Pipeline explosions can cause critical injuries or even the death of a loved one. If a preventable pipeline explosion has left you suffering from property damage or injuries, you need to consult with Houston oil and gas industry lawyers immediately.
At Haun Mena, we work with people who are severely hurt because of a pipeline explosion. From investigating the explosion to gathering evidence and fighting for full compensation, our Houston pipeline explosion lawyers are here to help.
How Do Pipeline Explosions Happen?
One of the leading causes of pipeline explosions are the age and deterioration of pipelines. It’s estimated that approximately half of America’s pipelines are over 50 years old, and many of these pipelines will require replacement or repair in the near future.
Frequently older pipelines are made from materials prone to failure and corrosion. When the pipeline’s general care or cleaning is ignored by those responsible for maintaining it, an explosion can happen.
The majority of pipeline explosions and incidents happen in Texas and Louisiana.
With no national set of safety standards placed on the nation’s pipeline networks, accidents and injuries can occur in many circumstances across the over 72,000 miles of crude oil pipelines running underneath the soil.
Pipeline explosions are typically caused by the following:
Failure to check for pipelines prior to an excavation project
Improper installation of pipelines
Old joints, meters, gas lines, mains, etc.
Defective safety equipment
Failure to respond to reports of a gas leak
Improperly trained excavators and pipeline workers can also cause explosions.
As soon as safety is neglected on a pipeline, there is a significant chance of a pipeline explosion. Pipelines used for moving volatile oil and pressurized gas already carry substantial safety risks. Failing to prioritize safety may endanger people who live near these pipeline locations.
Injuries From Pipeline Explosions
Many victims may sustain injuries from the initial blast of the explosion and the impacts generated by that explosion.
Any part of a person’s body that is filled with gas is at risk for severe injuries in a pipeline explosion. This includes the lungs, inner ears, and gastrointestinal tract. The most common types of injuries due to a pipeline explosion blast wave include eye rupture, a blasted lung, abdominal hemorrhaging, concussions, a ruptured eardrum, middle ear damage, or an abdominal perforation.
When a person is thrown to the ground or into other objects, this could lead to debris-related injuries like amputations, lacerations, broken bones, fractures, spinal cord injuries, brain and head injuries, and more.
Burn injuries are also a common outcome of many pipeline explosions because of the flammable and combustible materials transported through pipelines. A thorough evaluation by a medical professional is often required in order to determine a victim’s likelihood of recovery.
How Are These Accidents Prevented?
Both federal and state level restrictions in Texas have been put in place to prevent risks of pipeline explosions.
One recent law in Texas was passed that required natural gas pipeline operators to:
Disclose any gas leak incidents within one hour of identification to the Texas Railroad Commission
To put in new cast iron pipelines by the end of 2021
Replace a higher percentage of risky pipelines every single year
On July 1, 2020, federal PHMSA regulations now require the following:
Pipeline inspections in areas that are likely to be affected by natural disasters and extreme weather
Extended reporting requirements for certain rural gathering and liquid gravity lines
Extended use of leak detection systems to all non-gathering and regulated hazardous liquid pipelines
Assessments at least once a decade for onshore hazardous liquid pipeline segments
When pipelines are properly maintained and operated, they are much less likely to explode.
Even a short-term lapse in safety and operation standards, however, can trigger an explosion that hurts workers, their family members, and anyone in the vicinity of the pipeline at the time of the explosion.
Who is Responsible for a Pipeline Explosion?
More than one party may be legally responsible for pipeline explosions in Houston. This is why a thorough investigation by a lawyer is necessary.
Potentially liable individuals include:
The operator or owner of the pipeline
Construction companies in the vicinity of the pipeline
Third-party contractors responsible for managing certain portions of the pipeline Federal or state regulators who did not properly inspect the pipeline
Manufacturers of parts or companies who create the equipment made in pipeline construction
You may be entitled to compensation for pipeline explosion injuries, including pain and suffering, possible punitive damages, property damage, coverage of all pipeline medical expenses and medical bills, lost wages and benefits, and wrongful death if a loved one was claimed in these accidents.
Our Houston Oil and Gas Injury Lawyers Litigate Pipeline Explosions
When you suffer property damage or major injuries from a pipeline explosion, you need a skilled legal representative to evaluate your claim, communicate with the responsible party, and gather evidence that will help through settlement negotiations or trial.