Steps to Take Immediately After an Oil-Field Injury
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Carson R. Runge with Sloan Firm.
While oil fields involve some inherent hazards, working on one does not have to be any more dangerous than any other workplace. The oil industry is required to adhere to strict work safety standards; failing to adhere to these standards increases the risk of injury as well as opening up the employer to liability in the event of an accident. From explosive gases and electrical hazards to heavy machinery and driving operations, there are many opportunities for accidents to occur when negligence gets involved. If you or a loved one work on an oil field, it’s important to know what steps to take in the event of an injury.
After being injured on an oil field, the following steps are recommended:
- Seek emergency medical care. If the injury is life-threatening, it’s important to call for emergency medical assistance right away. In this case if a worker is too injured to take the following steps, a loved one or even a workplace injury attorney can do so on the worker’s behalf.
- Take pictures where the accident occurred. It’s important to document the scene of the injury. Taking pictures and/or videos is a fast and simple way to do this. The location of the injury should be documented in these pictures, as well as any factors that may have caused or contributed to the injury (i.e. broken or missing safety equipment, adverse weather conditions, etc.) If possible, it’s also a good idea to take pictures of the injury.
- Collect witness information. If co-workers or anyone else witnessed the event, it’s important to collect their contact information as soon as possible. Unfortunately, this information can be much harder to collect after the fact, and witness testimonies can be invaluable in recreating how an injury occurred. If a witness agrees, you may even choose to record their testimony for later referral.
- Tell a supervisor and HR if applicable. Whenever an injury occurs at work, it’s important to let a supervisor know. If your company has a human resources (HR) department, it’s also a good idea to call or send an email there explaining what happened. Most employers offer some form of workers’ compensation, which may entitle you to limited help with medical bills and lost wages. Your employer or HR department should be able to help you navigate this process, but if there is any doubt, a workers’ compensation attorney can also investigate the situation on your behalf.
- Seek medical care. If you have not sought medical care up until this point, this when it is important to do so. Injuries that feel minor or even nonexistent at first can become much worse down the road; additionally, waiting to seek care can complicate your case. Check with your employer or HR department to see if you need to choose a medical provider in their network in order to apply your workers’ compensation benefits. Some policies may require workers to visit a certain collection of doctors to have it covered by insurance. It’s a good idea to refrain from talking about the accident during your medical appointment, as anything you say can go into your official records and later be used against you in ways you did not intend.
- Collect your medical records. It’s important to request a copy of any medical records regarding a workplace injury. These records will serve as evidence if you need to prove your claim down the road, or if you suspect negligence was involved in the incident.
- Talk to an oil field attorney in your state. In most instances, an oil field worker receiving workers’ compensation cannot file an additional claim against their employer. However, if the employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance or if the injury could have been prevented by proper attention to safety, a personal injury claim may be viable. If you suspect your injury was fully or partially the result of another party’s negligence, request a free consultation with an oil field accident attorney in the area about your options for recovery.
- Attend follow-up medical appointments. This last step can cause problems if overlooked. When an oil field worker fails to follow their doctor’s instructions for rest, recovery, and follow-up appointments, their workers’ compensation benefits may be compromised. It’s important to listen to your doctor, even if you don’t agree, and follow their advice at least until the situation is resolved.
To learn more about what to do after an oil field injury, or for help investigating a workplace injury claim, reach out to an oil field injury attorney in your area.