Working on a drill site at an on-shore oil site or offshore on an oil rig each has their own hazards. Many oil workers are injured each year from a wide range of dangers. Mechanical issues, pressure issues, and general risks of overexertion or slip and fall injuries are something that drill operators and pump operators face at work each day. Especially for off-shore drilling and pumping workers, who face long hours on their rig, there could be additional risks.
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident on an oil rig or at another oil drilling site, talk to an attorney today. The Dallas oil rig and natural gas drilling injury lawyers at The Queenan Law firm represent victims and their families after serious accidents and work to help them get the compensation they need for their injuries. For a free consultation on your case and for help understanding what you might be entitled to, call our law offices today at (817) 476-1797.
Common Oil Rig and Natural Gas Accident Injuries in Dallas, TX
Oil drillers face significant risks of injury from on-the-job dangers. Most drilling takes place in difficult environments; you may be out in the hot sun for hours or working to drill in deep water. These environmental factors increase the risk of heat stroke and dehydration while working out in the sun, and there is always a risk of drowning, falling overboard, or slipping and falling on wet decks when you work on the water.
The drills and other equipment also pose serious injury risks. Setting up an oil drill takes teams of men and heavy equipment to move the rig into place. Operating any of these machines or vehicles poses a risk of getting caught in moving parts or run over. Parts of the rig could fall during set-up, causing serious injuries. Once the drill is erected, operating the drill itself still means many moving parts. Plus, pumps and other mechanisms that pull mud, groundwater, and stone out of the way often use high-pressure systems or move tons of material at relatively high speeds, potentially causing injury. If a drill sparks on tougher materials, it could ignite pockets of underground gas or oil, causing disastrous consequences and injuries.
If you work on a pump at a drilling site, the moving parts and high-pressure oil pose serious injury risks. If any tubes or lines burst, you could be seriously injured by the force of the pressurized leak, chemical exposure, and potential shrapnel. On an off-shore drilling platform, the pressure can be even greater. Historical disasters on offshore drilling platforms prove the risks that these workers face each day from mechanical failure and user error. In addition, narrow catwalks and potentially wet decks and surfaces also pose falling, slipping, and tripping risks.
In any situation, you can also face injuries from simple work tasks like lifting or carrying, especially if you are not given the help or machinery you need to accomplish your work tasks safely.
Hand and Finger Injuries at Drilling Sites
Oil rigs have many dangers that can cause workplace injuries. Many of these potential risks involve moving parts from the heavy machinery and physical exertion necessary in a lot of oil rig jobs. If your finger or hand is caught in moving parts or injured while manually operating tools or equipment, you could face serious injuries. The following are some of the most common and most traumatic hand and finger injuries for oil workers.
Losing a finger to heavy machinery is traumatic. In many cases, the loss of a finger will not be fatal if treated immediately, but, even if the finger can be reattached, the pain and recovery period can be substantial. If you lose a hand, the chances of successful reattachment can be far lower, and the effects on your day-to-day life and ability to work can be far greater.
If a hand or finger is caught in the moving parts of a machine or gets pinned under or between various pieces of equipment, you can crush much of the soft tissue and shatter the bones in your hand and fingers. These injuries may not cause immediate, traumatic amputation, but later, surgical amputation may be required if the damage is too severe. Even without losing the hand or the digit, you may suffer permanent loss of function if the injuries were severe enough or they cannot be repaired through surgical intervention
Broken fingers, wrists, and metacarpals can cause severe pain and discomfort and may make it hard to return to work. We use our hands and fingers for fine, detailed work every day, even in manual labor jobs. Having a broken finger or a broken bone in your hand can make it hard to do your job, and you may need to miss shifts or tours to let your bones recover. Serious breaks may even require surgery and implants to properly set the bones and restore proper function, potentially increasing the time away from work.
Cuts and Lacerations
Although sharp objects are not necessarily common on an oil rig, you can still receive cuts and laceration wounds from dull objects, cords and wires, or other instruments and tools you come across in your job. You could also receive painful, devastating puncture wounds and penetrating injuries that could risk blood loss and infection.
Suing for Hand and Finger Injuries on a Drilling Rig
Many workers in Texas can file for workers’ compensation to get their needs met. However, workers’ compensation often pays only a portion of the wages you lose after a serious injury, and it does not cover pain and suffering damages. Fortunately, oil workers are often covered by federal acts and maritime laws, such as the Jones Act, that permit them to sue their employers or the owner of a rig if they faced a serious injury. Our Dallas oil rig injury lawyers explain.
