Common Oil Rig Injuries Highlight Job Hazards

Common Oil Rig Injuries

The oil and gas extraction industry can be a lucrative business, with the promise of hefty salaries, luring hundreds of thousands of workers to the fields every year. This is especially true in recent years; despite regular boom and bust phases, the industry has rebounded heartily since the oil price crash in 2014. According to recent research, nearly 90% of oil and gas industry employers reported that they expected either to hire more employees in 2018 (60%) or to keep staffing levels constant (close to 30%), and industry analysts have announced the United States is on track to become the world’s largest producer of oil in 2018.

Behind the scenes of such booming growth and the promise of record profits, however, is difficult and dangerous work. Ever-higher quotas, productivity and profits are regularly prioritized over employee safety. Common oil rig injuries, such as those caused when a worker is struck by an object, falls off equipment or is caught in machinery on the job, are often due to three factors: the fast-paced nature of the oil extracting business, inadequately trained workers and a lack of proper safeguards. When these elements combine, they can create the perfect conditions for accidents with often tragic consequences.

Oil and gas accident statistics

Oil and Gas Accident Statistics

The upstream oil and gas industry has one of the highest severe-injury rates in the country and the world, with a 2015–2016 rate of 148.9 injuries per 100,000 workers. This high rate is unsurprising, considering the industry’s culture in which worker safeguards may not get the attention they deserve.

When oilfield workers are pushed to produce as much as possible, as quickly as they can, they must sacrifice caution for productivity. Workers may not be properly trained when they are hired, either in safety precautions when operating heavy machinery, navigating high-up rig decking, handling hazardous materials or even in how to use the machinery and equipment that are the tools of their trade. It is also not uncommon for oilfield equipment to be poorly maintained. Shortcuts like these represent failings that are, or at least can appear to be, efforts to maximize production and profits at workers’ expense.

Oil and gas accident statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the most common type of oilfield accident is workers being struck by falling objects, often from collapsing decking or work rigs. The next most common oil rig danger is workers being caught in malfunctioning or defective equipment or machinery. Workers are also regularly involved in vehicle crashes, as well as accidents due to slipping and falling off the rigs or other equipment. Depending on the location of the oilfield, workers can be involved in tragic accidents if they drive while fatigued, leading to one of the more common truck accident causes.

Specific injuries that workers can incur in these common oil and gas accidents include:

  • Finger or fingertip amputation
  • Bone fractures
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Puncture wounds and lacerations
  • Burns, including chemical burns
  • Hearing loss
  • Vision loss

Another type of workplace hazard that is common in the oil and gas industry is related to worker drug use. Drug trafficking and abuse are on the rise in the industry because of the high demands of oil rig jobs combined with the high wages that workers are paid. When workers are pressured to maintain long hours and a high level of output on the job, and they can afford drugs that will help them meet the demands of their jobs, drug use and abuse can become rampant.

Use of stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine is particularly common among oil rig workers who could not conform to such high productivity standards without them. Despite certain drugs’ performance-enhancing effects, however, employees who work while under the influence of drugs or alcohol contribute to the likelihood that an accident may occur.

Many oil companies and contractors are beginning to adopt more stringent drug-testing policies, including administering drug and alcohol tests to employees following an accident to determine whether substance abuse was a factor in the incident. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, it is common for oilfield employees and job applicants to fail these drug tests.

OSHA oil and gas safety

OSHA Oil and Gas Safety Regulations & Statistics

The collection of data on severe injuries—those resulting in hospitalization and/or the loss of a body part—is relatively new in the oil and gas industry. Oilfield employers have been required to report severe injuries to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) only since 2015. Prior to that year, they were required to report to OSHA only fatalities and catastrophic accidents that resulted in the hospitalization of at least three employees; all other, less severe accidents and injuries went unreported.

Even with the new rules regarding injury reporting, OSHA data from 2015 to the present is incomplete due to 21 states not being included in the reporting. In those states, which include California, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming (all states with significant oil and gas industries), oilfield employers are required to report injuries only to state agencies, not to OSHA.

Despite the incompleteness of the available oilfield injury data, however, it is clear that the oil and gas industry’s high fatality rate is due to the many safety hazards associated with the industry.

