Hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as fracking, has become a significant economic benefit for Western Pennsylvania as energy companies mine natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation, the enormous natural gas fracking site that spans large swaths of New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. But with tremendous financial benefits to the region comes significant risks, as fracking is known to pollute air and drinking water, cause explosions and fires, and lead to related motor vehicle accidents.
Fracking accidents most often fall under the umbrella of toxic torts, depending on the specifics of the case. If you face serious injury or other damages relating to hydraulic fracturing, a Western PA fracking accident lawyer could help you determine whether you have a cause of action. If so, an Indiana personal injury attorney could help you hold the negligent party accountable.
What are the Dangers of Fracking?
Fracking involves pumping pressurized water, chemicals, and minerals into underground shale deposits to create fissures deep below the surface that release natural gas. Some of the chemicals used include hydrochloric acid, methanol, and petroleum distillates, all potentially toxic to humans and animals if they seep into local drinking water or contaminate the air.
Since the work is grueling, involving heavy machinery and dangerous chemicals, workers’ compensation claims relating to fracking accidents are on the rise. Some of the most common injuries that fracking workers suffer in accidents on the job include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord and neck injuries, electrocution, amputations, vision loss, and death.
The contamination risk poses dangers to those who live nearby, as well. In the event of equipment failure, fires, or explosions at a fracking site, the chemicals used in fracking processes can cause nearby residents and the workers exposed on-site to experience long-lasting harm. Common injuries caused by exposure to tainted drinking water or contaminated air may include fetal harm, infertility, respiratory disease, neurological symptoms, cancer, and digestive problems. Individuals who suffer a physical injury resulting from tainted groundwater or airborne chemical exposure may benefit from contacting an attorney in Western PA with experience litigating fracking accident claims.
Proving a Toxic Tort Claim
An individual who suffers an injury due to contamination following a fracking accident in the area may file a toxic tort claim with the help of an attorney against the party at fault, including the organization that owns the fracking site and the company that manages operations at the site. In a toxic tort case, the injured party has the burden of proving that the defendant’s negligence exposed him or her to a toxic substance and caused an injury.
To succeed in a toxic tort claim, a plaintiff must establish causation by a preponderance of the evidence, including that:
- The level of the substance to which he or she were exposed would be sufficient to cause the injury he or she suffered; and
- This level of exposure caused his or her injury.
A plaintiff who is successful in his or her toxic tort claim may be eligible for compensation in connection with his or her past medical expenses, expected future medical costs, pain and suffering, loss of income, and loss of consortium. If the court finds that the fracking company engaged in gross negligence or acted intentionally when the accident occurred, the plaintiff may receive punitive damages, which are designed to punish the party that acted egregiously.
Reach Out to an Indiana Fracking Accident Attorney Today
If you suffer from injuries relating to a fracking accident, it may be beneficial to consult a local attorney who has experience representing people in fracking accident claims. As fracking has become extremely lucrative, these companies have seemingly endless resources to quash allegations against them.
Filing a claim against an oil and gas company may feel like an uphill battle, especially when your health may be in a precarious balance. A seasoned Western PA fracking accident lawyer could help you seek the compensation you deserve after you have suffered harm. Call the office of Marcus & Mack today.