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Posts tagged "oil and gas injury"

Increased Oil and Gas Activity in the Permian Basin: But Beware, Worker-Related Injuries and Even Death Will Also Increase

The Permian Basin has proven itself to be a hot spot for oil and gas in the United States. It is reported that there has been a recent burst of oil and gas deals concentrated in West Texas' Permian Basin. This has occurred despite the downturn, and now slowly rising, prices in oil per barrel. The newly stricken deals have really emphasized how the Permian Basin is a top-shelf basin. Experts say that not only is the Permian Basin's drilling costs among the cheapest in the United States, the layers of shale drilling areas go significantly deeper underground than in other regions. With that being said, drillers have put into operation, several additional drilling rigs. As of today's date, there are more than 265 drilling rigs in the Permian Basin, accounting for more than 50% of the country's active drilling rigs.

The Price of Oil and Gas is Much Higher than We Ever Imagined

Oil and Gas workers are subject to some of the most hazardous industrial conditions in the U.S., and serious injuries and fatalities often occur from oil and gas accidents. In January of this year, NPR reported that accidents among workers in the industry are on the rise. From 2009 to 2012 the industry added 23 percent more workers, "[b]ut the hiring spree has come with a terrible price: Last year, 138 workers were killed on the job - an increase of more than 100 percent since 2009," wrote Andrew Schneider and Marilyn Geewax for NPR. "In fact, the fatality rate among oil and gas workers in now nearly eight times higher than the all-industry rate of 3.2 deaths for every 100,000 workers."

Drilling Boom, Deadly Legacy

The boom that has brought prosperity to Texas has left a trail of death and devastation for many of the more 100,000 workers in oil and gas exploration jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, in 2012 the death toll peaked at 65,000, which was a 10 year high and nearly 60 percent more than 2011. For 22 years the federal government has failed to implement safety standards and procedures for onshore oil and gas drilling, even as offshore accidents have been on the rise. Abraham Watkins is currently handling cases involving oil field explosions.

Good News Regarding Hiring Should be Taken with Caution

As reported in the Houston Chronicle, Chevron Phillips is seeking additional workers due to a recent boom in the shale gas industry. In fact, an expansion estimated at more than $15 billion is underway at plants along the Texas Gulf Coast. Such expansions have prompted Greg Wagner, Vice President of Human Resources at Chevron Phillips, to go on record saying that Chevron Phillips is currently seeking "the best and the brightest"-whether in construction, or in more permanent jobs, such as plant operators, mechanics, and professional positions.

Oil Rig Deaths Caused by Safety Hazards

Julio Barrera was a derrickman working in Webb County when he was killed on September 2, 2009. According to his wife, Claudia Hernandez, she recalls him telling her over the phone that the tower he was working on was not stable, but he would lose his job if he did not climb the tower. The very next day, Barrera climbed 25 feet up the derrick owned by Coastal Drilling Land Company to fix a locking pin in the metal frame. While he was on the tower, the structure began swaying, tipped over, and fatally crushed him. Barrera and his wife had two sons, and she was pregnant with their third child when he died. Even though she reached a confidential settlement with the companies responsible, she said they would not be able to give her what her kids lost.

Oil Rig Deaths Caused by Safety Hazards

Julio Barrera was a derrickman working in Webb County when he was killed on September 2, 2009. According to his wife, Claudia Hernandez, she recalls him telling her over the phone that the tower he was working on was not stable, but he would lose his job if he did not climb the tower. The very next day, Barrera climbed 25 feet up the derrick owned by Coastal Drilling Land Company to fix a locking pin in the metal frame. While he was on the tower, the structure began swaying, tipped over, and fatally crushed him. Barrera and his wife had two sons, and she was pregnant with their third child when he died. Even though she reached a confidential settlement with the companies responsible, she said they would not be able to give her what her kids lost.

Recent Plant Explosion in La Porte

On Saturday, February 9, 2012, there was an explosion at the Laporte, Texas Air Liquide plant that occurred at approximately 7:40 am. Current reports indicated that one employee was killed, and another was seriously injured. Unfortunately, these types of events are far too common in our community.

