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What No One Tells You About Oilfield Fatalities

An oil rig is arguably one of the world’s most dangerous places to work, even in the best of circumstances. Falls and crush injuries account for most oilfield fatalities, but the danger doesn’t stop when a worker is off site. Some of the deadliest incidents happen far from the oil rig itself.

 

Off-Site Vehicle Accidents

  • Oilfield workers are eight times more likely to be involved in a fatal vehicle accident while on the job, a disproportion number of these wrecks happening to employees of well-servicing companies. Because of the sheer number of drilling rigs in Texas, fully one-third of the nation’s oilfield fatalities occur here.
  • Data drawn from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics indicate that fatal vehicle accidents account for 28 percent of all oilfield fatalities, making it the leading cause of death in the industry.
  • More than half of these deadly accidents happen in a pickup truck, which doesn’t require drivers to receive any special training before driving one.
  • Over 50 percent of vehicle accident-related oilfield fatalities were single-vehicle accidents, suggesting that worker fatigue could be a contributing factor — or the fact that many oilfield workers tend to be younger and more likely to take risks.
  • The driver’s failure to use a seatbelt was listed as a contributing factor in most of these deaths. Had they been clicked in place, more than 60 percent of the fatalities could have been avoided.
  • Companies with fewer than 20 employees — and less likely to dedicate adequate time and money toward safety training — had the highest incidence of vehicular oilfield fatalities.
  • As experienced workers retire, younger and less experienced workers take their place. Combine this inexperience with companies more interested in the bottom line than spending extra time and money on safety training, and oilfield fatalities spike.

 

When you’re looking for someone with experience in litigating cases involving oilfield fatalities, contact the Law Offices of Pat Maloney.

Where to Find an Oilfield Injury Lawyer

Whether on land or sea, oil rigs are among the most dangerous places on earth to work. Accidents can and will happen, and many workers find themselves in need of an oilfield injury lawyer.

 

Where do you find the right kind of help? To start, a good oilfield injury lawyer:

 

  • Knows the industry. The best oilfield injury lawyers have spent time getting their hands dirty in an actual oil industry job. They know what kind of management practices (or lack thereof) can lead to accidents and what rules and regulations were or were not followed.
  • Knows the rigs. They’ll know how an oil rig works and what kind of malfunctions cause the most injuries, from heavy falling objects to chemical burns.
    1. Malfunctioning Equipment: Management may be unwilling to pull a piece of equipment off the line for a recall or overdue service, causing a dangerous situation for the workers who must use it.
    2. Cutting Corners: Managers may encourage shortcuts around established safety procedures in order to speed production.
    3. Transfer Accidents: Cranes are a big reason workers need an oilfield injury lawyer, as getting on and off an oil rig can be one of the trickiest parts of the job.
    4. Pipelines: Oil and gas need to be transported, and pipelines are sites with accident categories all their own.
  • Knows how maritime law affects oilfield regulations. Sea-borne oil rigs are also subject to the additional complexities of maritime law. A good oilfield injury lawyer will have far more than a passing interest in how it works and which laws apply to what situations, such as the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.

 

When you need an oilfield injury lawyer with the knowledge and experience to handle your case, call us.

When to Reach Out to a Work-Related Injury Attorney

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Question: Do you need to hire a work-related injury attorney as soon as you’ve had a mishap on the job? Answer: It depends.

 

 

In cases like the following, you don’t need an attorney to navigate through the workers’ comp system:

  • It’s indisputable that the mishap occurred on company property (or on a job site) while you were performing work-related tasks.
  • The injury was minor—a bruise, sprain, or cut that needed a couple of stitches.
  • You didn’t need to take time off to recover.
  • No pre-existing illness contributed to the accident.

 

Even if you don’t wind up needing a work-related injury attorney, it won’t hurt to schedule a quick, often free consultation to ensure you’re not overlooking anything. Then, if you decide later you need representation, you already have a relationship established.

 

How do you know when you need to call in the troops? Here are a few red flags:

  • You’ve done everything you’re supposed to do (and hit all the deadlines), yet your claim is denied. Or your settlement is so slow to arrive, you wind up in collections due to unpaid medical bills.
  • Your claim successfully worked its way through the system, but the compensation doesn’t cover your bills or lost income.
  • You’re doing so poorly you can’t return to your previous work, and you’re also unable to work at any other job due to your injury.
  • You were fired because you got injured and filed a legitimate claim.
  • A third party contributed to the occurrence and/or severity of your injuries, such as faulty equipment or a worker from another company.
  • The government (through Social Security) grabs a big chunk of your settlement because it wasn’t worded properly.

