Working in oil has its fair share of dangers and injuries are sometimes inevitable. However, many oil workers aren’t aware of the proper course of action when it comes to oilfield injuries. Here are the steps to take after sustaining an oilfield injury, to protect your health and your ability to receive compensation for your injury and any related expenses.
Notify Your Employer of the Accident
Assuming someone else hasn’t already done so, inform your employer of the accident. This allows them to deal with the dangerous situation. This may occur by the time you’re receiving on-site medical care. However, you should try to give an honest even if brief account of events in writing so that it has legal standing later.
What if your injuries seem minor? You still need to inform your manager. Your ability to file for worker’s compensation is at risk if you fail to tell your employer of a potential worksite injury since coming back several days later saying you think the worksite incident caused the problem leaves open accusations that the issue was caused by something you did at home. You also become legally protected when you leave early for the day to seek medical attention if you don’t think first aid on site was sufficient.
There is another reason to tell your manager or someone of equal authority. If the hazard that caused the injury is a serious threat to others, you could lose your job, your ability to file for worker’s compensation, and eligibility for unemployment if you don’t tell the boss the equipment caused a modest injury to you, as it could seriously hurt someone else later.
Deal with the Injuries
The first and foremost issue you personally face is dealing with the injuries, assuming those in charge are aware of the situation. Seek appropriate medical treatment for your injury, such as seeing a doctor on your own after receiving basic medical care at work. If a company doctor said you’re OK but you don’t think that’s enough, go ahead and seek a second medical opinion.
Don’t risk your health worsening while you wait for permission to see a doctor that accepts worker’s compensation. If there are serious medical issues, you’ll want it treated now. You can file for reimbursement for these expenses later.
Take care to keep receipts for any medical expenses, whether you saw a doc-in-a-box before being referred to a medical specialist or out of pocket payments for antibiotic prescriptions. Document the names of the doctors and dates you sought care since you’ll probably need to collect your medical records from them or sign paperwork later allowing worker’s compensation or giving permission for your attorney to gain access to the medical files. Write down everything you remember about the accident after your situation is stable, especially noting the timeline of events and potential witnesses. Remember to record precursors, such as times you reported unsafe conditions to management days before the event or prior problems that equipment had before injuring you.
Contact an Attorney
You need to contact an oil field injury attorney after you’ve received appropriate treatment for your injuries. Go ahead and seek legal advice if the treatment is ongoing, whether you need surgery later or physical therapy.
An attorney can help you work through the worker’s compensation process instead of trying to cope with both an injury and bureaucracy. If your employer refuses workers’ compensation, an attorney can file the necessary challenges. The can also help you if the injury is due to negligence from your employer. If your employer lacks workers’ compensation insurance, an attorney will file a personal injury suit against your employer to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses.
Make sure that you understand the proper procedure to take in case you’re involved in an oilfield accident. This will ensure that you get the right compensation and that your rights as a worker are respected.