An oil worker who was crushed by a platform and airlifted to the hospital was last reported as being in stable condition, despite suffering what officials described as “multiple system trauma”. The accident occurred on the afternoon of Tuesday, February 19th, 2013, and was caused when a “work over platform”, a special platform positioned over oil wells when repairs to the well need to be made, fell from its attachment as the platform was being positioned into place by a crane. The victim who was crushed beneath the platform is reported to have been helping lower the platform into place.
Witnesses reported that it took four men to lift the platform off the victim, and estimates put the weight of the platform between 500 and 800 pounds. Emergency responders credit the man’s chances for survival with rapid coordination of a helicopter rescue.
Was Anyone Responsible?
So far, the man’s injuries are being ruled to have been the result of an accident, but this does not mean that somebody can’t still be held responsible. Just because a government prosecutor does not decide to pursue criminal charges in a matter, particularly in a workplace accident like the one described above, it does not mean that the victim, or the family of a deceased victim, can’t recover in court for monetary compensation. If the victim is still alive, he or she may sue for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills, and certain other damages as the law allows. If a family were to sue for the loss of a deceased victim (often referred to as a wrongful death claim), the family may be entitled to lost earnings (if the deceased was a breadwinner), loss of consortium, and certain other damages; facts depending.
Nuances of Work Related Injuries
Work related injuries are particularly sensitive matters. Not only do they often involve people who the victim has known for many years, but they often involve lots of finger pointing and blame placing.
The law allows victims of work related accidents to seek compensation from individuals and employers whose negligence or recklessness was responsible for the injuries. This is why contacting an attorney following a work related accident is so important. If the attorney is able to work with fresh, recent facts, the attorney has a much better chance of helping the victim recover the compensation he or she may be entitled to.
Following a workplace accident, a victim might have trouble understanding the difference between a workers comp claim and a civil injury liability claim. Put simply, worker’s compensation is a benefit from the state government given to workers who have been injured on the job. A civil injury liability claim is something that one private party (usually the injury victim) brings against another private party or entity (usually the one responsible for the injuries) in a court of law. The money awarded by worker’s compensation comes from the state, while the money awarded in a civil liability suit comes from the responsible party.
Worker’s compensation benefits can be pursued at the same time as civil liability compensation – the two systems are independent of each other and an award from one does not guarantee an award from the other.