What Are Some of the Biggest Risks Facing Oil and Gas Workers?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Grant Lawson with Metier Law Firm.
Oil and gas workers perform a necessary job in environments rife with certain hazards the average work environment doesn’t see. These natural hazards can be greatly exacerbated when employers and other parties do not follow safety protocol to a tee. When a worker is injured in the normal course of their job, they are typically eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim and receive short-term benefits to pay for certain medical bills and lost wages. However, whenever a workplace injury occurs due to the negligence or intentional conduct of one or more parties, the injured person may also be eligible to file a workplace injury claim in addition to receiving workers’ compensation benefits. The difference between oil and gas work injuries and injuries that may occur in other work environments is often the severity, which can make workplace injury claims a necessary means of recovery in some situations.
Some of the most common risks faced by oil and gas workers include:
- Explosions and burn injuries
- Toxic chemical exposure
- Pressurized line accidents
- Pipeline maintenance accidents
- Loss of oxygen in heater/treater facilities
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries (SCIs)
- Nerve damage
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Defective equipment
Oil and gas accidents are unique in the sense that multiple parties could be liable or partially liable for an accident.
Parties that may be involved in an oil or gas worker injury could include employers, contractors, subcontractors, service providers, and more. Whenever someone's action or inaction causes or contributes to an event that leads to injury or death for one or more parties, that person or party may be considered liable in court. However, identifying these parties and proving their respective liability for the issue can be tricky, and often takes the expertise of a workplace injury attorney.
While workers’ compensation and Social Security disability benefits may be able to cover some of the resulting damages from a catastrophic oil or gas work injury, the damages that can typically be sought in a workplace injury lawsuit differ significantly and tend to be much more comprehensive. For example, while workers’ compensation may cover some short-term damages, a workplace injury lawsuit could include compensation for ongoing and future damages resulting from the event, including future medical bills, physical and psychological therapy, life care expenses, compensation for pain and suffering, and more.
In most cases, someone receiving workers’ compensation benefits is not eligible to sue their employer.
While it is a general rule that a worker already receiving workers’ compensation benefits cannot file a lawsuit against their employer, there may be some exceptions. For example, if the workers’ compensation is woefully insufficient to pay for the injured person’s damages, or the employer was negligent in allowing the injury to occur, it may still be possible to file a lawsuit. This is why it is particularly important to reach out to an experienced workplace injury attorney to discuss your options for recovery following an accident at work, especially oil or gas work. An experienced workplace injury attorney can help identify all of your options for recovery following a serious accident.
If talking to an attorney seems financially out of the question, it may help to know that most workplace injury attorneys offer free consultations and even work on a contingency fee basis; this means that clients do not pay for their legal services unless and until they win their case. This allows injured workers and their families to receive the legal help they need in a timely manner without worrying about yet another bill to pay. It’s also important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after one of these events so that valuable evidence can be collected at the scene and preserved for the sake of the case.
To learn more about the risks faced by oil and gas workers, or for help investigating your own claim or that of a family member, reach out to an experienced oil and gas worker injury attorney in your area.