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Texas Oilfield Accident Lawyers

Serving Clients Nationwide from Our Texas Offices in Austin, Corpus Christi, and San Antonio

As America attempts to curb its dependence on foreign oil, more efforts are being made to produce these valuable goods domestically. This means a booming oil and gas industry, one that provides hundreds of thousands of jobs in the U.S. In 2016, 178,500 people worked in the oil and gas extraction industry alone. But these rich resources come at a cost — the business of extraction is a dangerous one, killing and injuring hundreds of workers every year.

At Thomas J. Henry, our San Antonio oilfield accident attorneys are dedicated to providing injured workers and their families with the legal representation they deserve.

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OILFIELD ACCIDENT INJURIES

Due to the sheer amount of drilling occurring and thousands of workers across the country, oilfield accidents are simply bound to happen. Many of these accidents, however, are the result of negligence. As a worker, oil and gas companies are responsible for following proper safety procedures to keep you safe on the job. Oilfield accidents occur when employers cut corners and put profit before your safety and well being. Oilfield accidents can leave workers with injuries that last them their entire life. These debilitating work injuries include:

Unfortunately, oilfield accidents can cause fatal injuries, too. In 2015, there were 120 deaths in the oil and gas industry. The families of fallen gas and oil workers deserve compensation and justice if their loved ones died as a result of a negligent individual or company.

RECENT OILFIELD ACCIDENTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY

Oilfield incidents oftentimes make national news due to the severity and scope of the tragedy. Here are a few of the major oilfield accidents across the country that resulted in significant loss of life and injury:

  • November 2014 — Weld County, Colorado, oilfield explosion
    • Two deaths
    • Two injuries
  • June 2006 — Raleigh, Mississippi, oilfield explosion
    • Three deaths
    • One injury
  • December 2014 – Coal County, Oklahoma, oil rig fire
    • Two deaths
    • Two injuries
  • April 2013 — West, Texas, oil well blowout
    • Two deaths
    • Two injuries
  • April 2014 — Loving County, Texas, oilfield explosion
    • Two deaths
    • Nine injuries

OILFIELD INJURY AND DEATH STATISTICS

The following statistics regarding the oil and gas industry are provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

  • A total of 120 fatal work injuries occurred in the oil and gas extraction industry in 2015.
  • In 2015, the oil and gas extraction industry had the third-highest rate of fatal workplace injuries (behind the agriculture, forestry, and fishing injury, and the transportation and warehousing industry)
  • Texas Oil and gas workers suffered 36 fatal workplace injuries in 2015.

COMMON CAUSES OF FATAL OILFIELD INJURIES

There is a multitude of hazards that pose injury and death risks to workers at an oilfield. For this reason, it is paramount that employers and foremen follow occupational safety regulations and enforce safety protocols:

  • Transportation incidents
  • Slips and falls
  • Exposure to harmful chemicals or materials
  • Contact with objects and equipment
  • Fires and explosions

WHAT IS HYDRO-FRACKING?

Hydro-fracking is a highly controversial drilling technique that is revolutionizing the drilling process, allowing companies to pump gas where they were unable to before — through shale rock formations.

As these natural gas rigs are popping up all over Texas and beyond, so are debates concerning their safety. Proponents say hydro-fracking could increase the nation’s gross domestic energy product, provide more domestic jobs, and decrease our nation’s dependency on foreign oil. Those opposed say the practice could pollute our air and water, subject workers and communities to toxic chemicals and substances, and cause earthquakes.

  • “Fracking” is a drilling technology that involves fracturing ground rock in order to remove natural gas.
  • “Hydro-fracking” or high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing is when drillers inject water and chemicals into rock in order to break it. Once the high pressure breaks the rock, sand, and other proppants (chemicals) are injected to hold the cracks open so the gas can flow out (hydraulicfracturing.com).
  • This has opened up the possibility of drilling wells horizontally. Previously, drilling through shale formations was thought to be unproductive.

