Workers expect a safe work environment when they clock in for work each morning. Most of the time, a worker can’t even anticipate being catastrophically injured or even dying because employers are supposed to keep us safe, right? Unfortunately for some, the harsh reality is that not all work places are created equal and many workers have to deal with devastating circumstances.
Earlier this year, a Jefferson County jury returned a $44 million verdict for a workplace accident at the ExxonMobil refinery that resulted in numerous injuries and even the death of an employee. Hector Barron, representing the estate of Miguel Barron, filed suit against ExxonMobil, B&G Crane Service, and AltairStrickland in the summer of 2016. Miguel died at the Beaumont refinery during turnaround operations when he and his brother Hector were working on an elevated platform when a pipe fell from above.
The trial began in August and ended in September with jurors awarding $44,370,000 in favor of Hector Barron and the family of Miguel Barron. Jurors found the negligence of ExxonMobil, B&G Crane and Altair Strickland had caused the incident to occur assigning the majority of the blame onto ExxonMobil and B&G Crane. They found that Miguel Barron had committed no negligence.
Causes of Oilfield Accidents
Oilfield accidents have many causes that include but are not limited to:
- Failing to comply with old and new safety standards
- Failing to properly post safety signage
- Failing to give proper training to employees
- Failing to protect visitors to the job site
- Delays or failure in replacing or maintaining faulty equipment
- Improper construction of equipment or safety items such as rails, steps, frames, etc.
- Cracks and fissures in storage units, pipes, lines, and other means of fluid transportation
- Improper storage of hazardous fluids
- Failing to provide adequate safety equipment such as fire suppression tools, goggles, helmets, and suits
- The failure of the TRC to cite violations
Oilfield Accident Attorney
Those injured during oilfield accidents must be compensated for their damages even if they go beyond traditional workers’ compensation. Workers with severe injuries may be able to file claims for healthcare bills, missed wages, pain and suffering, long term injuries, and more, especially if the accident can be traced to the employer’s negligence. Unfortunately, some employers, their legal teams, and their insurance providers, attempt to minimize a worker’s injuries, offer small settlements, or even deny claims and culpability.
Texas has the most oilfield accident fatalities in the U.S., and it is essential to hire an attorney who knows the applicable state and federal laws. If you or someone you know was injured in an oilfield accident, contact us to learn your rights when dealing with an oilfield employer.