Corpus Christi Pipeline Explosion Leads to Several Lawsuits
The families of three men who lost their lives and another man who was seriously injured filed lawsuits against Orion Marine Construction Inc. after a pipeline explosion at a construction site. The three wrongful death lawsuits are seeking $50 million each, while the injury lawsuit is seeking $10 million in damages.
A vessel named the Waymon L. Boyd struck a natural gas pipeline causing it to ignite and resulting in the explosion. The fire spread to a nearby grain elevator. The U.S. Coast Guard led a search for the missing. Two bodies were recovered, but their identities were not released. It is unclear whether either of the two recovered bodies belonged to any plaintiff in this lawsuit. Nineteen others were treated for injuries, some of them severe. Orion Marine Construction Inc. owns the Waymon L. Boyd.
Who is to Blame for This?
The NHTSA is currently conducting an investigation of the incident. Until then, no official reason or blame for the accident has been assigned. It is even unclear whether or not the three $50 million lawsuits and the one $10 million lawsuits are actionable. However, if it turns out that any employee of Orion was responsible for the mistake that led to the accident, then the whole company is liable.
If the company is liable, then it must be determined whether or not this is a workers’ compensation case or a personal injury case. Since the three men who were injured appear to have worked for Orion, one would think that makes this a workers’ compensation case. However, Texas doesn’t require employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Employers can choose to carry workers’ comp or not. If they don’t, then they are vulnerable to personal injury lawsuits which tend to cost far more money than workers’ compensation insurance.
The Most Likely Cause of the Accident
In this case, the most likely cause of the accident is operator error. The captain of the vessel probably didn’t realize there was a pipeline so close to the surface. They sailed their vessel in a place where the vessel shouldn’t have been, it struck the pipeline, and kaboom.
So, it’s probably true that when the NHTSA finally does determine the cause of the accident, at least some of the blame (and probably most or all of the blame) will be placed on Orion for the accident. Then it must be determined whether or not workers’ comp death benefits or a personal injury lawsuit are appropriate to this case.
The families of the deceased would be entitled to recover damages for the loss of their loved one, loss of companionship, loss of consortium, loss of moral guidance, and lost income all the way up to their retirement age. In other words, it could end up costing a lot of money.
Talk to a Houston Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you’ve sustained an injury due to another’s negligence, call the Houston personal injury attorneys at Livingston & Flowers today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about our services.