Working in petroleum refineries is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. People in the Houston, TX region probably recall the 2005 explosion at BP’s Texas City site, which led to 15 deaths and over 180 injuries. In that situation, production seemed to be more important than safety, and poor safety protocols led to a devastating explosion that could have been prevented.
Refinery accidents often involve fires and explosions. Obviously, these can be extremely dangerous and deadly to refinery workers. Some of the possible injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries from the concussive blasts of gas explosions
- Severe burns, which can lead to nerve damage, infections, and amputations
- Broken bones that are incredibly painful and can cause other problems
- Toxic fume inhalation from smoke and other refining chemicals
This is not an exhaustive list. Refineries are remarkably dangerous if proper safety procedures have not been set. If you or a loved one has been injured while working in a refinery, you may be wondering if you have any options for compensation. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you may have several options available to you. Your attorney will help you determine the best course of legal action to take.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?
The first step in obtaining compensation for a refinery injury is to determine how it happened. In some situations, worker’s compensation benefits will be available to cover medical bills and lost wages from time spent out of work, but worker’s compensation rarely covers all of the expenses caused by a refinery injury.
If your injury was caused by a defective product or a piece of equipment that was improperly manufactured or did not contain the necessary use and warning information, you may need to pursue a product liability claim against the manufacturer. Product manufacturers are required to use consistent production materials and practices, and they must provide accurate instructions for intended uses of their products. They must also thoroughly warn users of any potential risks of using their products. Failing any of these requirements may make them liable for injuries their products cause.
If another employee created a workplace hazard through some careless action, you may need to pursue a personal injury claim against them and prove that they were negligent while carrying out their duties. Proving negligence hinges on three things the plaintiff must prove:
- The defendant had a duty to act with reasonable care. In a refinery, this would mean adhering to all safety protocols at all times.
- This duty of care was breached. This could either be through an action, such as horseplay or reckless behavior, or inaction, such as a supervisor failing to address a known safety issue in a reasonable amount of time.
- This breach directly resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries. You need to prove your injuries would not have been sustained had the defendant acted with reasonable care.
If you can successfully prove negligence on part of the defendant, securing a positive outcome from your trial is likely. A reliable attorney will increase your odds and help you gather all of the documentation that will be necessary to obtain just compensation for the total cost of your injuries.
Refinery accidents can leave permanently disabling effects and diminish victims’ quality of living. Worker’s compensation may cover the initial medical expenses and lost wages, but those injured by refinery explosions or other accidents may face years of physical rehabilitation and other therapies, permanent scarring from burns, or diminished cognitive faculties from traumatic brain injuries or chemical exposure.
The Nielsen Law Firm of Houston, TX has proudly served our clients for over 30 years, and we do not shy away from tough litigation. Reach out to our team today with any questions you may have about refinery accidents or for a free case evaluation.