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1 injured after series of explosions at inactive oil well

An oil field worker in Texas suffered reportedly severe neck and facial burns around noon on July 9 as he was apparently working to cap a decommissioned oil well. The blast near New Baden in Robertson County caused two storage tanks to ignite, sending large plumes of black smoke into the sky near Highway 79.

According to a county sheriff's investigator, the injured man was the only member of his crew on site at the time of the accident. Authorities were not yet certain of the worker's specific actions at the time of his injury. An investigator informed local news on the day of the accident that the victim's injuries were delaying investigators' opportunity to discuss the accident with him, but he was reportedly coherent and able to speak as he was airlifted for treatment in Houston.

The fire was determined to pose no further immediate threat, and crews intended to allow it to extinguish on its own. Information regarding the worker's employer was unavailable in the initial report.

A worker injured in an industrial accident while working alone could be at a disadvantage when filing a claim. A site where available surveillance footage is unlikely can further complicate matters. Some employers' insurance companies might attempt to use a lack of witnesses to build a scenario relieving the provider of its obligation to award a work comp sum befitting the worker's losses.

A court hearing can be necessary after some accidents to overcome an insurance company's attempts to minimize payment. In such circumstances, an attorney might seek coworkers for credible testimony of an employee's skills and prior work safety habits to argue that a worker is unlikely to have been negligent and should receive suitable compensation.

Source: KBTX.com, "Explosions at Abandoned Oil Well in Robertson County Injures At Least One", July 09, 2014

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