When you sue for injuries, you must prove that the defendant was somehow at fault for the harms you suffered. This is typically done by showing that your employer, the oil rig owner, or some other defendant was “negligent.” Negligence occurs when an at-fault party owed you a duty, and their failure to meet expected safety standards or to act with the proper care and skill caused your injury.
Negligence often comes from failing to follow OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) standards, or from violating other common-sense safety requirements. If you can prove that your employer’s failures led to your injury, and you can prove the damages that you suffered, you may be able to recover damages for your lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.
Head Injuries on Oil Rigs
Working on an oil rig can put you at risk for multiple types of head injuries, including some of the following. If you do face one of these injuries, it is important to seek immediate medical attention to ensure the injury is not worse than it appears and to have your treatment and recovery properly monitored.
Concussions are a form of mild traumatic brain injury. These injuries are sometimes called “brain bruises,” because the brain suffers impact that can damage the soft tissue, but these injuries are very different from bruises. Most concussions are injuries that should be treated seriously to ensure there are not deeper issues, but most concussions do not leave lasting effects that greatly impact your brain function. Still, concussions can leave you feeling dizzy, tired, nauseous, confused, and they can cause serious pain and discomfort. If you receive multiple concussions, you could suffer from the degenerative brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the injury common among football players with a history of concussions.
Traumatic Brain Injury
More serious blows to the head can cause traumatic brain injury (TBI), the more severe form of a concussion. This causes serious damage to brain tissue, which can permanently affect senses, motor skills, and other bodily functions dependent on the injured regions of your brain. TBI can also come from penetrating wounds or skull fractures that expose your brain to injury. These brain injuries are extremely serious and could be life-changing.
Breaking one of the bones in your skull can be a serious injury requiring immediate surgical intervention. These injuries usually come with traumatic brain injury, as any time your skull is broken in, it could damage the brain tissue underneath. Re-setting the broken bone or replacing damaged bone with a plate may be necessary to ensure your skull heals properly. These injuries can keep you from working for a prolonged period.
Machinery and tools used on an oil rig could break or malfunction, potentially causing serious risks to those operating or monitoring the equipment. If you suffer serious facial cuts, you could be left with permanent scarring. Treating these kinds of injuries often requires seeing a plastic surgeon or another specialist to reduce the scarring and permanent impact of the injury, plus there is a risk of substantial blood loss and infection. These injuries can keep you from returning to work for a long time, as they may be fragile and prone to reopening during bending, lifting, or other physical activity.
Suing for Head Injuries at Oil Rigs in Dallas
When you are injured at work, Texas law may require you to file with workers’ compensation. This program often limits damages and makes it impossible to recover damages for pain and suffering. Fortunately, federal law and maritime law often permits offshore oil rig workers to sue for their workplace injuries.
When you file your case, you need to prove that your employer or the ship owner did something wrong that led to your injury. This often involves showing that they breached some safety protocols or common-sense safety rules that left you vulnerable to injury. Failure to equip workers with hard hats, improper lighting or handrails on staircases, and poor maintenance on equipment can all be errors that contributed to your accident.
After proving the employer was responsible, you must also prove the damages you faced. This can be done with evidence from medical bills, pay stubs, and your testimony about how the pain affects your life.
Common Foot and Leg Injuries for Oil Rig Workers in Dallas
Oil and natural gas workers face some of the highest rates of on-the-job injury. These kinds of jobs often require physical labor, use of heavy machinery, and other common dangers that could lead to serious injuries. Accidents on an oil rig can lead to substantial injuries to the leg and foot, such as the following:
Many roles on an oil rig require heavy lifting and carrying. If you drop something heavy on your foot, it could crush the bones and tissue in your foot, causing serious injury. If you get your pant leg or shoelace caught in the moving parts of a heavy machine, your leg could be physically pulled into the machinery, potentially crushing the bones and muscles in your leg. Serious crush injuries may be impossible to recover from, and you could lose the use of the limb.
Many traumatic amputations occur because of heavy machinery. While crush injuries may be common, full amputation is also possible if you get your foot or leg caught in the moving parts of heavy equipment. Even something as simple as dropping a heavy object on your foot could sever a toe or take a piece of your foot off. Steel-toed boots and other safety gear work to prevent these kinds of injuries, but they are not perfect. Other safety protocols and employee training are necessary to help ensure safety. Sometimes, amputations are not the result of trauma, but rather surgical amputation is necessary to treat serious injuries like crushing injuries.
