Pipefitters: Injured on the Job? Our Houston Work Accident Lawyers Can Help

Oct 20, 2020 | Construction Accidents, Work Accidents

In Houston, pipefitters are an integral part of residential and commercial construction projects. These highly specialized workers assemble, install, and maintain the pipe systems in steam, lubricating, heating, cooling, and processing systems. So, in addition to the normal safety hazards at many busy construction sites, pipefitters risk burns and other injuries related to the nature of their work.

As outlined below, when pipefitters get hurt, they are entitled to substantial benefits. However, the insurance company does not simply give these benefits away, mostly because the workers’ compensation fund is seriously undercapitalized.To get a fair-sized piece of a shrinking financial pie, job injury victims need a dedicated Houston work accident lawyer who properly evaluates your case, knows how to navigate the complicated workers’ compensation bureaucracy, and is an effective negotiator. That’s the kind of representation we offer at Williams Hart & Boundas. We are dedicated to the simple proposition that injury victims deserve fair compensation for their injuries. 

Common Pipefitter Injuries
All residential and commercial construction workers risk various injuries which are usually related to heavy machinery. Some construction workers, such as electricians, risk injury from specific sources, like a malfunctioning wire. That’s because, by the time these workers arrive onsite, most of the heavy work is complete. 

Pipefitters are in a unique risk category. They do detailed work, like electricians, while the project is still well underway. Some possible injuries include:

  • Hazardous Substances: Many pipes carry dangerous or flammable chemicals. A slight leak means the worker is exposed to hazardous fumes. Moreover, the tiniest mishap could cause a sudden explosion.
  • Equipment Dangers: To prepare pipes, pipefitters must grind, thread, braze, bend, and solder them. These activities are quite risky, mostly due to flying debris and sparks. Then, to install the infrastructure, pipefitters must use dangerous tools, like saws and torches. 
  • Heavy Loads: Pipefitters usually carry equipment and pipes from a work area to an installation area. Over time, carrying heavy loads places extra stress on the musculoskeletal system.

These injuries, along with falls and other construction site injuries, often mean tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills and months of recovery. These financial costs could cripple many Houston families.

Workers’ Compensation
Financial relief is available in the form of workers’ compensation benefits. Most employers have these insurance policies. These policies offer no-fault benefits which cover:

  • Medical Bills: Workers’ compensation insurance companies usually pay medical bills directly, and victims are not responsible for any unpaid charges. If the insurance company drags its feet during the settlement process, as is normally the case, most medical providers agree to defer billing until the case is resolved. Either way, workers’ compensation typically means no worries, at least in terms of medical expenses.
  • Lost Wages: Many Houston families have little or no savings. So, any period of time without a paycheck could be financially devastating. Workers’ compensation normally pays two-thirds of the victim’s average weekly wage for the duration of a temporary disability. Workers’ compensation normally pays a lump sum if the victim is permanently disabled.

This compensation is available, but obtaining it is a different matter. Insurance company interests largely control the workers’ compensation process. Only the best Houston workers’ compensation lawyers know how to successfully navigate this system.

Civil Damage Claims
Some employers do not have workers’ compensation insurance, either because they chose not to buy it or fraudulently obtained it. Additionally, some employers knowingly send workers into dangerous situations. For example, supervisors might order pipefitters to begin work even though they knew there were safety issues with the primary construction.

In these situations, job injury victims may file claims in civil court. If these victims establish negligence, which is a lack of care, they are entitled to additional noneconomic damages for things like pain and suffering.

Frequently, dangerous products cause injuries. Some products are defective, such as a power saw with a loose safety guard. Other products are inherently dangerous, such as natural gas. In these situations, the product makers are strictly liable for injuries. Victims need only establish cause.

Additional punitive damages are often available in dangerous product claims. Frequently, the manufacturer ignored, or even concealed, a known risk.

Injured pipefitters are entitled to substantial benefits. For a confidential consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Houston, contact Williams Hart & Boundas today. We routinely handle matters in Harris County and nearby jurisdictions.

Disclaimer: This material is provided for informational purposes only. The provision of this material does not create an attorney-client relationship between the firm and the reader and does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and the contents of this newsletter are not a substitute for legal counsel. Do not take action in reliance on the contents of this material without seeking the advice of counsel.

The information contained in this blog may or may not reflect the most current legal developments. Accordingly, information in this blog is not promised or guaranteed to be correct or complete, and should not be relied upon as such. Readers should conduct their own appropriate legal research.


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