Houston Oil Field Injury Lawyers
Working in an oil field is dangerous for numerous reasons. Oil field workers work with complex, heavy machinery that could cause severe lacerations. They’re exposed to extreme weather conditions. And chemical burns, fires, and explosions are a very real threat.
If you sustained injuries while working at an oil field, you might qualify for compensation through your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance or in a third-party injury claim. The Houston injury attorneys at Attorney Tom has the experience and resources needed to explore all of your legal options and secure the maximum compensation you deserve to cover your losses.
Dealing with insurance companies can be overwhelming. If you don’t know your rights, you could end up with less money than you deserve. We’ll make sure the insurance companies and the responsible parties treat you fairly and pay what they owe you.
We understand the stress you’re experiencing. It’s devastating to be out of work and struggling to support your family. Our Houston oil field injury lawyers are available to take your call and schedule a free consultation, so you can learn about all of your legal options. Call us today at (713) 244-6363.
Why Working in an Oil Field Is Dangerous
You encounter hazards that could cause injury, illness, and fatalities while you’re working on an oil field. The industry exposes workers to toxic substances, heavy machinery, and other dangerous hazards. Anything you come in contact with could lead to a disabling medical condition or permanent harm.
The circumstances that lead to the most injuries and illness include:
- Vehicle collisions
- Explosions and fires
- Equipment malfunctioning
- Falling from great heights
- Drilling blowouts
- Lack of safety gear
- Slip and falls
- Toxic chemical exposure
- Defective machinery and parts
- Third-party negligence
Workers’ Compensation Benefits Available to Injured Oil Field Workers
Unlike other states, Texas does not require employers to offer workers’ compensation benefits. If your employer does offer workers’ compensation, you may be eligible for the following:
Medical benefits cover necessary medical care, such as hospital visits, surgeries, and physical therapy. If you sustain injuries while you’re on the clock, you should seek immediate treatment. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company should provide a list of approved doctors you can see. To receive benefits, you must see someone on the list. You can go to your own doctor if you want, but you’ll have to pay out of pocket.
Income benefits come in four main categories. The benefits you receive will depend on your injury’s severity and how it impacts your usual wages. You can apply for temporary income, impairment income, supplemental income, or lifetime income benefits.
Temporary income benefits begin on the eighth day of your disability. Payments are 70% of the difference between your average weekly wages before and after you suffered a disabling injury. You can collect benefits as long as you can’t return to your job or can work but at a limited capacity.
Temporary income benefits will continue until at least one of the following happens:
- It’s been 104 weeks since the eighth day of your disabling injury or illness;
- You’re able to return to work and earn your average weekly wages before the accident occurred; or
- Your doctor places you at MMI.
Impairment income benefits are available to injured workers who reach MMI but have a permanent loss of a body part or bodily function. Your physician will give you an impairment rating, which indicates the level of functioning you have. It’s a percentage between 1% and 99%, with each percentage point allowing three weeks of coverage.
When you start collecting benefit payments, they will be at 70% of your pre-injury weekly wages. You’ll continue to receive payments based on your impairment rating. For example, if your doctor gave you a 20% impairment rating, coverage will end at 60 weeks. That’s 20% multiplied by three weeks per point.
Supplemental income benefits are at 80% of the difference between your average weekly wages before and after the accident. You could collect benefits for up to 401 weeks as long as you meet the following qualifications:
- You’re actively looking for job placement or signed up for vocational rehabilitation services.
- You’re unable to return to your job or can work, but your wages are at a minimum of 80% of your pre-injury wages.
- Your doctor gave you at least a 15% impairment rating.
- You decided against receiving one lump sum payment.
- You provide proof of eligibility to receive coverage every three months.
Lifetime income benefits start when supplemental income benefits end. If you have a total disability, you can collect payments for the rest of your life. You must have a qualifying injury to be eligible.
You Might Be Entitled to Compensation From Third-Party Injury Claim
Specific circumstances allow injured oil field workers to file a third-party injury claim or lawsuit for compensation. Unlike workers’ compensation laws that don’t require proving fault, you must have evidence that the at-fault party was negligent in causing your injuries. The legal theory of negligence refers to someone’s failure to provide a reasonable degree of care to another. There are five elements you must show existed at the time of the accident:
- Duty: The at-fault party owed you a reasonable duty of care to prevent you from harm;
- Breach of duty: They breached their duty;
- Cause in fact: If it weren’t for their action or inaction, you wouldn’t have sustained injuries;
- Proximate cause: Their breach of duty was the direct cause of the accident; and
- Damages: You incurred damages as a result.
You might be able to file an injury claim against the following parties if they contributed to your injuries:
Your employer – You can file an injury claim against your employer if they don’t carry workers’ compensation insurance. Since Texas doesn’t require all businesses to provide their employees with WC coverage, they’re not all protected by those laws.
You might also be eligible to sue your employer if they exhibited acts of gross negligence. Examples of this behavior include:
- Dangerous working conditions
- Failure to provide adequate safety equipment
- Inadequate maintenance and repairs
- Hiring inexperienced or unqualified workers
- Intentionally causing injury
Contractor – Any third-party contractor hired by your employer to perform work must follow federal and state regulations. Violations of these regulations that resulted in your injuries could qualify you for an injury claim.
Equipment or parts manufacturer – Texas product liability laws require all manufacturers to provide safe products that don’t contain defects. If you were using defective machinery or it contained a defective part, you could file an injury claim against the manufacturer for monetary damages.
Oilfield owner – You could file an injury claim against the land or oil rig owner if they don’t provide safe working conditions. Inadequate maintenance and hazards commonly lead to injuries.
When you file a workers’ compensation claim, you’re limited to lost wage and medical cost coverage. In a third-party injury claim, you could recover compensation for the following damages:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
- Lost wages and earning capacity
- Emotional distress
- Permanent disability and disfigurement
Why Choose Attorney Tom?
Our Houston oil field injury lawyers know you’re facing a financial burden. If you’re unable to work because of your disabling condition, you can’t afford your medical treatment or pay household expenses. We don’t want to add extra stress to your life, which is why we take cases on contingency. You won’t have to pay upfront fees or costs to receive legal representation. We don’t collect our legal fees unless we recover compensation for our clients. If we lose your case, you won’t have to pay us.
If you worked in an oil field and suffered from an injury or illness that prevents you from maintaining adequate employment, call Attorney Tom at (713) 244-6363. We’ll fight aggressively to ensure you receive the financial award you deserve.