San Antonio Fracking Accident Lawyers
Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, is a controversial method used by many oil field companies in and around San Antonio. To extract oil and natural gas from the ground, oil field workers can drill and inject fluid into the ground at a high-pressure point. Due to the increased pressure levels, shale rocks containing oil and natural gas fracture, releasing crude oil or natural gas into oil wells. Although fracking is a common extraction method, it comes at a price. During shale rock fracturing, toxic chemicals leak out of the wells and into the environment. Thousands of employees, oil workers, and innocent property owners have sustained serious injuries, damages, and fatal losses due to irresponsible fracking practices. The Wyatt Law Firm represents oil workers who suffer injuries on the job. Our San Antonio fracking accident attorneys stand up to oil companies and have previously obtained:
- $6,100,000 for two plaintiffs injured in an oil-field blowout
- $3,900,000 for a plaintiff injured in an oil-field explosion
Our San Antonio personal injury lawyers handle all types of oil-field injury claims, including fracking accidents, so call to learn more about how we can help you today.
Jump To Fracking Lawyer Topics:
- Client Testimonial
- Common Injuries
- 3 Dangerous Chemicals
- Common Causes of Fracking Injuries
- What Evidence Do You Need To Collect
- Hiring A Lawyer
Have You Suffered Injury or Toxic Exposure Due to Fracking?
As a result of fracking, hundreds of chemicals, carcinogens (cancer-causing agents), and toxic gases seep into the surrounding environment, including formaldehyde, lead, mercury, methanol gas, radium, and uranium. The toxic chemicals released during hydraulic fracturing can leak into surrounding soil, gas wells, nearby groundwater, and public drinking water sources. Workers are not the only ones who might feel the effects of fracking operations, as anyone in the vicinity is at risk of exposure to harsh chemicals, injuries due to explosions, vehicle crashes, and many other dangerous accidents. Whether you are a fracking employee, contractor, or someone unrelated to the fracking operation, always learn about your legal options following a fracking accident and injury.
Life changers! Not only was Mrs. Wyatt the most professional woman I’ve ever met, but her staff and her passion to help, is nothing short of amazing! Mrs. Wyatt came to me in the hospital after my injury, was by my side, not only for justice, but to help me see my life through and become the man I thought I would never be after my accident. She truly does her job from the heart, with the sternest passion and dedication for her professionalism. She changed my life.
Jan 2022-John N.
There is a wide range of injuries and illnesses that stem from fracking work, and some common ailments associated with fracking include:
- Sensory impairment due to toxic exposure – Workers can experience difficulty with their vision, hearing, or other sensory abilities.
- Respiratory failure due to toxic exposure – Breathing problems, lung irritations, and long-term respiratory conditions are common among fracking workers.
- Neurological damage due to toxic exposure – Some fracking chemicals can cause brain damage, resulting in a wide range of cognitive and physical impairments that might be irreversible.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning – workers might have exposure to CO, which can result in long-term neurological, cardiac, and respiratory effects, as well as death in some cases.
- Burn injuries caused by oil rig explosions and fires— – a fire or explosion happens, workers can suffer severe and disfiguring burns, as well as health issues due to smoke inhalation.
- Crushing injuries – These injuries happen due to equipment accidents, vehicle accidents, explosions, and more. A crushed limb might lead to a severe condition called compartment syndrome, which might require surgeries or even amputation.
- Cancer – The chemical exposure possible during fracking can result in leukemia, lung cancer, and other life-threatening types of cancer.
No matter what the nature of your injuries might be from a fracking accident, you likely face significant losses. Your medical bills alone might be high, and you might not be able to work any longer due to your condition. We can investigate and learn who caused the fracking accident so that you can hold them responsible for your injuries and losses.
Fracking operations use many chemicals, and some companies use more than 600 at one site. These chemicals can cause harm to people even when exposure levels seem relatively low. Fracking chemicals can be similar to those in disinfectants, paint thinner, pesticides, and other known toxins. Fracking sites can expose oil workers to heavy metals, silica, nerve poisons, and carcinogens. These chemicals can cause several types of cancer, diseases like silicosis, and other life-threatening health conditions. Research also indicates that some common fracking chemicals can lead to hormone issues that cause infertility or birth defects, including low birth weight.
