This is the next post in our series on the handling of injury cases stemming from oil field accidents in the Fort Worth, Texas area. Our last article provided an overview of topics which this series will be addressing and stressed the need to immediately contact an attorney in order to protect your interests. It is important that you retain a firm with experience in handling such matters. In this article we will talk about steps which your lawyer will take immediately upon being retained.
One of the initial steps that a personal injury lawyer will take after an oil field accident is to send a letter to the field’s operator demanding that all evidence of the accident be preserved, to the extent possible. This evidence will include damaged equipment, can include tools or machinery which the victim was using and more. It will then be necessary to identify all possible defendants (a topic we will discuss in our next article) and to contact each of their insurance carriers. Your counsel will then begin dealing with the insurers directly so that you may focus on the important business of healing. How the case proceeds from that point will depend on the severity of your injuries.
If you have suffered serious injuries then your case will likely be in a “holding pattern” while you are receiving treatment. The amount of your future damages (which include future lost wages and medical expenses) must be reasonably ascertainable before a settlement demand may be sent to the insurance carrier. While you are receiving treatment it will be important to stay in contact with your attorney so that counsel is up to date as to your situation. Counsel will obtain your medical records from the treating physicians so that they may track your progress.
Once your future prognosis is known then experts will be retained to offer opinions as to the extent to which you can return to work as well as the extent to which your future earning potential has been reduced by the accident. It will then be possible for your counsel to engage in settlement negotiations with the insurance companies. If a settlement cannot be reached then it will be necessary to file a lawsuit.
Again, we cannot stress enough that you should retain a firm with experience in handling cases which stem from oil field injuries. These matters are often highly complicated. The firm you hire will need to be familiar with how to litigate against large corporate defendants and will need to have the resources necessary to do so. It is also suggested that you retain a firm which has attorneys who are Board Certified in Personal Injury Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. This is true regardless of whether you were injured in the areas of Fort Worth, Dallas, or elsewhere in Texas.