Employee Files Lawsuit After Massive Explosion
A Houston employee was severely injured after an explosion that killed two other employees and damaged several nearby North Houston homes. According to the lawsuit, employee Sean Robert Rangel was driving to work when the explosion occurred. The blast was strong enough to propel his truck off the road. The lawsuit states that Rangel suffered permanent injury to his eye and was left traumatized by seeing a coworker die.
The Lawsuit is in the Early Stages
The incident occurred in January of this year, so the litigation is only in the early stages and the accident itself is still under investigation. Other companies than the one Rangel worked for may still be named in the lawsuit. The plaintiffs claim that several safety failures led to the explosion. The plaintiffs claim that negligence and gross negligence were to blame for the safety failures that led to the explosion.
The lawsuit makes specific allegations against the company. The plaintiffs argue that the explosion was the result of failing to properly maintain equipment and failed to train or employ qualified individuals.
I Can Sue My Employer?
In Texas, yes you can. Texas law holds that each employer is allowed to offer workers’ compensation insurance to their employees. However, not all employers purchase this protection. In cases where the employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance, the employee can file a lawsuit against the employer.
There are key differences between negligence lawsuits and workers’ compensation claims. Firstly, negligence lawsuits tend to pay much better. Workers are only entitled to recover a percentage of their wages plus medical expenses. A litigant can recover 100% of their lost wages, medical expenses, and more for pain and suffering or permanent injury.
If your employer does carry workers’ compensation insurance, then any employee injured on the job would be required to go through the employer’s workers’ compensation claims process. A completely separate area of the law deals with workers’ compensation claims and insurance issues.
The biggest difference between a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury lawsuit is that a plaintiff must prove that their employer was negligent, while workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” system.
The company could also be on the hook for repairing homes that were destroyed in the blast. The explosion caused multiple buildings to lose their windows, and doors were blown off their hinges. Authorities believe that the explosion was caused by propylene tanks leaking the highly-flammable gas into the air.
Explosions like these are common but preventable. In this case, a failure to notice that the valves on propylene tanks were leaking into the area likely caused the explosion.
Talk to a Houston Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve been injured at work, you may be able to file a lawsuit against your employer. Call the Houston personal injury attorneys at Livingston & Flowers today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.