Oil rig accidents

Oil Rig Accidents Due to Flammable Gases

While injuries and fatalities related to explosions and fires are less common than other types of oilfield accident injuries, they do occur. Workers who drill or service oil wells are required to handle a variety of hazardous materials, many of which are highly combustible, such as hydrogen sulfide gas.

Oilfield workers are also exposed to materials, such as airborne silica and diesel particulate matter, that can be harmful to the skin, eyes or lungs. When workers are exposed to harmful levels of these or other hazardous materials, they can suffer both acute and chronic illnesses, burns or other injuries as a result.

Safety procedures in the oil and gas industry

Safety Procedures in The Oil And Gas Industry

Workplace accidents in the oil industry could be greatly reduced if workers were provided with adequate training in both equipment use and safety precautions. Proper maintenance of oilfield equipment would also help reduce accidents in the fields.

There are, of course, many safety measures already in place on most oil rigs, but they may be inadequate in such a hazardous environment. Oil rig workers are required to wear hard hats, for example, but these often don’t provide enough protection in the case of a fall, explosion or being struck by a falling object or collapsed deck. Many oil rig workers have incurred traumatic brain injuries from being struck on the head on the job, even though they were wearing hard hats as required.

In the case of injuries related to hazardous chemical accidents and exposures, OSHA recommends active monitoring of chemicals, along with worker training programs and proper head, eye, face and respiratory protection to minimize damage. As far as accidents related to oilfield machinery and equipment, there is potential for many types of injuries when workers come into close contact with cams, gears, pulleys, flywheels, belts, cranks and more. Accidents happen when equipment breaks, malfunctions or is not properly maintained. Thus, the recommendation for these types of incidents is to implement regular, comprehensive inspection and maintenance plans as well as utilizing safety control devices like tripwires, two-handed controls and barriers such as gates and protective shields.

Many oil and gas companies use the Job Safety Analysis Process (JSA) to help reduce workplace accidents and injuries. Any job on an oil rig that has the potential for accident or injury is a candidate for the JSA Process, which identifies hazards associated with each step of a particular task. That way, everyone involved in the job can participate in the JSA and work together to identify actions and procedures to minimize and guard against accidents and prevent injuries.

The Oilfield Accident Attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger Can Help Injured Oil Workers And Their Families

Despite initiatives like the JSA Process, workplace accidents, injuries and fatalities are still all too common in the oil and gas extraction industry. Employers may be negligent in the regular inspection and maintenance of equipment and machinery, or they may fail to provide adequate worker training or to mandate and enforce safety precautions among employees. But protecting workers is paramount to the industry, even if profit remains the bottom line, as accident liability and related lawsuits and settlements ultimately eat away at companies’ profits.

If you or someone you love has been involved in an oil rig accident, it’s time to contact Slack Davis Sanger. Our caring and competent oilfield accident attorneys are leaders in personal injury law. We have decades of experience in advocating for our clients who have been injured in or have lost a loved one to a workplace accident. Our attorneys have experience in the oil and gas industry’s complex laws and regulations, and we will work hard on your behalf to ensure you are awarded the compensation you deserve.

Compensation For Emotional Distress: What Are Your Rights?

Compensation for emotional distress

Many people are aware that someone who is injured, or worse, can recover damages from the entity responsible for their injury. Damages are almost always in the form of financial payments, and personal injury damages typically cover monetary losses or costs associated with the injury. These costs might include hospital or physical therapy bills, lost wages due to time away from work, mechanic fees for fixing a damaged vehicle and so on. But did you know you might also be entitled to compensation for emotional distress? What are your rights regarding emotional suffering that you have sustained from either witnessing or being involved in a life-altering injury or tragedy?

Can Emotional Distress Be Addressed In Personal Injury Lawsuits?

First, it’s important to know that you do have rights in a personal injury lawsuit when it comes to emotional suffering. If you have been injured or someone you love was injured or even killed due to someone else’s negligence, it could have a lasting effect on your entire life. This includes the very real psychological impact that injuries can carry.

When you are injured, whether in a car accident, on the job or in some other situation, you might grapple with profound feelings of depression or anger, along with the physical pain and difficulty of your injury and subsequent recovery. If your injury causes a permanent physical handicap or chronic pain, such as what might result from common construction site injuries or other traumatic work-related accidents, the effects of dealing with that will be both physical and emotional, and you may deserve compensation for both.

