Oklahoma Fracking Earthquake Lawsuit Information
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Within two months, Oklahoma was struck by two large-scale earthquakes. The first was a 5.8 magnitude temblor that struck just outside of Pawnee was felt in five states. The second, a 5.0 quake, struck just west of Cushing. These could be two of the largest man-made earthquakes in history. Visible damage from trembles that come daily now can be seen across the state, and they are taking a toll on its aging infrastructure.
But property owners may be paying the biggest price, as they face mounting repairs from thousands of repeated quakes. Though some would rather sell and leave, their homes are too damaged to put on the market. For those who want to stay, they have no idea how long their homes will remain safe. All of them wonder when the next big quake is going to bring down their home for good.
If you are a property owner who has been affected by fracking earthquakes in Oklahoma, this guide aims to help you explore the options that may be available to you.
Though for years Oklahoma policy makers were hesitant to link the increase in quakes to disposal wells, the correlation has finally been made, and Oklahoma Corporation Commission has ordered about 58 wells in areas of the greatest seismic activity to shut down. But is this really enough? Homeowners whose property has been damaged don’t think so.
Oklahoma’s jump to one of the most seismically active areas in the world came so quickly that only about 15 percent of Oklahoma homeowners carry earthquake insurance. For those that carry policies with the American Association of Insurance Services, United Fire and Casualty, and Aegis Security, your policies might exclude coverage for earthquakes caused by the fracking industry.
For policies that do cover man-made earthquakes, the deductibles may be based on the insured value of the home, rather than the fixed amount that most insurance companies charge. Some of these deductibles are applied to individual events, so homes suffering minor damage repeatedly may create a worse financial burden than a home being hit by one quake. To put this into context, understand that Oklahoma has been rocked by more than 6,000 earthquakes and over 1000 of these were over 3.0 on the Richter scale.
In 2011, a 5.0 magnitude earthquake struck outside of Prague and brought chimney bricks raining down on a homeowner’s legs. The Oklahoma Supreme Court determined in her case that oil and gas companies can be sued for injuries caused by fracking-induced earthquakes.
Now, homeowners are filing lawsuits seeking compensation from energy companies for home and property damage. Some homeowners are also seeking the help of the court to have the companies pay the insurance deductibles for any claims related to the quakes they’ve induced.
Property owners across the state are facing damage and stigma that has significantly lowered the value of the property, leaving them with dangerous houses that can’t be sold, effectively trapping victims of oil company greed. Home and property owners across the state are filing lawsuits against the energy companies seeking compensation for the damages that have occurred to their homes and property. Some homeowners are also seeking the help of the court to have the companies pay the insurance deductibles for any claims related to the quakes they’ve induced.
Recently, residents of Pawnee filed a lawsuit against 27 energy companies who continue to operator disposal walls even though they know high-pressure injection of the waste triggers earthquakes. Other residents are filing claims against the fracking companies alleging that the companies didn’t warn them that injecting drilling waste deep into the earth could cause earthquakes. These lawsuits also accuse the companies of breaching their duty to public care by continuing hazardous activity even though the dangers are known and being suffered by local business and homeowners.
Despite the damages that are being caused, state oil and gas producers have located two sites rich in oil and gas in the south-central part of the state and are “enthusiastic” about the new drilling opportunities they present.