Breaking a bone in your foot can occur if your foot is struck or pinned by another object. This can also occur in a fall or another serious accident. Breaking a bone in your leg is more difficult but is not unheard of in traumatic accidents. Recovering from a broken bone may require emergency medical treatment, surgery to reset the bone, and a long period of rest and rehabilitation.
How to Sue for Foot and Leg Injuries and Amputation Due to Oil Rig Disasters
If you work in the offshore oil industry, you may be immune from Texas law requirements for injured workers. These rules may limit how victims of job site injuries can seek compensation and may limit damages for lost wages and bar recovery of pain and suffering damages. However, under maritime laws like the Jones Act, injured offshore oil rig workers can usually sue the rig owner or their employer for negligence.
Negligence occurs when a party fails to use the proper care or skill or ignores standards they should have followed, and these errors led to your injuries. If you can prove in court that your employer or the owner of the oil ship or oil rig where you were injured did something wrong that led to your injuries, you may be entitled to damages for your injuries.
Before you can receive damages, you must also prove what those damages are. The law allows you to claim any damages that resulted from your physical injuries, including compensation for medical care, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and expenses you had to pay to adapt to life with the injury. Proving many of these damages is often as simple as bringing receipts and bills to court to demonstrate the costs you faced. However, proving future lost wages and reduced earning capacity or showing ongoing medical care costs might require help from experts who can project these costs.
Talk to an attorney about what damages you might be entitled to and how you can prove your case in court to get the compensation you and your family need.
Common Spinal Injuries for Oil Workers in Dallas
Oil rigs have constant risks of slip and fall and trip and fall injuries. From the simple risks of a wet deck or slippery staircase to the more severe risks of carrying and moving heavy machinery and equipment, oil rig workers can face serious back and spine injuries. Many of these include the following injuries:
Slipped and Herniated Discs
Your spine is made up of a series of tube-shaped bones that house and protect your spinal cord. These bones are separated by disc-shaped tissue that helps pad the bones to prevent rubbing and injury. When you overexert yourself, you can actually cause this tissue to slip out of place or and bulge out from between bones. This “herniated disc” injury can be extremely painful and cause complications.
In some cases, the misalignment and herniation can put pressure on your spinal cord, causing nerve pain, numbness, and motor control issues. It can also make it impossible to stand or perform job tasks. These injuries can produce ongoing issues, where some days you may have too much pain to work at all. Herniated disc injuries can also require ongoing care and, potentially, surgical intervention.
Breaking or shattering a bone in your spine can be a terrible injury. As long as the injury does not cause damage to the spinal cord, you may not face paralysis, but the damage to the vertebrae can be painful and cause permanent problems. Shattered vertebrae may require surgery to repair, potentially including spinal fusion as a treatment. This fuses the bones to the next vertebra to help keep the spine in alignment and allow the unbroken bones to take up the stress the broken bones cannot. You may also need implants like pins and rods to help support a weakened spinal column.
Spinal Cord Injury and Paralysis
If the spinal cord itself suffers damage, you may become paralyzed. The spinal cord sends signals from your brain to all parts of your body. The bundle of nerves in your spine is fragile, and any traumatic injury could put extra pressure on the spinal cord or sever it altogether. If the spinal cord suffers enough damage, you can face numbness, loss of feeling, and motor control problems below the point of injury. More severe injuries mean cutting off function entirely below the point of injury. This can leave you with paraplegia – paralysis in your legs – or quadriplegia (a.k.a., tetraplegia) – paralysis in all four limbs. These injuries can easily cause ongoing, permanent, life-changing injuries that require intense medical care and rehabilitation.
Filing a Lawsuit for Oil Rig Back and Spine Injuries
Many of these injuries leave victims with permanent or severe effects. If you or a loved one was injured on an offshore oil rig, you may be entitled to file a negligence lawsuit against the at-fault parties to seek compensation.
The at-fault parties in a workplace injury case are often the employer and their agents. In some oil worker cases, the responsible parties may be the oil rig owner or the owner of the oil ship. Taking these parties to court allows you to claim damages for any harms they caused.
The damages paid in worker injury cases often go towards covering medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. These are the most common damages you might face if you are injured and unable to return to work. If your injury is severe enough that you must change jobs entirely or you cannot work at all, you could also claim damages for reduced earning capacity and future lost wages. Ongoing medical care can also be covered by projected medical expenses.
To prove your case and get the compensation you need, you must show that the at-fault party did something wrong. This usually happens by showing they were “negligent,” that is that they failed to uphold some duty that would have kept you safe from injury, such as properly maintaining the ship or rig, properly training your coworkers, or following safety protocols. If a breach of duty like this caused your injuries, you may be able to recover damages in court.
