Liability in Chemical Plant Explosion Cases: Nationwide Representation Matters
Explosions in chemical plants often have very serious consequences for the people affected. Due to the nature of these explosions, death and serious injuries are very likely to occur. As a result, workers and others who are in close proximity to chemical plants may have legal rights when they are injured in an explosion.
Having a plant explosion lawyer on your side is the key to maximizing your recovery. You should not be responsible for a chemical explosion that was not your fault. Your attorney will investigate the accident and hold the proper parties fully accountable for their actions.
Causes of Chemical Plant Explosions
Chemical accidents occur quite often. According to statistics, the United States Environmental Protection Agency has responded to an average of 235 chemical incidents each year for the past decade. While not every incident leads to an explosion, the escape of potentially hazardous chemicals increases the odds of a catastrophic event.
There are many potential causes for a chemical plant explosion. Following an explosion, a team of investigators and agencies will conduct a thorough investigation into the blast in order to determine how it occurred. Some of the most frequent causes of explosions are:
- Improperly stored materials
- Faulty systems or engineering
- Defective or outdated equipment and machinery
- Human error
- Insufficient training
- Failure to follow safety protocols and regulations
The sad truth is that most explosions are preventable. Whether attributed to human or mechanical error, if basic safety standards had been met, the explosion likely would not have occurred.
Liability for Chemical Plant Explosions
Determining liability in a chemical plant explosion is not a simple process. Most chemical explosions are the result of complex technical or scientific processes. The cause of these explosions is simply beyond the scope of knowledge for most people who do not work in the field.
As a result, experts must often be associated when it comes to investigating a chemical explosion. Following an expert investigation and summary, an experienced chemical plant explosion attorney will assess the situation and determine which entities or individuals should be held responsible. The following is a list of potentially liable parties in a chemical explosion:
- Plant workers
- Factory owners
- Engineers and architects
- Government agencies
- Site supervisors
Ensuring that the appropriate parties are held accountable is key to recovering full compensation in a chemical explosion.
Chemical Plant Explosion Effects
The effects of a chemical plant explosion are often serious and long-lasting. They may even be permanent in some cases. Some of the impacts of an explosion are:
- Physical Injuries: Chemical explosion victims are highly likely to suffer serious physical injuries, including chemical burns, internal injuries, lung damage, disfigurement, and scarring.
- Emotional Trauma: In addition to physical injuries, victims may experience physical trauma including post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, withdrawal, and suicidal thoughts or ideations. The emotional scars from a chemical explosion can prevent workers from returning to their previous jobs and may result in an inability to enjoy daily activities.
- Environmental Damage: The release of harmful chemicals from a chemical plant explosion can cause serious environmental damage. Chemicals may intrude into the soil and groundwater, making it unsafe for residents to live and work in their local communities. Forced evacuations can lead to long-term or even permanent displacement for individuals and local businesses.
- Property Damage: A chemical explosion can also result in property damage. The building in which the explosion occurred is at the greatest risk as a result of being closest to the blast. However, nearby structures, including other buildings and residences can suffer serious structural damage due to an explosion.
Once the cause of the blast has been established, victims must show that they have suffered damages as a result. There are several types of compensation that are typically available to victims of chemical plant explosions, including recovery of medical and prescription bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages or loss of income.
Chemical explosion accidents often lead to long-term medical care. When victims file a legal claim, they must also be aware of the potential cost of this care and take that into account when negotiating a potential settlement of their case.
Proving lost wages and loss of income can be done through direct evidence. The victim will need to gather documents such as paystubs, W-2s, 1099 forms, and tax returns. If they are unable to work following an explosion, the numbers on these documents will help to illustrate what they could have earned had they been able to work.
Steps to Take Following a Chemical Explosion
The aftermath of a chemical explosion can be devastating. Following a blast, there are a few things that victims should always do in order to protect themselves.
First, if you were hurt in the blast, you should obviously seek medical treatment right away. This includes following all orders from your treating physician and attending any follow-up appointments. Doing this ensures that you receive appropriate treatment and that your injuries do not linger or become worse due to medical neglect.
Second, you should not speak with any involved insurance company. Anyone injured can expect that they will receive a call from an adjuster shortly after an explosion. The insurance adjuster may ask for a recorded statement. They may also request access to previous medical records in an effort to say that the injuries sustained in the explosion were actually pre-existing in nature.
Insurance companies use many tactics to deny or delay a claim. Understanding these tactics and when they are being used is important to ensure that you do not fall victim to them. Remember that the adjuster is a trained and savvy negotiator. They are looking for any facts that might save their company money rather than fairly negotiating your case. Many victims mistakenly assume that the adjuster is acting in their best interest. Don’t make that mistake!
Third, you should reach out to an experienced national chemical plant explosion lawyer. Having a nationally focused attorney means that you will always have available representation.
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