Hundreds of people in Bakersfield, California are involved in the oil industry. While oil rigs provide a number of employment opportunities and are a boon for both our local economy and energy independence, they also provide myriad opportunities for traumatic injuries. If you or a loved one have been involved in an oil field accident, then you may need the help of our Bakersfield oil field accident attorney.
If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed while working in an oil field, you may be entitled to significant compensation. Bakersfield oil rig accident attorney Mickey Fine has over 20 years of experience helping victims of these accidents and is prepared to take your case, fight for your rights, and see that you get the compensation you deserve.
Oil Field Accident Statistics in California
According to a CDC report done in 2014, 2 of the 43 deaths that occurred nationally in the oil industry that year happened in California. This is a number that could have been reduced to zero if the employers had made the oil rigs a safer place for their employees.
Overwhelming statistics point to the fact that oil field deaths and injuries often occur due to faulty land transportation policies. If land transportation is proving to be extremely dangerous for workers in the industry, then measures need to be taken by the oil companies to ensure that fewer incidents occur in this area of work.
If you happen to sustain an injury or someone you know has been injured or killed while working on an oil field in California, we encourage you to speak with an oilfield accident attorney about your rights. Workers compensation might not be the best route for you to take depending on specific situations, so it is encouraged that you to talk to a personal injury lawyer if your oil field injury was caused by the negligence of someone else.
Common Causes of Oil Field Accidents
If safety is not of the utmost importance on the job, oil drilling can quickly become one of the most dangerous jobs in California. Between 2013-2014, the fatality rate in this profession rose 27% with 142 deaths in that time. This, in fact, was the highest fatality rate of all professions in that time.
There are many scenarios which can cause injuries in the oil industry. Some of which include:
Fires and Explosions
Fires and explosions are the most common accident that occurs in the oil industry. While drilling, combustible gases can escape holes, react with the air and can potentially cause explosions. Cutting and welding is also a common practice in the oil industry. When welding happens close to these combustible materials, fires and explosions can occur.
Worker falls are common in the oil industry. They are most common in elevated rig areas where workers can fall from platforms to the hard ground below, and in some cases the ocean. These accidents are very dangerous, but many of them can be prevented if proper safety guidelines are followed.
Chemicals and water are great conductors of electricity, and both are found on oil rigs. When they are present, they can make the simplest of tasks such as changing a light bulb very risky. Workers should always wear electrical insulators to avoid electrocution and regularly perform regular safety inspections of their electrical equipment.
Being Struck by Heavy Objects
Oil workers are constantly at risk of being struck by falling or moving objects while on the job site. Instances of rotary cables, pipes, chains, and high-pressure hoses striking workers are not uncommon.
Becoming Caught in Machinery
An oil field worker’s clothing and limbs are almost always at risk of getting caught in machinery while on the job. Accidents involving spinning chains, rotary tables, and pipes can all cause a worker’s limbs to become trapped and cause severe damage. Workers should always be aware of their surroundings to avoid serious injuries.
Rig Collapses and Failures
An oil rig can collapse when it is carrying more weight than it is designed to carry. Collapses also occur when proper maintenance is not upheld. Any mechanical issue that stems from improper upkeep and maintenance greatly increase the chances of a rig collapse.
Oil rigs often encounter harmful chemicals that are hard to detect such as hydrogen sulfide. The long-term effects of exposure to harmful chemicals like these often include respiratory paralysis, irregular heartbeats, burns, and death. It is important that workers take the proper precautions to prevent chemical exposure such as wearing the proper gas mask.
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Common Oil Field Injuries
The most common oil rig accidents that result in fatalities are transportation accidents, equipment and object accidents, and explosions. However, these and other types of oil field accidents do not always result in death. Common injuries sustained on oil rigs include:
The equipment on an oil rig can produce fire, electricity, steam, and hot materials, all of which can severely burn a person’s skin. Mild burns can heal relatively quickly, but serious burns can cause permanent disfigurement, nerve damage, and severe lifelong pain.
Working around heavy equipment will always pose a threat for head injuries for the workers involved. Mild and serious head injuries are a very common oil field injury and can cause lifelong effects.
Loss of Hearing
When working around loud equipment most of the week, workers in the oil field industry often lose their hearing which impairs them from being able to work effectively as well as lead a quality life.
Loss of Sight
When working around hot materials and oil, the correct eye protection is essential in not losing your sight. Often when workers don’t have the right eye protection, eye injuries can occur causing a worker to partially and sometimes permanently lose their eyesight.
Workers in the oil field are almost constantly around heavy machinery, high temperatures, and harmful chemicals. When workers are around these dangerous scenarios on a day to day basis, accidents are almost certainly in the cards. Accidents on oil fields can happen due to worker negligence and faulty equipment. When they happen, and a serious injury occurs, the worker may lose a limb in the process.
In drastic circumstances, an oil field accident can cause death. While these circumstances are unfortunate, many of them could have been prevented. Luckily with the help of personal injury lawyer, Mickey Fine, the family of the deceased can pursue a wrongful death claim on their behalf.
These types of injuries will result in excessive medical expenses and may necessitate long-term rehabilitation, though there is never any guarantee of recovery. Compounding medical expenses with lost wages, the potential for home and lifestyle modifications, and personal pain and suffering, an oil field accident can have catastrophic consequences that extend into every aspect of your life.
How to Avoid and Oil Field Injury
It is important to understand that both workers and employers are responsible for doing the best that they can to prevent an oil field accident or injury. There are some instances where an injury may be unavoidable, but there are steps that can be taken to ensure maximum safety for all involved:
- An aspect of the job that is often overlooked is simply following the safety recommendations provided by the oil company. These should be taken very seriously by workers and employers alike. Often employees will be given handbooks that include proper safety measures that maximize their safety. This material should not be overlooked.
- Workers should do everything in their power to remain alert while on the job. We understand this can’t be a foolproof strategy, but it is important to realize that being alert could just save your life.
- Workers and supervisors alike should all be alert to any unsafe working conditions that exist on the job site. Noticing these hazards will prevent a number of avoidable accidents.
Compensation in Oil Field Injury Cases
A skilled oil field injury attorney like Mickey Fine will work to ensure that you receive the proper amount of compensation for your oil field injury. The exact amount of compensation you may be able to receive in your case depends on a number of circumstances. In an oil field injury case, you can be compensated for losses that include:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages
In addition to the damages above, you may also be entitled to punitive damages in your oilfield injury case. These represent additional awards that you might receive in your claim. Mickey Fine can order these damages when he demonstrates that your injuries occurred due to the negligence of another party in your accident. Punitive damages not only provide extra money to you in your case but also hold the at-fault party accountable for their actions which led to your injury.
Why You Should Choose Mickey Fine
At the Law Offices of Mickey Fine, we strongly believe that victims of oil rig accidents deserve compensation for all of their damages. For over two decades our Bakersfield oil rig accident lawyer has been fighting for the rights of injured workers, helping them get maximum compensation following these tragic events.
Mickey Fine works with each client on an individual basis. He will take the time necessary to understand how your accident has and will continue to impact your life, and will take your case as far as necessary to see that you get every penny you are due.
If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in an oil field accident in or around Bakersfield, California, please contact the Law Offices of Mickey Fine to schedule a free initial consultation today with our Bakersfield oil field accident attorney.