PIPELINE EXPLOSIONS

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Houston Pipeline Explosion Attorneys

According to the Texas Pipeline Association, there are approximately 406,184 total intrastate pipeline miles in Texas. Energy pipelines generally include liquid petroleum (oil) pipelines and natural gas pipelines, but different products may be transported through some oil pipelines.

Pipeline work frequently involves clearing staging areas and storage yards, clear-cutting and excavating a trench and then assembling and maintaining the pipeline. Many workers can be injured in various kinds of accidents relating to pipeline work, and workers who suffer severe or catastrophic injuries may find themselves out of work for weeks, months, or (in serious cases) may never be able to return to the workforce in the capacity they were able to before.

If you suffered catastrophic injuries or your loved one was killed in a pipeline accident in the greater Houston area, it is imperative that you seek legal representation as soon as possible. Pipeline accident claims can be very complicated, and an experienced lawyer will be able to assist you every step of the way.

Williams Hart has been helping victims of pipeline injuries since 1983. We can discuss all of your legal options when you call (866) 471-2146 or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation.

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Why Do I Need a Pipeline Injuries Lawyer?

If you’ve been injured in a pipeline accident, you will likely be eligible to collect workers’ compensation benefits from your employer, regardless of whether the accident was your fault, the fault of another employee, equipment failure, or a third-party’s negligence. If you were hurt by a negligent contractor, property owner, defective equipment, or another party, you could also be eligible to seek damages through a third-party injury claim. 

After a severe injury accident, you’ll likely be contacted by insurance representatives from your company’s workers’ compensation carrier and potentially other parties. It’s important to remember that the insurance adjusters work for the insurance company, and their goal is to save the company money wherever and whenever possible. This means that they might use any statements you make about the accident and your injuries to minimize or deny your injury claim later on.

You will want to have an attorney handle all of your conversations with these insurance companies so you do not have to risk saying anything that damages your case. The lawyer can perform an independent investigation to determine if any other negligent parties could be held liable. Let your attorney handle the legal legwork of getting you the workers’ compensation benefits and other compensation you might be owed, and focus on what is most important: recovering from your injuries and getting back on your feet.

Why Choose Williams Hart?

The pipeline injury attorneys of Williams Hart are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Our experience and our track record of success is why so many people in Houston, across the state of Texas, and throughout the nation have turned to our firm for help. We have recovered billions of dollars for our clients, and we stand ready to fight for you.

John Eddie Williams, Jr. served on the Executive Committee for the American Association for Justice from 2008 until 2012 and has been on its Board of Governors since 2008. He is also a member of the State Bar of Texas, James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, and Houston Police Foundation.

Jim Hart is Board Certified in Labor & Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is a member of the Texas State Bar Association, Houston Bar Association, and the Texas Trial Lawyers Association.

Williams Hart will work to help you obtain a fair and full settlement, but we will not be afraid to file a lawsuit when it is necessary to get you the compensation you need and deserve. We do all of this on a contingency fee basis, which means that you pay nothing if you do not get a financial award.

Pipeline Injury Cases We Handle

People can be involved in any one of several kinds of pipeline accidents. Some of the most common kind of pipeline injuries stem from such accidents as:

  • Explosions
  • Fires
  • Defective equipment
  • Unsafe working conditions
  • Failure to maintain equipment
  • Scaffolding collapses
  • Soil collapses
  • Trench accidents
  • Improper welding
  • Chemical exposure

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) states that drug and alcohol testing regulations require operators and contractors of natural gas and other gas pipeline transportation, hazardous liquids pipeline transportation, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline facilities to have anti-drug and alcohol misuse prevention plans and programs applicable to persons performing functions covered by United States Department of Transportation (DOT) pipeline safety regulations.

Drug testing under Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 199, Subpart A, must be conducted before employment, after an accident, randomly, upon reasonable cause, upon the return to duty, and random follow-ups for an employee who fails or refuses a drug test. Alcohol testing must be conducted after an accident, upon reasonable suspicion, upon the return to duty, and random follow-ups for an employee who fails or refuses a required alcohol test.

