. Even when it comes to equipment, a piece of machinery’s defectiveness might not be the manufacturer’s fault but instead the employer’s if that person failed to maintain the equipment.
If the accident in your case was due to the negligence of your employer, you’re on the right track for finding a remedy. However, your employer might have workers compensation coverage to limit its liability. We will discuss this more later.
Defective equipment is another possible cause of all of the above injuries, except weather-related injuries. When defective equipment causes injury to an employee, the manufacturer must take financial responsibility for the injury regardless of whether the manufacturer was negligent. That kind of liability is called strict liability.
There are three different ways that the equipment could have been defective and caused an injury. First, the equipment may have been designed defectively, in a way that made it more dangerous than necessary.
Second, the equipment may have been marketed and labeled in such a way that made the hazards associated with the use of it unclear, or in such a way that it was unclear how to use the equipment at all. Finally, the equipment may have been manufactured in such a way that could not work safely even though its design was sufficiently safe.
What should I do after an oil field accident?
If you are reading this article, there is a chance that you have already been injured in an oil field accident. If that is the case, you may have already done several of these steps:
1. See a doctor for your injuries, and keep a record of your medical providers, diagnoses, treatment, and expenses.
2. Report the accident to your employer, and keep track of the date you notified your employer, whom you notified, and how your employer responded.
3. Collect evidence at the scene of the accident if you were not seriously injured, and take pictures of the defective equipment or PPE that caused your injury.
4. Consult a lawyer who deals with oil field and fracking cases.
If you have not completed all of the steps listed above, it is never too late to get started. In fact, the sooner you can give evidence to your attorney, the sooner he can start the investigation necessary for filing a successful claim.
What legal routes can I take?
It should be clear by now that the person or entity you file against will depend on the kind of legal claim you file. If you file a negligence claim, the party you are filing against is probably your employer. If you file a strict liability claim, the party you are filing against is most likely the manufacturer of the defective equipment.
However, you might not be able to file a negligence action against your employer if your employer has a workers compensation program. This article is not a substitute for the advice you could get from an injury attorney who will listen to the unique facts of your case. Therefore, it is most wise to speak with a personal injury lawyer for legal advice.
A negligence claim is appropriate when someone owes you a duty of care and then fails to provide that level of care, causing you an injury for which you can receive compensation. For example, if someone invites you into her home, she owes you a duty of care to warn you if there is a missing stair on a poorly lit staircase. If someone drives you to dinner, he owes you a duty of care to adjust his speed when rain affects road visibility.
While the relationship between an employer and employee fits will within these examples, often workers compensation covers employees’ injuries caused by employers’ negligence. In those cases, employees must use workers compensation and may not sue for their injuries.
Texas is the only state that does not require its employers to have a workers compensation program. That means if your employer does not have a workers compensation program, you will not be limited in the amount you could recover if your employer negligently caused your injury.
Workers compensation is insurance for employers that can stop their employees from suing them. In exchange, there is a streamlined compensation system that pays employees for injuries received on the job. The type of injury correlates to a specific compensation amount.
OSHA is the government entity that regulates the safety of the workplace for the majority of private employers and workers. States can adopt the federal version of OSHA or create their own that is stricter on employers than the federal plan. Texas has adopted federal OSHA.
The federal OSHA guidelines can help you determine whether your injury was caused by an OSHA violation, such as not being given the proper PPE for the job.
Finally, if defective equipment caused your injury, then you might be able to hold the manufacturer liable through strict liability. This will depend on lots of evidence about the equipment and the specific facts of your case. We have discussed the three ways in which a product can be defective, but we have not yet noted the things a victim must prove in a strict liability claim.
The victim of an oil field strict liability claim must be able to show that the following things are true:
1. The manufacturer sold the equipment that the victim used.
2. The manufacturer is the commercial seller of that equipment.
3. The victim suffered an injury from using the equipment.
4. The equipment was defective when the manufacturer sold it.
5. The equipment’s defect caused the victim’s injury.
Personal injury attorneys know these elements and can apply them to your case. Since the victim of a strict liability claim is not suing the employer for his or her injury, workers compensation will not stop the victim from pursing compensation through this legal route.
Where can I speak with one of Zinda Law Group’s Midland oil field injury lawyers?
Due to the statute of limitations in Texas, you will not be able to bring your injury claim after two years have passed. Talk to a personal injury lawyer to describe what happened to you, learn your options for moving forward with a claim, and decide whether to hire an attorney. If your employer failed to keep you safe on the job, that is not your fault, and you do not deserve to pay for your employer’s negligence.
As the victim of an oil field injury, you will likely deal with countless medical visits, missing some of your normal work wages, and possibly trauma. Perhaps you have not gotten to participate in leisure and family activities you normally enjoy. You should be able to focus on getting back to your life as it was before the accident rather than spend effort battling your employer for the payment you deserve.
The oil field accident lawyers at Zinda Law Group understand the hardship you have been through because we have helped victims like you. Call (800) 863-5312 and we will schedule your free consultation. Once we get started on your case, you can focus on your physical recovery while we focus on your financial recovery.
When you work with our attorneys, we offer you our No Win, No Fee Guarantee to give you confidence in our services. How confident can you be? We guarantee that you do not have to pay us unless we win your case for you.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.