If you lose a family member or loved one in a tragic accident, you may also be entitled to compensation for your own emotional distress. The death of a loved one is a devastating event that causes significant stress in the lives of those left behind. If the death was caused by an accident that could have been avoided, this can provoke overwhelming, ongoing feelings of anger, sadness, helplessness and depression. These feelings certainly have a great personal cost, and they may carry a financial cost as well.

Examples of emotional distress

Examples of Emotional Distress

Some people must seek counseling or take medication to cope with the intense feelings they experience after a major accident or injury. Others endure a significant loss of quality of life due to the injury, and may even be rendered unable to work or otherwise function normally—major life changes that can have a profound psychological impact. When a traumatic injury or the loss of a loved one to a tragic accident leads to a medical diagnosis of some type of emotional distress, this may be considered in a personal injury lawsuit as deserving of financial compensation.

Some examples of emotional distress following a traumatic injury or loss of a loved one that could merit compensation in a personal injury lawsuit include a professional diagnosis of:

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Substance abuse

Sometimes, a diagnosis of a physical condition can serve as further evidence of emotional distress following an accident or injury. Stomach ulcers, chronic headaches and insomnia or other sleep disorders that have developed as a physical manifestation of emotional suffering can all be important considerations in a personal injury lawsuit.

Emotional distress lawsuit settlement

Emotional Distress Lawsuit Settlement: Examples

Since emotional distress is a personal and therefore subjective experience, it does not always require a professional diagnosis in order to be considered in a personal injury lawsuit. Even if the injured person has not been diagnosed by a psychologist or medical professional with any of the above well-known diagnoses, the lawsuit can sometimes be settled in their favor, including damages for emotional distress.

Some examples of emotional distress that might not be professionally diagnosed but which might still be included in a personal injury lawsuit include significant, intense and repeated feelings or episodes of:

  • Fear or fright
  • Humiliation
  • Crying
  • Stress
  • Panic

Sometimes, emotional distress due to an injury or loss can lead to further, compounded effects later on. An example of this would be a job site accident resulting from oil rig dangers or other on-the-job hazards that causes a worker to lose his hand, which then makes him unable to work. The loss of his limb plus the loss of function and quality of life, in turn, caused depression and substance abuse, which could lead to tension and strain in his marriage, ultimately leading to divorce—which then compounded the emotional impact of the entire situation.

In an example like this, the accident and injury were the cause of everything that came after, including multiple stages of emotional pain and suffering. An experienced and competent personal injury law attorney can establish this cause-and-effect relationship between the injury and its multiple, compounding emotional effects for the client, and can work to secure much-deserved compensation.

Mental anguish and emotional distress

Mental Anguish and Emotional Distress

Mental anguish and emotional distress are closely related in the context of a personal injury case. As with emotional pain and suffering, mental anguish refers to conditions including depression, anxiety, fright, grief and other significant emotional trauma. Mental anguish damages are usually connected to cases involving wrongful death, disfigurement or serious bodily injury that led to profound sadness and distress for the injured individual.

In most cases and states, suing for emotional distress damages must be done in conjunction with a physical injury lawsuit, as opposed to emotional distress that was not caused by an injury or accident. In the state of Texas, however, a plaintiff may sue for mental anguish damages without physical injury in one of a limited number of circumstances. Those circumstances include:

  • Bystander cases (when the individual has witnessed a traumatic accident and suffered profound mental anguish as a result)
  • Invasion of privacy
  • Defamation (when the individual has suffered mental anguish due to his or her reputation having been damaged by malicious gossip, libel or slander)
  • Child abduction (when the abduction of the individual’s child caused profound mental anguish not just for the child, but for the individual as well)

Calculating emotional distress damages

Calculating Emotional Distress Damages

Due to the subjective nature of emotions, calculating emotional distress damages is not an easy task, and there is no established formula for doing so. To secure compensation for a client, a personal injury attorney must prove not only that the client’s injury had a significant emotional impact, but also that the impact was severe enough to carry a burden worthy of financial recompense.

