In 2014, a jury in Texas awarded a family a million dollar judgment for the contamination on their family ranch due to fracking. Fracking, short for fracturing, is a process of extracting oil or gas from the ground by injecting high-pressure liquid into subterranean rock to force the release of the oil or gas. The fracking process uses up to six hundred chemicals, many of which are known carcinogens. In the United States fracking has been on the increase. The family awarded damages lived within two miles of about twenty wells from one company. Since much of the fracking fluid is left in the ground, the fluid can leak and contaminate nearby land, waters, and air. The fluid began to contaminate the family ranch causing numerous health problems for the family and their animals. The family suffered from chronic issues like nosebleeds, headaches, and dizziness. The animals experienced birth-related complications.
Those living around such conditions should seek legal advice. The legal basis for recent successful lawsuits has been under the theory of nuisance. This will be a private nuisance claim, when the use and enjoyment of one’s property is interfered with in a substantial and unreasonable manner. This can be with a physical object or with an activity. With fracking there may be both as the noise from fracking was definitely noted and the contamination from the chemicals physically invaded the property of the landowners. The remedy will be an injunction, or the company will have to revise their processes. This may include pollution control to stop the contamination and the company may have to shorten their working hours to reduce the noise.
There have also been suits where workers have alleged health issues related to the process. They have been exposed to the chemicals with very little protection as workplaces have maintained that no such connection exists between the fracking and any experienced health problems.
Employees experiencing health issues should visit a doctor immediately to document any health issues. As with many torts of this nature, it may take months or years before an injured person can make the connection between their injuries and the cause. Once the connection is made, the advice of a personal injury attorney should be sought immediately. The worker will need to seek workers’ compensation benefits.
This article is for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Do not rely on the above information as all cases are different and different laws apply to different cases. Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance.