Texas is home to many oil industry workers. Some work in oil fields and others on offshore rigs. While the industry can be a great source of employment, work is often done on dangerous premises and oil field accidents can result in catastrophic injury. If you or a loved one has been injured in an oil-related accident, contact a Fort Worth oil field accident attorney from our team today.
Common Issues in an Oil Field Accident Case
There are a number of ways that serious oil-related injuries occur. Those injured in an oil field are often victims of such things like fires, valve explosions, equipment malfunctions, or rig collapses. If you have been injured in one of these accidents, we will immediately take action to protect your rights. If possible, we will request that the scene of the accident be secured while we gain permission to inspect it. We will quickly retain the necessary experts to determine what went wrong. We will thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident including acquiring work logs, employee records, maintenance records, inspection reports, and any available video footage. We understand the serious nature of oil-related injuries which is why we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
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 Fort Worth oil field accident injury attorney 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.
Few things are more devastating than the death of a loved one in a workplace accident. Unfortunately, given the inherent danger of working in the oil industry, catastrophic accidents are not uncommon. Families of victims are often overwhelmed by grief and may not know how to initiate the legal process to seek compensation from the responsible parties. Under Texas law, surviving spouses and children may bring wrongful death actions when their loved one’s death was caused by the negligence or intentional misconduct of one or more third parties. After establishing the liability of the defendants, the survivors are required to demonstrate the financial and emotional damages they have (or will) suffer as a result of the loss. As with other types of personal injury cases, proving liability and damages can involve complex legal theories and arguments. Multiple expert witnesses may be required to investigate the incident thoroughly and provide testimony in support of the family’s claims. It is essential to retain counsel with the resources required to engage all required experts and handle the case during settlement negotiations and through trial if necessary.
Oil field cases can be particularly complicated for a variety of reasons. First, such cases often involve multiple defendants. For instance, if the victim’s death stemmed from an oil rig collapse, then the potentially responsible parties may include the rig’s owner, operator, equipment manufacturers, contractors, etc. Identifying each defendant and understanding their respective roles in the incident is essential to ensuring that the victim’s family is fully compensated. Second, damages in wrongful death cases may easily reach into the millions depending upon the facts of the case. As such, defendants and their insurance companies are likely to dispute their liability. They may employ teams of attorneys and experts of their own to refute the wrongful death action. This can lead to a lengthy and expensive legal process. We recommend working with a law firm with multiple attorneys who are dedicated to your case and with the resources to aggressively pursue all potentially responsible parties.
Victims and their families should consider retaining law firms with the personnel necessary to give their case the attention it deserves. Oil field accident litigation often involves lengthy and extensive discovery periods leading up to a trial. This means an abundance of court filings and many court hearings requiring the plaintiff’s lawyer to spend substantial time conducting legal research, writing briefs, attending depositions, and more. Also, as stated above, oil field accidents often involve defendants with an army of lawyers, multiplying the amount of work presented in a typical case. A firm with few attorneys may not be able to handle the workload such a case presents. By retaining a firm that can devote multiple attorneys to a case, you help to ensure that such issues are handled methodically and systematically. This is true regardless of whether you were injured in Fort Worth or elsewhere in Texas. The team at Noteboom is equipped and ready to help you following an oil injury accident; contact our firm.