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The Dangers of Texas Oilfield Fracking Accidents 

Texas, the heart of American oil production, boasts a booming industry. But behind the economic benefits lies a dark truth: oil and gas extraction leads the state in workplace injuries and fatalities. 

Oil Industry Leading Texas Workplace Injuries

Why does the oil industry claim so many Texans and what can be done to improve safety? In the oil industry, working with wells and pipelines, falls from high elevation are a common injury which can potentially lead to crushing. Other common oil industry injuries are heatstroke, burns and exposure to dangerous chemicals.

The Fracking Process and its Risks

Fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing, is a technique used to extract oil and gas from rock formations, particularly shale. Here's a breakdown of the process and its potential risks:

  1. Drilling: A well is drilled deep underground into the target rock formation.
  2. Horizontal Drilling: In some cases, the wellbore is then turned horizontal to reach more oil or gas deposits.
  3. Fracking Fluid Injection: A high-pressure mixture of water, sand, and various chemicals is pumped into the wellbore.
  4. Fracturing: The fluid creates fractures in the rock formation, allowing trapped oil and gas to flow out.
  5. Flowback and Production: The fracking fluid along with the extracted oil and gas flow back up the wellbore. The oil and gas are separated, and the wastewater is disposed of.

While the payoff of fracking is high, so are the risks. Hazardous chemicals, high pressure and heavy machinery can be a recipe for disaster to oilfield workers. On a larger environmental scale, fracking has been linked to water contamination, air pollution and the high pressure is believed to induce earthquakes in the fracking area.

Common Types of Fracking Accidents

Fracking fluids, a mix of water, sand, and undisclosed chemicals, pose inhalation and exposure risks for workers handling them. Fracking involves injecting these fluids at high pressure, increasing the risk of fracking blowout accidents, equipment failure, and worker injuries. 

The disposal of wastewater from fracking sites can be a major safety concern. Improper handling can lead to fracking water contamination, posing health risks for workers and communities alike. In addition to these factors, the growth of the industry has led to an increase in truck traffic between the sites, which also increases the number of accident related injuries in driver’s running on deadlines and often not enough rest.

Potential Injuries from Fracking Accidents

There are many well-site dangers associated with the fracking industry. Fracking relies on heavy machinery, and malfunctions can cause serious falls or crushing injuries or death for workers. In addition, unexpected and uncontrolled releases of pressured fluids and gas can cause fires, explosions, and environmental contamination, leading to burns and shrapnel injuries for workers. 

Exposure to the hazardous chemicals released as well as the chemicals in the fracking solution are a hazard to workers through inhalation or spills. These fumes alone have been known to cause respiratory and other health problems. Direct contact with the chemicals can cause burns. Additionally,  these chemicals are suspected to be cancer causing carcinogens.

Legal Options After a Fracking Accident

If you've been injured in a fracking accident in Texas, you likely have legal options to seek compensation for your injuries. Workman’s Compensation is typically your first course of action. All employers in Texas are required to carry workman’s compensation insurance, which should cover the cost of your medical treatment and any lost wages regardless of fault. 

An attorney can help you navigate your workman’s compensation claim. If someone other than yourself or your employer was responsible for the accident, you could potentially have grounds for a third-party lawsuit. This could include a subcontractor or manufacturer whose faulty equipment caused your injury

It would be your responsibility to gather evidence to prove that the other party’s negligence directly caused your accident and resulting injuries. This is another case where an experienced personal injury lawyer can be extremely helpful.

What if My Workers Comp Claim is Denied?

If your worker’s comp claim is denied you should first attempt to understand the reason for the denial. The most common reasons for denial of claims are that the insurer believes your injuries to be pre-existing or having happened as a result of something other than your duties at the jobsite or that you did not report the injury in the required timeframe. 

If this happens, you will need to quickly file for an appeal hearing. If you have not yet contacted an attorney experienced in Texas workman’s compensation and oil and gas industry worker injuries, you should immediately request a consultation. An attorney can help gather evidence to strengthen your case and lead you through the appeals process.

What Compensation Can I Sue For?

An oilfield accident lawyer in Texas can also help you understand any grounds you may or may not have for a lawsuit related to your injuries. You could potentially be able to sue for:

  • Medical expenses: hospital bills, doctors bills, rehabilitation, medication, surgeries
  • Lost wages: compensation for lost wages during your recovery and possibly future lost wages if your injury has long: term impact on your ability to work
  • Pain and suffering: physical and emotional distress caused by your injury
  • Punitive damages: may be awarded due to gross negligence
  • Mental anguish: emotional distress from the accident leading to PTSD, anxiety or depression
  • Loss of consortium: if your injury impacts your relationship with your spouse
  • Loss of enjoyment of life: inability to participate in activities that you enjoyed before your injury

All of these may not be available to you, depending on the circumstances and causation of your accident and injuries. An experienced attorney will be able to understand your case and explain to you what options are available to you.

The Importance of Proper Legal Representation

In the aftermath of an oilfield accident, where the stakes are high and the legalities complex, having proper legal representation is crucial. Oilfield accident cases can involve a complex web of regulations, workers' compensation laws, and potential third-party liability claims. An attorney with experience in this specific area can navigate this legal maze and ensure your rights are protected. 

Strict deadlines often apply to filing accident claims and lawsuits. Building a strong case requires meticulous evidence collection. This evidence is vital to proving your case and securing compensation.Oilfield accidents can result in severe injuries with long-term consequences. Oilfield companies and their insurers often have aggressive legal teams. 

A skilled attorney can fight for compensation that covers not just your immediate medical bills and lost wages, but also future medical needs, lost earning capacity, and pain and suffering. An attorney can help balance the scales and ensure your voice is heard. They can also handle complex legal procedures and court appearances, allowing you to focus on your recovery.

Contact The Karam Law Office for a Free Consultation

If you have any questions about Texas fracking accident accidents, contact our office. At The Karam Law Office, we take pride in providing industry-leading service to each and every client. We will fight tirelessly to get you the justice you deserve. 

Call us today for your free consultation. 

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