Fracking operations primarily use silica sand to create fractures in rocks and prevent the cracks from closing. If an operation fails to properly control the silica sand, which workers call “frac sand,” it can cause serious health problems when inhaled. Workers who inhale frac sand can develop silicosis, cancer, and other life-threatening conditions. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) determined that silica exposure is an official safety hazard for those working in fracking operations. NIOSH found that 92 of 116 samples of air from fracking sites spanning five states had more than the recommended levels for worker safety. Petroleum industry advocates successfully oppose decreasing the permissible silica levels in fracking. To make matters worse, NIOSH also found that face masks were not adequate to reduce silica exposure of workers below the permissible limit. When workers have insufficient safety equipment and exposure to unsafe levels of silica sand, they can develop silicosis. Silicosis is an interstitial lung disease that directly stems from the inhalation of silica. Silica in the lungs can result in pulmonary fibrosis, which is permanent lung scarring. This is from inflammation from the silica dust, and the inflammation can impede breathing ability. There is no cure, and the condition is progressive, often developing over one to three decades. Lung capacity and functioning reduce, and victims might need oxygen or other respiratory devices for breathing. People with silicosis can then develop other serious complications, including:
- Progressive massive fibrosis (PMF)
- Kidney disease
- Lung cancer
- Autoimmune disorders
- Chronic bronchitis
The American Lung Association deemed hydraulic fracking as one of the highest-risk occupations when it comes to silica exposure and associated health problems.
Hydrogen Sulfide Exposure
Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless gas that smells like rotten eggs and can be extremely dangerous, even deadly, if inhaled. Workers in oil and gas fields are particularly vulnerable. When companies improperly monitor hydrogen sulfide, or equipment or a process breaks down, death or serious injury is possible. Hydrogen sulfide exposure can result in respiratory irritations, eye irritations, convulsions, dizziness, weakness, headaches, mood issues, apnea, or even coma. Workers need immediate medical attention following signs of exposure. Fracking companies should always follow the NIOSH guidelines for the safe management of chemicals on fracking sites. When they fail to do so, or another type of accident occurs, the results can be severe or even fatal.
Benzene is an often colorless gas common in fracking operations. NIOSH states that benzene can lead to cancer or be toxic to the kidneys, liver, or nervous system. After a year or longer of benzene exposure, workers can suffer serious effects on their bone marrow and red blood cells, possibly causing anemia. Workers might experience excessive bleeding and might be more susceptible to infection. Benzene exposure can lead to fertility issues, leukemia and other cancer in blood-forming organs, and other health problems. There is no antidote to benzene poisoning, though anyone with signs of benzene exposure should seek professional medical attention. Signs include tremors, dizziness, confusion, rapid heart rate, fatigue, or loss of consciousness. The long-term effects of benzene exposure are unclear, and many fracking workers might face life-long health problems because of improper benzene control at a fracking site.
Your Rights After a Fracking Injury
Like any other type of accident and injury, the law provides the right to hold others accountable for your losses in certain situations. Workers’ compensation should cover some of your losses, but these claims often fall far short of full compensation for your long-term losses. In addition, some Texas employers choose not to carry workers’ compensation insurance, so injured workers must take other legal action. To financially recover in a personal injury claim, it is not enough to show you suffered injuries due to fracking. Instead, you must prove that another party was negligent and caused the fracking accident that led to your injuries. Unfortunately, injured oil field workers are often at a disadvantage when seeking compensation for negligence. While you might know that someone else’s mistake caused your injuries, providing adequate evidence of negligence is another story altogether. To make things more difficult, corporations facing injury lawsuits have deep pockets and do not hesitate to defend themselves aggressively. The Wyatt Law Firm is more than a match for the attorneys and insurance companies that corporations hire to help them avoid liability. We have won cases involving oil-field and industrial accidents and aggressively pursue justice and maximum compensation for our clients. Do not hesitate to contact us right away after a fracking accident and injury.
As discussed above, chemical exposure is a major cause of many fracking injuries. However, other types of accidents can happen as well that result from the negligence of another party.
