PLANT EXPLOSION ACCIDENTS

PERSONAL INJURY

Houston Plant Explosion Lawyers

Sometimes, unexpected and tragic accidents occur in industrial plants. Due to the delicate nature of what they contain, whether it’s fertilizer, chemicals, or something else, explosions at or near an industrial plant are very serious occurrences. While these accidents are rare, they can be extremely deadly to not only the workers at the plant, but also the residents of the town or city. Historically, explosions of these nature have been devastating in that they often result in either catastrophic injury or even wrongful death.

At Reich & Binstock, we know that the injury wasn’t your fault. But your plant explosion lawyers can be. Victims of explosions caused by negligence deserve significant compensation for all past, present, and future damages they suffer. Family members should be able to collect wrongful death benefits for their lost loved ones. If you or a loved one suffered injuries or death from a plant explosion in Houston, call us at 713-622-7271 for a free case evaluation. We cover all upfront litigation costs, and we only accept payment if you receive a recovery for your claim.

  • Electric hazards
  • Natural disasters, such as earthquakes
  • Improperly maintained boilers
  • Lack of proper maintenance
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Use of contaminated chemicals
  • Unsafe conditions or procedures
  • Flammable materials
  • Equipment malfunctions
  • Corrosion of equipment or surfaces
  • Poor or improper labeling of substances
  • OSHA safety violations

Synthetic, or mineral, fertilizers are highly combustible. A common component in synthetic fertilizers is ammonium nitrate. While this compound is stable when left alone, it creates a deadly reaction if exposed to something like a spark. In order for ammonium nitrate to react violently, it must be exposed to high temperatures, sparks, or flames. If stored in large quantities, the explosions become even more deadly.

Due to ammonium nitrate’s high level of danger, it is subject to very strict regulation in most locations. In fact, the United States Department of Homeland Security put rules in place to limit the sale of the compound. To demonstrate the power and destructive capabilities of ammonium nitrate, we reference the 1947 explosion of the compound in Texas City, Texas. The blast from the 2,300 tons of ignited ammonium nitrate was felt 10 miles away in Galveston, and killed an estimated 581 people.

Plant explosions may result from a number of different people showing negligence. OSHA has strict guidelines for best practices, safe work environments, and responsibilities for employers and employees alike.

Who is liable?

  • Employers have a responsibility to create safe work environments, check the conditions of the workplace, maintain all tools and equipment, and train employees properly.
  • Facility maintenance crews must utilize their training and tools to the best of their abilities. Poorly-repaired equipment poses a risk if overlooked or improperly maintained.
  • Industrial workers are expected to have a deep understanding of any and all machinery they work with. Employees are responsible for exercising proper judgment and use of their training to perform their job duties.

What are common causes of explosions?

  • Electric hazards
  • Natural disasters, such as earthquakes
  • Improperly maintained boilers
  • Lack of proper maintenance
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Use of contaminated chemicals
  • Unsafe conditions or procedures
  • Flammable materials
  • Equipment malfunctions
  • Corrosion of equipment or surfaces
  • Poor or improper labeling of substances
  • OSHA safety violations

Explosions near power plants can result in catastrophic injuries, long-term health effects, and property damages. In order to prepare for the aftereffects of an explosion, we recommend following the below guidelines.

  • Know your designated evacuation routes and zones. Especially in the event of an explosion in or near a nuclear or chemical plant, this is extremely important. Power companies must publish evacuation information in telephone directories and online. 
  • If you have a disability or if you need special assistance, contact emergency or social services to ensure that you receive proper accommodations.
  • Keep spare batteries handy and charge up all electronic devices beforehand. Many residential areas near power plants have sirens that indicate evacuation. Review siren testing schedules to stay informed on which sirens indicate an emergency.
  • Depending on the severity of the incident, local or state officials will recommend one of three courses of action.
    • Continue your normal activities while monitoring the news until the emergency subsides.
    • Shelter in place while monitoring the news until the emergency subsides.
    • Evacuate immediately. Be sure to take all necessary items, including medicines, toiletries, and personal belongings to the evacuation area. Stick to your designated evacuation route.

