Texas, particularly its Southeast region, is one of the busiest energy production areas in the country. The Lone Star State has vast petroleum reserves, and the Houston Ship Channel is one of the busiest ports in the country. These companies care a great deal about their bottom lines, but almost nothing about worker safety. To many chemical companies, workers are essentially cogs in a machine and worker safety is an unnecessary cost.
At Williams Hart, we care about our bottom line: taking care of our clients. We became attorneys to help people and stand up for their legal rights, not to make money. And we care a great deal about our clients. They are our partners as opposed to our customers. These two attitudes help us achieve results which often exceed our clients’ expectations.Plant Explosion Injuries
For much of the city’s history, various catastrophic plant explosions have dominated the headlines. These incidents usually cause severe third and fourth-degree burns. Burn injuries always require painful and expensive skin grafts, usually from a high-priced burn center. Even if this procedure is successful, these victims usually have lifelong disfiguring injuries.
Additionally, these explosions usually spread toxic fumes not only throughout the facility, but also throughout the surrounding neighborhood. Cancer, respiratory problems, and other illnesses due to smoke inhalation or microscopic toxins in the air usually do not become apparent for several years or even several decades.
Finally, serious chemical burns have very high infection rates. Sepsis, one of the most common burn injury infections, is also one of the most serious bacterial infections. Other possibilities include pneumonia and suppurative thrombophlebitis.
Infections are especially common in offshore and remote location plant explosions. The longer these victims go without medical treatment, the more likely an infection becomes. And, in this context, a few minutes could make a big difference, especially if the victim has a pre-existing condition.
Injuries like these demand a special kind of Houston chemical plant burn accident lawyer. In addition to a high degree of legal skill, your attorney needs a high degree of medical skill. If an attorney does not understand all the potential ramifications of a chemical plant injury, the victim might not have enough money to cover all future economic and non-economic losses.
Your Legal Options
These injuries usually result in staggering medical bills. Moreover, many of these victims are unable to work for several months, or even longer. Compensation is available for these economic losses. In some cases, additional compensation is available for non-economic losses, as well, such as pain and suffering.
- Workers’ Compensation: Many Texas chemical plants carry workers’ compensation insurance. If so, work injury victims have access to no-fault insurance benefits. However, insurance company interests dominate the workers’ compensation bureaucracy. Our attorneys typically must pursue workers’ compensation appeals in order to obtain fair compensation.
- Civil Action: Texas is one of the only states in the country where workers’ compensation insurance is optional. If the chemical plant company was not insured, injured victims may file claims in civil court. Since the company is legally prohibited from using some “silver bullet” defenses, these claims often settle quickly and on victim-friendly terms.
- Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act: Texas’ jurisdiction ends three miles out to sea. The LHWCA is basically a federal workers’ compensation plan which applies to offshore energy production facilities, like oil rigs. Depending on the facts of the case, the Jones Act or another federal law might also be available.
An attorney must be experienced enough to fully understand all these legal options. They each have unique pros and cons. And, they each have unique qualifications. Going down the wrong path could, at best, lead to a costly delay. At worst, the wrong legal remedy might cost the victim many thousands of dollars in lost compensation.
Legal experience and some medical expertise are not the only requirements. For example, as mentioned above, clients are like partners. Only by working together do we achieve the best possible results. So, it’s important that your lawyer be accessible. That means a convenient physical location as well as a firm size that’s not big and impersonal but also not too small to do the job.
Plant explosion injuries demand a special kind of legal representation. For a confidential consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Houston, contact Williams Hart. Our main office is conveniently located near the Hobby Airport.