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Texas refinery worker sues ExxonMobil after flash fire

Working at an oil refinery can be extremely dangerous because of the risk of fires and explosions. This is why strict safety rules and regulations have been put into place by the federal government. However, accidents still can and do happen.

In August 2010, an electrician working for ExxonMobil at its Beaumont, Texas, refinery was severely burned in a flash fire that consumed the entire area in which he was working. The worker had to be immediately flown to a Texas hospital for treatment, and luckily, he survived.

Two months after the workplace accident, the injured worked filed a personal injury claim against ExxonMobil, alleging that the company negligently failed to provide a safe environment for its employees. Although the lawsuit does not describe how the fire started, it alleges that ExxonMobil is responsible for failing to inspect and maintain its premises.

The worker is asking for an undisclosed amount of damages for past and future mental anguish, pain, medical expenses and lost wages.

Earlier this week, the judge on the case ordered the parties to attend mediation in effort to settle the personal injury claim. A mediator was appointed, and the negotiations will take place in May.

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that has gained popularity over the past decade. The goal of mediation is for the parties to reach a settlement on their own, without having the case be decided by a judge or jury.

Mediation is praised for its ability to save money as well as its ability to give the parties more control over the process and outcome of the case. Of course, mediation doesn't work in every case. Sometimes, an impasse is reached and the case must go back to the judge.

Source: Southeast Texas Record, "ExxonMobil ordered into mediation with flash-burned plaintiff," David Yates, April 12, 2012

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