Experienced, Successful Gas Explosion Lawyers: We Don’t Get Paid Until You Are Paid. Our Gas Drilling Injury and Wrongful Death Lawyers represent those injured and the families of those killed in West Virginia due to explosions, mechanical failures, and fire and burn injuries. Mr. Robinette has over 25 years of successfully representing the seriously injured and their families, a Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum member.
West Virginia Drilling Injury and Explosion Lawyer
If you or your loved one has been injured due to negligence or willful violation of safety regulations in the workplace, it is essential to act quickly to protect your claim. Our law firm has handled hundreds of cases involving severe injury and wrongful death and can provide the insight you need.
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 despite dangerous and exhausting conditions. Unfortunately, just as our coal miners have always faced the potential of industrial tragedies, and oil and gas drilling, workers are also experiencing similar disasters resulting in severe permanent and fatal injuries from gas explosions.
Unfortunately, natural gas companies may only sometimes follow safety regulations perfectly in constructing and maintaining pipelines. Even when they do, equipment malfunction and human error can lead to catastrophic injuries and, in the worst case, a wrongful death.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim After an Explosion in West Virginia
Timeliness is essential in filing a personal injury lawsuit after an explosion. Unfortunately, the Statute of Limitations in West Virginia only allows two years from the explosion to file suit 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 injured on the job can 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 severe injury or death, that employee may qualify to file a claim against the employer’s insurance company.
If the cause of your injury was faulty equipment or a negligent contractor, you might 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 power of attorney for that worker, that person may file a claim on his behalf.
If death results from the explosion, the surviving spouse, any surviving children, and the deceased’s parents may retain an attorney and file a lawsuit.
Work Injuries Common to the Oil and Gas Industry
Injuries common to the oil and gas industry include;
- severed fingers
- broken bones
- foot injuries
- toxic chemical exposure
- traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- wrongful death
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, and spinal cord injuries.
These injuries often cause pain, suffering, medical treatment, resulting bills, lost earnings, long-term financial losses, loss of companionship, and funeral expenses if the injury results in death.
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 generating the conditions that led to the explosion. Operator error, safety hazards, negligence, pure carelessness, and lack of supervision often cause workplace explosions.
Explosions can be broken down into four categories:
- Electrical: a high-energy arc that rapidly vaporizes insulation and metal.
- Chemical: caused by heat or shock, which decomposes or rearranges with extreme rapidity, causing large volumes of scorching gas.
- Mechanical: occurs when pressurized heated gas produces the rupture of a vessel or container.
- Nuclear: an explosion due to the rapid release of energy from a nuclear reaction.
Employer and Equipment Errors Which Can Lead to an Explosion
- Faulty or defective equipment, such as a bad 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 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.
Pipeline explosions and disasters are beyond horrific, so pipeline safety is also a national priority. The Federal Government has allocated over 90 million dollars to advance pipeline and hazardous materials safety nationwide.
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 emergencies,” 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 of the Shale Crescent (Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia) are rich in natural gas, so thousands of pipelines will be constructed soon. So let’s hope all safety regulations are followed 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