Oilfield Injury Lawyers in New Mexico

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    The oil and gas industry is one of the largest private sectors, employing tens of thousands. South-eastern New Mexico cities like Roswell and Artesia lead the way in meeting U.S. energy demands.

    Unfortunately, the oil and gas industry exposes workers to inherently dangerous situations. An oil field can be a hazardous working environment without proper safety guidelines. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), multiple oilfield accidents happen annually in New Mexico.

    Some employers struggle to meet deadlines or maximize profits, so they may overlook safety procedures and place rig employees in danger. New Mexico oil rig workers deserve better. OHSA enforces various safety standards to ensure a safe working environment.

    If you have suffered an injury in a New Mexico oil rig accident, oilfield injury lawyers will offer the proper guidance to help you hold the negligent party responsible. Medical bills can be expensive, and some injuries impact your future.

    Here is all you need to know about New Mexico oil rig injuries:

    Top Causes of Oil Rig Injuries

    With thousands working in New Mexico oilfields daily, the threat of occupational hazards is real. Below are some of the leading causes of oilfield injuries:

    Blowouts and Explosions

    Although modern wells have mechanisms to avoid blowouts, extreme pressure can cause an occasional oil surge, which may cause catastrophic injury or death. Accidental ignition of the pressurized oil may lead to a disastrous explosion.

    Based on the pressure, exploding rigs can injure many people and lead to multiple deaths. Equipment may get thrown to varying distances, harming people far from the explosion site.

    High Well Pressure and Equipment Failures

    Failing to contain oil well pressure can cause pressure build-up. Excess pressure often gets blown through the soil, shoving people and gear. This can easily cause serious injuries. An unsuspecting worker could suffer a traumatic brain injury or even death in this type of oil rig accident.

    In addition, defective heavy equipment such as damaged or worn-out gear can prevent workers from doing their jobs right. Manufacturing defects and corroded parts potentially cause severe injury or death.

    Poisonous Gas

    Oilfield workers can accidentally encounter gas pipes or natural gas pockets when drilling deep underground. Toxic exposure to gases such as hydrogen sulfide, minerals like silica, or naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) can cause death or long-term respiratory issues.

    Lax inspections and regulations can make workers vulnerable to gas injuries.

    Slips and Falls 

    An oil rig is a fast-paced environment. Slippery oily surfaces are a recipe for disaster, and oil rig workers are at continuous risk of slipping or falling. With multiple levels on rigs and fields, falls can cause broken limbs, spinal and neck injuries, or even paralysis. If you suffered a slip and fall injury on an oil rig, consult with our oilfield injury lawyers.


    Drilling oil involves going underground, where electric cables usually run. Contact between machinery and underground electrical wires can lead to electrocution. If utility poles are close to the drilling site, they may give way, causing wires to snap and electrocute employees. Electrocution can cause shock, burns, or unconsciousness.

    Use of Improper Equipment

    Working in the oilfield requires the use of heavy machinery daily. Most oil drilling equipment needs high skill levels to operate safely. Untrained or poorly trained workers can cause serious accidents. Supervisors can direct workers to use the wrong equipment if they’re too busy or unqualified to guide employees.

    Operating Machinery While Under the Influence

    Some workers may operate machinery and drilling equipment when intoxicated with alcohol or other drugs. This increases the risk of accidents in the workplace. Injured workers from such misconduct should contact an oilfield injury attorney.

    Common Oilfield Injuries in New Mexico

    Oilfield injuries take various forms, ranging from broken bones to death. Some of the most common oilfield injuries stem from truck accidents. Other common injuries at an oil rig are head injuries and vision or hearing loss.

    Fatal Injuries

    Accidents that cause death are the worst imaginable type of workplace mishap. If your loved one dies because of an accident in a New Mexico oilfield, an oil rig lawyer may help initiate a legal claim to help you get justice for your loss.

    Life after Oil Rig Injuries

    People who take jobs in the oil fields are often lured by the opportunity to make money and better their lives. However, life is never the same for those who suffer workplace injuries. If you suffer serious injury, you must endure pain and may even suffer a permanent disability.

    High medical costs and loss of wages can also weigh you down. Oilfield injury victims often need home healthcare or life adjustments, like using a wheelchair. Some may even lack the ability to secure employment in the future.

