Oil Field Accident Results in $8,000,000.00 settlement
While working in a New Mexico oilfield, Plaintiff suffered severe and catastrophic personal injuries, including permanent brain damage, after a 200-pound piece of equipment fell on his head. The equipment fell after Plaintiff’s employer instructed its employees to implement knowingly unsafe and dangerous procedures while plugging and abandoning an oil well. Subsequently, Plaintiff’s employer proceeded to destroy, conceal, and/or lose evidence relevant to Plaintiff’s accident. Will Ferguson & Associates litigated the case on Plaintiff’s behalf against his employer for negligence, loss or destruction of evidence, and punitive damages.
Compensation for work-related injuries is typically governed by the New Mexico Workers Compensation Act. The Act ordinarily prohibits an employee from suing his or her employer directly for negligence and greatly limits the compensation an injured employee can receive. However, an exception exists. An employee may sue his or her employer directly when:
- The employer engaged in an intentional act or omission, without just cause or excuse, that can reasonably be expected to result in injury to the worker,
- The employer expects the intentional act or omission to result in the injury to the worker, or has utterly disregarded the consequences, and
- The employer’s intentional act or omission causes the worker’s injury.
In this case, Will Ferguson & Associates was able to sue Plaintiff’s employer directly, and thereby secure fair and just compensation for our client, by showing that Plaintiff’s employer utterly disregarded the consequences that could result when it knowingly ordered Plaintiff to perform his work in a dangerous and unsafe manner.