Refinery Accident Attorney in Houston, TX

Fire caused by an accident at a refinery

Thousands of people in the Houston area make their living working at petrochemical refineries. While these jobs often pay well, they can be extremely dangerous. In one infamous example, 15 people died, and 180 were injured in an explosion at an oil refinery in Texas City in 2005.

If you have been injured on the job while working at an oil refinery or petrochemical refinery, you may be eligible for compensation. The attorneys at The Callahan Law Firm have the knowledge and resources to help you pursue your case.

Our Houston oil refinery and petrochemical refinery accident attorneys have more than 25 years of experience fighting for the rights of accident victims, including people who have been injured while working in the oil and gas industry. With our help, our clients have recovered millions of dollars to pay for their medical bills, lost income, and other expenses.

We welcome the chance to speak with you about your case. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Were You Injured in a Refinery Accident?

If you have been injured while working at an oil or petrochemical refinery in Houston, speaking to a refinery accident attorney right away is essential. You may have costly medical bills piling up, and you may be out of work for quite some time.

A personal injury lawsuit can help you recover the money you deserve in addition to any workers’ compensation benefits you may receive. Our experienced Houston refinery accident attorneys can determine which route is best given the circumstances of the accident.

Common Causes of Refinery Explosions

The possibility of an explosion is an ever-present threat at petrochemical refineries. Some of the common causes of oil refinery explosions include:

  • Inadequate training for workers
  • Lack of proper supervision of workers
  • Mishandling dangerous chemicals
  • Inadequate maintenance
  • Lack of appropriate safety equipment
  • Broken, worn, or defective machinery
  • Failure to follow safety policies and procedures

Types of Oil Refinery Accidents

Common accidents at refineries include:

  • Explosions and fires – Because it’s necessary to use high temperature and pressure to refine crude oil into various derivatives, refineries are even susceptible to fires and explosions. By their nature, oil refineries store a lot of combustible fuel in a small area. If oil, gas, or another fuel source ignites due to poor maintenance, failure to follow safety procedures, defective equipment including valves or electrical hazards, the resulting explosion or fire can quickly damage or destroy the rest of the facility and the surrounding areas.
  • Equipment malfunctions – Refining petrochemicals is an intensive process that requires equipment including tanks, vessels, piping, valves, pumps, compressors and more. If proper safety procedures are not followed, equipment is not adequately services or maintained, or equipment is defective, the consequences can be catastrophic.
  • Vehicle accidents – Tanker trucks, service trucks, forklifts, cranes and other heavy vehicles are necessary to do the required work at refineries as well as transport product. Drivers who aren’t paying proper attention risk striking nearby workers, equipment, or volatile objects.
  • Falls – Falls are one of the leading causes of injuries and fatalities in the workplace. Given the variety of equipment, tanks and vessels at a refinery, workers are frequently required to work at heights thereby exposing them to the risk of falls.
  • Chemical spills – Spilled chemicals are another hazard and can result in burns to the skin, respiratory injuries, and worse.

Common Oil Refinery Accident Injuries

Oil refinery accidents can leave workers with serious and permanent injuries, including:

  • Burns – Fires, explosions, and hazardous chemicals resulting in severe burns.
  • Chemical exposure – Whether by direct contact with the skin or inhalation, toxic chemicals cause permanent and fatal injuries.
  • Gas exposure – Refining crude oil produces toxic gases that pose an added danger to refinery workers.
  • Broken bones – Vehicle collisions, forklift, and other mobile equipment accidents, falls, and other workplace accidents can lead to broken bones.
  • Spinal cord injuries – A fall or other accident can damage a worker’s spinal cord, leading to partial or total paralysis.
  • Traumatic brain injuries – A fall, hard blow, explosion, or other trauma to the head can cause brain damage that is life-altering, debilitating, and permanent.