Several different companies have filed pipeline projects with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC), including:

  • Anadarko Petroleum Corporation
  • Valero Terminaling and Distribution Company
  • Eagle Ford Midstream, LP
  • Sunoco Pipeline, LP
  • Lone Star NGL, LLC
  • BridgeTex Pipeline
  • Plains All American Pipeline, L.P.
  • Texas Express Pipeline, LLC
  • Chesapeake Midstream Partners, L.P
  • Keystone XL Pipeline
  • Texana Pipeline Company, LLC
  • Energy Transfer Partners, LP
  • Magellan Midstream Partners, LP
  • Regency Energy Partners, LP
  • Enterprise Products Partners, LP
  • Occidental Petroleum Corporation (Oxy)
  • Atmos Energy
  • TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, LP
  • DCP Midstream, LLC
  • NET Midstream
  • Enbridge Pipelines, LP
  • Kinder Morgan Tejas Pipeline, LLC
  • Gulf South Pipeline Company, LP

While many pipeline accidents result in workers’ compensation claims, workers’ compensation is not necessarily the sole means of recovery for a pipeline accident victim. In certain cases, it may be possible that the negligence of a third party caused or contributed to a person’s injuries and that negligent party could be held liable in a separate action that could allow a victim to obtain damages in addition to their workers’ compensation benefits.

Pipeline injuries can vary depending on the type of incident that a person was involved in. Some of the most common types of injuries people sustain include:

  • Burn injuries
  • Sprains
  • Lacerations
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Paralysis
  • Muscle strains
  • Internal organ injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Fractures

Certain USPS truck crashes can also cause fatal injuries. Wrongful death lawsuits may be filed by the families of the people killed in such cases.

What should I do after a pipeline accident?

After any pipeline accident, you must be sure to report the accident to your supervisor (or have someone immediately alert them) and seek medical treatment immediately. Another valuable step will be to take pictures at the scene of your accident, which allows you to preserve important evidence before it disappears. Try to take photos from several different angles and distances so you have a good variety of images. If co-workers witnessed the accident, ask them to provide a statement about what they saw. Don’t try to guess about the severity of your injuries, and do not discuss the accident with anyone until you have a lawyer. Be especially careful not to post anything about your accident on social media. Insurance companies frequently turn to these platforms to obtain damaging information they can use against victims.

What federal, state, or local agencies regulate the pipelines?

Gas transportation rates, pipeline capacity, pipeline siting and natural gas quality requirements are regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The PHMSA as well as state and local agents regulate the safe transportation of natural gas through pipelines. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations dictate workplace safety and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as state environmental protection agencies regulate environmental protections for the construction and operation of pipeline facilities.

What kinds of products are transported through energy pipelines?

PHMSA states that natural gas pipelines transport natural gas while liquid petroleum pipelines transport liquid petroleum and liquefied gases such as carbon dioxide. Liquid petroleum not only includes crude oil and refined products made from crude oil, but also gasoline, aviation gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuels, home heating oil, and kerosene. Butane, liquefied ethylene, propane, and certain petrochemical feedstocks can also be transported through oil pipelines.

Pipeline Injuries: How Often Do They Occur?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2003-2013 the U.S. oil and gas extraction industry experience unprecedented growth leading to a doubling of its workforce and an increase in the number of drilling rigs by 71%. The number of work-related fatalities in the oil and gas extraction industry increased by 27.6%, with a total of 1,189 deaths. 

Missing work due to a pipeline injury can have a devastating effect on the individual and their family members, all of whom count on these salaries for support. If you’ve been hurt and have been forced to miss work as a result of your injuries, be sure to contact an experienced pipeline attorney to discuss how they can help you get the compensation you are owed.

Contact a Pipeline Injury Attorney in Houston Today

Were you severely hurt or was your loved one killed in a pipeline accident in Houston or a surrounding area of Texas?  Williams Hart has a notable history of supporting workers in our Houston community, and we are ready to stand up for you. We fight for injured workers, never for businesses or their insurers. Our firm has the experience and resources needed to take on even the most prominent pipeline companies, and we won’t rest until you get the compensation you need to rebuild your life. Call (866) 471-2146 to set up a free consultation with our compassionate, knowledgeable team today.

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Have you or a loved one been injured in an accident?

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