Offshore Drilling Accidents and Workers’ Compensation

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Life in offshore oil drilling has a fatality rate that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports to be seven times higher than other U.S. jobs. Unfortunately, it is apparent that the oil company’s main focus is on getting the oil out of the ground at any cost, including the cost of human and environmental safety. In fact, oil companies don’t seem to want to pay their injured workers’ fair compensation, either. Extremely critical conditions go unchecked until after lives are lost or forever affected by major oil rig injuries before anything is ever done to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Thankfully, positive changes can be made after horrific episodic explosions, fires, and capsizes, but what about the worker who suffered a life-altering injury before the changes were made? What about children and other loved ones left behind because a worker was killed on the job? Often oil companies were already aware of the dangers, but they simply disregarded them. These companies also put unreasonable pressure on workers to rush workers on the rig for the sake of speedy production and higher profits.

Negligent oil companies must be held accountable, and fair compensation is the least they can do.  

Get Ready For a Fight

Time and time again, oil companies have shown that they aren’t particularly eager to take the high road and make things right. So, if a worker wants reparation for what happened to them, they have to fight for it. It’s no secret that big oil requires first a tragedy, then legal action plus exposure about what they did before they will budge to make things right. It is absolutely in your best interest to find a qualified lawyer that isn’t afraid to fight against the biggest companies in the world.

Common Ways Oil Companies Lessen Compensation:

  • Rushing the injured employee to settle quickly and for less than their case is really worth. This is because a settlement will put a cap on their liability in case of future claims.
  • Sending the worker to their insurer’s physician and rushing them to accept the medical diagnosis as well as recovery projections. Although most doctors are autonomous and do not make medical claims based off of who is paying them, a second opinion can be a wise move on the part of the injured employee. This is because it isn’t unheard of for some injuries to be overlooked by the company doctor.
  • Arguing about the extent of the disability and requiring the worker to return to work prematurely when they have not had adequate time to heal. Unfortunately, if this happens, the worker is still technically injured and they are forced to endure chronic pain and potentially cause more harm to their body. This is also why it is helpful to have a lawyer to help you, as well as a medical second opinion.
  • A gross tactic that happens with workers’ compensation is that insurance companies will purposely hold back from making timely payments that the employee needs to cover their lost wages. This is another move to force the affected worker to become so desperate for money that they will accept a low settlement. A valid workers’ compensation claim should regularly and timely receive payments while the claim is being adjudicated to protect the worker and their family.

Too often, oil and gas companies put profits over people, putting the safety of workers at risk.  In many of the cases we handle, a company will put a worker in dangerous situations just to save time or make money.   We have helped numerous injured workers that were forced to do a dangerous job without help, or were not provided necessary safety equipment and safeguards.  These injuries can almost always be avoided. As lawyers for injured workers, it is often up to us to hold these companies accountable and ensure a safer work environment in the future.    

                  —Michael Tilton, oil rig injury attorney, Houston, Texas.

Need Help?

Don’t let the oil company push you around, no matter who they are. If you or someone you care about has been injured or worse while fulfilling duties at work, it’s important to demand that adequate compensation and benefits are awarded. Click here to connect with Michael Tilton if you are ready to empower yourself with qualified counsel and professional representation.

 

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