 

When you’re hurt on the job, there’s no time to waste—call for a free consultation with a work-related injury attorney!

A San Antonio Work Injury Attorney Cares About Your Accident

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You get along well with everyone at work, from your colleagues to your boss, and his or her boss. So well, in fact, you may be reluctant to file a report when you get hurt on the job. You don’t want to cause trouble for the people you like, and that’s admirable. That would also be a mistake—just ask any competent San Antonio work injury attorney.

 

 

 

 

Workers’ compensation laws were enacted for your protection, and to make sure employers can’t wiggle out of paying up when they’ve failed to provide adequate preventive training and workplace safety measures. Sure, your boss may like you personally and be satisfied with your job performance. Once you file an injury claim, however, you’ll find out who your real friends are on the job.

 

Even if you trust your employer to do right by you, it makes sense to be aware of what you need to do and your deadlines in order to cover your legal bases. That’s why there’s no better protector to have on your side than a qualified San Antonio work injury attorney.

 

What should you do when you’ve suffered a work-related injury?

 

• Report the incident. In most if not all incidents, you have a very narrow window of time to report your injury. So even if your back strain or twisted ankle seems minor, don’t wait to report it to your boss and/or human resources department. A delay could end up hurting you more.

 

• Check the bureau of workers’ compensation website for your state. While each state is slightly different, the website should have the proper procedures and forms listed.

 

• Retain a San Antonio work injury attorney. If all the procedures, forms, and rules seem overwhelming—and they probably will—don’t wait to contact a San Antonio work injury lawyer to not only guide you through the process, but relieve you of some of the burden so you can concentrate on getting well and getting back to work.

 

Need a San Antonio work injury attorney? Pat Maloney has some of the best. Contact us today!

Suffering from Head Trauma? A San Antonio Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

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Just because your accident didn’t result in you lying unconscious in bed for weeks or months doesn’t necessarily mean you haven’t suffered a serious head injury. That’s why you need a San Antonio personal injury lawyer who is up to speed on all the latest research into the symptoms and treatment of traumatic brain injuries.

 

 

 

Outward Signs of Possible Brain Injury

A medical diagnosis of any degree of brain injury can be difficult, particularly if the patient has a pre-existing condition that might mask the symptoms of mild impairment.

 

Here are some of the signs first responders and doctors look for that indicate they could be dealing with head trauma:

 

  • Bleeding scalp wounds
  • Facial fractures, open or closed
  • Facial bruising
  • Loss of consciousness for any length of time
  • Nasal discharge, whether bloody or clear
  • Stiffness in the cervical spine

 

Timely documentation (written and images) are critical not only for diagnosis and treatment, but to provide a solid foundation on which a San Antonio personal injury lawyer can build your case.

 

Subtler Symptoms to Watch for

Some symptoms of brain injury can be deceptively mild and too easily brushed off. The symptom may depend on which of the brain’s six main regions are affected. Symptoms may include, but are not limited to:

 

Frontal lobe (forehead/crown)

  • Inability to perform a common, multi-step task in sequence
  • Fixation on a single thought or idea
  • Mood swings
  • Sudden onset of ADD-like behavior
  • Unable to come up with the words to complete a sentence

 

Parietal lobe (sides)

  • Difficulty reading or writing
  • Can’t tell left from right
  • Inability to solve simple math problems
  • Loss of eye/hand coordination
  • Lack of awareness of personal hygiene

 

Occipital lobe (back)

  • Visual disturbances
  • Hallucinations
  • Inability to distinguish colors or recognize a written word
  • Reading/writing impairment

 

Temporal lobe (above ears)

  • Inability to recognize familiar faces
  • Memory loss
  • Constant talking
  • Unusual increase in aggressive behavior

 

Brain stem (core of brain)

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Decreased breath control
  • Balance disturbance
  • Insomnia

 

Cerebellum (base of skull)

  • Decrease in fine motor skills
  • Muscle tremors
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Slurred speech

 

Because the brain can take several months to heal, the effects of a brain injury can impact almost every area of a victim’s life, from personal relationships to their ability to hold on to a job. These same symptoms can make it nearly impossible to gain adequate compensation through insurance or the court system.

