Houston Plant Explosion Lawyers
Helping Victims of Catastrophic Plant, Refinery & Factory Explosions.
Plant and refinery explosions are catastrophic—devastating to both industrial workers and residents who have to deal with the fallout. Unfortunately, these tragedies seem to be happening in Texas with even more frequency.
What makes this even worse is the fact that explosions are often caused by factors that could have been prevented had proper care and precautions been taken. They are, all too often, caused by owners and managers who fail to take the necessary steps to protect their workers, forcing workers to utilize outdated equipment, failing to take recommended safety measures, and cutting corners to prioritize profit over safety.
At Arnold & Itkin LLP, we have seen it happen again and again.
Throughout the years, we've stood side-by-side with the survivors of plant and refinery explosions, as well as family members left behind. The one thing we have seen is how frequently the explosions could have been avoided, as well as how often the companies fail to help their employees. We hear it every time. Loyal employees believe that the company will help them out—that the company will have their back and be there to support them during the recovery process. This almost never happens. Instead, the company immediately goes into cover-up mode. They immediately look for ways to protect their own interests—limiting the recovery of the victims to focus on themselves.
We refuse to stand by and let companies neglect their duty to their workers.
We refuse to let them protect their profits but fail to protect their employees.
To learn more about how our Houston plant explosion attorneys can help you recover following a plant or refinery explosion, get in touch today: (888) 493-1629. We offer free case reviews.
Examples of Plants & Refineries in the Houston, Texas Area
- Houston Refinery (Lyondell), Houston
- Houston Refinery (Valero), Houston
- Independent Refinery (Stratnor), Houston
- Deer Park Refinery (Shell Oil Company), Deer Park
- Pasadena Refinery (Petrobras), Pasadena
- ExxonMobil Refining & Supply Co., Baytown
Chemical Plant Fires
Chemical plant fires are common because of the flammable materials industrial plants often handle. These plants can suddenly burst out in flames when their owners fail to maintain a safe working environment, fail to safely contain volatile materials, or fail to prepare for power outages and system failures.
Causes of chemical plant fires in Texas include the following:
- Incorrect storage of materials
- Noncompliance with state and federal laws
- Defective or poorly maintained equipment
- Inadequate personnel training
One of the most important components to preventing chemical plant fires is extensive maintenance. Some plants are constantly running, and employee safety relies on aging, often worn-down machinery. When a company is not willing to completely commit to funding plant maintenance, catastrophic fires ignite and injure or kill workers.
What Happens When Chemical Plant Managers Neglect Safety?
For example, Arnold & Itkin's chemical plant fire lawyers represented workers who sustained injuries during the William Olefins plant explosion in Geismar, LA. Before the plant's accident, upper management knew it had a design flaw which could cause an accident. Instead of fixing this flaw, they chose to leave it untouched for years in the name of productivity and profit. When an accident finally happened because of the flaw, 2 workers were killed and 167 sustained injuries. Our lawyers accomplished an investigation which was so comprehensive that juries awarded our clients more than $30 million dollars.
Common chemical plant fire injuries include the following:
- Burn injuries
- Lung damage
- Broken bones
- Toxic exposure
- Brain damage
- Back & neck injuries
- Hearing & eyesight loss
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Another crucial component of preventing chemical plant fires is safety training. Plant owners must take responsibility for training their employees on how to prevent fires and what to do if one breaks out. If plant owners do not provide this training, they have failed to protect their workers and should be held accountable for their negligence.
2019 ExxonMobil Olefins Plant Fire in Baytown, TX
Plant explosions continue to rock towns across the U.S., causing hard-working employees to suffer life-altering injuries and ripping loved ones away from their families. This occurred as recently as July 31, 2019, when a fire broke out at the ExxonMobil Olefins Plant in Baytown, Texas. Early reports indicated that at least 37 people sustained injuries during the blaze. The Baytown incident was the second fire since March at an ExxonMobil facility.
