The oil and gas industry in the United States is enormous, to say the least. The fuel business is continuously booming, and it takes a great deal of work to run everything smoothly. From drilling and refining to regulation and shipping, there are countless teams and employees involved along the chain. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were an estimated 161,300 employees working in oil and gas extraction as of September 2019.
Unfortunately, the massive reach and intensity of the oil and gas industry, as well as the high-risk nature of many of its jobs, mean that workplace accidents and worker injuries are all too common. With an oilfield accident lawyer from Johnson Garcia LLP, victims of such incidents can get the help they need.
The Dangers of Working in the Oil and Gas Industry
For employees working on oilfields, especially those working onsite with drilling or fracking operations, possible dangers are everywhere.
- Broken or fractured bones
- Crushed body parts
- Burns of varying degrees
- Cuts and lacerations
- Chemical burns
- Lung damage from exposure to fumes
- Bruises and contusions
- Concussions or other brain injuries
- Loss of limb(s)
- Spinal injuries, potentially leading to paralysis
Potential Causes of Accidents and Injuries
Depending on the situation and the hazards involved, injuries such as these can be caused by all kinds of incidents. Some accidents are truly no one’s fault, but far too many can be linked to negligence on the part of the victim’s employer. Failure by a company to adhere to proper equipment maintenance schedules, for example, can lead to dangerous mechanical malfunctions. Improper cleaning and organization guidelines could also lead to typical workplace accidents like slips and falls.
Because crude oil and natural gas are extremely flammable, the risk of fire is incredibly high. Poor safety standards could easily lead to deadly explosions and fires that not only destroy valuable oil and gas resources but also can hurt and kill dozens of workers in a single incident.
Worker Injuries Are a Huge Problem in the Oil and Gas Industry
Although data from the last few years has shown some improvements to safety and a slight reduction in the number of fatal and nonfatal injuries, these incidents remain a massive problem in the oil and gas industry. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, there were 481 hospitalizations and 166 amputations that occurred as a result of 602 oil and gas extraction accidents.
Accidents Can Leave You with Physical, Emotional, and Financial Struggles
When you’ve been injured working on an oil or gas extraction operation, the physical and emotional repercussions can be devastating. In addition to the pain, discomfort, and potentially long-lasting damage of a serious non-fatal injury, you may be left feeling angry, frustrated, or even lost after your injury. For the loved ones of workers who suffer fatal injuries, the incredible sense of loss and grief cannot be understated.
The financial repercussions of such accidents only add insult to injury. For many victims of oilfield accidents, their employers are quick to deny involvement, and insurance companies are unwilling to provide sufficient coverage for their needs.
If your employer and insurance company don’t give you the compensation you need, you may be left footing outrageous medical bills and dealing with a major loss of income from being out of work. If you are injured so severely that you are unable to return to work, you may even find yourself without a source of steady income. If your employer’s negligence led to your injuries, you may have a right to be compensated for these major losses.
What to Do After You’ve Been Injured in an Oilfield Accident
If you are involved in an incident while working on an oilfield, do your best to stay calm and handle the situation strategically. Use the following tips to help you navigate what may well be a confusing and difficult time:
- Address your medical needs immediately. Even if the accident seems minor, any unusual symptoms (e.g., pain, light-headedness, cloudy thoughts) could be a sign of a serious internal injury.
- Do your best to take detailed notes about what occurred. If you are able, physically write down notes and take pictures with a mobile phone or camera. The more information you can gather and the more hard evidence you can provide, the better chance you’ll have to prove what happened if it is disputed.
- Before you speak with anyone else, get in touch with an oilfield injury attorney who specializes in these types of accidents. At Johnson Garcia LLP, for example, our knowledge of the tactics used by oil and gas industries in court means we can guide you carefully through the process of pursuing justice for your injuries.
- Once you’ve spoken with an oilfield accident attorney, you may be advised to contact the insurance company and finish handling all reporting requirements.
- When talking with your employer, coworkers, insurance company, or others, be very careful not to say anything that could be misconstrued as an admission of fault on your part. Your employer and insurance company may take every opportunity they can to escape from their responsibilities.
Find an Experienced Oilfield Injury Lawyer at Johnson Garcia LLP
At Johnson Garcia LLP in Houston, Texas, we help victims of all kinds of workplace accidents seek the compensation and justice they deserve. We leverage more than 25 years of combined experience to give our clients the best possible quality of representation. Not only will we fight for your rights in court, we’ll also guide you step-by-step through the lawsuit process and help you understand all your rights and obligations as a victim and U.S. citizen.
If you have or someone you love has been injured or killed after an oil or gas extraction incident, don’t let those responsible leave you struggling; it’s time to hold negligent employers accountable for their failings. Call us at (832) 844-6700 to schedule your free initial case evaluation today.