Part of this might be a relatively straightforward calculation, such as if the client attended counseling sessions following the injury, or was prescribed antidepressant or antianxiety medication by a psychiatrist. Those situations come with receipts bearing dollar amounts—actual money that was spent on recovery.

But a large portion of emotional distress damages are not straightforward in the least. How can one attach a monetary amount to suffering? Grief, depression, anxiety, panic and stress—all of these are psychological conditions that fluctuate over time and can extend for months, years or even for the rest of a person’s life. How can a price be put on this type of damage?

There are several things a personal injury lawsuit client can do to help clarify the process of determining damages for emotional distress. One way is by writing regularly in a journal about feelings experienced following the accident. This will be an important tool both in seeking medical treatment for emotional distress and when seeking damages for suffering in the lawsuit. Journals can be an important part of proving that emotional distress was a direct result of the injury and not simply a preexisting condition, and they can also serve as a private outlet for personal feelings.

Journal entries chronicling the psychological impact of an injury can be especially helpful in a personal injury lawsuit when there is no specific medical diagnosis of an emotional condition like depression, anxiety or PTSD. Journal entries that describe the client’s emotional struggles can be used as a moving and convincing piece of evidence to prove that compensation is merited. This type of evidence is greatly strengthened when it comes along with support from a medical professional, such as testimony or session notes from a licensed therapist who treated the individual following the injury.

As a general rule of thumb, calculating emotional distress damages depends a great deal upon the severity of the individual’s emotional suffering. Everyone experiences a degree of emotional distress after any injury; the key is proving that the distress caused by an injury was profound or traumatic enough to merit compensation.

In some personal injury cases, attorneys can prove that there was an intentional infliction of emotional distress upon their client. One example of this is in a case of a car accident that involved road rage—when the defendant’s violent display of anger caused an accident that led not only to the client’s physical injury, but also to significant feelings of fear, panic or other emotional suffering.

Slack Davis Danger Can Help You Attain Justice

The personal injury attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger have extensive experience with being strong and compassionate advocates for our clients who have been injured or lost a loved one in a traumatic accident. We work diligently to seek the maximum possible damages for emotional distress resulting from an injury or wrongful death. If you have experienced emotional distress or mental anguish due to an accident and wonder if you have a case, call Slack Davis Sanger today. We can help you determine the best course of action to obtain the compensation you deserve.

Smart Luggage Ban Takes Effect In January 2018

smart luggage ban

Smart Luggage Ban

The 2017-2018 holiday travel season has been particularly eventful, and not in a way that travelers would have hoped. A fire shut down the Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson Airport (the world’s busiest) for multiple days, and a so-called “winter hurricane” wreaked havoc along the air routes of the U.S. eastern seaboard.

The hardship will continue for tens of thousands of travelers beginning January 15, 2018, when several of the largest U.S. domestic carriers will begin rejecting so-called “smart luggage” or “smart baggage” unless such bags contain removable batteries. Travelers using smart luggage with batteries that cannot be removed will face the unwelcome choice of abandoning their bag or missing their flight.

Why the Smart Luggage Ban Was Issued

Many “smart baggage” manufacturers foresaw potential travel restrictions and designed their bags to contain removable batteries. Unfortunately, some bag manufacturers did not anticipate such restrictions and failed to incorporate the ability to remove the battery into their design. Travelers of these bags will have spent in excess of $500 per bag for an item that simply cannot be used for its primary purpose: air travel.

To make matters worse, some of these bag manufacturers fraudulently marketed their smart bags as “FAA-compliant” when this was simply not the case. In its public statement, Delta Airlines went out of its way to draw attention to and warn consumers of the falsity of these marketing statements. If you are the owner of smart luggage, we encourage you to research whether or not your bag is on the “banned list” before departing for the airport.

Contact Slack Davis Sanger

If you paid for a piece of “smart baggage” or “smart luggage” and are frustrated that you’re unable to use it for air travel, please contact us for a free consultation.

Oil Rig Dangers: Work-Related Injuries and Safety

Oil Rig Dangers

Despite a rise in alternative energy sources, global demand for oil continues to increase. In the United States alone, over 7.2 billion barrels of petroleum products were consumed in 2016—an average of almost 20 million barrels a day. Almost 40 percent of employers in the oil and gas industry plan to increase their workforce by at least 5 percent over the next year to expand production.

