Gas Well Fire in Doddridge County WV Legal Insight

On Sunday, July 7th, 2013,  Antero officials reported five workers were injured in a gas well pad explosion at about 4:00 a.m. at a Doddridge County, WV gas drilling site off Brushy Fork Road near New Milton, WV.  The five men were taken to the West Penn Burn Center and are being treated for various degrees of burns.  Regular operations have been shut down at the Antero Resources well site after the two explosions on Sunday morning.  Most of the injured are in severe critical condition and some have required surgery.

The men who suffered burn injuries were working for contracting companies — three men from Nabors Completion and Production Service, one from C and R Downhole Drilling LLC, and a worker who is employed by Willowbend Investments Incorporated.  The identities of the men and their conditions have not been released.  Antero operates 15 drilling sites in seven counties in West Virginia.  This is the second explosion at an Antero site within a year in West Virginia.  Two deaths resulted from this tragic incident.Gas Well Fire Doddridge County WV

Right now investigators believe a pump which the employees were working on may have ignited gas vapors which caused an explosion, causing two tanks to rupture and causing damage to other tanks.  The diesel engine pump, which had malfunctioned, was being used to push data logging equipment down into the horizontal wellbore, which had been drilled and hydraulically fractured, by pumping fluid behind it.  The well had been drilled recently, and the crew was in the final stages of completing the well.  Workers were inserting a narrow production tube into the metal casing around the drilled hole when methane gas somehow ignited.  Investigators have not ruled out the possibility that fumes that had volatilized and accumulated inside the tanks and exploded.

The fluid that was contained in two tanks next to the pump was “produced water” which is a fluid that comes back up from wells that may contain explosive volatile organic compounds.  DEP spokeswoman said Monday the blast ruptured two tanks containing flow backwater that Antero had been reusing, but the secondary containment system captured the fluid as designed and none left the site. There was no contamination to any nearby streams, she said, and the nearest home is about a half-mile away so it was unaffected.

Legal Insight You Need for Your Gas Well Injury Claim

West Virginia workers have had a long-standing tradition of persevering and working hard in spite of dangerous and exhausting conditions.  As the oil and gas drilling industry grows, an increasing number of workers are experiencing accidents resulting in serious permanent injuries and wrongful death.

In most cases, a worker who is injured on the job will be able to receive some benefits from a Worker’s Compensation claim.  In West Virginia, if an employer is found to have intentionally placed their employee in harm’s way, resulting in serious injury or death, that employee may qualify to file a claim against the employer’s insurance company.

Many injured workers think that their financial damages for medical bills and lost earnings are limited to West Virginia workers’ compensation benefits.

Workers’ compensation laws say that you cannot hold your employer accountable for damages above the amount of benefits paid by the workers’ comp insurance unless you can prove the employer acted with “deliberate intent,” as provided in W. Va. Code 23-4-2.

In many workplace injury and wrongful death cases, however, there may also be a third party who can be held liable for negligence. The third-party can include the manufacturer of a piece of defective industrial equipment, the property owner or a subcontractor working on the same job site.

If you or your loved one has been injured due to negligence or willful violation of safety regulations in the workplace, it is important to act quickly to protect your claim.  Mr. Robinette has handled hundreds of cases involving serious injury and wrongful death and can provide the insight you need right now.  Call Jeff Robinette today for a free evaluation of your case at 304-594-1800  visit our website for more information.

We are glad to provide free books and information for WV accident victims: Collision Care: West Virginia Auto Collision Guide, and Righting the Wrong, West Virginia Serious Injury Guide:  304-594-1800.

For More Information:  WBOY news, July 8th, 2013:

West Virginia State Journal, July 8th, 2013:

Wife of Gas Drilling Worker Sues for Wrongful Death

Fracking rigThe wife of a Weston man killed in fatal crash in Monongalia County is suing for wrongful death.  This woman’s husband was killed last July when he and a coworker were ejected from their vehicle.  Now his widow is suing her husband’s employer, Nabors Well Services for negligence and wrongful death.

She said Nabors knew her husband and coworker had worked more than 30 hours in a 48-hour span.  The wife of the deceased is also is suing the driver of the vehicle for negligence causing wrongful death.  The driver of the vehicle suffered minor injuries.  Federal laws regulate how many miles a truck driver can travel per day, per week and on consecutive days. All too often, however, truck drivers push these limits to increase profits or because they are pressured by their employers.

The Nabors companies own and operate approximately 521 land drilling and approximately 607 land workover and well-servicing rigs in North America.  Nabors Industries is an oilfield service company involved in every phase of oil and gas drilling and production.  Nabors advertises that they promote safety in the workplace and full compliance with the laws and regulations of the countries in which it operates.

Gas Well Drilling Operations are riddled with risks to Workers:

Oil and gas workers face many risks inherent to their job which may include: explosions, workplace injuries, truck accidents, serious and catastrophic injuries, exposure to hazardous chemicals, industrial accidents involving heavy tools and complex equipment, contaminated air and water, hazardous driving conditions, fires, burns, malfunctioning equipment, and safety violations. Driving to and from the drilling site has become a major risk factor: one-third of all serious accidents and fatalities linked to fracking occur from trucking accidents.

Giving the many dangers, some of which may be unmanageable by these companies, the greatest attention needs to be giving to ensuring that safety regulations are consistently followed to maximize safety for their employees.

Hazards of Drowsy Driving

Drowsy driving (driving 30 hours in 48 definitely qualifies) is a known hazard and is preventable.  We all know how dangerous driving under the influence or texting while driving is, but driving while drowsy can be equally dangerous. Sleepiness can cause slower reaction times, blurred vision, lapses in judgment, and delays in processing information.

No employee should be put in a position of driving with such sleep deprivation which causes his reaction ability to be about equal with a person who is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  Individual people are irreplaceable to their families and loved ones, but the rest of the family will need to attempt to build a new life without the love and financial support of this accident victim.  This wife was correct in filing a wrongful death suit.  Companies must be held accountable for maintaining as safe as possible work environments for their employees and should be heavily penalized when they don’t.

Submitted by the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, West Virginia Injury Lawyers. Free books for WV accident victims — Call us today: 304-594-1800 for your free copy of Righting the Wrong: WV Serious Injury Guide; Collision Care: WV Auto Injury Guide; or Beside Still Waters: WV Fatal Injury Guide for Families. We are glad to answer your questions.