Greater Houston is home to thousands of people working in the oil and gas industry. Rig workers are always at risk of suffering severe or even fatal injuries since extraction has its dangers. Explosions and fires are a pervading danger, and all it takes to cause considerable damage is a minor spark. When that happens, a burn injury lawyer can help victims and their loved ones to seek compensation for their losses and damages. An accident can turn your life upside-down, but an oil rig explosion attorney at Morrow & Sheppard LLP can help defend your rights and hold the at-fault parties accountable.
Types of Burn Injuries
Burn injuries sustained in an oil rig explosion or fire can range from superficial, first-degree burns to third-degree burns affecting all skin layers. In severe cases, victims suffer fourth-degree burns that damage the underlying skin tissues. A Houston burn injury lawyer can help you fight for recovery if you suffered a burn in an oilfield accident. The compensation you’ll receive will depend on the type of burn injury sustained and the extent of losses and damages. Common types of burn injuries include:
Chemical burns usually occur when oil rig workers come into contact with the chemicals used in fracking and oil drilling. The chemicals can easily seep through clothes, causing severe damage.
Heavy machines like pumps and generators often get deployed in oil rigs. Malfunctions can result in electrocution.
These burn injuries result from contact with the steam, molten metal, of hot surfaces prevalent in oil and gas rigs.
Flash burns happen quickly and often cause first-degree burns on the outer skin layers.
Causes of Burn Injuries in the Permian Basin and the Surrounding Areas
Since many people in the Permian Basin and the surrounding areas work in the oil and gas industry, most burn accidents occur on oil rigs. The leading causes of oil rig explosions are:
Fire incidents are common on oil rigs. Oil is flammable, and so are the chemicals used in fracking and drilling. In such a hazardous environment, a spark is all it takes to cause a fire or explosion, resulting in catastrophic and widespread damage.
Blowouts are some of the most catastrophic and extensive incidents in oil rigs. A blowout is an uncontrolled release of natural gas and crude oil from a gas or oil well when pressure control systems fail. The pressure changes can also alter the flow of flammable hydrocarbons and cause an explosion if not well-controlled. When that happens, those working on the oil rig are at risk of blowouts that cause tremendous damage.
In a high-risk work environment like an oil rig, defective equipment can easily cause fires and burn injuries. The oil and gas industry utilizes heavy equipment and machinery that require regular maintenance. The machines often have safety systems such as blowout preventers to deal with extreme/erratic pressure changes. Unfortunately, those in charge of oil rigs sometimes fall behind on maintenance or fail to replace/upgrade defective or aging equipment. That can lead to avoidable oil and gas industry accidents, including fires.
The Impact of Burn Injuries on Victims and Their Families
A thermal, chemical, electrical, or radiation burn at an oil rig can have life-long consequences. Burn injuries can result in permanent scarring and long-term sequelae that affect both victims and their caregivers. The recovery and rehabilitation process is also long and expensive. What’s more, burn survivors and their loved ones often incur significant treatment and rehabilitation costs. In severe cases, there might be a loss of consortium and enjoyment of life. Furthermore, most victims can’t return to work or end up working for fewer hours. This results in a loss of income and earning capacity. With your future at stake, you need an experienced burn injury lawyer to pursue compensation for you.
Legal Rights of Burn Injury Victims
The federal and Texas law is there to protect the public. Oil rig workers who suffer burn injuries caused by defective products or negligence have a right to compensation for their losses. Although no compensatory amount can restore the quality of life you previously enjoyed, it can help minimize your pain and suffering. Some of the compensatory rights that victims may have include:
Burn victims often incur considerable medical expenses, especially if their injuries require surgeries. They have a right to recover current and future accidents attributable to an oil and gas industry accident.
Burn victims often spend considerable time in hospital and out of work. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you may need to stop working altogether. A Midland burn injury lawyer can help protect your right to wage compensation for present and future income losses.
Burn injuries are often debilitating, and you’re entitled to compensation for any pain and suffering you experience during and after the fire incident. Although you have legal rights as a burn injury victim, it’s best to know that a product liability or personal injury claim needs to get filed within the statute of limitations. In Texas, the statute of limitation for oil and gas industry accidents is two years from the date of the incident. Thus, it’s best to contact a burn injury lawyer as soon as you get injured.