Oil Field Injury Lawyer in Odessa
Oil field work is an extremely lucrative profession for many Texans that can involve long hours and hard work, but the job also involves people taking a number of chances with their personal health because of the risks inherent to the industry. All individuals who suffer injuries in oil field jobs will want to be quick to work with an experienced Odessa oil field injury lawyer who will know how to help victims overcome many of the potential obstacles that can make recovering financial compensation for injuries incredibly difficult.
Reports indicate there were 197 workplace fatalities for energy-related companies in the most recent reporting period. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also found that 489 oil and gas extraction workers died on the job during its most recent reporting period.
Causes of Oil Field Injuries
Oil field workers must deal with a considerable number of everyday dangers that place them at risk of serious injury with virtually every aspect of their jobs. Employees could suffer any one of multiple injuries because of all kinds of negligence.
A very common kind of accident is undoubtedly the simple slip and fall accident because many oil field workers are dealing with considerable instances of loose footing because of oil being on the ground. When workers are on elevated levels, falls may become fatal.
Common Kinds of Accidents in Oil Fields
Other common kinds of accidents involving oil workers might include, but are not limited to:
- Equipment Failures or Defective Equipment — Oil field work often requires employees to have knowledge about how to operate various forms of heavy machinery, but employers also must maintain the equipment so it will be safe to use. When such equipment is not properly maintained or simply involves some kind of defective part, it could possibly cause an accident resulting in severe injuries.
- Hazardous Chemicals and Fumes — In addition to hydrogen sulfide, oil field workers can deal with exposure to numerous other toxic chemicals. Inhaling such substances while working can cause certain medical conditions to arise later, and employers may be liable for not adequately protecting employees.
- Explosions and Fires — Oil field workers will be dealing with open flames, static electricity, and various other heated elements in their work, in addition to fire starters that can ignite several different kinds of flammable gasses from trucks, wells, and tanks. An explosion or fire will always be dangerous for all employees on a worksite because such incidents have the potential to spread out of control rather quickly and endanger many people.
- Well Blowouts — A blowout involves an uncontrolled release of crude oil or natural gas from an oil or gas well when a pressure control system fails. Many modern wells will contain blowout preventers that should prevent blowouts, but accidental sparks can still lead to oil or gas fires that harm people.
- Electrocutions — There is no shortage of electrical components on most offshore oil rigs, so electric shocks are common as workers come into direct contact with energized power lines, power lines, or other types of electric equipment.
- Employee Fatigue — Because so many oil field operations run 24 hours a day, many of their workers will also put in long days of work that may be 12 hours or even more. The result can often be that some workers may make mistakes because of simple exhaustion.
- Improper Training — Employers in oil fields generally try to hire the individuals who have the most experience and knowledge about how to properly operate the equipment involved in a given job, but some employers may take risks in hiring people without the proper experience or simply lack the necessary qualifications. In such instances, the less experienced employees may be more likely to commit devastating errors because of their lack of knowledge about how to operate some types of equipment, machinery, or tools.
The Oil field companies have to satisfy several obligations in their hiring and use of their workers, and failure to take certain steps can make employers liable for certain injuries. Some examples of employer negligence can include:
- Improper scaffolding or rig construction
- Failure to provide workers with safety equipment
- Unproperly employees training
- Failure to maintain equipment
- Ignore safety requirements
- Failure to properly communicate safety procedures
Common Cause of Injuries on Oil Field Sites
A common cause of injuries on oil field sites is actually transportation incidents because many workers have to drive around job sites. Common causes of transportation accidents can include, but are not limited to:
- Speeding — Many drivers of all kinds of vehicles drive over posted speed limits, but speeding is even more dangerous when people are operating large oil field vehicles because such vehicles will require even more time and distance to come to complete stops.
- Distracted Driving — Driver distractions can be visual, manual, or cognitive. The difference is that a visual distraction takes a person’s eyes off the road, a manual distraction takes a driver’s hands off the wheel, and a cognitive distraction takes their minds off of driving.
- Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) — Even though most people are aware that driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a criminal offense in Texas, there remain some people who will get behind the wheel after consuming these substances. Any person who commits a DWI in an oil field vehicle risks not only criminal charges but also potential liability for any injuries they cause in a crash.
- Driver Inexperience — Many large oil field vehicles can be much more complicated machines to operate that people with inadequate knowledge will have difficulty controlling. In such cases, a trucking company, oil field company, or another employer could be liable for not hiring a qualified driver.
