Production companies rely predominantly on rail shipping to transport crude
oil from the
Bakken oil fields to refiners. The toxic combination of lax regulatory oversight,
aging and poorly maintained tank cars, and a shipping system stressed
to its limits have created a dangerous situation for communities that
live along the rail shipping lines that form a virtual pipeline for Bakken crude.
Rail accidents involving Bakken crude have caused injuries and fatalities and, in at
least one incident, have resulted in the evacuation of a whole town. Multiple
different companies own the oil production, shipping equipment, and rail
facilities that produce the Bakken crude. This disparity creates a morass
of shields and defenses against aggrieved residents whose liveshave been
affected by oil spills from Bakken shipments. Bakken oil trains might
include one hundred tank cars, and they travel at speeds of up to thirty-five
miles per hour past many small towns and residential communities. If one
of those trains derailed and spilled even a small portion of its cargo,
the damages from that spill could run to millions, and even billions of dollars.
Which party is responsible for those damages? The producers make an initial
decision to ship their crude oil product by rail. The shipping companies
rely on an aging rail infrastructure that they may or may not control.
Corroded or dated tank cars are likely owned by one company and leased
to the parties that fill and transport them from the Bakken fields to
the refiners. If you live along a rail line and your business or livelihood
is affected by an oil spill from a Bakken oil shipment train, you may
need to file a lawsuit against every one of these parties to gain full
redress for your injuries. In any case, you can assume that any one of
these several parties will seek to absolve itself from any liability for
your damages, and will instead try to lay blame on some other party in
the chain. Your damages may be immediate, but the responsible parties
will keep you tied up in litigation for years before you see the first
dollar of any recovery.
Companies that engage in inherently dangerous or risky activities, which
can include crude oil production and shipment,can be deemed to be "strictly
liable" for damages and injuries that result from those activities.
The strict liability standard removes a sometimes complex negligence analysis
from the equation and provides an injured party a better opportunity to
recover damages from all parties that participated in causing the injuries.
Still, if you live near a rail shipment oil spill site, you need to know
who to sue and how to proceed to maximize your recovery in that lawsuit.
The attorneys at Odegaard Braukmann Law know the players at Bakken. We
represent workers who have been injured in accidents at Bakken and we
have the knowledge and experience to protect innocent residents whose
lives have been impacted by accidents and oil spills along the Bakken
rail shipping lines. If you have experienced damages or injuries from
rail shipments of Bakken oil or other crude oil shipment, please
contact us at your earliest convenience. We can quicklyassess your case and determine
how you can proceed to maximize your monetary recovery.