Is Workers’ Compensation Your Only Hope After an Oilfield Accident Injury?

by Frank E. Lamothe, III

Long Hours. Exhausting and physically demanding work in extreme heat. Large, complex, and dangerous machinery. Highly combustible and toxic chemicals and other materials. These are just a few of the risks oilfield workers face every single day, and they are the hazards that make oil and gas extraction one of the most dangerous industries for American workers. In fact, the upstream oil and gas industry has the highest rate of severe on-the-job injuries per worker, according to government statistics.

With the exception of persons who are vessel crewmembers or who qualify as a Longshoreman or as a Harbor Worker, when injured workers seek damages from their employer for oilfield accidents, injuries, and deaths, even those caused by the employer’s negligence or disregard of safety rules, they are almost always limited to workers’ compensation benefits.

While workers’ compensation benefits can provide much-needed care and financial resources for injured oilfield workers and their families, those benefits are often woefully inadequate when the injuries are serious and catastrophic, the medical bills are astronomical, or a family loses a breadwinner.

Injured Oilfield Workers May Have Claims Against – and Can Get Substantial Damages From – Others Who Caused Their Accidents

Louisiana’s workers’ compensation system is based on a tradeoff. For employees, including oilfield workers, the upside is that they do not need to prove what caused their injuries to obtain compensation and benefits. Those benefits can be in the employees’ pockets quickly, without the delay and uncertainty often involved in personal injury lawsuits. In exchange, employers are largely immune from costly lawsuits and substantial damage awards for their injured workers.

An employer’s negligence isn’t the only cause of many oilfield accidents. If someone other than your employer is at fault for your accident and injuries, you can seek damages from them in a personal injury lawsuit. These damages can far exceed workers’ compensation benefits and include compensation for such losses as physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium and companionship, physical disability, and other elements of personal injury damages that are not included in workers’ compensation benefits.

Examples of Oilfield Injury Claims Against Third-Parties

Examples of third-parties that may be responsible for an oilfield injury or death include:

• Contractors and subcontractors
• Rig owners and manufacturers
• Fixed offshore platform owners and manufacturers
• Equipment manufacturers
• Trucking companies
• Vehicle manufacturers
• Landowners

Additionally, if your employer does not have workers’ compensation protection, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer.

The Lamothe Law Firm: Protecting Oilfield Workers and Their Families

The Lamothe Law Firm represents oil field workers who suffer serious injuries while performing their duties. There is no room for negligence at an oil and gas drilling site. Even a single safety lapse can result in devastating injury or death.

If you suffered an oilfield injury or lost a loved one in an oilfield accident, please call Lamothe Law firm today at 504-321-7747 to consult with a qualified personal injury attorney about your case and get the full compensation you deserve.

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