Why Are Oilfield Accidents Underreported in Texas?

Nov 4, 2020 | Oilfield Accidents, Work Accidents

Regulatory chaos is perhaps the biggest reason for oilfield accident underreporting in Texas. Different local, state, and federal agencies often investigate fires, falls, and other oilfield injury accidents. Bureaucrats generally agree about the definition of an oilfield, but injury and accident are different. Sometimes these incidents are severe enough to report under agency rules, and sometimes they are not.

Additionally, business-friendly groups always try to portray Texas as a business-friendly environment. Various public and private agencies, like the Governor’s Texas Economic Development Office and the private Texas Economic Development Corporation, spend millions to lure businesses and workers to the Lone Star State. Serious oilfield accidents are not part of this picture.

The bottom line is that many groups side with business interests when it comes to these incidents. But the aggressive Houston oilfield accident lawyers at Williams Hart are on your side. Any workplace injury wreaks havoc not only on the victim’s physical health, but also on the family’s well-being. We get that, which is why we work so hard on behalf of injured victims. In fact, we are not satisfied with anything less than the best possible result under the circumstances.

Types of Oilfield Accidents

For environmental, safety, or cost reasons, many people condemn coal, nuclear, and solar power. As a result, the demand for petroleum might be higher today than at any time in history. To keep pace with demanding production schedules, many oilfield owners push people and equipment to the limit. This environment creates a fertile environment for serious oilfield accidents, such as:

Vehicle Collisions: Frequently, inexperienced operators transport heavy machinery to remote locations. So, there is not only a high risk of vehicle wrecks. These victims often do not get immediate medical attention. Therefore, their serious injuries become even more serious.

Fires and Explosions: Extreme heat and flammable liquid are essential components of the process. So, these incidents are rather common. Serious third-degree burns usually require treatment at specialized burn centers. Additionally, the infection rate for these wounds is almost astronomical.

Struck By Object: Newton’s Second Law of Motion states that speed multiplies the force in a collision between two objects. If someone drops a hammer or other tool from fifteen or twenty stories up, the hapless victim underneath that hammer’s trajectory could suffer extreme injury.

Falls: These incidents might be the most serious type of oilfield accident. Falls usually cause head injuries. These injuries are permanent. Once brain cells die, they never regenerate. Falls are even more tragic because some simple safety protocols could prevent them.

For the most part, these incidents are not accidents. People accidentally leave the blender on. They do not accidentally create hazardous environments for their workers. Employers coined the phrase industrial accident in the early 1900s for propaganda reasons. This term deflected blame for workplace injuries from dangerous factories to supposedly careless workers.

Common Injuries

Oilfield accidents affect victims physically, emotionally, and financially. Our professional team helps victims deal with all three of these aspects.

Serious physical injuries, like head wounds and severe burns, were outlined above. Doctors do the best they can to repair physical damage. Frequently, howe’ver, their best is not enough. Lingering injuries often cause long term pain and suffering.

Generally, compensation is available for these non-economic losses. The damages available put victims in the same position they would have been in had the oilfield accident not occurred. More on this below.

Moreover, serious physical injuries usually have emotional effects. Many victims must spend weeks or months in hospitals isolated from family and friends. Generally, once they are released, they must live with new physical activity restrictions.

Many victims feel like there is no one on their side during these periods. So, the professionals at Williams Hart always keep clients regularly informed about important developments in their cases. Constant communication, even if it’s with a Houston oilfield accident lawyer, eases the emotional burden.

Finally, most oilfield accident injuries trigger huge medical bills. Typically, group health plans refuse to cover these costs.

At Williams Hart, we connect victims with doctors, even if the victims have no insurance or money. Our provider partners usually charge nothing upfront for their services. Additionally, our medical partners are generally top specialists. So, victims get the care they need and not just the care an insurance company is willing to provide.

Your Claim for DamagesBecause of the complex regulatory environment and the diverse array of oilfield accidents, victims usually have several legal options. Some common legal remedies include:

  • State Workers’ Compensation: If the plant owner subscribed to workers’ compensation insurance, victims are usually entitled to compensation for their economic losses. So, damages are limited, but the claims are often rather straightforward.
  • Negligence: If the plant owner did not subscribe to workers’ compensation insurance, victims can pursue negligence claims in court. Additional compensation is available. Moreover, under Texas law, workers’ compensation nonsubscribers cannot use some silver bullet defenses, such as assumption of the risk.
  • Federal Longshoreman and Harbor Workers Compensation Act: The LHWCA usually applies to offshore oil rig injuries. Technically, these rigs are usually outside Texas’ jurisdiction. This federal law is a lot like workers’ compensation procedurally and in terms of damages available.

It’s important to choose the correct pathway. If a victim selects the wrong option, compensation could be delayed or even denied.

Regulators can deny the existence of oilfield accidents, but they cannot deny your pain. For a free consultation with an experienced oilfield accident attorney in Houston, contact Williams Hart Boundas Easterby LLP. We routinely handle matters in Harris County and nearby jurisdictions.

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