Experienced, Successful Gas Explosion Lawyers: We Don’t Get Paid Until You Are Paid. Morgantown, WV Gas Drilling Injury and Wrongful Death Lawyers representing those injured and the families of those who have been killed in West Virginia as a result of explosions, mechanical failures, fire and burn injuries. Mr. Robinette has over 25 years of successfully representing the seriously injured and their families, member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
West Virginia Drilling Injury and Explosion Lawyer | Morgantown
If you or your loved one has been injured due to negligence or willful violation of safety regulations in the workplace, it is important to act quickly to protect your claim. Mr. Robinette has handled hundreds of cases involving serious injury and wrongful death and can provide the insight you need right now.
Call Jeff Robinette today for a free evaluation of your case at 304-594-1800.
West Virginia Oil and Gas Well Injury Lawyer | Explosion Injuries Attorney
West Virginia workers have a long-standing tradition of working hard in spite of dangerous and exhausting conditions. Just as our coal miners have always faced the potential of industrial tragedies, oil and gas drilling workers are also experiencing similar tragedies resulting in serious permanent and fatal injuries from gas explosions.
Unfortunately, natural gas companies may not always follow safety regulations perfectly in the construction and maintenance of pipelines. Even when they do, equipment malfunction and human error can lead to catastrophic injuries and in the worst case, a wrongful death.
Related Article: West Virginia Chemical Plant Explosion
Filing a Personal Injury Claim After an Explosion
Timeliness is essential in filing a personal injury lawsuit after an explosion. The Statute of Limitations in West Virginia only allows two years from the explosion to file suit, both for personal injury and wrongful death claims.
Types of Damages Which May Be Compensated After an Explosion in West Virginia
When carelessness or a lack of training leads to a preventable gas leak or explosion, those at fault must be held accountable and charged for damages.
Financial compensation may be available for:
- Current and future medical bills
- Lost Income
- Diminished earnings for the future
- A change in career made necessary by the explosion injuries
- Pain and Suffering
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement, permanent change in appearance.
- Mental and Emotional Anguish
- Punitive Damages if the employer willfully violated safety rules
- Funeral and burial costs
In most cases, a worker who is injured on the job will be able to receive some benefits from a Worker’s Compensation claim. In West Virginia, if an employer is found to have intentionally placed their employee in harm’s way, resulting in serious injury or death, that employee may qualify to file a claim against the employer’s insurance company.
If the cause of your injury was due to faulty equipment or a negligent contractor, you may be entitled to seek additional monetary compensation from that third party.
These cases are more complicated than they appear at first glance, and it takes a team of professionals to sort it all out.
Who May File a Lawsuit After a Pipeline Explosion, Injury, or Death?
If the injured worker survives the explosion, that worker may file a lawsuit. However, if the worker is incapacitated and someone has a power of attorney for that worker, that person may file a claim on his behalf.
If death is the result of the explosion, the surviving spouse, any surviving children, and the parents of the deceased may retain an attorney and file a lawsuit.
Work Injuries Common to the Oil and Gas Industry
Other common injuries include abdominal injuries, back injuries, blast injuries, bleeding and hemorrhaging, blunt force trauma, bone fractures, crush injuries, cuts and lacerations, facial injuries, hearing loss, limb amputation, organ damage, lung collapse or injury, puncture wounds, spinal cord injuries, wrongful death.
These injuries often cause pain, suffering, medical treatment, and the resulting bills, lost earnings, long-term financial losses, loss of companionship, and funeral expenses if the injury results in death.
Wrongful Death Caused By Pipeline Explosions
Burn injuries from explosions are some of the most painful injuries a person can ever experience, but often gas and pipeline explosions prove to be deadly. Proximity and blocked exits are most often the cause, injuries compounded and treatment delayed by nonexistent or ineffective evacuation plans.
Wrongful Death Claims After an Explosion in WV
When a family member, husband, father, or son is seriously injured or dies, the family suffers tremendous harm. In addition to the grief of losing a loved one, family members will be greatly affected financially, especially if the loved one who was killed was the family’s primary provider of income.
In such cases, the family may file a wrongful death claim against the company and/or the manufacturer to hold the at-fault party accountable for medical costs and losses, present and future.
An Overview of Explosion Injuries
It only takes a spark to set off an explosion which may cause tragic, life-altering injuries and death. In many cases, a negligent company or employee is directly or indirectly responsible for causing the conditions that led to the explosion. Operator error, safety hazards, negligence, or pure carelessness, and lack of supervision are often the cause of workplace explosions.
Explosions can be broken down into four categories:
- Electrical: a high energy arc which rapidly vaporizes insulation and metal.
- Chemical: caused by heat or shock which decomposes or rearranges with extreme rapidity, causing large volumes of extremely hot gas.
- Mechanical: occurs when pressurized heated gas produces the rupture of a vessel or container.
- Nuclear: an explosion due to the result of the rapid release of energy from a nuclear reaction.
A recent example of the danger associated with gas and oil drilling occurred in an August 17, 2012 accident when a newly developed gas well exploded in Harrison County, WV, sending three workers to the hospital with severe injuries.
Employer and Equipment Errors Which Can Lead to an Explosion
- Faulty or defective equipment such as a defective valve
- Ruptures caused by earthquakes
- Rust or corrosion which has damaged the pipeline
- Failure to report and repair known defects
- Violation of NIOSH safety regulations for the sake of ease, time, or money
- Overpressurization which can cause pipe ruptures.
Who Regulates Pipelines?
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), a division of the United States Department of Highways, is responsible for regulating and ensuring the safe and secure movement of hazardous materials to industry and consumers by all modes of transportation, including pipelines.
The Office of Pipeline Safety ensures safety in the design, construction, operation, maintenance, and spill response planning of America’s 2.6 million miles of natural gas and hazardous liquid transportation pipelines.
In a furtherance of their goals for pipeline safety, PHMSA recently granted 3.8 million dollars to 11 universities for pipeline safety technology research.
Pipeline explosions and disasters are beyond horrific, so pipeline safety is also a national priority. Over 90 million dollars has been allocated by the Federal Government to advance pipeline and hazardous materials safety across the nation.
Grantees will use awarded funds to train first responders; educate the public on local safety initiatives, including pipeline damage prevention; and develop community incident response plans.
“These grants will improve pipeline safety by training first responders in the latest techniques in dealing with emergency situations,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
The use of natural gas is on the rise, as a cleaner alternative to coal and a step along the way to cleaner energy overall. The Marcellus Shale and Utica Shale regions which make up the Shale Crescent (Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia) are rich with natural gas, so thousands of miles of pipelines will be constructed in the near future, so let’s all hope that all of the safety regulations are followed in the future for a brighter, cleaner tomorrow.
Call Jeff Robinette today for a free evaluation of your case at 304-594-1800 or after hours, 304-216-6695.
Robinette Legal Group PLLC 211 Everhart Dr, Ste 200 Morgantown, WV 26508 (304) 594-1800
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