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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger

Onshore and Offshore Oil Rig Accident Statute of Limitations in Texas

Oil rig accidents can be devastating. Depending on the hazard, these types of traumatic incidents can result in catastrophic injuries, permanent disabilities, and, in worse cases, wrongful death. While the law may allow injured workers to recover compensation, it's crucial to take action immediately, as they may not have much time left to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit.


Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys has extensive experience fighting for the underdogs. By waging legal battles against greedy insurers and negligent companies, we've recovered over $1 billion across 70,000 satisfied clients.


Those injured in an oil rig accident in Houston, Texas, should contact the personal injury lawyers at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys to discuss their case and determine the time they have left to bring civil action. They can also assist with the truck accident statute of limitations in Texas.


Texas Oil Rig Accident Statistics

Texas Oil Rig Accident Statistics


According to the 2022 report published by the US Energy Information Administration, Texas was the largest oil-producing state in the country, with more than 31 petroleum refineries and around 300 rigs. Workplace accidents are more common than one can imagine.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed startling statistics regarding oil rig accidents. Between 2014 and 2019, the national public health agency tracked 470 deaths across the United States, with Texas leading in numbers.


With 219 workplace casualties, the department found vehicle crashes and being hit by an obstacle as the leading cause of oil rig accidents in the Lone Star State.


The Role of OSHA in Oilfield Safety


The role of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) extends to enforcing safety regulations and ensuring a safe working environment for the oilfield and rig workers. Companies must follow the guidelines set by the regulatory agency to minimize the risk of work-related accidents.


While some oil companies and rigs adhere to the law and maintain the standard required by OSHA, others may fail to comply. Lack of maintenance, carelessness, and reckless attitude are all examples of negligence that can expose workers to hazardous conditions, putting their lives in danger.


Fortunately, there are different laws that allow injured employees to pursue personal injury claims and lawsuits if they suffered injuries due to another's negligence. 


However, they must act quickly, as failure to bring a civil action within the time frame mentioned in the statute of limitations may prevent them from obtaining compensation.


What Are Statute of Limitations?

A statute of limitations is a law that sets a time frame for the injured parties to pursue a personal injury case. It is the maximum period the affected worker has to initiate legal proceedings.


Injured victims must understand that failure to adhere to the time frames mentioned under the state's statute of limitations can bar them from pursuing a claim or lawsuit. However, there are certain exceptions that can place a hold on the deadline.


Understanding Oil Rig Accident Statute of Limitations in Texas


The statute of limitations for most personal injury cases, as set by the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code section 16.003, is two years from the date of the traumatic incident. 


However, the time frame may vary depending on many factors, including the place of the accident.


Onshore Oil Rig Accidents and Workers' Compensation Claims

Any worker who suffers injuries in a work-related accident on an onshore oil rig in Texas may be able to recover damages by filing a workers' compensation claim with their employer. Most companies are required to have this insurance policy by law.


In exchange for workers' compensation benefits, which compensate the employee for medical expenses and lost wages, the affected party foregoes their right to sue their employer.


Depending on the company's insurer, injured victims must report their injuries immediately or as soon as possible. After seeking medical treatment, they have 30 days to file a workers' compensation claim.


Onshore Oil Rig Accidents and Personal Injury Lawsuits

In oilfield accidents involving gross employer negligence, the law may allow the injured victim to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the company to seek compensatory damages. These may include medical bills and lost income. The statute of limitations for such cases is two years from the date of the incident.


An injured employee may also be able to pursue a personal injury case against their employer in court if the company fails to have valid workers' compensation insurance. This is a legal remedy allowed by the law to ensure the protection of the affected parties.


It's important for the injured worker to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss their case and learn more about their rights.


Offshore Oil Rig Accidents and Texas Statute of Limitations

While injured workers have a two-year statute of limitations to pursue a personal injury claim or lawsuit against their employers, the time frame and procedure for filing legal action for offshore oil rig accidents are much different.


Since offshore workers didn't qualify as "seamen" under the Jones Act, President Calvin Coolidge signed the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) in 1927. This allowed the accident victim to pursue compensation for the following damages:


  • Medical bills

  • Lost wages

  • Pain and suffering

  • Mental anguish


Under the LHWCA, the statute of limitations is typically one year from the date of the accident. However, this law didn't cover offshore oil rig workers, which is why President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) in 1953.


The OCSLA extends the protections available under the LHWCA to oil rig workers who work three miles offshore on "submerged" lands. Affected parties may be able to recover the same damage as those provided under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act.


In offshore accidents, the statute of limitations is determined by the laws of the state that is adjacent to the oil rig. If the drilling platform is near Texas, injured workers have two years to seek compensation under OCSLA.


Should the Injured Workers Hurry After Their Oil Rig Accidents?


While two years may seem like a lot of time to pursue personal injury claims or lawsuits against oil companies in Texas, injured workers should start the legal process immediately. Building a strong case requires concrete proof and impactful witnesses. Waiting too long can adversely impact the quality of evidence gathered.


A key thing to remember is that while the statute of limitations begins from the date of the accident, in cases of a wrongful death claim, the clock starts ticking after the victim passes away. For more details, a Houston oil rig injury law firm may be able to help.


How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help with an Oilfield Injury Claim?

How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help with an Oilfield Injury Claim?


The personal injury attorney at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can help an injured oilfield worker in many ways, including the following:


  • They can help the affected party understand the Texas personal injury statute of limitations and its impact on their case.

  • The legal team at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys knows how to build a strong case and can adhere to the guidelines, reducing the risk of rejection.

  • Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys have the expertise and skills to handle the insurance company and negotiate a fair settlement.


Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys Are Here to Help the Injured Oil Rig Workers in Texas!


Unlike motor vehicle accidents, which can be open-shut cases, oilfield accidents are much more challenging to navigate, as there are many laws and regulations that can affect the outcome of the claim or lawsuit.


Those who have suffered injuries in an onshore or offshore oil rig accident in Houston, Texas, should call to schedule a free consultation with the experienced personal injury lawyer at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys. We can help victims understand the laws that apply to their case and fight for the compensation they deserve.

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