Slip and Fall and Trip and Fall Injuries on an Oil Rig
Oil rig workers face numerous risks of injury while working on an offshore oil rig. The risk of suffering injuries in a slip and fall accident is always present at any worksite, but the risks are often exacerbated on offshore oil drilling rigs.
Seaspray and potentially bad weather can increase the risk of slipping and falling on any oil ship or oil rig. The decks of an oil rig can quickly become too slick from water, especially if it mixes with small amounts of spilled oil or other chemicals. Walking on these decks can pose a significant safety risk, and the ship owner or your employer may be responsible for these dangers.
The stairs and catwalks of an oil drilling rig may be dangerous if they are not properly built or properly lit. OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) provides standards for how these kinds of stairs and walkways need to be built, including specifications for handrails. These rules also give standards for lighting to help prevent falls on dark stairwells. The steps must also be secure and even to prevent falls on wobbly stairwells or because of uneven flooring and steps.
Tools, lights, and heavy machinery may require running power cords for operation. While many machines may be operated by gasoline, others requiring electric power may mean that power cables cross the floor at unsafe locations. If these cables are negligently secured or taped down, you could trip and fall.
Suing for a Slip and Fall on an Offshore Oil Rig
If you fall and suffer serious injuries while working on an oil rig, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit against your employer or the owner of the oil rig to get compensation for the injuries you face. These injuries may result in substantial medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. For help filing this kind of personal injury lawsuit, talk to the oil rig slip and fall lawyers at The Queenan Law Firm.
In many workplace injury cases, you might be required to file for workers’ compensation. However, offshore oil workers are usually governed by the Jones Act and other maritime laws that allow injured workers to take their employers to court after a serious injury.
When suing for a workplace injury, you must prove that the employer or the ship/rig owner did something wrong that contributed to your injury. This is usually referred to as “negligence,” and it requires showing that the employer owed you a duty that they breached, which lead to your injuries.
Many negligence cases surrounding oil rigs involve some breach in safety protocols or poor training that lead to the injuries. An employer is required to follow basic standards of reasonable safety in addition to federal requirements like those handed down by OSHA. If they fail to provide you with safety gear, they fail to provide adequate training, or they do not follow requirements for emergency safety equipment, they may be responsible for your injuries.
Filing a lawsuit to recover compensation may entitle you to coverage for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you lost a loved one in the accident, such as from a long fall or a serious brain injury, you may be entitled to additional compensation.
The damages you face after an accident are calculated by looking at the specifics of your situation. For help understanding what your case might be worth, you should speak with a lawyer.
Suing for Work Injuries at Oil Rigs in Texas
Injured workers are often entitled to file a lawsuit for their injuries under Texas law. In some cases, injured workers may be required to file through workers’ compensation as the “exclusive remedy” for injuries. However, there are multiple situations that would entitle you or your family to file a lawsuit for your workplace injuries from oil drilling.
First, you may be entitled to sue your employer if you work as a contractor. Contractors are not covered by workers’ compensation rules and are entitled to file lawsuits against their employers for on-the-job injuries. Second, you may sue your employer if they do not have workers’ compensation insurance. Since every employer must carry insurance, your employer opens themselves to a lawsuit if they fail to carry it. Third, can usually sue for intentional injuries or extreme cases of negligence where the injuries were completely uncalled for, including at-work fights. Lastly, you may file lawsuits against third parties that are responsible for your injuries. This means that mechanical failures or problems with safety equipment caused by negligent manufacturing or product design can entitle you to sue.
When suing for injuries after an oil drilling or oil rig accident, you could be entitled to substantial damages. These damages can include compensation for the medical costs you faced after your injury, any wages you missed while recovering, and direct compensation for your pain and suffering. Pain and suffering damages in Texas are not capped in most at-work injury lawsuits, thus these damages could be one of the highest portions of your lawsuit.
Before you can get compensation, however, you must prove that the defendant was responsible for your injuries. Talk to an attorney today about building your case and proving that your employer, a co-worker, or another party caused your injuries.
Dallas Oil Rig and Natural Gas Drilling Injury Lawyers Offering Free Consultations
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident on an oil rig or an oil or natural gas drilling site, contact our law offices today. You may be entitled to file a lawsuit to recover compensation to pay for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If a loved one was killed, you could be entitled to additional damages for your loss. For a free consultation on your case with a Dallas oil rig injury attorney, contact our law offices today at (817) 476-1797.