Compensation for an Oil Refinery Accident

The compensation you can recover after an oil refinery accident depends on many factors. Injured refinery workers will first look to the workers’ compensation system for benefits such as medical care and a portion of their lost wages. The truth is, the benefits provided under the workers’ comp system are all too often inadequate. That is why it is critical to consult with an experienced workplace accident attorney to evaluate all options including potential claims against other companies that caused or contributed to the incident, as well as whether a defective product may be involved. These are known as third-party claims and require the assistance of an attorney with the skill, experience and resources necessary to aggressively pursue the claim and win.

In addition to medical care expenses and loss of earnings, personal injury lawsuits allow you to claim and recover compensation for losses such as:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • The total value of your lost wages
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of consortium
  • Exemplary damages in cases where “gross negligence” can be proved

How Long Do I Have to File a Refinery Accident Claim?

To receive workers’ compensation benefits, it is critical to promptly notify your employer so that the incident and injury can be documented and reported to the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. For a third-party claim or a claim against an employer for gross negligence, in Texas, the statute of limitations is 2 years which requires filing of the lawsuit not later than 2 years from the date of the incident that caused the harm. There are exceptions to this rule, which is why it is critical to immediately contact a Texas workplace accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Contact Our Houston Refinery Explosion Lawyers

If you’ve been injured in an accident at an oil refinery in Houston, Pasadena, Deer Park, Baytown or any of the surrounding areas in Texas, The Callahan Law Firm is here to help. Contact us today for a free consultation with a Houston oil refinery accident attorney.

Workplace Injury

What Should I Do After a Workplace Accident?

To protect your interest and your legal rights, you should take the following steps after a workplace accident occurs:

  1. Seek medical attention immediately.
  2. Verbally notify your employer about the accident as soon as possible.
  3. As soon as possible and ithin 30 days, report the accident to your employer in writing and keep a copy of the notification for yourself.
  4. Contact an experienced workplace accident attorney to discuss your legal options, which may include bringing a personal injury action, a workers’ compensation claim, or both, depending on your situation.
  5. Keep track of your time off from work, medical bills, and healthcare records.
  6. Follow your physician’s treatment plan.

Types of Workplace Injury Cases Our Law Firm Handles

The trial lawyers at The Callahan Law Firm represent injured workers in a wide array of workplace accidents, including:

Do I Need a Workplace Injury Lawyer?

Pursuing worker’s comp benefits without legal assistance can be complex and challenging, particularly when recovering from a severe injury. Retaining the services of a skilled attorney can provide the help you need to ensure you receive maximum compensation under Texas labor law.

If your employer does not have workers’ compensation coverage, or when a third party is responsible for your accident and injuries, the assistance of an experienced workplace accident lawyer is essential. Your attorney will investigate the facts of the incident to determine what happened and why, work to preserve and gather critical evidence, hire the appropriate experts, and take the necessary legal steps including filing a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible parties.

What’s the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Workplace Injury Lawsuit?

The general rule, under Texas statutes, requires you to file a personal injury workplace accident lawsuit that is based on negligence within two years of the date of the incident. You may lose your right to pursue a claim if you miss the deadline. For this reason, it is important to consult with a workplace accident lawyer as soon as possible. You’ll discover the proper statute of limitations for filing your claim and which legal path will optimize your financial recovery.

Can I Claim Workers’ Comp Benefits If I Was in an Accident at Work?

If your employer has workers’ compensation insurance and you were injured on the job, then under Texas law you can make a workers’ compensation claim and are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

If your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance (is a non-subscriber) and you were injured on the job, your employer will only be required to pay for your medical care, lost wages and other damages, if you can prove that your employer’s negligence caused your injuries.

If the negligence of a third-party (someone other than your employer) caused your injuries, a claim can be made against that third-party for your damages including medical care expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, physical impairment, mental anguish and other damages.

Depending on the facts of what happened, you may have the right to compensation from multiple sources, including workers’ compensation benefits as well as a lawsuit against the company(ies) that caused or contributed to your injuries and damages.