Many fracking accidents involve transportation, as fracking truck drivers can suffer injuries in serious truck crashes. If another driver caused a truck accident, you can file a claim against that negligent driver. On the other hand, truck drivers for fracking operations can cause injuries to others in crashes, and other injured motorists or pedestrians can hold the truck driver accountable for their injuries. Some truck accidents happen because fracking companies require drivers to use unsafe roads for such heavy vehicles. If road hazards cause a crash and injuries, it might be the fault of the company that improperly used that road or the entity that failed to maintain the road.
Fracking companies have many contractors and subcontractors working on worksites, and these individuals can make harmful mistakes. If a contractor is negligent and causes a fracking accident and injuries, any injured victims can seek to hold them liable for their losses. This is true of anyone on the job site who is not a direct employee of your company.
Fracking involves dangerous tools and equipment, both large and small. From heavy machinery to safety equipment, everything must work properly to prevent fracking accidents and keep workers safe. Unfortunately, manufacturers can make mistakes, and defective equipment can make it to a fracking site. If equipment malfunctions—no matter what type—you can suffer injuries, and the manufacturer should be responsible. In this situation, you would need to file a product liability claim against a company that negligently produced the equipment or participated in the supply chain.
In some cases, a fracking company might knowingly and intentionally place fracking workers in harm’s way. Companies might know that chemical levels are too high and still send workers to work anyhow, knowing that exposure will happen. Fracking companies might also send workers to complete a job knowing they do not have adequate safety equipment for a risky job site. While these cases can be more challenging than negligence claims, they are not impossible, and companies must pay for the harm they caused.
Proving Negligence in Fracking Claims
To prove that your fracking injuries happened due to negligence, you must show that:
- Another party owed you a duty of care, such as the duty to produce safety equipment that is in proper working order for its purpose.
- The party breached the duty of care, such as by producing defective safety equipment that does not function properly.
- You suffered injuries because of the duty breach, such as by inhaling toxic chemicals due to defective safety masks.
- You incurred losses due to your injuries, which can include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
While you might intuitively know that someone else caused your fracking accident, this is not enough to prove a negligence claim. Instead, you need to provide reliable evidence to sufficiently prove each element of negligence above. Evidence in fracking cases can be complicated. It might include:
- Investigative reports
- Analysis by oil and gas industry experts
- Witness statements
- Employment records
- Maintenance records
- Video footage
- Chemical testing of fracking sites
First, you want to act quickly with the help of an experienced fracking accident attorney to ensure that companies do not destroy possible evidence. Your attorney can notify the company of possible legal action and instruct the company to preserve all records and other potential evidence. If the company still destroys important documents or information, it can face penalties down the road. Next, you want a law firm handling your case with a network of oil and gas experts who can weigh in on what caused the fracking accident. These experts can identify which—if any—negligent parties should share in the responsibility for injuries. Our fracking accident lawyers know how to investigate fracking accidents and pursue claims against all negligent parties on behalf of our clients. If you suffered injuries in a fracking accident, always:
- Get the medical diagnosis and treatment you need
- Follow your treatment plan as closely as possible.
- Do not talk to insurance companies without legal representation.
- Never accept a monetary offer from an insurance company or a private party without first having a lawyer review your situation.
Many people do not even realize they have options for compensation other than workers’ comp benefits. This is not easy to determine, and you need the right lawyers to make the correct call for you. We regularly identify when negligence caused a fracking accident to ensure our clients receive full compensation for their losses. Once you file a claim, you should not communicate with the insurance company on your own. These insurers will do almost anything to convince you to accept an inadequate settlement offer. If you accept an offer that won’t pay your bills, it is impossible to go back and request more funds, and you must pay for many of your losses. Our attorney knows how to stand up to the insurance companies and legal teams of fracking corporations, and we fight for the maximum financial recovery in every fracking and oil field injury case. The sooner you Contact our team at The Wyatt Law Firm at (210) 340-5550, the sooner we can protect your rights and interests.
Wyatt Law Firm, PLLC
21 Lynn Batts Lane, Suite 10
San Antonio, Texas 78218