Extracting oil is a dangerous business, whether it’s done onshore or offshore. Oil rig dangers are considerable, because this line of work deals with intense pressure, highly combustible material and heavy equipment.

According to data compiled by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a worker in the oil and gas industry is six times more likely to die on the job than the average American worker.

When workers are offshore, help is not close by. A fire or another accident can quickly escalate into a tragedy. Thinking back to the almost 200 workers who perished in explosions on the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 and the Piper Alpha in the North Sea in 1988 remind us how perilous this line of work can be.

When disaster strikes on an oil rig, what are the top reasons people are injured? Could safety measures have reduced the number of victims of these accidents? Let’s take a look at the numbers, some of the more common reasons oilfield workers are at risk and measures companies can take to protect their employees.

How Many Oil and Gas Employees Are Hurt or Injured On the Job?

Oilfield work often appears on lists of the most dangerous professions. As the oil and gas industry boomed from an average of 800 active drilling rigs in the 1990s to approximately 1,300 in the time period from 2003 to 2006, the worker fatality rate increased, with over 400 workers losing their lives on the job. The Centers for Disease Control found that the annual fatality rate climbed to 30.5 per 100,000 workers over those four years alone.

The three states with the most oilfield deaths in 2008 were Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. From 2004 until 2008, the number of fatalities while working in the oil and gas industry increased by 91 percent in Oklahoma, 21 percent in Texas and 30 percent in Louisiana.

In addition to an alarming high worker death rate in the oil and gas industry, life-altering injuries can also occur. In 2016 alone, at least 20 workers a month were hospitalized or lost a body part while on the job. Oilfield workers can also experience major burns and fractures, among other injuries. The Labor Department speculates that employers under report injuries by as much as 60 percent. The former head of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) pointed out that a culture of not reporting these incidents in the oil and gas industry is common, so even more workers are probably hurt or injured on the job.

Why Are Oilfields So Dangerous?

Why are so many oil and gas workers injured or killed while on the job? What is it, exactly, that makes working in this industry so dangerous? Most work-related injuries and fatalities are associated with working in an extremely high-pressure environment, with workers spending long periods of time away from home logging long hours in a physically-demanding environment. Part of the pressure comes with the cost of doing business, where just a one-minute delay can cost a company hundreds of dollars.

As a result, we see more human error in this type of work, which can lead to equipment misuse and procedures being implemented unevenly. Ultimately, these errors can jeopardize the safety of the job site. A few reasons oilfield work is particularly risky is that this line of work involves heights, heavy equipment, challenges getting to and from job sites and dangerous materials.

Fall Hazards On Oilfields

Working in an oilfield can be terrifying if you have a fear of heights. A misstep on an offshore outboard walkway at night means almost certain death if a worker falls. Slipping while moving materials on an elevated platform can result in life-changing injuries. From 2003 to 2013, falls increased 2 percent annually in the oil and gas industry. The CDC identified 63 fatal falls while analyzing OSHA data, which represents 15 percent of all fatal events during that same time period. Fifty-two percent of workers fell from a height of more than 30 feet, resulting in catastrophic injuries. Thirty-five percent of falls were from the derrick board, which is the elevated work platform on an oil rig.

The same report showed that most of the fatalities happened when the rigs were being assembled or disassembled at the well site or when drill pipe was inserted or removed from the wellbore. Derrickmen were found to be the most susceptible to falls when they handle pipe from the derrick board.

Dangers Associated With Heavy Equipment

When you work several stories off the ground, as is typical on an oil derrick, dropped equipment can become missiles that can easily maim workers or cause serious injury. A common hazard in both construction and the oil and gas industry, falling equipment caused 22 percent of all oilfield worker fatalities in the time period from 2003 to 2006. For onsite fatalities, the leading cause of death was being struck by, crushed or caught in equipment.

Spinning machinery and support equipment, including cranes and forklifts, are frequently in motion on a job site in the oil and gas industry. These conditions put workers at an increased risk for injury. In addition, the noise level of the working environment makes communication difficult. Six percent of oil worker deaths were attributed to workers being crushed by moving equipment.

