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Oil and gas are some of Colorado’s most important job creators. In fact, Colorado employs tens of thousands of workers in this sector, which is among the highest number of any state in the nation. Not only does Colorado pump out some of the largest amounts of oil and gas in the country, but they are also one of the best at doing it—the oil and natural gas molecules produced in Colorado are some of the cleanest in the world, and Colorado’s regulatory framework is considered the gold standard. However, one unavoidable truth is that working with these materials is dangerous, and accidents can and do happen. One particularly dangerous potential accident is an oil or gas explosion, and if you have been involved in one, then speaking with a Colorado gas explosion attorney may be the best move you can make for you and your family.
OIL AND GAS WORKPLACE ACCIDENTS
While explosions are the worst-case scenario that often comes to mind when one thinks about accidents that can occur at an oil or gas extraction site, they are not the only potential source of injury. This field of work is inherently dangerous, and there are several ways that employees can sustain injuries.
1. Vehicle Accidents
The most common cause of fatality for oil and gas extraction workers actually does not occur at the jobsite. Wells are often located in remote areas and require a fleet of drivers to transport equipment and their product to where it needs to go. Workers also need to drive these long distances just to get to work. This being the case, vehicle collisions are the most common cause of death for oil and gas workers. Roughly four out of 10 fatalities that occur in the oil and gas field occur as the result of a highway vehicle accident.
2. Fires and Explosions
It is no secret that oil and gas are naturally very flammable materials. As a result, gas and oil extraction sites are dangerous places to work. Flammable gases and vapors can be released at many points along the process of extraction, including wells, trucks, production equipment, and surface equipment. The potential sources of ignition are also plentiful and varied, including hot surfaces, static, electrical energy sources, open flames, cigarettes, and frictional heat.
3. Exposure to Harmful Chemicals
Workers who work with dangerous chemicals in the course of their day might be exposed to the hazardous byproducts of oil and gas drilling. The degrees to which these risks are present depend on exactly what chemicals are being used and how they are handled, but workers can sometimes suffer from chemical burns or inhalation of fumes. All workplaces that work with such hazardous chemicals are required to properly train their employees and provide the proper protective equipment. Employees in these environments should follow all of the guidelines that they have been given.
OIL AND GAS EXPLOSION INJURIES
Oil and gas explosions are dangerous to those who are around them. However, all of the ways victims might be harmed by these explosions might not be obvious. Some of the more commonly suffered injuries from oil and gas explosions include:
Explosions have the potential a great amount of heat, and this leads to the potential for burn injuries. Burns can range from first-degree, which might be able to be treated by relatively minor at-home measures, to third-degree, which may require more serious treatment in the form of skin grafts or other medical procedures. The severity of burn injuries depends largely on the size of the explosion, as well as the victim’s proximity to it.
Aside from generating a lot of heat, oil and gas explosions also have the potential to release energy in the form of a blast wave. These blast waves can, depending on the size of the explosion, can cause serious head trauma to those who are nearby. These injuries can include concussions, inner ear injuries, and punctured retinas.
Puncture Wounds and Impact Injuries
Explosions have the potential to cause a lot of debris to fly in all directions from the blast zone at very high speeds. Depending on the type of debris and how fast it is traveling, this can further enhance the danger that the blast itself presents. Debris that is sharp or pointed can cause severe lacerations or puncture wounds. Heavier, blunt debris may cause damage such as broken bones or other more severe consequences, resulting in death in the worst-case scenario.
WHAT TO DO AFTER AN OIL OR GAS EXPLOSION
Suffering through an oil or gas explosion brings with it enough stress of its own in dealing with severe injuries. However, unfortunately, accident victims often have more to deal with. After sustaining injuries from an explosion, victims can find themselves at a loss of what to do in the face of mounting medical bills and being unable to work. While no two cases are ever the same, the following steps can help in the majority of cases.
1. Seek Medical Attention
First and foremost, you should prioritize your immediate medical needs. This can be important for a couple of different reasons. For one, certain injuries, such as head trauma that you may have suffered, might not be readily apparent. Going to a doctor right away can help to catch these injuries and prevent them from getting any worse. Recovering compensation for your injuries will depend upon your ability to link your injuries to the accident you were involved in. Seeking medical attention quickly may make this link appear stronger.
2. Report the Accident
When an explosion occurs while you are on the job, report the accident to your supervisor and follow all of the company guidelines that you have been advised of. Laws and regulations that are in place may prevent you from receiving certain types of compensation if you do not let your employer know that you have suffered an accident. Give the basic details of what happened and when it happened.
3. Document the Accident
At the outset of a situation where you may be aiming to receive compensation, it is difficult to predict what information may become important to your case. This is why it is much preferable to be overprepared than underprepared. After your accident, some documents to have ready are medical records, paychecks to verify amount of pay, and any evidence about the explosion, such as photos, videos, or witness contact information.
4. Contact a Colorado Gas Explosion Attorney
Unfortunately, recovering compensation for your injuries after a Colorado oil or gas explosion is not a straightforward process. However, hiring the right attorney may make your life a lot easier. An experienced attorney may be able to help you pursue maximum compensation for your injuries by understanding the true value of your case and crafting persuasive arguments to help you get it. Be sure to find an attorney who hasn’t overloaded themselves with clients to the point that they are unable to give your case the attention that it deserves.
HOW TO FILE AN OIL OR GAS EXPLOSION CLAIM
Depending on the situation that you find yourself in, filing a claim based on the injuries that you sustained may be the best, or even only, way to receive compensation for your injuries. Most cases will follow these general steps.
1. Contact a Colorado Gas Explosion Lawyer
The legal world can be tricky and difficult to navigate, especially for those who have never had to venture into it. Perhaps the best way to mitigate these difficulties is to hire an experienced Colorado gas explosion attorney. A good attorney may advocate on your behalf using their experience, as well as the resources that may be available to them through their firm. Look for an attorney who communicates effectively and will keep you updated and knowledgeable on all of the developments in your case.
2. Research and Investigate
Once you have hired your Colorado attorney, they may be able to get to work on doing all of the necessary research and investigation for your case. For a gas explosion, this can include looking into the history of your company and their internal regulations, researching the statutes and case law that applies to your case, and conducting interviews or depositions with any party that might have information about the accident.
3. Negotiate a Settlement
Most cases in personal injury law will end in a settlement agreement. Settlement agreements are often beneficial to both parties because they can save the time and money of having to go through a full-blown trial. When negotiating a settlement, your attorney may be able to argue on your behalf for maximum compensation by developing well-crafted arguments in favor of your claim that highlight the strengths of your position while minimizing any potential weaknesses.
CONTACT ZINDA LAW GROUP TODAY
Navigating the process after a gas or oil explosion is very stressful, but there is help available. The Colorado attorneys at the Zinda Law Group have the experiences necessary to help you with your case. We believe that accident victims shouldn’t be forced to worry about their ability to afford legal representation, which is why we offer a No Win, No Fee Guarantee—you don’t pay us anything unless we win your case for you.