 

That’s why it’s critical to contact a San Antonio personal injury lawyer as soon as possible—before you think you need one. The Law Offices of Pat Maloney offer an experienced team of personal injury lawyers ready to help. Contact us today!

What Evidence Does a San Antonio Workplace Injury Lawyer Need?

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Gathering evidence for a San Antonio workplace injury lawyer to evaluate can be a delicate process. The company against which you’re gathering proof of your injury likely has you under a microscope, and while you’re building a claim, chances are good they’re also quietly organizing to defeat it. Or, at least, to pay out as little as possible.

 

 

 

What does a San Antonio workplace injury lawyer need to know to properly evaluate your case?

 

Where and When it Happened

Where were you and what were you doing at the time the injury occurred? Was it on company property or while engaging in company business elsewhere, but on company time? Even if it took place at a company-related recreational activity like a holiday party or picnic, it could qualify as a workplace injury. A San Antonio workplace injury lawyer will know what state laws apply to your case.

 

It will help to have photographs of the injury and where it occurred to document dangerous conditions such as a wet floor or an unsafe working environment.

 

Your Employment Status

Do you have a formal, signed employment contract? Or were you informally hired to do some temporary work on a cash-only basis? Were you driving a company truck or using your own vehicle and equipment? Without a signed document stating you are definitely employed by that company, they could claim you are a temporary contractor and, therefore, not qualified to receive compensation for a workplace injury.

 

Injury Documentation

Did you seek treatment right away? You will need proof in the form of medical records and doctor notes. Also, you will need to have notified your employer of the incident within a specific Workers’ Compensation Act deadline.

 

Witnesses

If there are any witnesses to your workplace injury, they could be valuable in proving your case. “Witnesses” include anyone who saw your accident when it happened and medical professionals who saw you after the fact.

 

For more expert advice, schedule a free consultation with an experienced San Antonio workplace injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Pat Maloney.

Texas Oil Field Injuries in the News

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With drilling taking place on land and offshore, Texas oil field injuries are in the news with almost numbing regularity. Each accident is an example of how better training and well-maintained equipment could mean the difference between health or disability, or life or death.

A few recent examples:

  • An oil field worker in Midland County was electrocuted when the rig he was helping to build touched power lines.
  • Two Mitchell County oil field workers were killed and one injured when a cable from the winch truck they were operating also touched a power line.
  • In Howard County, an improperly secured oil heater tank rolled, fatally pinning a man against another piece of equipment.
  • An oil rig explosion in Upton County killed three members of a service crew and injured one other.

And what appears in the news are a drop in the bucket compared to the number of incidents that go unreported.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that one in every hundred oil field workers will suffer a job-related injury every year. One percent may sound insignificant, but when you consider the industry employs millions of workers in Texas alone, that one percent can represent thousands of lives affected by injuries such as burns, lung damage, broken bones, traumatic brain injury, eye damage, and chemical toxicity.

What should you do if you are involved in an oil field injury accident?

  • Document the events leading up to the incident, such as weather conditions, wet/slippery surfaces, leaking fuel or chemicals, even the amount of training you received for the particular task you were performing.
  • Report the incident to your supervisor and human resources. Texas law does not require that all oil companies carry workers’ compensation insurance, but if your employer carries it, you could qualify for compensation for lost wages.
  • Compensation for pain and suffering will have to be pursued in court. Retaining an experienced attorney will help make this complicated process easier.

Are you the victim of oil field injuries? Not sure if you’re being treated fairly? Give us a call. We can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Why Oil Field Accidents Are Common

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Oil field accidents are both common and very dangerous. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the oil and gas industry accounted for nearly 16 percent of all on-the-job fatalities in 2012. The number of non-fatal injuries in the industry is also high, with the BLS reporting more than 4,000 workplace injuries in 2007 alone. Oil and gas jobs are dangerous, and oil field accidents are common for several reasons, but they are primarily caused by the machinery and chemicals that workers must constantly be around. Oil and gas extraction requires serious heavy machinery and equipment, and if workers aren’t careful, the machinery can fall over and cause broken bones, head trauma, amputated limbs, or death. There are also tons of toxic chemicals and substances on an oilfield site, many of which are flammable and can lead to explosions, fires, and serious chemical burns. Their toxic fumes can also lead to respiratory problems in workers.

