Toxic Chemicals And Oil Field Injuries

Although toxic chemical exposure does not always make the headlines like oil well fires do, workers injured by toxic substances often have valid Worker's Compensation claims because of the significant oil field injuries they endure.

In the Bakken region, workers face the potential for unsafe exposure to numerous toxic substances, including:

  • Hydrocarbons
  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Benzene
  • Silica
  • Asbestos

For example, Bakken oil contains a relatively high level of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas. It is a dangerous nerve toxin that can cause paralysis or even death when inhaled in high concentrations of 100 ppm or more. Although, H2S in lower concentrations smells like rotten eggs, it is often odorless in higher concentrations. This is due to the fact that higher H2S concentrations actually paralyze the olfactory nerves. Inhalation of this toxic gas often leads to respiratory problems, convulsions or shock.

Determining Who is at Fault

At many Bakken drilling sites, tank farms and rail yards, there are a number of companies potentially responsible for failing to protect workers from toxic substances like hydrogen sulfide gas.

Workers should keep in mind that employers are only responsible for injuries and fatalities under the state’s Worker's Compensation laws. However, third parties that engage in negligent conduct may be named as defendants in personal injury lawsuits.

Personal Injury Claims

When a company other than the worker’s employer is negligent, it may be required to pay monetary damages under the state’s personal injury statutes. In such cases, workers may receive compensation for certain medical expenses, pain, suffering and possible lost wages. In most instances, the parties agree to a settlement without going to trial.

If you or a family member is a victim of toxic chemical exposure, it is possible to consult with a workers comp attorney at no cost to you. At Odegaard Miller Law, we fight hard to get our clients the compensation they deserve under the law. To learn more about our legal services, please contact us.