November 1, 2019, is a day that families living near Yorktown and Nordheim in DeWitt County will probably remember for some time. It’s the day of the blowout of a natural gas well belonging to Devon Energy. The accident, which happened near FM 952 and Cotton Patch Road, didn’t injure anyone directly, but it did spew natural gas and carcinogens like benzene and xylene into the air. Rural families living nearby had to evacuate. 20 days later, most were able to return home, but not all of them.
In an article in the Houston Chronicle, a member of the organization Earthworks commented that “the rural poor continue to pay a heavy price for accidents in the oil fields.” The article also pointed out that there have been at least 9 blowouts in Texas between the months of January and July of 2019.
The oil and gas industry is highly regulated to protect the environment, the public’s health and safety, and its own workers. However, numerous accidents occur every year in the industry such as heavy equipment failures, fires and explosions, well blowouts, fracking accidents, and truck and vehicle accidents.
While many of the injuries happen to those who work in oil and gas and routinely deal with the risks involved, people who live nearby can also be impacted – as we’ve seen recently with the Devon Energy explosion.
But explosions aren’t the only risk to the community. The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) reports that in 2018, there were 198,645 traffic crashes in oil-producing areas like Eagle Ford. These account for half of all the Texas road deaths. 1,673 people died and 6,000 were seriously hurt.
In Eagle Ford alone, there were 21,443 crashes which resulted in 258 fatalities and 782 serious injuries.
"So many of these incidents are avoidable if these companies slowed down and took their time to follow safety rules already in place. It's when they start rushing and overworking employees that explosions and injuries start happening."
- Jason F. DeSouza, DeSouza Law, PC
People who live in South Texas shouldn’t have to “pay the price” for accidents connected to the oil and gas industry. If you were injured or lost a loved one at the hands of someone else, you can pursue compensation.
The 2 mistakes that many people make in these cases is that they 1) don’t contact a lawyer to help them, and 2) they negotiate on their own with the insurance company.
You may believe that you can’t afford to hire an attorney. But this is not true. You can work with an injury attorney to fight for the money you deserve – even if you have no money upfront for legal fees.
And while you can negotiate on your own with the insurance company, it could mean you walking away with much less money than you deserve for your accident.
Yes, oil and gas exploration companies can help to strengthen local economies by providing jobs and supporting local businesses. However, they should also be held accountable if they are liable for your accident.
If you have been injured in an accident involving a company truck or vehicle, injury attorney Jason DeSouza can help. And he charges no fees to you unless he wins your case.
DeSouza Law Firm is a leading personal injury firm representing accident victims throughout Texas.
If you’ve been injured by a car, truck, 18 wheeler, company vehicle, or in the oilfield, call DeSouza Injury Lawyers today at 361-799-2222.