Next Steps After an Industrial Accident
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in its most recent assessment, found there were 488 workplace fatalities in Texas in 2018. Unfortunately, Texas often ranks first or near first in this gruesome category. Nearly half of these wrongful deaths were caused by equipment, toxic substances, fires and explosions, and slips, trips, and falls. Transportation deaths also accounted for nearly half the total.
Fatalities, of course, are just the tip of the iceberg. Nationwide, there are 337 million workplace accidents yearly, resulting in 2.8 million incidents of actionable personal injury claims. Industrial settings — including work in oil fields, railways, construction sites, and refineries — provide an even higher risk of accidental injury or death.
Various sectors of these industries, such as hot oil, drilling rigs, well completion, field operations, compressor stations, oil field trucking, transportation, scaffolding, storage and refining operations, welding, and roofing, all create very dangerous work environments. This doesn’t even include all of the heavy and dangerous equipment around all of the highly explosive and dangerous chemicals. These factors can all contribute to both minor and catastrophic injuries.
If you have been injured in an industrial, oil field, or refinery accident in Houston, South Houston, Webster, or Pasadena, Texas, you should immediately contact me, Attorney Jose Orihuela. I will not only explore the workers' compensation benefits you are eligible for, but I will also seek out all potentially available recovery. Even, if your employer is not a workers' compensation subscriber, I will also seek fair compensation through other legal channels.
Common Causes of Industrial Accidents
No two industrial accidents are the same. There are always varying factors and circumstances that may have led to the accident. Some of the more common causes of industrial accidents include:
- Vehicle accidents
- Valve failures
- Inadequate training
- Inadequate safety equipment
- Pipeline explosions
- Gas compressor stations
- Well explosions and fires
- Derrick collapses
- Well drilling, completion, servicing, and operation
- Rig blowouts
- Equipment failure
- Falling equipment
- Falls from rigs and equipment
- Contractor negligence or recklessness
- OSHA violations
Types of Injuries Often Sustained
Depending on the cause of the accident, injuries can range from minor to fatal. Injuries that are likely to occur include:
- Severe burns from chemicals or fires
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Exposure to toxic chemicals and gases
- Loss of limbs and amputation
- Seizures, numbness, and loss of consciousness
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Internal organ injuries
What You Should Do If Involved in an Accident
Sustaining injuries in an industrial accident is overwhelming and can affect your physical, financial, and emotional well-being. What you do or say following an accident can influence the outcome of your personal injury claim. Make sure that you:
- Immediately report the accident to your employer and OSHA.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if your injuries don’t feel serious, let a doctor determine your prognosis. Often injuries don’t manifest themselves immediately.
- Obtain contact information for witnesses (names, addresses, phone numbers).
- Take photos of the accident scene, your injuries, and any faulty equipment.
- DO NOT make a statement to an insurance adjuster without first speaking to an attorney.
- DO NOT give a medical record authorization before talking to an attorney.
- DO NOT accept a settlement without first consulting an attorney.
Compensation for Industrial Injuries
Under the Texas Labor Code injured workers are entitled to 4 different types of benefits:
- Income benefits to replace money lost due to the work-related injury.
- Medical benefits to pay for reasonable and necessary medical care to treat the work-related injury.
- Burial benefits to help pay funeral expenses in the case of fatality resulting from a work-related accident.
- Death benefits to help families replace money lost when an employee dies because of a work-related injury.
Workers’ compensation is sometimes just the first step in the recovery process for your personal injury. The impact the accident can have on your life goes beyond physical injuries and may include:
- Altered health and daily routine
- Inability to work (and therefore collect a paycheck)
- Ongoing medical bills
- Changes to your family relationships
- Changes in mental well-being
I am dedicated to fighting for you and your rights and will help you explore other means of pursuing fair compensation that might be available to you and your family.
Seek Professional Legal Advice and Help
Whether your industrial accident took place in the Houston, Texas area or in one of the surrounding towns of Pasadena, Clear Lake, Friendswood, League City, Dickinson, Alvin, Kemah, Santa Fe, Webster, or Bacliff, I’m here to help you with your personal injury case. When you work with me, you’ll get accessibility to me and not just to support staff, clear explanations about your options, and fierce representation. Contact me today at Jose Orihuela, Attorney at Law, for a free consultation.