People who work in oil fields are hardworking individuals who perform difficult tasks every day. If something goes wrong at a worksite, those working can sustain severe injuries or even lose their lives. When one is seeking their legal options, it’s important they turn to a firm that has reliable, experienced lawyers who will seek maximum compensation for their clients. Buckingham Barrera Law Firm has the Albuquerque oil field accident lawyers who fit that description. We understand that when you and your family go through an accident that results in injury or death, a legal claim may be the last thing on your mind. Our attorneys are here to explain the process and fight for your rights.
The Dangers of the Oil Industry
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says the oil and gas industry employed over 450,000 people in 2011. Working in the oil industry is difficult and dangerous. These workers need to have safety protocols and precautions in place to be as safe as possible. The process of drilling and extracting oil often requires certain equipment and people to operate it, which is one circumstance where negligence can occur on an oil field.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported findings from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) about Oil and Gas Extraction Worker Fatalities in 2014. They found the following:
- 101 fatalities occurred from 88 incidents
- 18% of fatalities happened because of vehicle incidents
- Being struck by falling objects caused 15% of fatalities
- Explosions and fires caused 15% of fatalities
While certain accidents may contribute to more injuries than others, there are many possible accidents that can occur on an oil field. Let’s look into the injuries they can cause.
What Are the Causes of Injuries in Oil Field Accidents?
If something goes wrong on an oil field, the workers on the site can face life-threatening injuries. These situations can arise any time someone makes a negligent decision or equipment doesn’t operate properly. The causes of injuries can be:
- Explosions. Working with combustible chemicals means that an explosion could occur if someone doesn’t follow protocol or if there’s an issue with a machine. In an explosion, workers can be hurt by debris or fire.
- Fires. Workers can suffer burn injuries if an explosion occurs. If they’re trapped in a certain area, they could also suffer from smoke inhalation.
- Caught-Between. Heavy machinery is often present on an oil field. Workers could get caught between heavy machinery if it malfunctions or is used incorrectly. This could also be a result of vehicle accidents.
- Toxic Exposure. Drilling deep underground can have complications like hitting a pipe the workers didn’t know was there.
- Struck By. If an object falls and strikes a worker on the head, they could have severe head or brain injuries.
- Electrocution. A worker could get injured if there’s an issue with underground wiring or a wire snaps and the exposed end could injure anyone who comes into contact with it.
- Equipment Failure. Issues with machinery, from it failing to work or breaking down, could easily lead to severe injuries.
- Slip and Fall. Workers are often on their feet for the better part of the day. If they slip or trip on something, they could fall and sustain injuries.
Your lawyer in New Mexico will work diligently to find out what happened. They may discover that some employees weren’t given adequate training to complete the task at hand, or the oil field could have been understaffed, so there weren’t enough crew members to safely complete the job.
Some of the causes of injuries above happened in New Mexico oil field accidents. New Mexico Occupational Health & Safety reported a fatal caught-between accident on an oil drilling site. As a truck was moving to a place near the worksite, a worker was securing a tool underneath the truck and was unfortunately killed as the truck moved. This worker had years of experience on a site that had regular inspections and a health and safety program.
Another fatal incident occurred when a worker died from burn injuries. As the crew was pulling pipe from an existing well, oil began to seep out of it. When someone tried to use a plastic bucket to prevent the oil from flowing, it caused an explosion and fire. This injured two workers and they had to go to the hospital, where one of the workers passed away nine days later.
Because these injuries can be so severe, the injured victim will likely miss work, need medical care, and experience a recovery period. The bills and expenses can add up and not everyone can afford it out-of-pocket. That’s where our oil field lawyers step in.
Seeking Compensation After an Oilfield Injury
If you’ve been injured on the job, you may automatically think workers’ compensation is your course of action. In these cases, you do not have to prove fault to gain your benefits. However, you may still face trouble if your claim is denied or you’re not given fair compensation for what you’ve been through. Those experienced in defending workers’ compensation claims from our law firm in New Mexico can help you make sure you get the benefits you need.
It’s also possible your injury happened because of negligence from a third-party present on the worksite, in which case you may also be eligible to file a personal injury claim. Our lawyers can determine if this course of action applies to your case. We’ll investigate who was on the site that day and look into how your accident happened. If you were injured because of equipment failure, and the equipment was from a third-party company, they may be held liable for your injuries. If a contractor who is not an employee of your company acted negligently and caused an accident that resulted in your injuries, they could be held liable as well.
Determining fault can be a complicated process. Our lawyers will help you get the justice you deserve so you can work on your recovery. Oil field workers in New Mexico deserve to have their rights protected.
Our lawyers are familiar with workers’ compensation and personal injury law and how they both apply in our state. We have experience with numerous types of work injury claims and will not be intimidated by large companies attempting to downplay your injuries and losses. When we fight for you, we’ll seek to recover lost wages, medical expenses, the future cost of care, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, diminished earning capacity, and more.
To start the legal process, give Buckingham Barrera Law Firm a call today. We’ll schedule an obligation-free consultation to review the merits of your case and give you options on how to move forward.