The oil mining industry is a huge contributor to Texas’ economy, with oil production at an all-time high in 2018. Yet the over 350,000 people employed in Texas’ oil and gas mining companies know that this boom does not come without a price. It is a dangerous industry for the hard-working men and women who contribute on the front lines in the oil fields.

So far this year, 1,667 people have submitted an insurance claim for at least one day of work missed due to a job-related injury in the mining industry. If you or a loved one has experienced an injury while on the job, here are some things you should know.

  1. Texas does not require private companies to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Many private oil mining companies do carry workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance provides medical care or disability income payments to you or a loved one injured on the job. Not all Texas companies decide to include this benefit. Either way, your employer must notify you if you are eligible for this benefit.
  2. If your employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance, it is possible to sue under common law for personal injury. If your injury was due to the negligence of your employer, your employer may owe you financial compensation. These amounts can be far above workers’ compensation benefits would provide to cover your medical expenses, lost income or other damages.
  3. You can refuse workers’ compensation coverage and retain your right to sue. If you would rather not receive workers’ compensation and pursue other financial compensation in the event of an injury, you must notify your employer within five days of taking a job that includes workers’ compensation as a benefit. However, be aware that some Texas employers, in an at-will employment state, may choose not to retain employees who decide to keep their right to sue.

Discuss your work-related injury with a lawyer as soon as possible if you are unsure about next steps. In most cases, you have 30 days from the date of the injury to file a claim.