Hydraulic fracturing is no different than other extraction techniques in that it can still pose significant harm if proper safety procedures are not followed. The increased popularity of this form of drilling has opened oil and gas workers to additional risks and hazards associated with the industry.

TEXAS’S EAGLE FORD SHALE PLAY

In South Texas, the hot spot for hydro-fracking is the Eagle Ford Shale formation, or “play.” More than 24 oil and gas companies are utilizing the Eagle Ford Shale play, which spans across 30 Texas counties. According to the Eagle Ford Shale play website:

  • The Eagle Ford Shale is located in South Texas.
  • The formation produces from various depths between 4,000 and 12,000 feet.
  • The Eagle Ford Shale takes its name from the town of Eagle Ford, Texas.
  • The Eagle Ford benefits from “high liquids yields across much of the play.”

ACCIDENTS AND INJURIES IN THE EAGLE FORD SHALE REGION

The Eagle Ford Shale formation has provided many jobs for residents in South Texas but sometimes at a fatal cost. According to the San Antonio Express-News, since 2009:

  • At least 14 workers in the oil and gas industry have been killed while on the job in this oil-rich area.
  • Workers have been fatally crushed, burned by explosions, and struck by equipment while working in the area.
  • In addition, accidents on the roadways have increased as a result of the boom in the Eagle Ford Shale drilling areas.
    • In 2014, there were 3,658 serious traffic crashes in the Eagle Ford Shale region, resulting in 272 deaths (TxDOT). Both of these numbers were increases compared to the previous year.
    • Drivers in the region have to contend with heavier traffic, a high volume of heavy trucks, and oftentimes damaged roads.

Shale drilling companies are experiencing another boom on the heels of the recent, beneficial OPEC deal, which will only increase the number of traffic crashes and fatalities in the region as rigs return to the area.

If you were injured or a loved one was killed while working in the Eagle Ford Shale region or at any other oilfield across the United States, our attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends to review your case. Whether injured in an oilfield explosion, a fall at a refinery or hit by a tanker truck, Thomas J. Henry has the resources and team of experienced lawyers necessary to take on large oil and gas companies. Contact our offices to set up a free consultation.

EXPERT WITNESSES FOR YOUR OILFIELD ACCIDENT LAWSUIT

Finding and retaining the right expert witness can be crucial to your oilfield injury case. Expert witnesses provide expertise and specialized knowledge that an average person may not have. Expert reports and testimony from these additional witnesses in trials and arbitration are an important part of advancing your case.

At Thomas J. Henry, we have spent years finding only the best expert witnesses from across the country. Each witness is thoroughly examined and questioned prior to ever participating in your case. If you have sustained an injury on an oilfield, experts in your case may include:

  • Welding experts
  • Process safety management experts
  • Safety equipment experts
  • Hazardous chemical experts
  • OSHA consultants
  • Accident reconstruction experts
  • Engineering experts
  • Confined space permit experts
  • Occupational and environmental health experts

Expert witnesses help provide detailed information about your oilfield injury. In every workplace accident case, we employ an array of experts that will help our clients receive the compensation they deserve for their pain and suffering.

INJURED ON AN OILFIELD? CONTACT THOMAS J. HENRY

If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury while working on an oilfield, contact Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys immediately. Our San Antonio oilfield accident lawyers are backed by the legal and financial resources necessary to take on large oil companies and achieve the compensation you deserve. At Thomas J. Henry, we ensure that our clients are informed throughout the entire legal process while they focus on recovering from their injuries.

Our firm has offices in Corpus ChristiSan Antonio, and Austin serving clients across Texas and nationwide. Contact us today for a free legal consultation.

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Your Oilfield Accident Questions Answered

We have straight answers to difficult questions to help you make critical decisions, navigate legal process and help you get justice.

Following an oilfield accident, there are always more questions than answers. At Thomas J. Henry, we’re here to answer any questions you have about your injury case.

Not only are experts essential in finding and retaining evidence at the scene, they can also provide expert analysis of their findings and expert testimony during trial and arbitration.

