Houston Refinery Explosion Lawyers
Did you get hurt in a refinery explosion? Are you facing exorbitant medical expenses and lost wages, while you’re trying to heal? If so, contact Attorney Tom. We’ll assist you with your injury claim and ensure the responsible parties provide the compensation you deserve. You shouldn’t have to pay out of pocket for the harm you suffered while performing your job duties.
Workers in the industrial industry face hazardous conditions every day. A refinery explosion, however, is one of the most dangerous situations any worker can face, and it usually results in severe injuries and fatalities. There are regulations in place to prevent accidents, but anyone can get hurt due to human error.
Workers’ compensation claims, as well as third-party lawsuits, can provide compensation for an injured worker’s losses. At Attorney Tom, we’ll fight aggressively to recover the monetary award you need to help you move forward with your life. Call (713) 244-6363 to speak with one of our Houston refinery explosion lawyers today.
What Causes Refinery Explosions?
Negligence is one of the main causes of explosions at refinery plants. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides regulations to ensure employers and workers are safe on the job site. Unfortunately, many people don’t follow federal and state standards. When that happens, accidents occur. The most common causes of refinery explosions include:
- Improper labeling
- Flammable materials or chemicals
- Inadequate machinery maintenance
- Electrical hazards
- Malfunctioning or faulty equipment
- Unsafe working conditions
- Inexperienced or untrained workers
- Lack of safety measures
- Improperly storing toxic substances
- Using impure chemicals
Injuries are typically worse than other types of accidents at a refinery because there’s damage from the initial explosion and subsequent harm from flying debris or fires. Common injuries refinery workers sustain in an explosion include:
- Blunt force trauma
- Blast lung
- Crush injuries
- Loss of vision or hearing
- Broken bones
- Ruptured eardrum
- Traumatic brain injury
- Internal organ damage
- Illnesses from inhaling smoke and toxic chemicals
Benefits You’re Entitled to Through Workers’ Compensation
Texas laws don’t require businesses to provide workers’ compensation coverage to their employees. If your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance, you might be entitled to the following benefits.
Income benefits fall under four categories: temporary, impairment, supplemental, and lifetime.
Temporary income benefits pay 70% of the difference between your average weekly wages before and after the refinery accident. Coverage begins on the eighth day of your disability. You’ll stop receiving payments under one of the following circumstances:
- You return to work and earn your usual wages before the injury occurred;
- 104 weeks passed since the eighth day you had a disabling medical condition; or
- Your doctor places you at MMI (maximum medical improvement).
Impairment income benefits pay 70% of your average weekly wages before you suffered an injury. They will begin the day after your doctor places you at MMI, and your temporary income payments stop. The duration will depend on the impairment rating your doctor gives you.
An impairment rating indicates the degree that an injury or illness impacts someone’s normal functioning. It’s a percentage between 1% and 99%, with each point equal to three weeks. For example, if your impairment rating is 15%, you would continue to receive benefits for 45 weeks.
Supplemental income benefits are 80% of the difference between your pre and post-injury wages. You’ll receive coverage for a maximum of 401 weeks as long as you meet the following requirements:
- Your doctor gave you an impairment rating of 15% or higher.
- You signed up for vocational rehabilitation or actively looking for employment.
- You didn’t receive your payment as one lump sum.
- You still can’t work, or you’re earning at least 80% of your average weekly wages before the accident happened.
- You reapply for benefits every three months by submitting proof of eligibility.
Lifetime income benefits are 75% of your pre-injury average weekly wages. Only those with a severe injury qualify for coverage.
- Spinal cord damage that caused permanent paralysis of both legs, arms, or one of each;
- Total blindness;
- Inability to use both feet, hands, or one of each, or an amputation injury; or
- Third-degree burns that cover over 40% of the body and require a skin graft, cover most of both hands, or cover one hand and the face.
Additional Compensation Options
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration enforces regulations everyone in the refinery industry must follow. Violations of these standards could result in severe injuries and fatalities.
In addition to workers’ compensation, or if your employer doesn’t carry workers’ compensation insurance, you might be able to pursue legal action against the following parties for the injuries you sustained:
- Your employer (if they don’t offer workers’ compensation)
- Owner of the refinery
- A contractor that your employer hired to perform specific tasks
- The company responsible for the daily operations
- The manufacturer that provided defective equipment, machinery, or tools
- The subcontractor hired by the general contractor
Unlike workers’ compensation claims where you don’t have to prove fault, you must show negligence existed to file a civil lawsuit against one of the parties above. The legal theory of negligence refers to someone’s failure to provide another person with a reasonable duty of care to reduce the risk of harm. If your injuries resulted from someone’s negligent actions, you must show the following five elements existed:
- Duty: They owed you a duty of care;
- Breach of duty: They breached their duty;
- Cause in fact: If it weren’t for their action or inaction, you wouldn’t have gotten hurt;
- Proximate cause: Your injuries were a direct result of the at-fault party’s breach; and
- Damages: Your injuries caused you to incur damages.
The damages available in a third-party lawsuit after a refinery explosion include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Disability or disfigurement
- Mental and emotional trauma
- Death benefits
Schedule Your Free Consultation
If a refinery explosion caused your injuries or illness, contact Attorney Tom immediately. When you hire us, we’ll begin a thorough investigation into the accident and collect evidence that proves you deserve compensation for your damages. We’ll fight assertively to protect your rights and recover the maximum compensation you deserve.
Call us today at (713) 244-6363 to learn about your legal options. One of our Houston refinery explosion lawyers will be happy to meet with you for a free consultation.