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Texas Personal Injury News

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Texas Trucker Files Lawsuit in Refinery Accident

What are the grounds for a personal injury lawsuit in a refinery accident?

In Texas and Louisiana, refineries play an integral role in the Gulf Coast economy, and these outfits are often drive by profits at the expense of worker safety. Avoidable accidents often occur when hazards and safety issues are overlooked. This appears to be the case in a refinery explosion at a Shreveport-based refinery in April 2015.

A truck driver from Denison Texas has filed a lawsuit after being covered in molten asphalt in a refinery explosion at Calumet Specialty Products Partners. The trucker suffered third degree burns on 90 percent of his body in what doctors at Louisiana State University Health Services Center said were the worst injuries they had ever seen in a burn injury survivor. The injured man spent three months in intensive care at the hospital.

A Grisly Refinery Accident

In April 2015, the trucker was picking up a load of asphalt from Calumet for delivery to a buyer in Texas. The truck was overfilled with 350 degree liquid asphalt that a Calumet worker began to offload, even though the trucker was not trained in this procedure. Apparently, water in the hose was vaporized by the liquid hot asphalt which caused the explosion, throwing the trucker to the ground and covering him with burning asphalt. During the 3 months in ICU, the trucker had to undergo debridement treatments to remove the burned layers of skin.

A History of Calumet Refinery Accidents

In 1999, a similar asphalt explosion injured another trucker and the company testified during a trial that truck drivers were not allowed to assist in offloading liquid asphalt. Moreover, the Calumet refinery has a history of OSHA citations dating back to 2007 when the outfit was fined more than $120,000. Again in 2010, the refinery was hit with more than $170,000 penalties for violations of health and safety regulations. More recently, a Calumet worker dies from injuries in an accident at the refinery in May, the details of which have not been disclosed.

In connection with this accident, Calumet is reportedly coordinating with its insurance company to pay the trucker's medical expenses, however, his lawyers content he will need medical care for the rest of his life costing millions of dollars. Calumet also stated that it has implemented additional safety precautions at the refinery. While it remains to be seen if the trucker will prevail in his personal injury lawsuit, Calumet's history of violations and OSHA citations may support the refinery injury claim.


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