Oil refineries are a critical component of Texas’s economy. Houston has 10 major oil refineries that produce about 2.6 million barrels of crude oil per day – 14.3 percent of the national oil production. The Texas oil and gas industry provides thousands of jobs to Texans. Unfortunately, oil refinery workers are not always safe at work. Oil refinery accidents, including fires and explosions, can seriously injure and kill workers. At The Doan Law Firm, we represent workers who’ve been injured in oil refinery accidents, as well as surviving family members after fatal disasters. Find out how our Houston oil refinery accident lawyer can help you today during a free case evaluation in Houston.
Houston Oil Refinery Accident Resources
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Our leading and founding attorney, Jimmy Doan, has lived in Houston almost his entire life. Houston is his backyard – as well as home to some of the largest oil refineries in the country. Attorney Doan and his associates have represented clients in many oil refinery accident and explosion lawsuits since our law firm was founded. Two of these cases resulted in eight-figure results: $18,100,000 and $11,600,000. We achieve higher results than most of our competitors due to a willingness to take our time rather than accepting fast settlements.
When you choose The Doan Law Firm for your legal representation after an oil refinery accident, you receive individualized care and attention from an attorney. Your lawyer will use proven and aggressive legal strategies to obtain the best possible results for your case. If your life was changed forever by a traumatic oil refinery disaster, we’re the right law firm for you. Our focus is on major injury and mass casualty cases. Our personal injury attorneys in Houston can get the case outcome that you deserve for catastrophic injuries or the loss of a loved one’s life.
Types of Oil Refinery Accidents
Oil refineries involve volatile substances, including toxic fumes, flammable gases and pressurized materials. When one thing goes wrong at an oil plant or refinery, no matter how minor, it can cause a devastating accident. Common examples of oil refinery accidents that have injured workers in Texas are:
Fires and explosions
Slip or trip and fall accidents
Falls from heights
Equipment or heavy machinery accidents
Oil refinery accidents are often traced back to negligence (the failure to use proper care) or human error. Examples include failing to properly maintain equipment, breaking industry safety rules and failing to provide safety training to workers. Other disasters are caused by dangerous workplace premises and defective products.
Causes of Oil Refinery Explosions
Oil refinery explosions are like aircraft accidents: they are relatively rare, but when an oil refinery explosion occurs it can cause massive property damage and even cause the deaths of refinery workers! The similarity doesn’t end there since both types of accidents usually involve a combination of human error and mechanical failure.
Although much of the oil refining process is computer-controlled, refinery workers are responsible for monitoring the computers and performing tasks that computers simply can’t do such as insuring that the proper chemicals are stored in the right place at the right temperature. If a refinery worker makes a mistake and an explosion occurs, the refinery’s owner is liable for any damages and injuries that occur.
The oil refining process involves subjecting crude to oil high temperatures and high pressures. It is therefore important that every piece of equipment used in a refinery be properly designed, correctly installed, and carefully maintained. Should any piece of equipment fail and an explosion occur, the refinery owner can be found responsible by a court and ordered to pay compensation to victims of that explosion.
What Happens During an Oil Refinery Explosion?
Injuries caused by oil refinery explosions can range from minor cuts and bruises that are treated on-scene by first responders to life-threatening and even fatal. Most oil refinery explosion injuries fall into one of three general types: blast injuries, burns, and mixed trauma injuries.
Explosions release tremendous amounts of chemical energy. This cause the air around the explosion to become compressed and then rapidly expand with such force that can easily toss an adult several feet into the air! Blast injuries can include bone fractures, internal organ injuries, and internal bleeding. A particularly dangerous blast injury is lung damage, which often requires days (if not weeks) of treatment in an Intensive Care Unit. Explosions also frequently hurl objects such as glass and machine parts through the air with enough force to penetrate even the toughest protective equipment and then travel several more inches into the body where they will require surgery to be removed. In addition to blast injuries, oil refinery explosions are usually accompanied by fires.
Since practically all oil refinery are accompanied or caused by fires, burns make up the majority of oil refinery explosion injuries. These burn injuries often require weeks of treatment at a major medical center. Burn injuries are often complicated by injury to the victim’s lungs caused by the inhalation of smoke and potentially toxic fumes released by chemicals used in the oil refining processes. A Houston burn injury lawyer is ready to fight to secure compensation on your behalf after an explosion.
Mixed trauma injuries involve either both a combination of blast and burn injuries or injuries that involve two or more body organs. Mixed trauma injuries are difficult to treat and require transportation to a major medical center for an injured worker to receive the level of medical care necessary if the worker is to survive their injuries.
What Injuries Can a Houston Oil Refinery Explosion Cause?
