When you suffer injuries working in an oilfield accident or explosion, there are a few potential options when it comes to seeking financial compensation for your injuries. The most common route injured oilfield workers take is to file for workers’ compensation. In Texas, workers’ compensation provides benefits that can cover your medical bills and a portion of your lost wages.
However, as you may already know all too well, these benefits can fall far short of meeting the needs of those who have suffered life-changing injuries.
When workers’ compensation isn’t enough, what can you do? Or, what if your employer doesn’t carry workers’ compensation coverage?
If Your Employer Doesn’t Carry Workers’ Compensation Coverage
In Texas, employers are not required to participate in the workers’ compensation system. If your oil and gas employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance, then you can sue your employer directly for your work injuries. The key will be proving that your employer or fellow employees were negligent or reckless in causing the accident. While workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” system (which is why benefits are limited), if you have to sue, you need to be able to prove that your employer was at fault.
Suing Other Parties for Your Oilfield Injuries
Regardless of whether you can claim workers’ compensation or are able to sue your employer, you also have the right to sue any other parties that are responsible for your injuries in an oil field accident. In some cases, you may be required to repay your employer’s insurance carrier if you receive enough compensation from a third party. However, this is only if you recover enough to fully compensate you even without retaining your workers’ compensation benefits.
The types of parties you may be able to sue for your oilfield injuries include:
- Contractors and subcontractors – If someone working for a company other than your employer causes your injuries, you may be able to file a claim against that person’s employer.
- The oil and gas industry – If you work for a contractor or subcontractor, you may have a claim against the oil and gas company depending on the circumstances.
- The landowner – Oil companies often lease their land from third-party owners. In some cases, these landowners can be held responsible for injuries resulting from dangerous premises.
- Oil Rig owners and manufacturers – Explosions, fires, collapses, and other drilling accidents may be the result of poor rig maintenance or design. When this is the case, oilfield injury victims may be able to file claims against the rig’s owner or manufacturer.
- Trucking companies, shipping companies, and vehicle manufacturers – If you are injured in a trucking accident on an oil field, you may have a claim for compensation against the trucking company, shipping company, truck manufacturer, or another third party.
These are just a few examples. When you contact us today for a free consultation, we will conduct a thorough evaluation and legal advice in order to identify all of the parties that may owe you financial compensation.
Have You Been Injured in an Oilfield Accident? Call Morrow & Sheppard LLP Today
Our oilfield injury lawyers at Morrow & Sheppard LLP can provide experienced legal advice for oilfield workers throughout the United States with a focus in Texas, New Mexico and Louisiana. If you or someone you know were injured in an oilfield accident, you should act now to protect your legal rights and speak with us about your case.