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If you're injured on the job: Oilfield workers especially vulnerable

Oil field workers are the most vulnerable employees to being injured in work related accidents. If you’re hurt on the job, you’ll need an attorney with expertise in the personal injury law to best protect your rights and your family.

Oil industry jobs are among the most dangerous in the country, and, with the current increase in oilfield and construction work created by the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas, injuries and personal injury claims are on the rise.

The most effective way to file and pursue a claim is to seek expert advice and help. Many of the personal injury lawyers in the Corpus Christi area have years of experience successfully litigating oilfield injury claims. Most also offer free consultations, so, with just a little research, you can easily find the right fit for you and your claim.

Attorneys advise that when an injury occurs, it is crucial to determine the cause, preserve evidence, and document the facts as quickly as possible. Also, oil industry workers should understand their rights on the job, especially their rights for compensation and medical care when injured. Not obtaining an attorney right away could cost you thousands of dollars in disability pay and medical coverage.

In 2012, 65 oil and gas workers were killed on the job — a 50 percent increase from 2011. From 2008 to 2013, at least 18,000 suffered injuries, including amputations, broken bones, burns and cuts. While workplace deaths declined in other industries in Texas, they increased dramatically in the oil fields. Of the fatalities in the United States, 40 percent occurred in the Texas oil fields.

Causes that merit an injury claim include:

• corporate failure to exercise reasonable care

• defective machinery

• drug or alcohol abuse

• improper equipment maintenance

• inadequate supervision

• insufficient employee training

• negligent operation

Injuries come from:

• refinery fires and explosions

• drilling rig failures and collapses

• valve failures

• equipment failures

• electrocutions

• violations of safety policies and procedures

• pipeline explosions

Statistically, most injuries are caused by equipment. The following numbers were compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

• 24 percent struck by equipment

• 19 percent overexertion

• 15 percent fall from elevation

• 13 percent fall on same level

• 8 percent caught in equipment

• 21 percent other

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