Risks Getting To and From Job Sites

Workers typically work 8 to 12 hour days at a stretch of 7 to 14 days at a time, which leads to worker fatigue. This demanding schedule not only slows reaction time while on the job but also when the workday ends. Workers may leave a job site and have a long drive to where they will be staying. Transportation accidents are the leading cause of death among oil and gas extraction workers.

During the oil boom, State Highway 72 in South Texas became one of the state’s deadliest roads. The highway connects the oil towns of Kenedy and Tilden to the Three Rivers Valero refinery. In the first six months of 2014 alone, oil and gas companies filed 24 claims for fatal auto accidents.

In a report from Houston Public Media, Texas Mutual Insurance Vice President for Safety Services Woody Hill said, “We see a high incidence of motor vehicle operators who’ve worked fourteen-hour shifts, driving down the road and falling asleep at the wheel.”

Offshore workers travel to and from rigs on helicopters, which can also pose health and safety risks. In 2016, all 13 passengers died after a helicopter crashed off Norway’s coast. In 2015, a helicopter returning from an oil rig off the coast of Nigeria crashed, claiming the lives of four oil industry workers. Tragically, 45 offshore oil workers lost their lives in 1986 while traveling on a Chinook helicopter to a platform stationed in the North Sea.

Perils Linked To Oilfield materials

It goes without saying that petroleum is highly combustible, as are some of the chemicals that are used in onshore drilling, such as hydrogen sulfide. A well can explode if too much pressure is allowed to build up inside. The CDC reported that 7 percent of oil and gas extraction worker fatalities from 2003 to 2006 were from fires and an additional 9 percent were from explosions. Electrocution claimed the lives of an additional 5 percent of oilfield workers.

Improved Workplace Safety Can Save Lives

Too many oil and gas workers are losing their lives or dealing with life-changing injuries as a result of a workplace accident. Despite the dangers associated with oil and gas extraction, injuries and deaths in the industry can be reduced with improved safety measures, implementation, training and sharing of best practices.

Improved Safety Measures

Tighter safety requirements, tougher inspections and more oversight of oil operations can help spot potential problems and curb both the number and severity of oilfield accidents. As new technologies become available, more oil rig tasks are being automated, which can move workers away from dangerous equipment and into safer monitoring roles.

Employers can take steps to improve safety by making sure all workers have proper protective equipment and receive adequate training. Companies can go beyond regulations to keep pathways on an oil rig clear of debris to prevent workers from tripping or being struck by an object. Monitoring equipment placed inside of vehicles can give companies more insight about how to make improvements to existing vehicle safety programs.

Better Implementation of Existing Regulations

In many cases, safety measures do exist, but are not followed, or are not followed correctly. In response to the number of industry-related fatal injuries in 2004, the NIOSH created an Oil and Gas Safety and Health program. The agency concluded in a March 2016 report that while the oil and gas extraction industry made progress in reducing the fatality rate, the risk of workers dying is still significantly higher than most other professions. The group recommended that the industry continue efforts to reduce hazards and target high-risk operations and groups of workers within the industry.

The CDC found that fall protection was regulated in 86 percent of fatal falls during this time. Unfortunately, either protection “was not used, was used improperly or the equipment failed.” In 24 of those 63 fatal falls, 15 workers were wearing their safety harness but fell anyway because their harnesses weren’t attached to an anchor point. A verbal check between the driller and the derrickman before drilling operations began might have saved their lives. Taking this step could have reminded the derrickman to connect to the self-retracting lifeline and a restraint system on the derrick board.

Improved Training and Hiring Practices

When it comes to offshore drilling and the desire to dig deeper, inexperience can play a role. LiveScience reported that in the Deepwater Horizon incident, “BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles acknowledged that many of his company’s efforts to stop the oil leak failed because they had never had to plug a well at such depths and were therefore unprepared for the conditions that foiled their attempts, including ice formation inside of the original containment dome due to freezing deep water temperatures.” Indeed, the rig broke new ground and was the world’s deepest offshore well before it exploded and sank.

Oilfields are in a state of near-constant motion, with workers coming on and off the job frequently. Employers can make sure that when projects shift, signage is placed in correct areas and that new workers are onboarded with everything they need to know about safety hazards and procedures.