Thomas J. Henry has spent years finding and building professional relationships with the best expert witnesses from all across the country. Expert witnesses that could benefit your workplace injury lawsuit include:

  • Workplace Safety Compliance Experts
  • OSHA Consultants
  • Hazardous Chemicals Experts
  • Ladder Experts
  • Process Safety Management Experts
  • Occupational and Environmental Health Experts
  • Safety Equipment Experts
  • Industrial Engineers
  • Industrial Accident Re-constructionist

Roughly 4,836 worker deaths and 2.9 million non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses are recorded in the United States every year. Among the most common causes of death and injury in the workplace are falls, slips, and trips.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that falls, slips, and trips result in 16.5% of all recorded fatal workplace injuries. This makes falls the second most common cause of death in the workplace, exceeded only by transportation accidents.

Additionally, fall protection and Scaffolding are consistently among the top three most frequently cited standards by Federal OSHA.

Workers’ compensation is a benefits program employers provide to workers to pay for hospital and medical expenses associated with on the job injuries. Workers’ compensation also provides disability payments while an employee is unable to work. Workers’ compensation covers most injuries, even those caused by the employee’s own negligence, but there or instances in which a workers’ compensation claim can be denied. These include:

  • Self-inflicted injuries
  • Injuries suffered while an employee is committing a crime
  • Injuries sustained by an employee while not on a job
  • Injuries suffered by an employee acting in a manner that violates company policy

While workers’ compensation typically precludes an employee from filing an personal injury lawsuit, Texas law does allow the employee to sue any other parties involved in the accident. In the instance of a scaffolding-related injury, this can include manufacturers of potentially defective products, a co-worker who committed a negligent or reckless act, or a non-employee who contributed to your injuries.

If you fell from scaffolding while on the job, depending on the circumstances under which your accident occurred and whether or not your employer offers worker’s compensation, you may be able to sue your employer or a third party who was involved in your accident.

When working to determine whether negligence resulted in your accident and injuries, your attorney will often apply what is commonly called the “but-for” test. In a statement, that would be “but for the actions of the defendant, my client would not have suffered his injuries.”

If the statement is true, your attorney will have established cause-in-fact or “actual cause.” This is then strengthened through investigation, the gathering of evidence, and interviewing witnesses. Your attorney may also incorporate the help of expert witnesses to help prove negligence and discover if the actions of the defendant violated federal or state regulations.

Expert witnesses often used in Texas construction accident cases include:

  • OSHA consultants
  • Accident reconstructionists
  • Welding experts
  • Confined space permit experts
  • Engineering experts
  • Safety equipment experts
  • Occupational and environmental health experts
  • Hazardous chemical experts
  • Process safety management experts

These experts can provide detailed information about a construction accident. Because of the experts Thomas J. Henry uses, we are able to bring in information that many other law firms lack. We use a multitude of expert witnesses, putting you in the best position possible to achieve the compensation they deserve.

The Legal Information Institute defines negligence as a failure to behave with the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised under the same circumstances. While the behavior in question usually consists of actions, it can also consist of omissions when there is some duty to act.

When attempting to ascertain whether a person’s conduct or behavior lacked reasonable care, lawyers will consider the four elements that are required to establish a prima facie case (a legally required rebuttable presumption). The elements are:

  • The existence of a legal duty that the defendant owed to the plaintiff
  • The defendant’s breach of that duty
  • The plaintiff’s sufferance of an injury
  • Proof that the defendant’s breach caused the plaintiff’s injury

When it comes to a construction site, your employer, contractor, and co-workers owe you a general duty of care and must conduct themselves in a reasonable and prudent manner. This duty of care can also extend to the owners of the property that is under construction, any transportation companies responsible for transporting materials to the site, as well as the manufacturers of machinery and products being used in the construction project.

If any of these parties acted in a way that contributed to your injuries, you may have a case for negligence.

Our Practice Areas

Representing injured victims from across the United States.

No matter the injury or the accident, if you or a loved one were harmed due to the negligence of an individual or company, Thomas J. Henry is here to assist you.

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Contact Us for a Free Case Review

info@tjhlaw.com

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