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Property owners across Oklahoma continue to suffer serious destruction and financial loss from man-made earthquakes. If your home or property has sustained damage from earthquakes caused by wastewater injection deep into the Earth, you have rights, and we defend those rights. Contact us now to learn more about Oklahoma property owner rights and whether you may be entitled to significant compensation for the damages you have sustained.
Homes across the state are sinking, cracking, buckling, and splitting as the number of damaging quakes continues to increase. These homes have:
- Cracked and broken interior and exterior walls
- Cabinets that have separated from the walls
- Cracked drywall and buckled paneling
- Damaged doors, door casing, and window and door trim
- Damaged fascia, bricks and mortar joints
- Foundation movement and cracking
To make matters worse, only a small amount of property owners in Oklahoma are insured by policies that cover earthquake damage, and those that are may charge a deductible based on the value of the property or per seismic events.
If your home has been damaged by fracking earthquakes and their many aftershocks, contact us today to learn whether you are entitled to compensation for your losses.
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.
Energy Companies Hit with Lawsuits
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.
Property Owners Seek Compensation
Lawsuits are being filed on behalf of property owners against oil and gas companies over property damage caused by wastewater deep injection activities. The plaintiffs allege that they and their communities were not warned about the increased risks of earthquakes that is associated with the high-pressure injection of wastewater into wells deep in the earth.
Some plaintiffs allege that energy companies owe the public a duty of care but breached their duty by engaging in and continuing to engage in activities that are considered ultra-hazardous in that they pose a severe threat to the owners of homes, farms, and businesses and their employees.
Affected property owners are seeking justice by law and compensation for sinking, splitting, cracking, and buckling homes and businesses that have broken and cracked interior and exterior walls, damaged mortar, facia, and bricks, and cracked their foundation. These property owners are seeking justice and compensation for homes and commercial properties that are cracking, buckling, splitting and sinking, leaving owners with cracked and broken interior and exterior walls, damaged mortar, bricks, and fascia, and cracked foundations.
Property owners want to repair their homes and they want the companies that created the earthquakes to cover the out-of-pocket expenses they have been forced to pay, including insurance deductibles.
They want to know when the energy companies knew that high-pressure deep injection of wastewater could cause earthquakes, and why the energy companies never warned them about the damage. In 2013, the EPA published a report that lists pages upon pages of studies discussing earthquakes caused by fracking activities and some of those studies were decades old.
And while the latest reports say that the overall number of tremblors occurring in the state has fallen, the number of strong quakes, those registering at least 4.0 on the Richter Scale are increasing. By July 2018, the state has experienced six earthquakes with a magnitude of 4.0, which is more than the state experienced in all of last year.
In addition to the damages property owners are suffering, a recent study shows that induced-earthquakes are generating significant public anxiety. Researchers have already determined that a large earthquake can cause mental health repercussions, but when people are hit with continuing waves of tremblors and aftershocks they may feel even worse. Using Google data, study authors analyzed anxiety-related search episodes following large quakes in Oklahoma and found that in months with two or more magnitude 4 quakes, the number of search episodes focused on anxiety jumped by more than five times and continued for weeks after, peaking at about week 3 after large quakes. The authors suggest that the psychological response suffered by victims could have further implications for regulatory policy and for public health.
We Help Oklahoma Earthquake Victims
If your home or business is being destroyed by induced-earthquakes, you deserve justice and the compensation you need to repair or rebuild. We can help you get compensation for the damage your property has sustained, and we don’t let money stand between you and justice. You never have to worry about how you can afford to pay a lawyer to help you get the legal redress you need with us. When we accept a case, we use our resources to build your case, not yours. And we don’t get paid unless you win your case. Period. You’ve been through enough, let us help.
If your property has been damaged or destroyed by the high-pressure injection of fracking wastewater into wells deep into the earth, contact us now. You have rights, and we protect those rights. For decades we have fought for those who have suffered harm due to no fault of their own, and we will fight for you.
Contact us today to learn more about property owner rights and whether you are eligible to seek significant compensation for the damage your property has sustained.