What Are The Legal Options For Those Who Are Injured In Oil Fields?
The reason that many environmentalists favor looking for alternative forms of energy to oil is not just the disruption that drilling has on the atmosphere but also the danger that it poses for those who work in the oilfield industry every day when they go to work. Due to the extreme danger of working in the oil fields themselves, it is one of the few industries left where employees are allowed to sue their employers. Not covered by workers’ compensation insurance in the same manner, if you are injured in a gas industry accident, then you and your family are entitled to specific rights that other business workers are not.
Those who suffer an injury in an oil field or offshore accident are allowed to sue for personal injury. The compensation that they are entitled to covers both economic damages like medical bills and expenses and lost wages for work. They are also entitled to have non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, covered.
There are several different types of offshore and oil-field accidents
These are the most common types of accidents that an offshore or oil field employee can be compensated for.
Collisions – If a worker is involved in a traffic accident that leads to a job-related death or injury, OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, states that workers are entitled to have their damages paid for. There are a lot of processes in offshore and oilfield operations that require the workers to transport materials that are both hazardous and have to be transported through roads that might not be constructed well. If someone working in the field suffers from an injury, they can sue for their damages, which can be extremely dangerous.
Struck by or caught between something – In the offshore industry and oil fields, there are often times when workers operate heavy machinery and equipment. Things that they use are machines like derricks, cranes, forklifts, pipes, catheads, rotating wellhead equipment, high-pressure lines, and cables, which pose high risks to the employee.
Fires and explosions – When working in the offshore industry and oil fields, flammable gasses and vapors can easily ignite, leading to burn injuries and explosion deaths. The high-pressure nature of the oilfield lines can easily burst, which can also lead to explosions and fires that endanger everyone on the site.
Falls – The nature of the rigs makes it necessary for workers to be elevated frequently, which can predispose them to falls. Many falls that happen in the oilfield and offshore industry are not minor, resulting in serious injury and deaths. Additionally, working with oil makes surfaces slick and slippery, which can predispose workers to slips and fall injuries.
Ergonomic dangers – Working in the offshore and oil field industry requires a lot of strength. When pushing, pulling, twisting, and reaching over the boat, workers are exposed to extreme conditions that can put them at increased risk of a severe injury.
Why are offshore workers’ injuries different?
A worker who is injured in an offshore accident is entitled to be compensated according to Maritime Law. The Jones Act, an act created over a century ago, is still in effect and allows those who work offshore to file a claim using it, instead of going through an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. Those who are eligible are any “seamen.” This involves not just those who work at sea, but those who work in the drilling and oil industry.
Maintenance and cure is a component of Maritime Law that makes those who work in the offshore industry eligible for having their daily bills and living expenses maintained through their employer until they reach the maximum medical advancement possible.
For offshore rig workers, the Longshoreman and Harbor Workers Compensation Act applies and provides similar benefits including medical expenses and workers’ lost wages. The Death On The High Seas Act is a law that helps to provide aid to those families who have lost someone in an offshore oil rig accident. It provides death benefits to anyone who was injured within three miles from the shore.
The Jones Act also applies to those who are aboard Mobile Offshore Drilling Units and provides compensation for those injuries that happen as a consequence of working on a vessel. The compensation not only includes medical bills but also noneconomic recovery for damages like pain and suffering.
Many dangers come from working in the offshore and oilfield industry. If you are injured while on the job, then you do have recourse to recover for your damages, including those which are noneconomic, through the Jones Act. Different from workers’ compensation, it is important that you have personal injury Houston lawyer on your side to navigate the complexity of your injuries so that you are awarded what is rightly yours.