Working on a rig in the Oklahoma oil fields is physically demanding and dangerous work for everyone involved, from roustabouts and roughnecks to technicians and inspectors.  When an injury happens in an oil field, it’s often not because of anything a rig worker has done.

Sometimes it is a defect in a piece of machinery or equipment that has caused an oil field worker to be injured or killed. In such cases, the injured worker or the family of a deceased oil field worker may have a legal claim against a manufacturer for compensation in addition to workers’ compensation benefits.

The product liability lawyers at Burch, George & Germany, P.C., can help you if you or a loved one has been harmed because of the failure of machinery or equipment in an Oklahoma oil field. We have successfully pursued product liability cases against some of the largest and most powerful companies in the world. We have firsthand knowledge of oil field injuries. One of the partners at our law firm had his leg broken by tongs while working on an oil rig in the 1980s. Contact us today for a free, confidential discussion about your accident and loss, and the legal options available to you.

Oil Field Injury Hazards Due to Defective Equipment & Machinery

Oklahoma has approximately 200 drilling rigs exploring for oil and gas. The drilling platforms are populated by numerous pieces of heavy equipment and machinery. The interdependency between man and machine can turn deadly if something breaks down.

Injuries and death occur when oil rigs, derricks, cranes, hoists, tongs, platforms, decks and other pieces of machinery and equipment collapse, if equipment under high-pressure fails, or flammable or corrosive chemicals and electrical currents are not contained. A pulley system on a rig may collapse, dropping a load. A valve may explode. Tongs may have a faulty control mechanism. A work-over rig may topple. Workers may fall or otherwise suffer injuries if safety equipment fails.

Oil field equipment can fail because of faulty design or manufacturing, inherent danger, dangerous retrofitting or negligent maintenance.

Oil field injuries caused by equipment failure may include:

  • Crushing injuries, including fractures (broken bones), head injuries (traumatic brain injury or TBI) and internal organ injuries
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Back and spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
  • Loss of limbs or other body parts (traumatic amputation)
  • Eye injuries / loss of vision
  • Thermal burns from fire, explosion or toxic chemicals
  • Electrocution.

Oil field equipment failure can also lead to wrongful death. From 2007 to 2011, Oklahoma had 64 oil and gas industry workers killed on the job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Oklahoma had the second highest number of fatal rig accidents of any state, according to the BLS.

About half are blamed on contact with objects or equipment, exposure to harmful substances or environments, and fires and explosions.

Defective Product Liability and Your Right to Compensation

A product liability claim is a lawsuit by a person or a group of people who were injured because a product was dangerous by design or had manufacturing flaws that caused it to be dangerous.

Determining whether a piece of machinery or equipment caused an oil field accident requires a prompt investigation of complex mechanical and technical issues. It also requires that the investigation is conducted by knowledgeable personnel who are independent of corporate owners and insurers.

It is important that those who are injured in an oil field accident seek legal help before agreeing to any settlement offered by an employer, insurance company or others. An oil field worker injured on the job will be eligible for workers’ compensation payments, but a claim for compensation owed because of defective product liability is a separate third-person claim.

Do not sign anything presented to you after an oil field or oil rig accident without the advice of a personal injury lawyer. An injured worker could unknowingly sign away their right to seek compensation they deserve – and need.

Contact a Product Liability Attorney About an Oklahoma Oil Field Accident

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in an oil field or oil rig accident that you think was caused by defective machinery or equipment, contact Burch, George & Germany, P.C., as soon as possible to speak with an experienced product liability lawyer. You may have a valid claim for compensation, but we need to begin an investigation for you before evidence is destroyed or disappears.

The Burch, George & Germany legal team can act quickly to begin the work required of a product liability claim, including counseling you about steps to take to protect your legal rights. You may be able to obtain much-needed compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering and more.

Please call us toll-free today at 405-213-1444 or contact us online for a free legal consultation.