This is the next post in our series on the handling of personal injury cases which stem from oil field injuries in the area of Fort Worth, Texas. Our last article discussed the steps an attorney will take after an oil field injury. It is important to understand that you should speak with a lawyer immediately in order to ensure that relevant evidence is preserved and that your rights are protected. An experienced firm will know what steps to take in such matters. In this article we will discuss the important topic of identifying each of the defendants in such cases.
Oil field injury cases differ from typical matters such as those involving a car accident. This is due to the fact that oil field injuries can often involve numerous defendants. The victim would have a potential cause of action against each of these defendants and failing to name all of the parties can result in one not receiving the full amount of compensation to which they are entitled. Identifying all of the possible parties in a case should be one of the first tasks which your attorney deals with.
The reason there are potentially several parties in such cases is the fact that Texas law holds people responsible for what happens on their land and companies are liable for the acts of their employees. It is possible that an oil field is owned by one individual or company but that another corporation has signed an agreement for the rights to extract oil from the land. In this scenario it is possible that both the owner and extracting company could face potential liability. Sub-contracting companies, working for an extracting entity, may be possible defendants as may the manufactures of any faulty equipment which contributed to the accident. The theories of liability against each defendant will depend on the specific facts of the case.
It is crucial that your lawyer immediately begin an analysis of public records, public information, and other data which can identify all of the potential defendants in such a case. This data may include information which is required to be disclosed by publicly traded corporations, publicly available land use permits, newspaper articles, as well as records from both Texas and local governments. It may also be necessary to interview potential witnesses in order to identify all of the parties. You only have a limited amount of time in which you can name a party to a lawsuit so it is crucial that this investigation begin immediately.
If you have been injured in an oil field accident then it is important that you retain a firm with the resources necessary to deal with large corporate defendants. Retaining a firm which lacks these resources can result in your case not getting the full attention it needs. When interviewing attorneys we suggest that you look for a firm which has multiple lawyers on staff, in which counsel is Board Certified in Personal Injury Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and which employs its own investigator. These traits should be sought regardless of whether you were injured in the areas of Fort Worth, Dallas, or elsewhere.