A Loved One Died as a Result of an Oilfield Accident. What Can I Do?

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It is no secret that oil and gas extraction is a high-risk industry. According to a recent analysis by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), oil and gas extraction workers are killed on the job at a rate seven times greater than the average U.S. workers.

While we all hope that our loved ones will return from work safe from harm, the unfortunate truth is that workplace accidents, injuries, and deaths do happen – and while nothing can ever remedy the pain of losing a loved one, holding those responsible for the death of a loved one can help provide stability for your family in what is most certainly a turbulent time.

As the Oil Field Grows, So Does the Number of Injuries and Deaths

From 2003 to 2013, the number of active drilling rigs operating in the U.S. increased by an astonishing 71 percent. This industrial boom has resulted in a two-fold increase in the number of workers employed in oil and gas extraction jobs.

Unfortunately, this boom has also resulted in a spike in the number of work-related injuries and worker deaths, with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) confirming 1,189 industry-related deaths over the same ten year period.

According to NIOSH, elevated fatality rates have been most notable among contractors, workers employed by small companies, and workers who are new to the industry. Among the leading causes of death noted by NIOSH were:

  • Transportation-related injuries: 479 deaths
  • Contact injuries: 308 deaths
  • Fires and explosions: 170 deaths
  • Exposure to harmful environments: 105 deaths
  • Falls: 97 deaths
  • Other: 30 deaths.

When Should I Hire and Attorney?

When it comes to oilfield related injuries and deaths, it is best to hire an attorney as soon as possible.

Oilfield injury litigation is extremely complex, and oil and gas extraction jobsites are very hectic when active. Hiring an attorney as soon as an injury or death occurs will help ensure that important material evidence is secured.

Not only will your oilfield injury attorney file a temporary restraining order to preserve evidence, your attorney will also hire industry and Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) experts to investigate the jobsite for any potential safety violations.

Safety violations often include:

  • Poorly maintained equipment
  • Failure to provide adequate fall protection
  • Failure to meet hazard communication standards
  • Failure to provide adequate respiratory protection
  • General transportation safety violations
  • Failure to meet general machinery and machine guard requirements
  • Failure to control hazardous energy

How Can an Expert Witness Help in My Oilfield Lawsuit?

Not only are experts essential in finding and retaining evidence at the scene, they can also provide expert analysis of their findings and expert testimony during trial and arbitration.

Thomas J. Henry has spent years finding and building professional relationships with the best expert witnesses from all across the country. Expert witnesses that could benefit your oilfield lawsuit include:

  • Welding experts
  • Process safety management experts
  • Safety equipment experts
  • Hazardous chemical experts
  • State and Federal OSHA consultants and inspectors
  • Accident reconstruction experts
  • Engineering experts
  • Confined space permit experts
  • Environment health experts

What Damages Can I Recover?

If you have lost a loved one in an oilfield accident caused by the negligence of another, you may be entitled to financial compensation.

One option is to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In a wrongful death action, the family is not actually suing for harm caused to their loved one – instead, they are suing for the harm that was caused to them as a result of the loss of the deceased person. Among the damages a family can seek in a wrongful death lawsuit are:

  • Loss of quality of life
  • Loss of love and emotional support
  • Loss of financial support

A second option is to file a survivor claim. In a survivor action, the family is asserting that:

  • The worker died because of the defendant’s negligence.
  • This negligence caused pain and suffering to the worker before the worker died.
  • Had the worker survived, he or she would have been able to pursue legal action against the defendant to recover compensation for pain and suffering.
  • The defendant should not be able to avoid liability for pain and suffering just because the worker died.
  • The pain and suffering damages should be paid to the deceased worker’s estate.

Contact an Experienced Oilfield Death Attorney?

If you or a loved one suffered from a serious injury while working on an oilfield, contact Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys immediately. Our experienced team of oilfield accident lawyers are backed by the legal and financial resources necessary to take on large oil companies and achieve the compensation you deserve. At Thomas J. Henry, we ensure that our clients are informed throughout the entire legal process while they focus on recovering from their injuries. Contact us today for a free legal consultation.

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