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Burned employee sues for $10M in Jasper Co. oil rig explosion

A Southeast Texas man who says he was burned in an oil rig explosion in Jasper County last year is suing the rig’s owner for $10 million in damages related to the explosion.

While Brandon Fregia has been in treatment for “severe burns from the waist up” since the Aug. 9 blowout, explosion and subsequent fire and is suing to recover damages including medical expenses, lost wages and mental anguish, the lawsuit also puts the case in a broader context. It alleges the incident is another example showing why Texas leads the nation in “serious workplace injuries and deaths.”

According to the lawsuit, which was filed in Tyler County District Court late last month, while Fregia and a crew were doing maintenance on the well, a water tank was delivered and placed in a “dangerous area.” The lawsuit says the placement was too close to the pump the crew was working on and, as a result, violated industry standards.

“An unidentified witness said that natural gas fumes apparently got into the engine that turns the pump,” the lawsuit states. “Despite the workers’ efforts to shut down the engine and pump to prevent the uncontrolled release of natural gas, it ran away uncontrolled and then exploded.”

Fregia was flown to a hospital for his injuries. Beaumont Enterprise news partner KBMT-TV at the time reported two workers were flown to a hospital for treatment to their injuries. A third was taken to a hospital in Silsbee before being flown to another, and a fourth worker with injuries was not taken to the hospital.

Lamar Jeffcoat, who owns the well site between Buna and Kirbyville, could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

As a result of the explosion and belief that it could have been prevented, the lawsuit alleges Jeffcoat and other related agents, employees, servants and representatives were negligent, specifically for failing to inspect the work site, provide proper well supervision and conduct proper testing, among several other charges. The lawsuit also alleges Jeffcoat and others participated in negligent hiring and retention, negligent undertaking and premise liability.

It then elevates those allegations, claiming actions by Jeffcoat and others constitute gross negligence because of a “complete lack of concern for the health, safety and welfare of workers on this job site.”

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After an oilfield accident, it is important to work with an experienced legal team that can collect and preserve all necessary evidence for your case including physical evidence, accident reports, corporate documentation, witness statements, and expert opinions.  Our team will begin an immediate investigation to identify the cause of the accident and pursue claims against all liable parties.

An oilfield injury or death may be caused by:

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Oilfield Accidents and Injuries are on the Rise

Oil and gas industry injuries are the most dangerous and fatal in the country.  From 2003 to 2010, the U.S. oil and gas industry (both onshore and offshore combined) had a collective fatality rate that was 7 times higher than the rate for all U.S. workers combined. Louisiana had 5 catastrophic refinery and oil rig explosions between January and October 2017, more than any other state in the country.

What to do After an Oilfield Accident

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