• February 07, 2017

Danny Smith Killed in Lamesa, TX, Oil Rig Accident

Lamesa, TX -- February 5, 2017, Danny Smith died as the result of an accident where he slipped and fell from an oil rig platform.

Gaines County authorities say that the accident occurred at an oil rig located off of County Road 411-D, southeast of Seminole.

Preliminary investigations indicate that 62-year-old Smith, a long-time employee of Britt Trucking, was working at an oil rig. While he was standing on a platform, nearly 30 feet off the ground, reports say he stepped on a patch of oil, causing him to lose his footing. He fell off of the platform and sustained critical injuries.

Emergency services came to the scene and transported Smith to a hospital in Lubbock for intensive care. He succumbed to his injuries the following Sunday.

At this time, officials have yet to determine what factors exactly contributed to the crash. OSHA and other authorities continue their investigations.

Map of the Area

Commentary

Whenever people read an accident like this one, the immediate assumption is that worker's comp is going to cover the damages resulting from the accident. In many cases, that is the correct assumption. It certainly appears that Britt Trucking and Construction participates in the workers' compensation system. In Texas, that precludes almost any lawsuits against the employer. Also by judging from some interviews with the family in the press, it appears that Mr. Smith was a company man and not the type who would care to pursue legal action against an employer he appears to have loved so much.

Reports I've seen say that Mr. Smith, "encountered some oil," before falling. This is exactly the kind of detail that makes me think that unsafe conditions could have contributed to the accident. What exactly does this mean? How did the oil get there? Why hadn't anyone cleaned it up? Was it the result of work he was doing or was it caused by people working on the rig? A closer investigation will need to be done to answer these questions and determine exactly what contributed to this man's death.

One of the common misconceptions about wrongful death attorneys is that we're all only in it for the money. The truth is that I believe any fatal accident should have a thorough, independent investigation. I can't tell you how many times I have had someone call up and say they just didn't feel right about a loved one's death and ask me to look into it. Often, the accident happened exactly as it was reported, but every so often, it turns out that someone behaved negligently, but those actions aren't reported in the news or discovered by government investigators. This doesn't necessarily mean that a lawsuit follows, but it almost always gives family members a clearer picture of what exactly happened to their loved one.

--Grossman Law Offices

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