Refinery Accident Lawyer in Houston
Our Houston Refinery Accident Law Firm Can Help You!
Refinery accidents are among the deadliest types of workplace accidents, and they are more common than you would expect. Refinery accident victims and their families experience serious challenges and suffer considerable losses related to medical expenses and missed time from work.
If you were hurt or lost a loved one in a Texas refinery accident, state law does provide you with legal remedies. Respected Houston refinery accident attorney Andrew Seerden has the experience and the resources to help with your claim, whether it involves pursuing workers’ compensation benefits or filing a personal injury lawsuit. A former insurance defense lawyer, Andrew Seerden is certified in personal injury trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, an honor that only 2 percent of lawyers in the state achieve.
Please contact The Seerden Law Firm, PLLC, to schedule a free consultation with our Houston refinery accident lawyer and learn about your right to financial compensation.
Why You Need an Attorney After a Refinery Accident in Houston
In short, you put your rights at risk if you do not have a legal background. An experienced, knowledgeable attorney can assist in seeking all available remedies available to you. This may include:
Filing a well-documented claim for workers’ compensation benefits: Unlike other U.S. states, Texas does not require employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer opts to procure coverage, you must file a claim for benefits with the Texas Department of Workers’ Compensation (DWC). Along with submitting the proper forms, a critical part of your claim packet is attaching key supporting documents. Errors and omissions could adversely affect your rights and delay your benefits.
Managing discussions with your employer’s insurance company: Once the DWC receives your claim, it sends the packet to your employer and workers’ compensation insurer. An insurer will carefully scrutinize the information and may dispute:
- Your status as a covered employee
- The nature of your refinery accident injuries
- Your ability to work
- Any other relevant facts that allow the insurance company to deny your claim
Insurers are businesses, so they do not have your best interests in mind. A knowledgeable refinery accidents attorney will prioritize your needs and take all necessary actions to pursue your claim.
Assessing other legal remedies under Texas law: For many workers injured in refinery accidents, the sole remedy is filing a claim with the DWC. However, there are some exceptions that would allow you to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking additional compensation. For example:
- Your employer opted out of workers’ compensation insurance.
- A third party’s acts caused the refinery accident.
- A defective product, tool, or equipment in the refinery environment contributed to the accident.
After a serious accident at a Houston refinery, do not hesitate to seek legal advice from a trusted lawyer. Schedule your free consultation today.
Compensation After a Refinery Accident
Though the specifics of your compensation will vary depending on the details of your case, you may be entitled to seek various types of benefits when filing a claim with the DWC. Examples include:
- Income benefits, for the time you are out of work
- The costs of medical care that is reasonably necessary to treat your refinery accident injuries
- Death benefits, if you are a qualifying family member of a victim who died in a refinery accident
- Expenses related to funeral and burial services for a deceased victim
There is additional compensation available if you are eligible to file a civil lawsuit for your refinery accident injuries. In doing so, you may be able to obtain non-economic damages that you cannot pursue through a workers’ comp claim, such as pain and suffering and emotional losses.
Common Causes of Refinery Accidents in Texas
Refinery equipment is highly technical and requires meticulous care and strict compliance with safety standards. When a refinery accident happens, the causes can usually be categorized into one of four classifications:
- Poor equipment maintenance, which can lead to corrosion, weak pipe integrity, and leaks
- Insufficient training of employees and independent contractors
- Poor quality chemicals in the complicated blend of substances used in refining oil and gas
- Failure to comply with federal and state safety regulations that apply to the refinery industry
When a refinery enterprise, contractor, or related party cuts corners in any of these areas, severe refinery accidents can occur. Explosions, leaks, and fires may cause a victim to suffer burns, respiratory issues, and other serious medical conditions.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Refinery Accident?
The list of parties that can be held legally accountable can be far more extensive than you expect. The first, most obvious organization would be your employer.
However, you may have a cause of action against any other party that is linked in some way to the refinery accident. A personal injury action is one based upon the negligent conduct of a third party, such as:
- The company that owns the refinery
- Any organization tasked with daily operations at the refinery
- A manufacturer of equipment, parts, or components, if the item contains a dangerous defect
- A contractor hired to perform designated tasks
- A subcontractor retained by the general contractor
- Many other potential parties
As you can see, an in-depth investigation will be necessary to determine the identity of companies that could be liable in a refinery accident. Refinery accident attorneys retain special investigators and many other experts when evaluating an injury claim.
How Long Do You Have to File a Refinery Accident Claim?
The time limitation on filing a claim depends upon which type of action you pursue to enforce your rights.
- You should initially preserve your claim, whether through workers’ compensation or a lawsuit, by notifying your employer of your refinery accident injuries within 30 days.
- If you intend to seek benefits under Texas workers’ comp laws, you have one year to file documents with the DWC.
- However, if your circumstances are such that a personal injury lawsuit is appropriate, you have two years to file a lawsuit in court.
You are forever barred from suing any responsible party if you let the statute of limitations expire.
Consult with a Skilled Texas Refinery Accident Lawyer About Your Claim
For more information on your rights and remedies after a refinery accident, please contact The Seerden Law Firm, PLLC, in Houston, TX. Refinery accidents attorney Andrew Seerden can meet with you personally in a no-cost case evaluation, where he can review your claim and determine an appropriate legal strategy.