Arizona Oil Field & Fracking Injury Lawyers
CALL (800) 863-5312 to speak with an oil field injury lawyer in Arizona
As they watch gas prices soar and tumble, sometimes Americans forget what it takes to fill up their tanks for their daily commute. It is unlikely that they often consider the more than 120,000 employees in the United States who work in the oil and gas extraction industry to produce fuel.
Well over half of fatal injuries in the private mining industry are from the oil and gas extraction industries. This article will help you understand how those injuries occur, what legal actions are appropriate, and how an Arizona personal injury lawyer could help.
If you were injured in an Arizona oil field or fracking accident, you can reach a Zinda Law Group oil field injury lawyer in Arizona at (800) 863-5312. Call today and schedule a meeting for your free case evaluation.
Types of oil field accidents
Each workplace carries some risk of injury, but those risks vary with the type of workplace. Outdoor jobs carry risks involving workers’ exposure to the elements; driving jobs carry risks involving other drivers; and office jobs carry risks involving training and ergonomic concerns. It is easy to imagine the myriad of ways someone can get hurt in an oil field, and the following are just a few of the major ways.
Fires and Explosions
Perhaps predictably, fires and explosions are one dangerous form of accident that can occur in an oil field. Gas is extremely flammable, and when a spark ignites pressurized gas, it can cause an explosion or fire. Employers should prepare and take the proper precautions to avoid these kinds of accidents.
Serious injuries like burns can result from fires and explosions. If you have suffered injuries due to a fire or explosion while working in Arizona, keep careful documentation of these and all other injuries, including photographs and the cost of your medical bills.
Gas poisoning from gases like hydrogen sulfide is another common injury in an oil field. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), “[h]ydrogen sulfide is one of the leading causes of workplace gas inhalation deaths in the United States.” When workers do not have the right amount of ventilation to lessen the concentration of hydrogen sulfide, they can be poisoned.
First, a worker being exposed to the hazardous gas will experience nausea, then he or she will fall unconscious. If the exposure does not stop, the worker could die.
Next, electrocution can occur due to the increased risk from exposure to chemicals that conduct electricity. Electrocution can cause unconsciousness, burns, or even death.
Slips and Falls
Slips and falls can occur practically anywhere, but they are most dangerous when there are large elevation changes such as in construction and, yes, in an Arizona oil field. Elevated rigs can lead to serious falls for the less cautious worker, but slips and falls can also be caused by poorly designed or maintained personal protective equipment (PPE). Regardless of the cause, falls can lead to some of the most serious injuries, like broken bones, head injuries, and back and spine injuries.
Causes of oil field accidents
Now that we have discussed some of the common kinds of injuries suffered by workers on an oil field, you might be wondering how employers can allow these injuries to happen. The causes can be most broadly categorized as stemming from the negligence of your employer or a defect in the equipment you were using. Knowing the causes of oil field accidents can help you understand what kind of claim you should file.
Your Employer’s Negligence
Many of the kinds of injuries described above have to do with the negligence of the employer; employees in Arizona may have been improperly trained or simply not told about certain safety procedures. Perhaps the employer takes shortcuts when it comes to the maintenance of equipment or the adaptation of new safety standards. We will discuss negligence in more detail later, and why this may not be a reliable legal route for your recovery.
Whenever a manufactured product is defective in some way, the manufacturer must take strict liability for the injuries the product causes. There are a few different ways that defective equipment could have caused your injury.
First, the product might have had a defect in its design that made it unnecessarily dangerous. Alternatively, there may have been a defect in the product’s marketing; the manufacturer may not have properly labeled the hazards of the product or how to use the product safely. Finally, there may have been a defect in the manufacturing itself, meaning the product was put together incorrectly and subsequently caused your injury.
Usually, when someone owes you a duty of care and fails to keep that duty, a negligence claim is appropriate. Someone can owe you a duty of care by inviting you onto his or her property, by driving you somewhere, or by prescribing you medication. Common examples of negligence claims include medical malpractice and car accidents.
You might think that the employer/employee relationship perfectly fits into that duty of care. However, since injuries in the workplace are so common, there is a streamlined process for compensating injured employees; because that process—worker’s compensation—exists, employees are not usually allowed to sue their employers for negligence. We will discuss worker’s compensation as an alternative to filing a negligence claim later.
We have already discussed some examples of defective products in strict liability claims. In these claims, a defendant manufacturer automatically takes liability for the damages its product inflicts on the victim. For a products liability claim, the victim plaintiff must prove the following elements:
1. The manufacturer sold a product that the victim plaintiff used.
2. The manufacturer is the commercial seller of the product.
3. The victim plaintiff suffered an injury from using the product.
4. The product was defective when the manufacturer sold it.
5. The product’s defect caused the victim plaintiff’s injury.
An oil field injury lawyer in Arizona will be familiar with these elements and will know how to help you figure out which company is responsible for your injury. Note that you would not be holding your employer liable for this kind of claim, so you would not be barred by worker’s compensation from suing under a theory of strict liability.
What are my legal options?
The difference between the types of claim you might file is also important because you would file your claim against different entities for each claim, and some entities may be guarded from suit. That is, you would likely file a negligence claim in an oil field injury case against your employer and a products liability case against the manufacturer of the equipment that caused your injury. However, your Arizona employer might be immune from your negligence claim because of worker’s compensation.
Worker’s compensation is a form of insurance for employers that allows employees to receive compensation injuries from work without suing their employers. The employer must use specific guidelines based on the type of injury to determine how much money the employee is owed; the employee then receives that payment in lieu of filing a lawsuit against the employer. Arizona is one of many states that requires its employers to follow the rule of worker’s compensation.
OSHA covers workplace safety for most private employers and workers. There is a Federal OSHA plan and there are OSHA-approved state plans. Arizona has adopted the Federal OSHA plan with some unique standards applying to agricultural and construction workplaces.
If your injury was caused by a violation of the OSHA guidelines, such as not being given the correct PPE, you might find your remedy through Arizona’s form of OSHA. Arizona has a comprehensive website that outlines worker’s rights under the statute. An Arizona oil field injury lawyer can help you understand whether your rights under Arizona’s workplace safety statutes have been violated.
There is also a chance that you might be able to hold the manufacturer of the defective equipment strictly liable if there was some kind of product defect that caused your injury. Talk to an Arizona personal injury lawyer to find out if your oil field injury fits with a products liability theory.
How can I consult with an oil field injury lawyer near me?
There is a limited amount of time to bring your claim, so talk to an Arizona injury lawyer about how your workplace failed to keep you safe as soon as you can. Zinda Law Group attorneys are ready to hear about your injury and how it was caused; we can let you know what legal theory is appropriate for your case and can help you determine your goals for compensation. Call our Zinda Law Group attorneys at (800) 863-5312 and we will schedule your free consultation.
Do not let your employer treat your injury lightly: You have been dealing with medical expenses, missed wages from lost work, and trauma from the injury. Our compassionate attorneys are ready to fight for your rights to get you the compensation you deserve; in addition, our No Win, No Fee Guarantee ensures that you will not pay us unless we win your case for you.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.