The oil industry has given people in Billings and the rest of Eastern Montana opportunities to take on jobs that tend to pay well and thereby offer some degree of economic security.

However, working in the oil industry also presents a number of dangers that can leave workers dead or permanently disabled.

For one, the areas in and around an oil field are busy places, with lots of motor vehicle traffic. Many of the vehicles are trucks or other pieces of heavy equipment. As is the case with any big vehicle or equipment, accidents tend to cause serious injuries.

Oil rigs, that is, the conventional equipment used for extracting oil out of the earth, also present their own dangers.

For example, even with modern safety equipment, there is always a possibility of a blowout, that is, an unexpected and uncontrolled release of flammable crude oil or gas from underground. Blowouts are dangerous in their own right, but under the right circumstances, they can lead to a serious explosion and fire.

Finally, oil fields present the same hazards as do other industrial work sites. Falls from scaffolding or other heights, exposure to toxins and even injuries due to heavy lifting or repetitive motion, are too common.

While workers’ compensation benefits may be available to cover for some of an injured employee’s losses, they often simply are not enough to fully compensate an employee and his or her family for the employee’s injury or illness.

Fortunately, depending on the circumstances, an injured worker or other person may have other legal options after a severe injury. In some cases, they may be able to file a personal injury claim against a negligent third party.