Slack Davis Sanger Has a Proven Record In Oilfield Accident Cases

If you were injured or a loved one was killed while working on an oil rig, you may feel helpless to stand up to a powerful multinational corporation. The lawyers at Slack Davis Sanger have decades of experience seeking just compensation for workers and their families whose lives were forever changed as a result of an oilfield accident. Our experts will combine a deep understanding of the complex set of laws and regulations in the oil and gas industry with compassion for your situation to secure a favorable settlement in your personal injury or wrongful death case.

Personal Injury Examples: Do You Have A Case?

Personal injury examples

If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident which resulted in an injury due to someone else’s carelessness, you may be looking for personal injury examples to better understand this field of the law. What is personal injury law, and what are the important elements of a case? Do you have a case, and are you eligible to receive compensation for your losses?

If you have been injured due to the negligence of a company or individual, you may have lost work time and wages as you grappled with hospital or physical therapy bills, medication costs, emotional distress or a general loss of your previous quality of life. If this describes your situation or that of someone you care about, read on to learn about personal injury lawsuits, personal injury examples and common types of cases.

Personal injury law definition

Personal Injury Law Definition

Personal injury lawsuits are often, though not always, built on the premise of negligence. Essentially, all members of a society are expected to conduct themselves in a reasonable and responsible manner. This means that whether they are driving to work, walking their dog, shopping for groceries or drinking in a bar, they are expected to avoid putting anyone else around them at risk.

Businesses are held to a similar expectation of responsible management regarding both customers and employees. This is especially true when their employees use tools that are potentially dangerous, such as hazardous materials, heavy machinery or tall scaffolding, or when the company manufactures defective or unsafe products that harm the customers who use them.

Negligence enters the picture when an individual or a business puts others at risk to the extent that they commit a wrongful act—an act of carelessness that results in someone being injured or killed. If someone causes a car accident while driving under the influence, for example, or allows their aggressive dog out of the yard, and someone else is injured as a result, this is considered a wrongful act. The person who committed the act of negligence should be held liable, or responsible, for the role he or she played in causing the other person’s injury.

Though negligence is key to many personal injury lawsuits, a good legal definition must go beyond negligence to include situations in which someone was harmed not due to carelessness but intentionally, such as by assault, fraud, slander or false imprisonment. These are called intentional torts. “Tort” is a term deriving from the Latin word for “wrong” or “injustice,” which points to the core of this realm of the legal field: Personal injury law, also known as tort law, seeks justice for people who have been injured due to a wrongful or negligent act.

Personal injury lawyers seek to pursue justice on behalf of the injured individual and sometimes on behalf of their family, as well. Justice in this context almost always means financial compensation, which is also called damages, for the injured person. Damages are paid either by the individual or business that is legally responsible for the injury, or by their respective insurance company.

In a personal injury case, a plaintiff—the person who has been injured—sues the person or company legally responsible for the injury; this second party is known as the defendant in the case. Personal injury lawsuits seek to prove that the defendant committed a wrongful act or an act of negligence that led to the plaintiff’s injury, and therefore liability lies with the defendant. Attorneys for injured plaintiffs might pursue damages from the defendant to cover medical bills incurred after the injury, property damage resulting from the incident (such as in a car accident), emotional distress, lost wages due to missed work or lost quality of life.

Personal injury law also covers wrongful death scenarios—situations in which a wrongful act has not just injured someone, but actually caused their death. In wrongful death cases, the plaintiff in the case might be a spouse or family member of the person who died. They might seek damages to compensate for their loved one’s loss of life and livelihood as well as to cover funeral expenses, emotional distress or the loss of earning capacity—that is, the future income that would have been earned had the individual lived.

Many personal injury lawsuits are settled outside of court. In those instances when they do go to trial, these cases are tried in civil courts.

Most common personal injury claims

Most Common Personal Injury Claims

Personal injury law covers any case in which someone has been injured or killed due to the negligence or carelessness of another. Some types of personal injury cases are more common than others. Below are six common types of personal injury claims.

Car And Truck Accidents 

In these cases, a driver, passenger, motorcyclist, bicyclist or pedestrian has been hurt or killed in a collision with a car, truck or another vehicle.

