Alternative Revenue Sources to Workers’ Compensation, And Your Options Against Non Subscribers
Once you get past workers’ comp, there two primary avenues to recover injury damages, one of them is an exception to the worker’s comp civil suit restriction, which we’ve already mentioned. It involves employer gross negligence which leads to a fatal worker accident, either immediately or over time. So if you have a loved one who died as a result of an oil drilling accident, even if you don’t suspect gross negligence by anyone, you need to talk to an experienced lawyer. For if it turns out the accident was caused by employer gross negligence, then you, as an immediate family survivor, stand a very good chance of winning a civil wrongful death lawsuit, even if it’s against a workers’ comp subscriber.
But the more practical approach to non-subscriber liability for injuries you suffered on the rig – be it on land or offshore – is through a third-party claim or lawsuit. This is the thing your terrified, best-buddy boss was trying to avoid when he visited you in the hospital a few paragraphs back.
If his rig or drilling equipment was not maintained properly, or he didn’t provide safe working conditions, or if one of his helicopters ditched 50 miles offshore and you floated in the water, injured for hours, then he could be held accountable. If a faulty piece of machinery caused the injury, then the manufacturer may be held accountable through a defective product lawsuit. If a drilling contractor working for the rig owner, or another employee negligently caused your injury, they could be held accountable, as well as your employer, maybe. The same thing can be said for the corporation that hired anyone to oversee the drilling rig or offshore platform.
In all such events, you can sue the non-subscribing responsible party or parties, even if you can’t sue your direct employer who subscribes to workers’ comp. But here’s some good news. Third-party lawsuits do not prohibit you from filing a workers’ comp claim against your employer in addition. Often, a “no-fault” workers’ comp claim coupled with a third-party lawsuit against another clearly liable party often combines to deliver the necessary fair compensation.
But in order to reach this “endgame,” you need the deft hand of an experienced San Antonio drilling accident attorney to thoroughly investigate the accident scene and determine roles everyone played in your drilling rig or pipeline accident, and then construct the best strategy to get you the appropriate compensation for your injuries, pain, and suffering for your drilling rig-related injury case.
It’s not hard to understand why many pipeline and drilling companies along with their independent “wildcatter” brethren don’t subscribe to workers’ comp, even if it’s better than the alternative of not having it when it’s needed. They’re mostly too cheap to buy it because they try to cut corners whenever possible. Workers’ comp insurance, though it costs less than traditional oil and gas production insurance, is still not economical for some. But that’s because of the fundamental dangers of the petroleum drilling industry itself. And since a lot of the independents live from hand-to-mouth, insurance is a luxury they can rarely afford. Oh sure, they have money. But you can bet that, with a lot of them, none of it is tied up in insurance policies.
Once injured, the victim, or plaintiff, must file a claim against the non-subscribing employer, or third-party defendant, notifying him or her of the injury and the fair restitution the victim expects. If you work for a defendant who has insurance, they usually hand the matter over to them. Most of the time, the insurer will quickly dispute your plaintiff allegations. But if you have a good attorney, and your case has immediate and apparent strength, it’s possible that negotiations will deliver a fair settlement to pay your bills paid and all of your reasonable damages. But, just as often as not, drilling rig injury cases are contested. Then you and San Antonio drilling accident attorney must file a lawsuit to win fair compensation. And as the injured party you, the plaintiff, holds the burden of proving that the defendant’s negligence caused your injuries and upended your, and your family’s lives.
This blog was posted by Ford and Laurel Attorneys Laredo, Texas