 

In addition to the things oil field workers must deal with due to the nature of their work, oil field accidents also happen because not all workers are adequately trained. Proper training is extremely important in the oil and gas industry, because when workers don’t know the proper techniques and methods or they’re not taught about safety precautions, it can lead to a dangerous workplace for everyone around. Oil field sites are also often in a state of disrepair, with broken stairs and scaffolding, spills on the ground, and dangerous debris all littering the area. This can create hazards for all workers onsite and lead to avoidable trips, slips and falls that can result in serious injury or death.

 

Regardless of the cause of the incident, if you or a loved one was involved in an oilfield accident, the Law Offices of Pat Maloney can help. With more than three decades of experience, our attorneys are experts in oil field accidents and can ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.

 

Oil Field Accidents: The Road To Recovery

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For victims of oil field accidents, the road to recovery can be long and difficult. Aside from the physical difficulties of healing from their injuries, they may also have to face financial repercussions from the accident as well, from both lost work time and medical bills they incur, which can leave victims and their families in financial ruin.
Were You in an Oil Field Accident?
While nothing but medical care and a good doctor can help you heal properly, there are ways to make your recovery easier. Call an attorney who specializes in oil field accidents like yours. They can help you seek workers’ compensation if your accident occurred on the job, or they can assist you in a filing a legal claim against the at-fault party. Both of these actions can provide you with the funds you need to cover your medical bills and get by financially while you’re unable to work. You attorney will be able to determine if you’re due compensation for:

    • Medical bills you’ve incurred to date, as well as those you expect in the future.

 

    • Pain, suffering and anguish.

 

    • Income you’ve lost because of your injury and income you will lose in the future.

 

    • Disability payments if your accident has caused you permanent disability.

 

    • Vocational training in the event that you are unable to return to the same job or position you held before the injury.

 

    • Punitive damages if the accident occurred because of someone else’s negligence or recklessness.

 

If you want to make your road to recovery easier, contact the Law Offices of Pat Maloney. We specialize in oil field accidents, and we can help make sure that you get the compensation you need to heal from your injuries and keep you and your family out of debt.

5 Ways to Prevent Oil Field Accidents

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The oil and gas industry is one of the most dangerous sectors in the country. Oil field accidents result in hundreds of serious injuries and dozens of fatalities every year, and the numbers only continue to grow. In Texas, the statistics are even worse. A whopping 40% of the nation’s oil field deaths occur in the Lone Star State alone. That’s 40%!

 

Because of the high rate of injury, death, and on-the-job accidents, safety needs to be of the highest priority for oil and gas employers. They must take steps to prevent oil field accidents and injuries at every turn, not only to protect their employees, but also to prevent expensive litigation, disability, and workers’ compensation claims.

 

Do you want to prevent accidents and injuries on your team’s work site? Then follow these five tips:

 

1. Have a training program in place – Create a training manual and set up a training program that all employees must go through before setting foot on the field. The training should cover everything from how to store tools and machinery to the proper responses to fires, falls, and other emergencies.

2. Keep the field clean and clear – When tools are lying around or puddles of liquid are not cleaned up, it can pose a hazard for any and all workers in the area. Assign someone to do an hourly walk through of the entire field to ensure it is safe and hazard-free.

3. Check your tools and facilities regularly – Malfunctioning tools, loose railings, and other areas of disrepair can put your employees at risk. Make sure to check all your tools, machinery, and facilities regularly to ensure they are safe for use.

4. Push OSHA guidelines – OSHA has set forth tons of guidelines on how to stay safe and prevent injury in the workplace. They even have guidelines that are specific to the oil and gas industry. Make sure your employees have access to this information by handing out copies of the guidelines or posting OSHA signs on the walls in break rooms and other areas in your facility.

5. Encourage sharing – Make sure your employees aren’t afraid to speak up if they see a problem. They should be able to tell you or the site manager if there are safety issues looming, whether they stem from a colleague, an unsafe area of the field, or some other problem. This will ensure that workers and supervisors can attend to problems quickly and prevent injuries from happening.

 

Although these tips can certainly help, oil field accidents may still happen. If an accident occurs on your watch, contact the Law Offices of Pat Maloney today. Our expert attorneys can help.