Oil Field Injuries

Like many industries, the oil business experiences ups and downs. Unfortunately, both situations create atmospheres conducive to accidents. When times are good, accidents occur because more people are working in hazardous areas. When times are lean, accidents occur because employers often skimp on necessary safety measures. Jon has significant experience handling cases involving oilfield accidents and is relentless in pursuing an outcome that will make you whole.

According to a February 2014 exposé in The Houston Chronicle,

“In Texas, 65 oil and gas workers were killed on the job in 2012 – a 10-year high and 50 percent more than in 2011, according to official government statistics. At least 18,000 suffered amputations, were crushed, burned, broke bones, got cut or reported other kinds of work-related illnesses and injuries in the drilling and fracking boom from 2008 to 2013. Many were hurt in work-related driving accidents; others in the oil fields.”

The facts are irrefutable. Oilfield work is dangerous. Jon understands the business because he has worked in it. Following college graduation, one of Jon’s first jobs was working for Salve – an international chemical company – where he worked with soils testing. He understands the scientific literature involved in the business, and has practical hands-on experience. Jon continues to practice construction law and has served as Chairman of the San Antonio Bar Association’s Construction Law Section. Additionally, he works with some of the foremost experts in oil field servicing and well management when handling your case.

If you have been injured in an oilfield accident, Jon can make sure you are receiving the proper medical attention and help you determine what your next step should be. With offices in both San Antonio and Karnes City, he is conveniently located and accessible but if you can’t or don’t want to travel, Jon will come to you.

Types of oilfield injuries and important information necessary to pursue those claims include:

EXPLOSIONS
Explosions can be caused by high levels of hydrogen sulfide. It should be noted whether:

• Proper warnings were posted
• A kill truck was on-site
• A yardman was properly supervising the work
• There is workers compensation
• Autopsies and drug tests were conducted – if so, Jon will review the results to determine whether they were skewed by the testing methods used.

HYDROGEN SULFIDE EXPOSURE
According to the website for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workers are primarily exposed to hydrogen sulfide by breathing it. “The effects depend on how much hydrogen sulfide you breathe and for how long. Exposure to very high concentrations can quickly lead to death.” Some symptoms of over-exposure include nausea, headaches, tearing of eyes, irritability and dizziness. If you think you’ve been exposed to high levels of hydrogen sulfide, ask yourself the following:

• Were proper warnings posted?
• Was the well properly monitored?
• Were worker provided with hydrogen sulfide monitors to wear?
• Did the employer respond correctly to the exposure by providing oxygen and transporting you to the hospital fast enough?

WELL SERVICING AND EQUIPMENT FAILURE INJURIES – These types of accidents are very similar to those experienced in work site and construction injuries. Some of the issues you can face in these types of cases are:

Workers Compensation — is a primary issue in these types of cases. Jon coordinates with the workers compensation insurance company to see that you get the correct health care as well as the benefits you are owed. When the case is resolved, Jon will go back to the workers compensation insurance company to negotiate a lower pay-back rate, and he will ensure that your lost pay is calculated correctly.
Third parties — companies other than your employer — can sometimes be at fault for your injuries. It is important to find out whether the person who caused your injuries works for another employer. If so, there may be separate liability and claims involving multiple employers.
Work site safety — involves more than a poster promoting safe practices. It requires a number of policies and practices to ensure that you and all employees on site are protected from accidents and injuries as much as possible. A general contractor may not be managing the work site properly or there may be a premises defect. If the owner is aware of the premises defect, that creates additional liability.

VEHICLE ACCIDENTS
The steps necessary when pursuing a claim as a result of an accident involving vehicles owned and operated by oilfield companies and their employees are slightly different than those for regular car accidents. If the accident involves an oil company truck, issues such as driver’s logs, the amount of sleep a trucker had prior to the accident, cell phone use, driver inattention, maintenance of the tractor and trailer and use or non-use of over-sized load trailer vehicles are some of the issues specific to these types of accidents.

Jon conducts aggressive discovery to unearth every possible misstep the driver and his company committed that contributed to the wreck. This approach ensures that the most possible compensation available to you in the form of medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, physical impairment and disfigurement is recovered.