Fracking & Toxic Tort Claims in Houston, Texas
Has your family or business suffered injury or illness due to fracking? Land contamination cases are difficult to prove, but our experienced toxic tort lawyers can help injured Texans obtain justice.
While drilling for oil is lucrative for companies and a boon to the Texas economy, it comes at a high cost. Oil companies that put profits before people should be held accountable for injuries and damage resulting from their negligence, and that's exactly what our Houston toxic torts attorneys are passionate about.
"Fracking" is taking a huge toll on Texans. Personal injury attorney Neal Davis and Jed Silverman are determined to hold companies responsible for injuries and damages caused by unsafe drilling techniques. We represent families and businesses affected by fracking, and fight aggressively to secure the best possible outcome in each case. You don't have to pay us a penny unless we win - that's our No Fee Unless We Win Guarantee.
Oil companies are tough, but we're tougher.
Beat the odds in your fracking accident case by contacting our Houston toxic tort attorneys.
Contact us for a free consultation.
What is fracking?
Hydraulic fracturing, better known as "fracking," is a controversial process by which pressurized water, minerals and chemicals are used to fracture underground shale deposits to harvest the natural gas inside.
This technique can be done by drilling vertically or horizontally into a rock layer, thereby releasing gas by creating new wells or expanding existing channels.
Facing fracking and drilling companies on your own can seem a Herculean task. These companies have millions of dollars to spend on top tier legal teams that will dispute your claim and have endless resources at their disposal. Fortunately, we offer a way for you to seek justice and compensation in your fracking accident case and overcome the odds.
Facts About Fracking
Fracking is a controversial issue in Texas and nationwide. Supporters on both sides frequently dispute the facts about hydraulic fracturing and its effect on public health and the environment. Here are a few facts about fracking supported by government agencies and scientific studies:
- An estimated 25,000-30,000 new wells were drilled and hydraulically fractured annually in the United States between 2011 and 2014. Almost half of these wells were in Texas.
- An estimated 250 billion gallons of water were used for fracking wells from 2005-2013 - 44 percent of which came from already drought-stricken Texas reservoirs.
- Fracking wells in the U.S. produced an estimated 280 billion gallons of wastewater in 2012. 92.8 percent of this wastewater was produced in Texas.
- Up to 95 percent of new wells drilled today involve fracking.
- 10-20 percent of fracking fluid immediately returns to the surface as "flowback."
- The (PDF) Environment Protection Agency (EPA) found that a majority of hydraulic fracturing fluids generally contained most water (88% by mass), 10% quartz used as proppant, and less than 1% additive ingredients. 698 unique chemicals, some toxic, were reported by 428 operators across 20 states, including Texas.
Dangers of Fracking
The price of fracking is high, not only in Texas but nationwide. If not done properly, this controversial oil extraction technique can cause environmental, safety and health harm to businesses and families that may result in costly toxic tort litigation.
One of the biggest known dangers of fracking is contamination of land, including soil and water sources. In the process of fracking, the "toxic soup" of chemicals used to break apart shale rock can leach into underground aquifers, wells and other drinking sources, contaminating the water lines that flow into hundreds or thousands of local businesses and homes.
Drinking water contaminated by fracking wastewater can affect a person's normal respiratory, sensory and neurological processes as well as other biological functions.
In addition, fracking flowback fluids, also filled with toxic chemicals, can rise to the surface and create stagnant, poisonous ponds that pollute the environment and create a hazard for humans, wild animals and livestock.
New fracking disclosure laws passed in February 2012 now require Texas oil drillers to be more transparent about the chemicals they use in the process of fracking, yet a majority of the public continue to be blissfully unaware of the hundreds of chemical ingredients in fracking fluid, including known carcinogens and harmful toxins such as:
- Ethylene glycol
- Hydrochloric acid
These and other known toxic chemicals commonly found in fracking fluids and in the air around fracking sites have been known to cause numerous acute and chronic health conditions in humans such as cancer, digestive problems, nausea, partial paralysis, blindness, asthma, eye irritation, headaches, under development in children and learning disabilities.
Fracking in Texas
Texas is well-known for its high concentrations of natural resources, including natural gas, oil and shale deposits.
The Eagle Ford Shale in East Texas is one of the largest available sedimentary rock formation in the U.S. and one of the most productive regions in the country for oil and gas extraction companies.
The estimated oil reserves contained in the Eagle Ford Shale were set at 3 billion barrels, and the US Energy Information Administration estimates that the region holds 50.2 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas. The Eagle Ford region encompasses the majority of Dimmitt, Live Oak, McMullen, DeWitt, Zavala, Karnes, and LaSalle counties.
The oil and gas extraction industry is primarily regulated by the federal government; however, there are certain practices which fall under the jurisdiction of local city and state governments. Texas has enacted several laws regarding fracking in the state. Our toxic tort attorneys specialize in these and other laws that pertain to fracking in Texas, including:
- Fracking disclosure laws
- Contamination litigation
- Breaches of contract
Fracking Lawsuits: Damages & Compensation
A fracking lawsuit is a special type of personal injury case, known as a "toxic tort," in which the defendant, typically an oil or gas drilling company, is accused of negligent behavior that resulted in the physical or financial injury of the plaintiff, usually a person, community or business. In tort cases, the plaintiff must prove that negligent practices resulted in their exposure to harmful contaminants which caused them undue harm. If their claim is successful, the victim or victims can receive compensation for the following damages:
- Past and future medical care
- Any necessary rehabilitation
- Loss of past and future earnings
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Reduction of property value
- Loss of livestock, crops, etc.
In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded if it can be proven that the fracking company acted intentionally or engaged in gross negligence. Punitive damages are intended to punish the offending party, whereas other economic and non-economic damages are calculated based on the loss experienced by the plaintiff.
Workers Injured in Fracking Accidents
In addition to representing individuals and families affected by negligent fracking practices, Houston toxic tort attorneys Neal Davis and Jed Silverman fight for oil and gas industry workers injured in fracking accidents all over the state of Texas.
Fracking is a dangerous profession, and some of the most common drilling injuries include:
While most oil drillers are covered under their company's workers' compensation policy, insurance companies are known for leaving injured workers high and dry in order to pay people as little money as possible after an accident. In these scenarios, or in situations when a fracking accident was caused by a third-party, a personal injury claim can be filed to cover the true costs of the accident.
EPA Fracking Study
The EPA was recently tasked by the federal government to report on the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water and soil resources.
The agency released its final draft assessment for review and comment in June 2015. In the report, the EPA states:
From our assessment, we conclude there are above and below ground mechanisms by which hydraulic fracturing activities have the potential to impact drinking water resources. These mechanisms include water withdrawals in times of, or in areas with, low water availability; spills of hydraulic fracturing fluids and produced water; fracturing directly into underground drinking water resources; below ground migration of liquids and gases; and inadequate treatment and discharge of wastewater.
You can read the EPA's (PDF) full report online.
Get Help Standing Up to Fracking Companies
Houston toxic tort attorneys Neal Davis and Jed Silverman have nearly 40 years of combined legal experience and aren't afraid to stand up to oil and gas companies that make millions by fracking in Texas.
If you live near a fracking site and are experiencing health problems or property damage which you believe is significantly attributed to nearby drilling operations, we encourage you to give our Texas fracking accident attorneys a call today to discuss your case. With our free consultation and No Fee Unless We Win Guarantee, there's nothing to lose.