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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger

Oil Rig Accident Statute of Limitations in Texas | What to Know

Texas is the largest oil producer in the United States, so it comes as no surprise that this state reports more industry-related accidents and deaths than others.

However, federal regulators and state policymakers have explained that companies and employers are required to understand the risks that come with extraction and follow expert recommendations to mitigate them and create safe workplaces.

In Texas, the oil industry employs thousands of people each year. Unfortunately, many of these workers get involved in oil rig accidents and sustain severe injuries or even lose their lives.

It isn't fair that a preventable oil rig accident changes a person's life or affects an entire family just because an employer was negligent. Victims have the legal right to seek compensation for their injuries and losses.

Injured people or victims' surviving family members can seek help from an experienced personal injury attorney to file a claim and pursue compensation. However, there's a time limit to do so. This is known as the "statute of limitations." Below is more information about this topic.

Common Oil Rig Accidents in Texas

Common Oil Rig Accidents in Texas

Although working in the offshore oil and gas industry can benefit many people, especially those seeking high-paying jobs, it comes with many risks. These are the most common accidents:

  • Oil rig fires and explosions

  • Well blowouts

  • Exposure to dangerous fumes or chemicals

  • Falls

What Causes Oil Rig Accidents?

Texas usually reports more oil rig accidents than any other state, but that doesn't mean incidents aren't preventable. As mentioned before, employers in this industry must meet certain requirements to ensure workplaces are safe.

Some companies fail to do this, creating situations that pose serious risks for workers. Actually, many oilfield accidents result from human error, which is the factor behind some of the worst disasters in the history of this industry.

However, oil rig accidents can have different causes, including the following:

  • Employer negligence and errors

  • Lack of safety equipment

  • Poor worker training

  • Defective machinery

  • Equipment failures

  • Unsecured tools and objects

  • Collapsing rigs

What to Do After an Oilfield Accident

After an oil rig accident, injured workers or victims' surviving family members can seek professional counsel and take legal action against the at-fault party, whether it's an employer, an operator, or a manufacturer.

In most cases, these are the options for people who want to recover compensation for their injuries and losses:

  • A personal injury claim

  • A wrongful death claim

  • A workers' compensation claim

An experienced personal injury lawyer can help victims or their family members determine the best course of action for their cases. However, it's important to contact an attorney as soon as possible since Texas has set a deadline for bringing legal action against responsible parties. They also have insight on the truck accident statute of limitations in Texas.

What Is the Texas Personal Injury Statute of Limitations?

In essence, the statute of limitations is the deadline for filing a lawsuit against the party that caused the accident, injury, or death.

A big reason this exists is to resolve cases within a reasonable period. This timeframe also protects would-be defendants from long-dormant and unfair claims.

The Texas statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date the damage occurred. These laws apply to different types of civil cases, including those involving workplace or motor vehicle accidents, slips and falls, and abuse. Dallas oil rig injury attorneys may be able to help start the process.

If victims don't file a personal injury lawsuit within this timeframe, they'll lose their right to take legal action and pursue compensation.

Workers' Compensation Claims

Texas doesn't force private companies to have workers' compensation. However, some employers are legally required to offer this type of coverage to employees, including those who contract with government entities.

In these cases, the statute of limitations may be different. Injured employees who want to recover workers' compensation must file a claim within one year after the accident.

The Jones Act

Under the Jones Act, which is a federal law, workers who spend a significant portion of their time working on offshore oil rigs are considered employees of the maritime industry.

Victims and family members who plan to sue employers under the Jones Act, which is common in cases that aren't eligible for workers' compensation, will have three years since the injury occurred to file the lawsuit.

Exceptions to the Texas Statutes of Limitations

Although the statute of limitations applies to most personal injury cases, some exceptions alter the filing deadline. If victims are suing a government entity, they must file a notice of claim within six months from the accident date first.

Moreover, victims may qualify for an exception that allows them to toll or extend the Texas statute of limitations and file an oilfield injury claim at a later date. These are the most common:

  • The plaintiff is a minor: This deadline can be paused until they turn 18.

  • Victims are of unsound mind: The statute of limitations may be tolled until they become legally able to file a lawsuit.

  • Defendants commit fraud to conceal injured people's legal rights: This period is paused until victims discover this situation.

  • Injured people haven't discovered the cause of action: The statute of limitations is tolled until victims discover or should have discovered this.

  • The would-be defendant is out of state: This deadline is paused until they return to Texas.

  • The would-be plaintiff is on active military duty: In these cases, the filing timeframe may be paused or extended until the military service ends.

How a Lawyer Can Help Victims

How a Lawyer Can Help Victims

Victims and their family members must bring legal action against the at-fault party within a specific period after the accident or injury occurs. It's important to consider this deadline to avoid losing the right to seek compensation.

Although a personal injury case may qualify for an exception to modify the statute of limitations, this shouldn't be victims' first option. Even if they're eligible, that doesn't mean they'll be able to pause or extend this period.

To evaluate their particular situations and build a solid case before the statute of limitations expires, plaintiffs should seek help from an experienced attorney.

This is what a knowledgeable and trustworthy lawyer can do for victims:

  • Guide injured workers through the process of building their cases

  • Gather physical evidence to prove their claims, such as medical bills

  • Collect witness testimonials

  • Handle conversations with the insurance company to settle the case out of court

  • Help victims understand their legal rights and determine the best course of action, whether their case should be handled under personal injury or worker's compensation laws

  • Evaluate victims' cases to help them take legal action before the statute of limitations expires

  • File personal injury lawsuits on behalf of victims

  • Determine whether victims' cases may be eligible for exceptions and if it's a good idea to pause or extend this period

  • Provide legal representation

Final Thoughts: Contact an Experienced Lawyer!

Oil rig accident victims deserve fair compensation, especially if their injuries were caused by a negligent employer.

Fortunately, those injured or who lost a loved one in these incidents can find the legal advice they need at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys.

Our team will guide victims through the legal process, helping them make the best decisions for their cases. Call us today and request a free consultation!


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