Who Is Liable for a Plant Explosion?
The public cry in the aftermath of an industrial accident is for accountability of whoever was responsible for the disaster. Unfortunately, the legal aspects to this cry for justice can be complex considering the number of parties potentially liable in such a situation. Furthermore, the status of the injured party seeking to take action has bearing on the options available for such recourse. However, despite the obstacles present, redress is possible. Industrial injury attorneys are experienced in the area of toxic tort and plant explosions, allowing them to assist clients in holding defendants legally responsible and recovery compensation for the damage done by the accident
Is the Owner of the Plant Liable?
The first and most obvious entity suspected as liable in any in any plant explosion is the company that owns the industrial plant. Chemical production and manipulation is a growing industry and has been the subject of much scrutiny. Therefore, there are numerous rules and regulations of plant safety, maintenance, and operation. Failure to comply with these regulations can lead to devastating results.
Plants are covered by liability insurance in case of instances when injured victims seek financial recourse. This insurance covers the actions of negligent employees and third-parties who may contribute to an accident or explosion. Because the company is an owner of the premises of the plant, they are responsible for any injuries that take place on their property. Furthermore, the special character of the industry calls for extended liability in the case of mishaps that lead to injuries outside of the perimeter of the plant, such as an explosion resulting in property damage.
Is the Equipment Manufacturer Liable?
Another key factor in many plant explosions in equipment failure, malfunction, or defect. This opens up the subject of product liability in that the company responsible for the design and manufacturing of the equipment used on these plants is also responsible for any defects that may appear in their product. If any injuries are caused because of a defect in the design, production, or marketing, they can be held liable.
- Design Defects are those which are built into the initial plan of a product before it is actually made. These defects are such that they make the equipment inherently dangerous regardless of how carefully it is manufactured or operated. Because of the highly specialized tasks that plant equipment is used for, it is essential that it be as safe as possible. It is important to note that some equipment carry an inherent risk of danger in order to fulfill their purpose such as tower reactors, which must be heated to extremely high temperatures in order to effectively melt raw material so that It can be mixed. Design defects can be extremely dangerous because they render any product manufactured according to that plan inherently defective.
- Manufacturing Defects occur during the production phase and are often due to substandard workmanship or the use of poor quality materials. A manufacturing defect can cause heavy machinery to malfunction, distorting the entire chemical process, and possibly leading to a chemical leak or plant explosion. Equipment manufacturers are responsible for any mistakes or shortfalls made by employees during the manufacturing step that later result in injury or damage to consumers, such as the plant workers and even nearby residents.
- Marketing Defects are also referred to as “failure-to-warn” defects. These may contribute to an accident if workers operating the machinery are not properly instructed on safe use of the equipment. Manufacturers are required to provide instructions and warnings concerning the avoidance of possible danger when using their product. If they fail to do so, neither the industrial supervisors nor the plant workers have any way of knowing how to operate the equipment safely and properly.
Negligence & Plant Explosions
Parties liable for plant explosions can be compelled to repay any and all victims of their shortfalls. Even workers or families of deceased workers may be entitled to pursue full repayment of damages from the industrial plant or the manufacturing company of the defective equipment. Negligence can take place anywhere, from the design room at a product warehouse to the boiler room on a chemical plant. Therefore, legal action is possible and necessary for those affected by the wrongdoing and shortfalls of others.
Plant Explosion Class Action
When an unintended chemical reaction sets off an explosion, those present at the plant are not the only victims of the destruction. Explosions have massive force that can extend its destructive hand outside of the perimeter of the plant and reach the private homes and jobs of nearby residents. Of the most recent plant explosions to occur in the U.S., the majority of them have included a high number of victims—many of whom were enjoying the safety of their homes at the time of the blasts. One simple act of negligence on a plant can turn into a massive catastrophe.
When this happens, victims can join together to file a class action lawsuit against the plant operator for causing the damage to their property, homes, and lives.
The damage caused by an explosion is not merely confined to the initial fire. While the blast does produce flames that can cause serious burns and fire damage, the force of the blast has enough energy to cause severe injuries. These are known as primary injuries. Debris, environmental contamination, and air pollution are all products of an explosion that can continue the effects of the accident long after the initial blast.
Compiling Cases into One Class Action Lawsuit
In the event of a blast, homes, workplaces, and lives can be destroyed in one quick moment—changing the course of hundreds of unsuspecting victims in a matter of seconds. Class action lawsuits are filed by a large ground of people that share a legitimate claim against a common defendant. In the case of a plant explosion, victims of the accident can join together in filing one representational lawsuit engulfing the overall damage done by the accident and demand that compensation be provided to the community members for their injuries and losses.
Class action lawsuits are favorable to all parties involved in an unforeseen accident such as an explosion. Since there are potentially hundreds of victims effective, no class action lawsuit would mean potentially hundreds of individual claims. This would clog the system, resulting in delayed payouts and possibly reduced compensation. Furthermore, individual claims could possibly result in differing court rulings, some in favor of the plaintiffs and some in favor of the defendants.
Class action suits make a bold statement to the negligent parties who were involved in causing such destruction to the community. If there was a plant explosion that caused damage to the surrounding community, class action may be a viable option to recover compensation for the losses incurred. Through a class action lawsuit, those negatively impacted by a plant explosion can pool their resources and build a strong, aggressive case in order to recover damages and rebuild their lives as a community.
Why Families Turn to Arnold & Itkin After a Plant Explosion
If you or your family was injured in a plant explosion, you deserve to be compensated. A disaster like this can change one’s life dramatically. Victims often have to deal with costly and long-term medical care, loss of stable income, and lifelong pain and suffering. All of these things can and should be compensated. At Arnold & Itkin LLP, we understand how high the stakes are after a plant explosion. Our industrial injury attorneys have experience handling all types of catastrophic injury claims, mass torts, and class action lawsuits. In total, our attorneys have won billions of dollars for the injured and wronged nationwide. We’ve helped win verdicts and settlements for some of the largest industrial disasters in recent history, including the BP Texas City explosion in 2005, the Deepwater Horizon explosion in 2010, the Geismar Williams-Olefin explosion in 2013, and the Corrigan dust explosion in 2014. In each of these cases, we won seven- and eight-figure results for our clients and their families.
Contact a plant explosion lawyer from our firm to learn more about how we can help you!