The list of potential injuries in a chemical plant explosion is nearly endless. Sometimes, these explosions are fatal for plant workers. Others in a nearby vicinity could sustain very serious injuries. Below, we list some possible injuries resulting from a chemical plant explosion.

  • Broken or fractured bones
  • Lacerations or cuts
  • Internal bleeding
  • Respiratory problems
  • Head injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Burns
  • Long-term effects such as cancer or other illnesses

Due to the possible severity of injuries linked to an explosion, any and all victims may be entitled to compensation. Below, we outline the damages we will likely seek on your behalf in a plant explosion case.

  • Current and future lost wages
  • Current and future hospital bills
  • Any and all doctor fees
  • Current and future physical, occupational, or speech therapy
  • Home health care fees
  • Medical device costs
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Disability compensation

These damages intend to reward monetary compensation for those whose quality of life suffered as a result of their injuries. If you or someone you know suffered debilitating injuries due to negligence at a power plant, you need the experienced plant explosion lawyers at Reich & Binstock.

Absolutely. Many businesses have business income insurance, or business interruption insurance. This provides coverage for businesses that have expenses or a loss of income due to a suspension of business operations. This suspension could be the result of physical damage caused by the explosion.

While claims for lost revenue are hard to prove, our experienced attorneys know how to get compensation for you. The negligent actions of someone else shouldn’t make your business go under. Below, we detail how we will prove that your business lost revenue due to a plant explosion.

  • First, we must prove that your losses resulted from the actions of the other party. A proximate, or direct, cause must exist between the explosion and your loss of revenue.
  • Then, we must establish whether or not your loss of profits was foreseeable. Could the party responsible for the explosion have foreseen that their actions would cause you to lose revenue?
  • Finally, we will prove the damage within a reasonable certainty. This means that, without the plant’s explosion, you would not have lost revenue.

In the days or hours after your damages, you will likely receive a call from an insurance adjuster. Be sure to hire an experienced Houston plant explosion attorney as soon as possible. We will help you properly prepare for your first conversation with a claims adjuster. Here, we list our tips for that conversation.

  • Stay calm. Stay polite. It is best to remain cordial with them, as getting on their good side certainly won't hurt your case.
  • Get the adjuster’s contact information. Acquire their name, phone number, and insurance company name before saying anything.
  • Only give out necessary personal information. You are not required to discuss your schedule or income with an adjuster. Provide your name, address, and phone number, but no other irrelevant information.
  • Adjusters will try to take a statement from you about the incident. Do not give any details regarding the incident or your injuries from it. It is always important to have your facts together before relaying this information.
  • Refuse to settle right away. Companies look out for their own interests over yours in almost every case. That means you’ll likely receive a lowball offer. We will help you understand exactly how much your claim is worth, and how you can get that compensation.

Plant explosions are deadly, but not just for the workers at the plant. Nearby homes and residents could sustain injury or damage as well, and there could be a high number of victims. Negligence on the part of just one person could result in catastrophic damages. In these cases, class action lawsuits are a great option for the dozens or hundreds of lives affected. For the surrounding community of a plant, class action lawsuits send a powerful message to negligent parties. They also help to build an aggressive, strong case to recover as much as possible in damages.

Employers have a responsibility to create safe work environments, check the conditions of the workplace, maintain all tools and equipment, and train employees properly.

Facility maintenance crews must utilize their training and tools to the best of their abilities. Poorly-repaired equipment poses a risk if overlooked or improperly maintained.

Industrial workers are expected to have a deep understanding of any and all machinery they work with. Employees are responsible for exercising proper judgment and use of their training to perform their job duties.

We highly recommend speaking with an experienced plant explosion attorney before anything else.

Contact the Experienced Houston Plant Explosion Lawyers at Reich & Binstock

At Reich & Binstock, we know how high the stakes are. Our attorneys have handled catastrophic injury cases, as well as class action lawsuits in the past, so we know how to get the best compensation for you. If you suffered an injury as a result of negligence at an industrial plant, call our office today at 713-622-7271, or visit our website for a free case evaluation.

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