- Poor Maintenance — Certain large oil field truck accidents do not involve other vehicles or parties and are the simple result of something having gone wrong with the truck itself. In such cases, a company could be responsible if a crash was the result of not performing necessary maintenance.
- Fatigue — While oil field drivers may not be subject to the same federal hours of service (HOS) regulations governing commercial truck drivers, they can be just as likely to be dealing with exhaustion from long hours on the job.
- Unsecured or Uneven Loads — All drivers of oil field trucks or other vehicles have to be sure that whatever loads they are hauling have been properly secured because failure to do so can lead to a number of possible problems, including loose loads causing loss of control of vehicles or loads even falling off trucks and into the paths of other vehicles.
Types of Oil Field Accident Injuries
Any person who suffers injuries while working an oil field job should always make sure they receive proper medical attention. Even when you do not think you were hurt, you will still want to get a doctor to confirm that you did not sustain an injury with delayed symptoms, but more importantly, you will want to create a medical record that will be invaluable for any subsequent injury claim.
Common kinds of injuries for oil field workers can include neck injuries such as fractures to the cervical vertebrae, neck sprains, and pinched nerves. Head and face injuries may include concussions, skull fractures, or intracranial hematoma (ICH).
Back injuries can also be common and may include herniated discs, sprains and strains, and fractured vertebrae. Arm and leg injuries are also common.
Other Oil Field Injuries
Other kinds of injuries oil field workers could sustain might include, but are not limited to:
- Internal organ damage
- Eye injuries or vision loss
- Hearing damage
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Sternum and chest injuries
- Bruised or fractured ribs
- Broken bones or fractures
- Severe burn injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Limb loss
- Abrasions and lacerations
- Abdominal wall injuries
- Soft-tissue injuries
- Intestinal injuries
- Nerve damage
- Severed limbs and amputations
- Torn shoulder muscles and tendons
When an oil field worker dies on the job, the family that is left behind could file a wrongful death action. Under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 71.004, wrongful death claims are exclusively for the benefit of surviving spouses, children, and parents of deceased people, meaning siblings cannot file these claims.
Damages in Oil Field Accident Cases
An oil field worker almost always has the right to file a workers’ compensation claim, but the benefits are limited to only being for a portion of their lost income, medical bills, and possible death considerations. All workers’ compensation benefits have limits under state law.
Even when you do file a workers’ compensation claim, you can still have civil remedies against negligent parties besides your employer, which has immunity from such actions. When a person files a civil claim against another negligent party, they could be eligible for compensatory damages.
Compensatory Damage in Odessa
Compensatory damage is a term relating to economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages are actual financial losses, while noneconomic damages refer to losses that are far more subjective and do not have financial values.
One of the most frequent kinds of economic damages relates to lost wages because many oil workers suffering injuries cannot return to work or do anything to regain their lost income. Lost wages awards could also account for workers who are unable to return to their previous positions and must accept lower-paying jobs.
Some of the other types of economic damages could include:
- Medical Bills
- Physical Therapy Costs
- Property Damage
- Costs of Long-Term Care
- Rehabilitation Expenses
Pain and suffering represent one of the more common noneconomic damage awards because there is a basic understanding that most accident victims are dealing with both of these considerations following any type of injury.
Noneconomic damages might also include any of the following:
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
- Physical Impairment
- Mental Anguish
- Emotional Distress
- Loss of Consortium
- Loss of Companionship and Society
- Injury to Reputation
- Physical Limitations
Compensatory damage is a phrase that does not include punitive damages, otherwise known as exemplary damages. Such damages are awards that have the intention of being penalties or punishments for liable parties because of extremely negligent behavior.
To obtain exemplary damages under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 41.003, you will have to prove by clear and convincing evidence that harm was the result of fraud, malice, or gross negligence.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with an Odessa Oil Field Accident Lawyer
Did you sustain severe injuries or was your loved one killed in an oil field accident in the greater Odessa area? Cesar Ornelas Injury Law has the necessary experience to ensure that you are able to recover as much compensation as possible for your claim, and we will fight to get you everything you need to carry on with your life.
Our firm knows how to investigate oil field accidents and will be able to secure all of the evidence that will be necessary to prove your injury claim. You may call (888) 237-2794 or (210) 405-6503 or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation so we can set up a convenient time for you to sit down with us and fully detail everything that happened to you and what you are now dealing with.