Although the economic development produced by the expansion of the oil and gas industry is highly beneficial to the economy, many workers in the field place their lives at risk on the job every single day. The work involved in pipeline work can be extremely dangerous, leaving some workers severely and even catastrophically injured. Many of these injuries have occurred due to inadequate training, poor equipment maintenance, improper drilling procedures, and the failure to apply proper safeguards.
How do oil pipeline injuries happen?
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) reports there are more than 2.6 million miles of pipeline that transport liquid petroleum and natural gas across the nation. Catastrophic results can occur when a pipeline fails. Many times these failures were caused by older, degraded pipelines that were installed across the nation in the mid to late 20th century.
Although corrosion in pipelines is a big factor contributing to oil and gas pipeline accidents, there are other causes as well, including:
- Fires and explosions
- Pipelines cut or hit by heavy equipment and vehicles
- Natural occurrences causing damage (i.e. floods, lightning, heavy rain)
- Excavation damage
- Welding flaws
- Equipment failure
If you have sustained injuries in an oil and gas pipeline accident, you are likely entitled to receive fair and just compensation. You need the services of an experienced attorney in oil pipeline accident cases to secure your rights and hold any liable parties responsible.
What are the most common pipeline injuries?
For oil and gas employees who perform daily operations on pipelines, the risk to their health and safety is significant due to the possibility of fires and blowouts. Work crews experience burn injury cases on a frequent basis. Serious and catastrophic burn injuries can severely damage the skin, resulting in damage to both tissue and nerves. Third-degree burns can cause charring of the skin and even permanent disfigurement. Burn injury victims often must endure long periods of medical treatment, involving multiple procedures such as reconstructive surgery, skin grafts, and additional rehabilitation.
In addition to burn injuries, oil and gas pipeline workers may also suffer other debilitating injuries in the field such as:
- Head and traumatic brain injuries
- Cuts and lacerations
- Loss of limbs
- Bone fractures
- Leg and knee injuries
- Back and spine injuries
- Disfigurement resulting from flying debris
The list of injuries above pipeline workers may experience in the field is by no means exhaustive.
What should I do after a pipeline accident or injury?
If you are injured in an oilfield and pipeline accident, your first step should be seeking medical attention immediately. These types of injuries are usually severe and many workers may experience shock and feel they are not seriously injured. Get checked out by doctor as soon as you can.
After your accident, a representative from the company will likely want to talk to you. They may ask you to sign paperwork releasing them from liability for your injuries, or even make you say the accident was your fault. It is in your best interest to avoid signing or speaking about your injuries until you consult with experienced attorneys.
What should I do if I lose a loved one in a pipeline explosion?
If your loved one is killed from injuries from a pipeline accident, you may have grounds for a wrongful death action, or collection of their workers’ compensation benefits, depending on the circumstances of the accident.
In a wrongful death action, you may take legal action against a third party that caused your loved one’s death through negligence or wrongdoing. This could be a person or company that improperly installed a pipeline, a contractor who began excavating without checking for a pipeline, manufacturers of defective valves or gas meters, and others. Your attorney can investigate the circumstances of your loved one’s death to discover fault and liability.
If you were injured as a pipeline worker in Oklahoma
If you have sustained injuries as an oil or natural gas pipeline worker in Tulsa or throughout Oklahoma, you have a right to collect workers’ compensation for your injuries. It is vital to use the services of an experienced attorney in oil and gas pipeline injuries to help ensure your right to compensation is secured.
If you have suffered physical harm as a result of an oil or natural gas pipeline accident on the job, get in touch with an experienced Tulsa oil and gas pipeline accident attorney from our team at Biby Law Firm. We can help you pursue the compensation you are owed for your injuries. To arrange a free consultation, give us a call today at 918-574-8458 or leave us a message through our contact form. You pay nothing until we win your case.
Jacob Biby has spent his legal career helping folks just like you get the resources they need after an injury. He completed his undergraduate degree at Oklahoma State University and earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Tulsa in 2008. Jacob is licensed to practice in all Oklahoma state and federal courts, and has limited his career to representing individuals and families who were injured by the negligence of other people or corporations. Learn more about Jacob Biby.