Hobbs Oilfield Accident Attorney
The oil extraction industry in and around Hobbs, New Mexico, has one of the highest worker mortality rates. Sadly, the oil or gas companies are responsible for many of these deaths due to negligence. To make matters worse, the companies usually deflect blame to avoid having to pay restitution or fines. Therefore, it is important to hire a Hobbs oilfield accident lawyer for compensation after an injury.
Injuries can happen in many ways. Imagine an explosion from an oil well in the Permian Basin igniting flammable gases and seriously burning various workers, or a harness failure on an oil and gas drilling rig causing a worker to fall, leading to catastrophic injuries. Accidents don’t always happen on the oil fields either. What if a fatigued driver transporting oil in a semi-truck on U.S. 62 potentially falls asleep at the wheel causing a multi-vehicle accident resulting in two fatalities? Situations similar to these are not uncommon in Hobbs.
When oil companies in Hobbs are responsible for tragic accidents, oil workers and their families need to get representation from a seasoned oilfield accident attorney in Hobbs such as W. Shane Jennings, who has extensive experience working on oil extraction accident cases.
Oilfield Accidents in the Permian Basin
The Permian Basin is one of the most famous oil extraction regions in the United States. The first oil well was drilled over 100 years ago. Oil producers have recovered over 30 billion barrels of oil since.
Oil and gas production in the Permian Basin has increased substantially over the past decade, a boon to the local economy. According to U.S. Energy Information Administration data, the barrels of oil equivalent per day increased from around 250 in 2010 to over 1,000 in 2022.
Unfortunately, the economic benefits that the Permian Basin has derived from the oil industry have come at a cost. Workers have been injured, and community members have been victims of accidents caused by negligent oil transportation practices. As experienced Hobbs oilfield accident lawyers it is difficult not to notice that so many of these accidents could have been prevented if oil companies used more responsible transportation practices.
Oil industry injuries and fatalities in the Permian Basin are likely to rise for various reasons. Part of the problem is due to the growing oil demand. Oil production in the area has exploded, as demand has increased and technology has boosted production. Labor shortages, as well as a large influx of inexperienced workers will also likely contribute to the problem.
If you have been injured in an oilfield accident it is important to understand New Mexico laws and your rights. Reach out to an oilfield accident attorney in Hobbs if you have any questions.
Common Types of Oilfield Accidents and Injuries
There are many different reasons that oil and gas injuries are common in the Permian basin. Common problems that lead to accidents on oil extraction sites include the following:
- Workers are not properly trained, so they don’t follow the right safety protocols. This problem has been compounded by the growing demand for oil production, as well as the shortage of experienced laborers.
- Community members and workers are exposed to toxic, highly combustible gases. These gases can cause severe explosions under the right circumstances. The risk of explosions is higher when workers don’t recognize the warning signs and fail to communicate them.
- Some workers don’t speak English fluently, so they are unable to communicate concerns and may have difficulty understanding safety policies.
- Many workers work long hours and are highly fatigued. They may try taking shortcuts or have difficulty paying attention to what they are doing.
- Oil companies are pushing more aggressive timetables to boost production. As a result, workers are trying to get things done faster, so they are not prioritizing safety.
- The equipment may not be properly maintained. Accidents are far more likely when oil companies are using defective equipment.
- Company inspectors might be responsible for overseeing more sites than they can handle. They may need to be able to inspect operations thoroughly and identify safety risks.
- Work sites sometimes have a breakdown in the chain of command, so safety protocols may not be followed.
Other problems cause traffic accidents. The number of accidents has increased with the oil boom. According to the Permian Road Safety Coalition, traffic fatalities increased by over 18% between 2021 and 2022. The Texas Department of Transportation reports that the problem got worse in 2023. According to their data, at least one fatal car accident occurred every day between August 10 and August 16, 2023.
Don’t Let the Insurance Companies Take Advantage of You! What to Expect After a Serious Oilfield Injury
When you have been injured while working in an oilfield, you are entitled to compensation. The insurance companies will usually be responsible for paying restitution.
Unfortunately, insurance companies often look for ways to avoid paying the money you deserve. They often employ shady tactics to exploit loopholes in the law. The following are some of the things that a Hobbs oilfield accident lawyer can help you be prepared for:
- The insurance and oil companies often try to get you to make a recorded statement. They will try to get you on the record saying something that will absolve the oil company of responsibility so they can use it to undermine your claim.
- They may hire investigators to track you and take photographs. They may even look at you and your family’s social media history for evidence that may suggest you are exaggerating the problems caused by your injury. This evidence can be used for various purposes, such as suggesting that your injuries aren’t serious enough to deserve compensation.