Oilfield Accident Results in $5.7 Million for Injured Person

A Bakersfield man who suffered severe injuries in a 2009 oilfield accident received a $5.7 million settlement. The settlement was approved by Kern County Superior Court Justice Sidney Chapin. A news release said Darrell Wilson, who owned Wilson Industrial Pumps in Bakersfield, was hired by Salinas Energy to "troubleshoot" a wastewater pump in a Monterey County oilfield. Wilson was inspecting the pump, when a pressure surge caused an explosion that propelled a 12-inch section of the valve into his body. The prominent metal in his abdomen knocked him unconscious.

Oil and Gas Workers Are at Higher Risk for Injury

In astudy recently released, it was found that oil and gas workers are 8.5 times more likely to die in motor vehicle collisions on the job than people working in industries overall. In fact, the study found that oil and gas workers were more likely to die in on-the-job accidents than almost every other industry except for transportation and warehousing. And with so many smaller oil and gas firms (including well-servicing companies) in business, those employees working in the smaller companies are at an even higher risk.

BP in Court on Manslaughter Charges

According to the Houston Chronicle, after 2 1/2 years since the deep-water Macondo well blew out in the Gulf of Mexico, oil giant BP faced a U.S. judge Tuesday as it answered to manslaughter and other criminal charges. At a brief arraignment hearing before a federal judge, BP lawyer Mark Filip said the company's board had authorized him to enter a not guilty plea as a procedural matter, but the firm still intends to plead guilty at a later date. BP has agreed to pay $4.5 billion to settle the criminal charges and related Securities and Exchange Commission charges.

Awards & Recognition

  • 2016-2017 Equal Access to Justice Champion

    The Equal Access to Justice Champions Program was started by the Houston Bar Association in 2006, to help ensure placement of Houston Volunteer Lawyers cases with pro bono volunteers. Originally, firms were tiered according to size, and firms within each tier committed to accept a certain number of pro bono cases from HVL each year for five years.

  • The National Trial Lawyers | Top 100 Trial Lawyers

    The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 is an invitation-only organization composed of the premier trial lawyers from each state or region who meet stringent qualifications as civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense trial lawyers. Selection is based on a thorough multi-phase objective and uniformly applied process which includes peer nominations combined with third-party research.

  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum

    Established in 1993, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum (which includes the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum) is one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States. Membership is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. There are over 4000 members throughout the country. Fewer than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members.

  • Recognized by Best Lawyers America | Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz | 2017

    Recognition by Best Lawyers is based entirely on peer review. Their methodology is designed to capture, as accurately as possible, the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area.

  • Lead Counsel Rated

    In order to earn the Lead Counsel Rating, an attorney must not only demonstrate significant legal experience, but must also receive multiple peer recommendations advocating his or her ability. This is a key component in the screening process.

  • Texas Super Lawyers | Texas Monthly

    Each year, Super Lawyers recognizes the top lawyers in Texas via a patented multiphase selection process involving peer nomination, independent research and peer evaluation. The Texas lawyers who receive the highest point totals during this selection process are further recognized in Texas Super Lawyers Top Lists.

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  • $50+ Million Personal Injury Fire and Explosion

    The firm successfully represented nearly 100 victims who suffered personal injuries and damages to property from a large fire and explosion resulting in a settlement of more than $50 million. The firm served as lead lawyers on the steering committee in this litigation.

  • $80 Million Personal Injury Large Plant Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 270 plaintiffs', taking a lead role in the plaintiffs' steering committee, who suffered injuries in a large plant explosion resulting in a settlement of nearly $80 million.

  • $50+ Million Personal Injury Plant Fire and Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 45 personal injury victims in a plant fire and explosion, serving on the plaintiffs' steering committee, concluding with a settlement of more than $50 million.

  • $22+ Million Personal Injury Work Site Accident

    The firm prevailed in a personal injury trial for a worksite injury client with the jury returning a verdict and resulting in a judgment of over $22 million for the firm's client.

  • $12 Million Auto Accident 18-Wheeler Collision

    The firm successfully achieved a $12 million settlement for the family of a man who died in an 18 wheeler collision.

  • $30 Million Personal Injury Burn Victims

    The firm prevailed on behalf of three burn victims with settlements totaling nearly $30 million.

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