Anyone who has suffered as a result of a pipeline explosion in Texas should be aware of the legal recourse available.
Unfortunately, not only do pipeline explosions happen, but they happen more often than you might think. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration states that in 2016 across the country, there were 37 serious pipeline incidents that led to 1,299 injuries and 310 fatalities. Texas saw two such incidents last year, causing four injuries and two deaths.
When these incidents occur, it is possible for the victims and their families to file a claim to recover damages. While that compensation may not undo what happened, it could be vital to starting the road to recovery.
Filing a personal injury claim
One of the most important aspects of filing a personal injury lawsuit in Texas is to know what the statute of limitations is, or the date by which the claim must be initiated. State law grants two years from the date of the incident to file the lawsuit. The same timeline applies to incidents in which the explosion caused a death, though there is a short list of exceptions.
Knowing who may bring the suit
People who survive a pipeline explosion may file the lawsuit. However, in cases in which the incident caused a fatality, there are only a handful of people who may bring the suit. According to the law, those people include the following:
- A surviving spouse
- Any surviving children
- The parents of the deceased
If, within three months of the death, none of these parties files the claim, it is possible for the executor of the estate of the decedent to bring the suit.
In any personal injury lawsuit, there are typically three types of damages that are available. The first, economic or compensatory damages, refer to money awarded in order to restore financial losses. These damages would account for expenses such as medical bills or funeral and burial costs. Economic damages may also be awarded to replace wages that were lost due to the victim being unable to work.
Noneconomic damages may be awarded to account for the emotional losses that a victim has experienced. In a wrongful death claim, these damages could be awarded to compensate for the mental and emotional anguish survivors have experienced.
Lastly, there are punitive or exemplary damages that could be awarded. These are reserved for instances in which there was gross negligence or a willful act that lead to the incident. They are intended to punish the defendant for what happened.
These cases may appear cut-and-dry, but they are typically more complicated than expected. People who have questions about this topic should speak with a personal injury attorney in Texas.