Recovering For Oil & Gas Industry Injuries In Louisiana
The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) routinely names the oil and gas industry as one of the most dangerous in the country, with all too many ways for workers to be injured or killed. Louisiana is one of the states where the industry has the largest footprints, with a significant number of rigs and other installations in and around the Gulf of Mexico.
If you have been injured while at work, depending on the specifics of your case, you may not know how to recover damages for what you have been through. Companies are often quick to offer a settlement to an injured worker to ensure that they can avoid paying higher costs, but you deserve better. A Shreveport oilfield injury attorney can help protect your interests as you navigate the legal process.
Causes and Effects
The oil and gas industry is profitable, and executives want to keep it that way. Unfortunately, what this often means is that safety comes a distant second to profits, with employees contending with the consequences. It is not uncommon to see shortcuts in safety procedures, equipment still in use that should long since have been replaced, or working through weather that should trigger a shutdown – any of which could lead to injuries and fatalities for the workers.
Some of the most common conditions that can affect oilfield workers include:
- Burn injuries from explosions.
- Toxic exposure to gasses like benzene or hydrogen sulfide, which can cause cancer and kidney issues, among other conditions.
- Crushing or impaling injuries, due to falls or motor vehicle crashes
- Several other types of ‘struck-by,’ ‘caught-in,’ or ‘caught-between’ injuries, etc.
Can I Collect Benefits?
If you are an oilfield worker, and you have been injured by what you suspect is negligence at work, you may wonder if you are eligible to collect workers’ compensation payments – and while it may be a surprise, the answer is no, at least in Louisiana. Louisiana law exempts any worker who performs services related to exploration for, or “development, production, [or] transportation” of minerals, which includes oil and gas.
That said, this does not mean that you are out of luck. There are two statutes under which you may be able to collect compensation, both federal. If you work offshore, the Jones Act may allow you to recover actual damages, as well as intangible damages like pain and suffering. Conversely, if you work primarily on land, the Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) and its extensions (namely the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act) allow all injured workers to seek compensation for medical bills and disability, among other expenses.
Sustaining an injury on an oilfield or oil rig will often be very serious and can even be life-changing. You deserve to seek compensation for what you have been through, but you do not have to do it alone. The law firm of Rice & Kendig can obtain relevant records like medical charts and can shoulder some of the legal load while you focus on physical recovery. We are happy to assist you – call our office today for your free consultation.