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After suffering physical injuries or property damage in a chemical plant explosion, one of the best things you can do for your recovery is to contact an experienced attorney to help you seek the compensation you may be entitled to. Our lawyers at Zinda Law Group have dealt with plant explosion injury cases before and are ready to speak to you today to see how we may be able to help you fight your claim.
Common Causes of Plant Explosions
Unfortunately, plant refinery explosions are a relatively frequent occurrence. This is especially true when dealing with complex chemicals and their reactions. However, here are a few common causes of plant explosions that may result in injury:
- Poor maintenance of chemicals and/or the facility
- Inadequate training for employees
- Electric hazards
- Using impure or unsafe chemicals
- Smoking on the premises
- Improper labeling of chemicals
- Malfunctioning equipment
- Violating the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) regulations
Although an investigation may be able to trace an explosion back to its specific cause, there are often overarching health and safety issues at plants or refineries where explosions occur. Working with chemicals is inherently dangerous, but employers have a duty to provide a safe working environment by complying with OSHA regulations, training employees, regularly monitoring working conditions, inspecting equipment, and ensuring employees have the safety gear needed to safely do their jobs.
The Science Behind a Plant Explosion
Where chemicals are involved, accidents may happen. Understanding why plant explosions occur requires a basic level understanding of a few scientific principles. When a plant explosion occurs, it is the result of three elements coming together to create such a reaction. Plant explosions occur when gas reacts with heat in a short time frame. Often, it is the exposure to oxygen in the air that will “light the fuse,” so to speak, and spark an explosion.
Another way that plant explosions occur is through the evaporating vapors from boiling various liquid chemicals. If a liquid chemical is not properly stored, and the vapor gasses do not have room to expand, they can accumulate to the point that an explosion becomes inevitable. The main takeaway here is that one of the essential practices to keeping chemical plant explosions from happening is proper maintenance. Storing chemicals correctly and taking care to maintain stable temperatures and environments for the chemicals can help to avoid a lot of accidents.
Types of Injuries from a Plant Explosion
Just as there can be a large variation in the causes of a plant explosion, there can be many different types of injuries that occur as the result of a plant explosion too. Injuries can range from mild to severe, and sometimes, they can even prove to be fatal. Although injuries depend on the circumstances surrounding the plant explosion, some of the more common injuries include:
- Orthopedic injuries
- Acoustic trauma
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Broken limbs
- Damaged vertebrae
- Emotional trauma
Types of Property Damage
In addition to physical injury, property damage is something that goes hand-in-hand with a chemical explosion. There are generally three different types of property damage that may result from a chemical plant explosion:
- Direct: Direct damage is what you may picture when you think of a plant explosion. This may include the destruction of equipment, or even of the facility itself, as a result of the explosion. It’s the tangible wreckage from the explosion.
- Additional: Additional damage is anything or anyone else who was harmed or injured as either a direct or indirect consequence of a plant explosion.
- Environmental: Explosions can yield a lot of toxic substances and gases. These materials can leak out in the ground, water, to nearby wildlife, and neighboring properties and businesses. This is known as environmental damage.
Types of Lawsuits
Two types of lawsuits are the most common in the aftermath of a plant explosion: negligence and product liability.
A victim may bring a negligence claim for injuries that resulted from unreasonably dangerous behavior. Generally, employees at a plant or refinery have a duty to exercise reasonable care so as not to cause an explosion. If an employee or supervisor engaged in behavior that did not meet this standard of care, they may be liable for the injuries the accident caused. Employers are generally liable for accidents caused by their employees if the employee was working in the scope of their job at the time of the accident.
For example, if the plant explosion accident was caused by someone working within the plant’s failure to exercise reasonable caution, such as by improperly mixing two chemicals, then the victim might file a negligence lawsuit against the individual and/or their employer, seeking compensation for injuries or property damage.
A product liability claim is the result of defective manufacturing or production. Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers must ensure the products they are putting on the market are safe. The victim might file a product liability lawsuit if defective equipment caused the explosion. In a product liability lawsuit, the person or business that suffered property damage might be able to sue anyone in the product’s chain of distribution, including the manufacturer, the wholesaler, and the retailer. Once it has been proven that the product was defective and unreasonably dangerous, it will not be necessary to show any other type of fault on the part of the defendant to win.
Compensation in a Plant Explosion Lawsuit
Victims may generally recover two different types of damages: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages cover bills that are easily quantified, such as medical bills, lost wages, and other incidentals, like gas money for driving to and from doctor’s appointments.
Non-economic damages compensate for the intangible losses you incurred in the accident, so they are more difficult to quantify. These types of damages generally cover costs such as pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life. These are heavily dependent on the accident and your individual injury.
Important Legal Time Limits
A statute of limitations is a time limit on your ability to file a legal claim for compensation after suffering some type of injury or property damage. This time limit will be different depending on whether you are an adult, a minor, filing suit on behalf of a deceased loved one, the type of legal claim, and ultimately what state you live in. An experienced attorney may help make sure you know all relevant limits.
Failure to file your legal claim within the permissible time limit could result in the overall inability to file a claim for compensation at all. That means you may not be able to recover anything simply for waiting too long to make a claim. Time is of the essence. The sooner you can file your claim the better.
Zinda Law Group’s Plant Explosion Attorneys may Help
The legal process is complicated enough all on its own and requires a lot of time, patience, and willingness to understanding the complexities of the legal process. Trying to handle your own claim may only make matters worse. Even the smallest mistakes can ruin your chances of receiving compensation after your accident. You don’t want to miss out on the chance to secure financial compensation for your injuries due to a simple mistake.
Having an attorney on your side may help you seek the maximum compensation you may be entitled to. Our experienced plant accident attorneys know how to calculate how much your case is worth and negotiate effectively with insurance companies to seek what you deserve. If the insurance companies don’t want to offer an appropriate settlement, your attorney may be able to advise you on the process of going to trial.
Insurance companies do everything they can to make sure they pay you as little as possible. You can have an experienced attorney fight for you too. Our attorneys at Zinda Law Group believe that everyone should have access to quality legal representation. We offer free initial case consultations and additionally work on a contingency fee basis. That means that unless we win your case, you don’t owe us any money. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee. Call us today at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
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