Oil refinery accidents are often catastrophic, meaning they inflict life-changing injuries on those involved. At The Doan Law Firm, we have the resources and experience to handle catastrophic injury claims and achieve outstanding results. We can represent you and your family if you experienced any of the following types of injuries in an oil refinery accident in Houston:
Severe burn injuries
Scarring and disfigurement
Mixed trauma injuries
Spinal cord injuries
Traumatic brain injuries
Hearing or vision loss
After suffering an injury in an oil refinery disaster, go to a hospital immediately. Request copies of your medical bills and accident reports. Take photographs of your injuries as they heal. Keep the clothes and shoes that you were wearing when the accident took place. If you have not already done so, report the incident to your employer. Then, request an injury consultation with our oil refinery accident attorneys for assistance.
Should I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim or Personal Injury Lawsuit?
There may be more than one option for financial recovery available to you after an oil refinery accident in Texas: a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury lawsuit. Not all employers have to carry workers’ compensation insurance under state law. Ask your employer if this type of coverage is available. If so, you could qualify for compensation for your medical bills and partial lost wages without having to establish negligence.
A personal injury lawsuit, however, could result in a greater monetary recovery if one or more parties could have prevented your incident. If your employer was negligent in properly preparing you to work safely around toxic substances, for example, you may have grounds to sue your employer. This type of lawsuit could pay you for pain and suffering, punitive damages, and other losses in addition to medical expenses. Our lawyers can carefully analyze your oil refinery accident case to decide which type of claim is right for you.
How Much Compensation Can I Receive for My Oil Refinery Explosion Injury?
Accurately calculating the value of your oil refinery injury case is important before you accept a settlement offer by an insurance provider. Insurance companies often try to take advantage of claimants to protect their own profits. This means that an insurer may offer less than the true value of your case in an initial settlement. Work with a lawyer from the beginning of your case to understand its value and negotiate for fair financial reimbursement.Case value can depend on many factors that are unique to you, including:
Injury diagnosis and prognosis for recovery
The level of disability, if any
Whether or not you can return to work
Your age at the time of the accident
Your overall health
The insurance coverage available
The number of defendants
Your own actions in connection to the accident (comparative negligence)
Although each oil refinery explosion injury case is different, as an injured worker you are entitled to receive:
Your salary or expected hourly wages while you are unable to work.
Payment of all medical expenses related to your injuries, for your lifetime, as wells as the costs of anticipated future medical expenses.
Payment or reimbursement for all expenses that allow you to live at home such as rental or purchase of medical equipment, modifications such as wheelchair ramps, and automobile hand controls if you have lost control of your legs.
In addition to the above, which are called economic damages because they can be assigned a “dollars and cents” value, you are also allowed to receive non-economic damages. These damages compensate you for things that cannot be measured in monetary terms, such as:
The “pain and suffering” caused by your injury and during your recovery.
Compensation for your lack of ability to fully participate in family social events such as attending worship services, weddings, or graduation ceremonies.
Loss of your wisdom and guidance in making important family decisions.
In addition to economic and non-economic damages, Texas law allows a court to award punitive damages. These damages are awarded to punish the refinery’s owner for their negligence in allowing conditions that led to an oil refinery explosion to develop. Although the amount of these damages is “capped” under Texas law, they can be quite substantial!
How Costly Are Oil Refinery Explosion Injuries to Treat?
Regardless of the types of oil refinery explosion injuries, such injuries can be very expensive to treat. In fact, the costs of treatment in a major medical center’s Burn and Trauma Unit can easily exceed $10,000 per day! Although refinery workers are covered by Worker’s Compensation benefits, those benefits don’t cover all your expenses and lost income. To make sure that you receive the full compensation for your injuries, you should contact the oil refinery explosion injury lawyer at The Doan Law Firm to arrange a free review of your oil refinery explosion and a discussion of the legal options that may be available to make sure that you receive all the compensation that you deserve.
A skilled attorney can find ways to optimize your financial outcome, including combating defenses brought forward by the defense attorney. At The Doan Law Firm, our goal is winning and winning big. When our clients suffer serious injuries, we fight for serious results. Attorney Jimmy Doan was recognized as a Top 100 Civil Trial Lawyer five years in a row. We can take your case to trial if this is necessary to collect maximum financial compensation.
Many tragic oil refinery accidents in Houston can be prevented. At The Doan Law Firm, we are passionate about holding those responsible for oil refinery disasters accountable for their careless actions. Find out how we can help you and your family during a free case consultation. We offer zero-obligation case reviews at our local Houston law office, as well as over the phone or at your home or hospital. Call (800) 349-0000 or contact us online to speak to an experienced oil refinery accident lawyer today.