- They might try to bury evidence indicating the company was at fault or that you were not.
- They may claim that you were responsible for the accident by saying you didn’t communicate safety issues correctly or perform a proper risk analysis. They may also try to get testimony from coworkers that contradict your claims.
- They may try to suggest that your accidents are not severe enough by compelling you to visit doctors that the oil company, insurance company, or workers’ compensation provider has hired. These doctors may be biased against you.
Insurance companies are notorious for trying to find ways to avoid responsibility. Therefore, having an experienced oilfield accident attorney in Hobbs guide you through the process and help you shore up your case against the oil company is essential to ensure the insurance company will provide compensation.
What Are New Mexico’s Laws and Regulations for Oilfield Workers?
Since the oil industry is hazardous, there are many essential safety regulations to minimize the risk of worker accidents. Most of these regulations have been instituted by the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Oil and gas companies must ensure these policies are followed carefully. Failure to follow them can lead to severe financial penalties. The risk of worker accidents will also rise if they are not followed.
Some of the requirements include the following:
- Every worker must be thoroughly trained before they can perform their duties. They must undergo a minimum number of training hours and demonstrate an understanding of the safety regulations before they can start working.
- All oil extraction sites must be carefully supervised. Every worker needs to have an immediate supervisor overseeing their work. A rig floor supervisor also needs to ensure safety regulations are being followed across the rest of the site.
- All machinery and equipment must meet specific safety standards before it can be used on any oil rig. The oil equipment and the rest of the site must also be thoroughly cleaned to minimize the risk of slips, fires, and degradation.
- Highly toxic and combustible materials must be carefully labeled so workers know the risks of working with them.
- Workers must use hard hats, safety toe footwear, and protective eyewear when working on specific tasks.
- Workers on scaffolds, ladders, or other surfaces at least 10 feet above the lower surface must have fall-prevention equipment.
- All accidents and injuries must be immediately reported and investigated as soon as possible.
Full details on these policies can be found here. These measures are extremely important for preventing accidents. Oil companies that don’t follow them properly are much more likely to be held financially responsible by a oilfield accident lawyer in Hobbs for injuries caused by accidents.
Receiving the Compensation You Deserve After an Oilfield Accident
You may be relieved that your insurance company or employer is offering compensation for your injuries after an oilfield accident. Unfortunately, the compensation they are willing to offer is often not nearly enough. A lot of the time, they will only pay for workers’ compensation for lost wages. However, you may deserve a lot more to cover the cost of medical care and pain and suffering.
In some cases, the insurance company may want to avoid paying anything at all. They may try to drag the case out as long as possible, so you won’t get any compensation for a long time.
You may need to file a civil personal injury claim in these situations. You can get compensation after the insurance company settles the lawsuit or you and your Hobbs oilfield accident attorney win your case in court.
Holding Companies Responsible for Oilfield and Gas Pipeline Explosion ‘Incidents’
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) reports over 200 “significant” pipeline incidents yearly. The oil and gas companies must be held responsible for the negligence that led to these cases.
This is one of the reasons that seeking restitution after an accident is so essential. When injured workers and citizens file lawsuits, they help send a message, forcing the companies to be more responsible.
Hobbs, New Mexico
Hobbs, NM, is a moderate-sized city in Lea County, with a population of around 40,000. The city is less than 5 miles from the Texas border. It is also part of the Permian Basin, which is the single largest oil-producing area in the United States that encompasses over 60 counties.
Here are some medical services in Hobbs that can help you if you have been injured in an oilfield accident:
- Covenant Health Hobbs Hospital is a 109,000-square-foot building that is located at 4900 N. Lovington Highway. It has 60 beds and has medical staff offering intensive care, orthopedics, and other essential healthcare services.
- Therapy Services Associates is a private physical therapy service that was founded in 1985. It offers many physical therapy and rehabilitation services.
- Revival Physical Therapy is a local practice that offers 1-on-1 physical therapy services for patients in Hobbs and the surrounding community. Dr. Danielle Roberts, PT, DPT, is the founder and physical therapist.
- Nor-Lea Hospital District offers family health services in Lea County. The chief of staff is Naveen Sarakanti, MD, who is certified by the American Board of Family Medicine.
You should be aware of these services if you are injured in an oilfield accident and need immediate medical attention.
Experienced Oilfield Injury Attorney in Hobbs, NM
If you have been injured in an oilfield accident, you need to get the help of a qualified oilfield injury lawyer in Hobbs, NM. The Law Office of W. Shane Jennings has proudly served Las Cruces and Hobbs since 2016. Shane Jennings has over 20 years of experience and works with a team of equally qualified paralegals and investigators to offer the best service to his clients.