    Recovering Compensation After an Oilfield Injury

    Are you the victim of an oil field accident or the surviving loved one of an oilfield worker that passed away due to dangerous working conditions? Then it would help if you had legal guidance from an oil rig injury lawyer. Our oilfield injury lawyers can help you understand how to file a claim and recover compensation for losses.

    Here are the two basic ways to seek compensation:

    Workers’ Compensation Insurance

    Most oil companies have workers’ compensation insurance, which provides workers with compensation for work-related assignments that injure an employee. Compensation often covers:

    •  Necessary and reasonable medical expenses
    • Percentage of lost wages
    • Disability or death

    Although it works most times, the primary issue with workers’ compensation insurance is that it doesn’t allow workers to file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer. It also hiders employees from seeking compensation for non-economic losses, such as the value of pain and suffering.

    New Mexico employers with workers’ compensation insurance may still have a case to answer when they intentionally expose employees to hazardous environments. If you’re unsure how to proceed with your claim, reach out to a qualified oil rig lawyer for legal advice.

    Third-Party Liability Claims

    The second option for recovering compensation after oilfield injury is filing a third-party liability claim against the liable parties. There are limits as to when you can file a direct claim against your employer if you have workers’ compensation insurance. However, there are some exceptions. For example, if manufacturing defects caused the accident, you can file a third-party personal injury claim against the equipment manufacturer. Speaking to an oil rig injury lawyer will help you determine the best course of action.

    You can seek compensation for the full extent of economic and non-economic losses through third-party liability claims. These include:

    • Total lost wages
    • Pain and suffering
    • Emotional distress

    However, keep in mind that you must have sufficient evidence to prove that your injuries wouldn’t have occurred if not for the defendant’s actions.

    Proving Negligence After Oilfield Accidents

    To prove negligence and win your case, you or your lawyer must illustrate the negligent party:

    • Owed you a duty of care
    • Breached the duty of care
    • The breach of duty of care caused your accident

    Experienced oilfield injury lawyers should help prove that the accident led to damages, which you should receive compensation for.

    Will Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit Help?

    Filing a personal injury lawsuit enables you to seek compensation for damages after an oilfield injury. These often include:

    • Current and future medical expenses
    • Lost wages
    • Pain and suffering

    If your employer’s reckless actions or disregard for your safety causes injury, New Mexico laws allow the courts to punish the employer with punitive damages. Punitive damages are payments awarded as a punishment for malicious behavior.

    Lawsuits protect you from medical expenses and creditors. Ask an oilfield injury lawyer for advice on your employment rights.

    Statute of Limitations for Oil Rig Accident Lawsuits

    You have three years from the day you get injured to file an oilfield accident lawsuit in New Mexico. The statute of limitations gives you ample time to get medical attention for your injuries.

    It is best to consult an oil rig injury lawyer as soon as possible after the accident occurs. This ensures prompt evidence collection to build a strong case. Waiting for three years may weaken your case because it will be harder to collect evidence and connect your injuries to the accident.

    What to Do After an Oil Field Accident

    One of the significant risks that oil industry workers face is the risk of oil field accidents. Oil rig accidents are traumatic events that can cause death or catastrophic bodily harm. After such a frightening and dangerous event, it may be unclear what to do next.

    Here is a guide on what to do after an accident on the oilfield: 

    1. Check for Injuries

    Your personal health and safety should be the top priority after a workplace accident. Check yourself for injuries immediately after the oilfield accident. If you can, also check any other victims.

    Seek medical attention as quickly as possible to rule out any internal injuries. Getting medical attention as soon as possible creates a document trail you can use later in your personal injury case.

    2. Move to Safety

    If you can move without causing other injuries, move to a safe location and evacuate the rig if necessary. Some oil field accidents may set off a chain of accidents, making it essential to get to safety quickly.

    3. Call the Authorities

    Once you are at a safe location, inform the authorities. Relevant authorities will document the scene and come up with accident reports. If possible, record the scene yourself by taking photos and videos, and collect any helpful evidence.

    4. Contact an Oil Rig Lawyer

    After the accident, seek legal representation from a seasoned oil rig lawyer with experience in local state laws. Do not talk with any insurance agent in the absence of your attorney.

    Your lawyer will protect your claim and ensure you don’t accept a lousy settlement. Failure to agree with the insurance company will necessitate legal action in court.

    Now that you know all about oilfield injury claims, reach out to an experienced oilfield injury lawyer today to assess your case.

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