Vehicle Equipment Failures 

In these accidents, defective equipment on or in a vehicle, such as tires, seatbelts or airbags malfunctions, causing someone’s injury or death.

Medical Malpractice 

This type of personal injury involves someone being harmed, injured or killed due to negligence on the part of a healthcare professional, such as failure to diagnose a serious condition, improper treatment or use of an unsafe medical procedure.

Product Liability Cases

These cases seek compensation in situations when a defective or recalled product or medication causes someone’s illness, injury or death.

Work-Related Accidents

When an accident occurs on the job, often due to unsafe working conditions, insufficiently trained employees or improperly maintained equipment and results in the injury or death of an employee, the person injured or a surviving family member can pursue a personal injury claim. As you might imagine, more claims are filed in more perilous lines of work, such as injuries sustained due to oil rig dangers or other work-related hazards.

List of personal injury types

List of Personal Injury Types

There are a variety of types of personal injuries that are possible due to negligence or wrongful acts. Some examples of personal injury types include slip-and-falls due to slipping on ice or tripping over debris, whether at work or on private property; broken bones, internal injuries or a traumatic brain injury resulting from a car accident; the loss of a finger or limb in an accident at work due to defective machinery, which is just one example of a common construction site injury; a severe bite from a vicious, off-leash dog or a chemical burn due to handling hazardous materials on the job.

These are just a handful of types of personal injuries that would merit compensation for the victim; a full and exhaustive list of personal injury types might be thousands of items long. Details aside, the attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger have a proven track record of experience with a wide variety of personal injury cases. Some examples of personal injury cases we have successfully settled or won at trial over the years involved:

  • A family of three who suffered serious injuries when an 18-wheeler ran a red light and collided with the family vehicle.
  • A woman who was killed in a relatively minor car accident because her seat belt malfunctioned, causing massive internal injuries.
  • A three-person film crew on board a charter helicopter that collided into a building, leading to serious passenger injuries.
  • The death of blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan in a 1990 helicopter crash, when the pilot departed in foggy weather conditions and failed to maintain proper altitude over hilly terrain.

What is personal injury insurance

What Is Personal Injury Insurance?

Personal injury insurance—also called personal injury protection or PIP insurance—is a car insurance extension that helps to defray the cost of lost wages and medical bills incurred from injury in a car accident. PIP insurance coverage kicks in regardless of who might have been at fault, which is why it is often called “no-fault” insurance coverage. Drivers injured in an accident who carry PIP insurance will receive maximum compensation from their insurance company, whether they or someone else caused the collision. PIP insurance is mandatory in some states but optional in others, including the state of Texas.

Slack Davis Sanger: Top Texas Personal Injury Law Firm

Since accidents and injuries are almost always sudden, unexpected events, the person who was injured is often uncertain about what to do next. The idea of going up against a powerful business or insurance company can seem intimidating, even downright scary—but a capable, experienced attorney knows exactly how to proceed. If you have suffered an injury due to someone’s negligence or wrongful act, the first thing you should do is to contact Slack Davis Sanger.

The type of case you have may also necessitate a higher level of quality and knowledge in your legal representation. Proving negligence and liability in a personal injury case is tricky enough; things become more difficult still when it comes to proving intent in situations involving intentional torts. If your case involves establishing intent on the part of the individual or company that caused your injury, you will need a highly experienced personal injury lawyer to represent you.

Furthermore, in any potential personal injury case, time is of the essence. If you wait too long before pursuing either medical attention for your injury or financial compensation to cover your losses, you risk a significant reduction in the damages you’re entitled to. There are also statutes of limitations for filing personal injury lawsuits. In the state of Texas, the deadline is two years—meaning, you have two years after the date of your accident or injury to file your case. If you delay past that time limit, you will miss out on your legal right to seek justice.

For all of these reasons, it is essential that you hire a capable attorney who is thoroughly versed in all the complexities of applicable laws, and who will be both compassionate and aggressive in going to bat for you. The attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger have combined decades and hundreds of cases’ worth of experience in tort law, as well as a proven track record with cases both tried in court and settled out of court. We care about our clients’ well-being, and we are committed to securing the highest level of compensation to which you are entitled. Contact us for a free consultation.