Plant and oil refinery accidents are a common incident in Texas. Here’s what you need to know if this type of accident happens to you.
A seemingly typical day at work can turn serious in a moment for workers at plants or refineries. Accidents at such workplaces happen every day in Texas, where the industries are booming, and damages can be high.
Working with large equipment and dangerous chemicals is a risky job, but dangerous jobs are certainly not immune from legal protection and victims do have rights. Your employer has a duty to make your working conditions as safe as possible.
You’ve certainly got questions after such an accident, and they likely include how you will be able to pay for your injuries while you’re out of work. Here, we take a look at plant and refinery accidents and how those injured can receive compensation.
Common plant and refinery accidents and injuries
Working in a plant or refinery presents many more dangers than your typical office job. Workers are constantly surrounded by large equipment, dangerous chemicals, and the constant risk of a serious accident. The most common types of accidents in these work environments include:
- Explosions: Explosions are real possibilities, especially in oil refineries or chemical plants, if materials are handled negligently. Even small explosions can leave workers burned or fatally injured.
- Fires: Oil refineries are especially vulnerable to fires. It’s easy for crude oil to become overheated and, therefore, start a fire.
- Malfunctioning equipment: Improperly inspected equipment can corrode or malfunction, causing a serious accident for workers.
- Impure chemicals: There are strict guidelines when it comes to mixing and using chemicals for production. Violating these regulations, either by using impure chemicals or mixing them improperly, can cause serious consequences for workers.
- Unsafe working conditions: The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enacts strict guidelines for plants and refineries in order to keep workers as safe as possible. Violating any of these regulations can cause employees to become accident victims.
These types of accidents easily cause serious injuries. Workers often suffer severe burns from explosions or fires, respiratory issues from inhalation, disfigurement, and an array of other catastrophic injuries that can cause workers to suffer lost time at work and a loss in quality of life.
As we’ve mentioned, OSHA enacts numerous safety regulations for plants and refineries in order to keep working conditions as safe as possible for employees. Employers at plants and refineries are required by law to adhere to these regulations and train their employees to do the same.
Violating these regulations is considered negligence. Employers have a duty to keep working conditions as safe as possible, and ignoring regulations breaches that duty. Additionally, OSHA protects the rights of employees to point out safety concerns or report injuries that may have been caused by breaches in OSHA regulations.
Negligence is the likely culprit
Negligence is usually the underlying culprit of plant and refinery accidents. Whether it’s an employer or individual employee ignoring OSHA standards or an equipment manufacturer failing to properly inspect its product, human negligence is the number one cause of plant and refinery accidents.
An investigation will reveal the cause of the accident and whether or not negligence was the cause. If so, the negligent party or parties can become the subject of personal injury lawsuits and will likely have to pay for the damages they have caused.
Texas personal injury law for plant & refinery accidents
Texas is easily one of the leaders in the United States when it comes to manufacturing, oil distribution, and the production of industrial chemicals. That being said, Texas also has its fair share of serious accidents involving these industries.
Under Texas law, those injured in plant or refinery accidents have the legal right to file a personal injury lawsuit and potentially receive compensation for the damages they have suffered. If an employee is killed due to such an accident, his or her family also has the legal right to sue for wrongful death damages in the state of Texas.
Once this lawsuit has been filed, an investigation will begin in order to determine the party or parties responsible for the accident and the victim’s total damages will be added up. Victims of plant and refinery accidents or their families can receive compensation for:
- Current or future medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages and time at work
- Loss in quality of life (especially for catastrophic injuries with long-lasting results)
- Funeral expenses or loss of companionship (for wrongful death lawsuits)
What about worker’s compensation?
Worker’s compensation is certainly an option for employees injured while on the job at a plant or refinery; however, it is not your only option for receiving compensation for your damages.
If your injury is caused by the negligence of your employer, another employee, or another party entirely, you have the right to sue for additional compensation to help with your damages.
Can I hire an attorney?
You always have the right to hire an attorney to handle the legal process of a personal injury lawsuit. When deciding, be sure that your chosen attorney is familiar with the ins and outs of plant and refinery lawsuits and is capable to handle your case with expertise.
An attorney can help investigate your accident, determine whether or not negligence was a factor, who was guilty of negligence and can even add up your damages. It’s recommended that you hire an attorney if your injuries are severe, medical bills are high, or if there is a dispute over the details of your accident.