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Workplace Burn Injury Blamed On Chevron’s Negligence

On March 22nd, 2014, oil rig worker and Louisiana resident Kennedy Tasker was finishing up a job near the Gulf of Mexico. When instructed to cut a large, thought-to-be empty pipe, he hopped aboard a fixed platform and positioned himself for the job. Upon cutting the pipe, however, he was not only surprised by what was inside, but also badly burned by it. His boss (probably unaware of the fact) failed to tell him that the pipe was filled to the brim with raw oil. Once the cut was made, there was little haste expressed by Tasker’s coworkers which only made things worse. His body became drenched in the raw oil before he was struck by large compressor clamps and violently knocked to the ground. Unfortunately, the fall damaged his back, likely requiring expensive medical examination, treatment, and therapy. On top of that, the dormant oil left on his skin for such an extended period of time left him with numerous chemical burns on his skin and eyes. As you can imagine, Tasker had to take time off of work to recover from his injuries. Now, almost a year later on March 13, 2015, he has filed a lawsuit against the allegedly negligent company for which he works for—Chevron U.S.A. Inc, a very well-known American-based multinational energy corporation.

Continue to describe the accident in detail… ease into generalization.

The lawsuit is geared around premises liability, the area of personal injury law regarding the duty of care that a property owner or caretaker must express to any and all attendees. Tasker, with help from his personal injury attorneys, has declared how and why Chevron was negligent in their actions that day. With that information solidified, he brought the case forward to the Galveston Office in the Southern District Court of Texas. Chevron has been alleged negligent on multiple counts, including failing to:

  • Provide workers with sufficient safety equipment.
  • Maintain, inspect, and/or repair said safety equipment.
  • Ensure a secure work atmosphere.
  • Warn the worker(s) (in this case, Kennedy Tasker) of possible danger.
  • Appropriately instruct and manage its employees.
  • Offer ample medical treatment in the event of an injury.

With this many counts of alleged negligence, Chevron will really have to kick-start their defenses in order to have a chance in court. This seems to be a very one-sided (in favor of the plaintiff Tasker) personal injury case. However, after the lawsuit discovery stages, including investigation, witness interviews, and more, it could be determined that Chevron is in fact far less negligent than Tasker himself. As the suit has just been filed, it’s in its earliest stages and information on whether or not Chevron will choose to settle is unknown. If Chevron is considered to have expressed gross negligence—meaning that the amount of negligence they expressed was of great proportions—they could be hit with punitive damages. These damages (also known as exemplary damages) are intended to financially punish the civil wrongdoer (Chevron) and attempt to deter them and anyone else from committing negligent actions similar to the one at hand ever again.

Burn injuries due to someone’s negligence…

Tasker suffered real injuries, he struggled through real pain and suffering, and he’s now left with real emotional, physical, and mental discomfort and uneasiness. It’s for those reasons that he has a real chance to financially recover from Chevron. Depending on the severity of his injuries and how they have and will affect his past, current, and future life will be a factor in the verdict of this case. However, Chevron may see the lawsuit as frivolous and inconvenient and propose a settlement agreement to Tasker. If Tasker chooses to accept this settlement agreement, he will forfeit his right to continue the case in a court of law and receive a potentially higher-rewarding jury verdict. In the end, the decision is up to him, and only time will tell where this case ends up.

Aside from chemical burns as a result of prolonged exposure to raw oil, burns can occur almost anywhere and are often times completely unexpected. There are a countless number of different ways that someone’s negligence can lead to the burn injuries of another, but here are some notable ways it has happened in the past.

  • McDonald’s coffee machines allegedly produced unnecessarily (and unacceptably) hot coffee. Because of these blazing temperatures, a consumer, Stella Liebeck—who mistakenly spilled coffee on herself—received burns worse than what they should have been. She was initially awarded $640,000 through a jury verdict, but a confidential settlement agreement between the two parties left the plaintiff with an unknown amount.
  • A clothing company failed to conduct proper testing and ensure correct flammability levels for a skirt which was mass produced. The plaintiff was wearing the skirt when it rapidly and violently caught fire, leaving her with permanent scarring on and around her waist area. Her product liability case yielded a whopping $4,000,000.
  • A gas station worker overfilled a propane tank for a customer. Unaware of that fact, the customer brought the propane tank home for normal use during a cookout. Soon after, the fumes which were leaking out caught fire and left him with severe burns. He was awarded $970,000.


Accidents happen, but sometimes the circumstances of that accident are too detrimental for an innocent party to simply accept the outcome and continue daily life. What’s even more unfortunate is when an injured person has no choice but to take legal action; they’ve been left with such excruciating mental, physical, and emotional pain and suffering, rapidly growing medical bills, and other detriments that make it not only unfavorable, but literally impossible to live a normal life thereon out. That’s not right, and that’s why personal injury attorneys dedicate much of their time and resources helping those who are wrongfully injured due to someone else’s negligence.

Here at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA which was formed in 2009, our experienced group of attorneys strives to assist those who have suffered losses due to another party’s lack of care. If you or a loved one has been wrongfully burned and someone else is to blame for it, you may be eligible for significant financial compensation. If you’re interested in a free consultation and case evaluation, you can give us a call today at 727-451-6900.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765