As a chemical plant, the facility stores an abundance of materials which are easily ignited by heat, sparks, flames, or even just by mixing with oxygen. ExxonMobile had recently completed constructing a multi-billion-dollar addition to the Olefins plant. This expensive addition was an ethane cracker, which adds 1.5 million tons of ethylene feedstock capacity to the plant annually. This addition came as part of the company’s $20 billion-dollar program it calls “Growing the Gulf.” This means, as the company continues to expand operations in the region, it must prevent even more of these accidents from happening.
To stay updated on this case, check out our latest blog.
Some of Texas’ Most Devastating Plant Explosions
- Phillips Disaster (October 1989) One of the deadliest days in Texas history was October 23, when a series of explosions occurred at the Phillips 66 plastics factory near the Houston Ship Channel in Pasadena, TX. The first blast was so large that is registered 3.5 on the Richter scale; the explosion could be heard for miles. More than 310 people were injured and 23 employees were killed. The cause of the incident? Inadequate safety procedures.
- Texas City Refinery Explosion (March 2005) In March 2005, a massive explosion occurred at a refinery in Texas City, TX. The blast was caused by the ignition of a hydrocarbon vapor cloud. The incident resulted in injuries to 180 individuals and the deaths of 15 workers. Investigations uncovered that the pipes in the refinery had been worn too thin and fumes were leaking. Our plant explosion lawyers represented several of those injured in this blast.
- West Fertilizer Company Explosion (April 2013) In April 2013, an explosion occurred at a storage and distribution facility in West, TX, which was just north of Waco. The incident left more than 250 individuals injured and killed 15 others. Approximately 500 buildings during the blast. It was later reported by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms Explosives that the fire that started the explosion was deliberate. It was described as a "criminal act."
Common Causes of Plant & Refinery Explosions
Perhaps one of the most disheartening facts about plant and refinery explosions is the fact that they are not caused by factors outside of human control. Freak accidents or uncontrollable events almost never cause them. Instead, they can often be traced by to negligence, recklessness, and decisions that place the profits of the company over the safety of its employees. This disregard for human life is often seen in the decisions to keep around equipment that is severely outdated—equipment that no longer functions properly.
“Working in a plant is so dangerous because the equipment is so old.
There hasn’t been a new plant brought online for decades. Then you
have immense pressure and dangerous chemicals all around you. It’s
a recipe for disaster—and that’s why so many people are hurt.
They make so much money from these plants, and they invest so little back.
I’m always shocked at how they foresaw the problem—they knew
it was a problem—and they just didn’t fix it. It shocks me.”
– Plant Explosion Lawyer Kurt Arnold
Burn Injuries Sustained at Chemical Plants, Oil Refineries & More
At Arnold & Itkin, we help clients recover from catastrophic injuries and overcome seemingly impossible odds.
The injury that we have witnessed to have the most devastating side effects are burns sustained at chemical plants, factories, oil refineries, and other industrial work sites. Our Houston burn injury lawyers have been there to assist these catastrophic injury victims, working with them to ensure they receive top medical treatment and the financial compensation that they deserve. If you or a loved one are dealing with the aftermath of a burn injury, you should not hesitate to contact us. We have helped victims of third-degree burns, scarring, and lifelong disfigurement move through this trying time and demand justice for the negligence that led to their suffering. We are here to ensure that you and your family receive the proper care and will stop at nothing to find answers and hold the responsible parties accountable for what they did. Call today to learn more.
Wrongful Death Cases in Houston, TX & Surrounding Areas
There are no words to properly explain the devastation of losing someone you love. There is no way to quantify your loss and no amount of money that will ever truly compensate you for a death that stems from a fatal plant, factory, or refinery accident. At Arnold & Itkin, we have helped countless individuals and families who have been left to deal with the loss of their family member, giving them a voice in a time when they may feel like they have none. Our Houston wrongful death lawyers represent the family of killed industrial workers and have a track record of helping them recover the compensation they need to recover and move forward. If you are currently grieving the loss of a loved one and need powerful legal representation, we encourage you to contact us immediately. Let us handle the legal complexities so you can focus on you and your family.
Our Plant & Refinery Explosion Attorneys Have Helped Injured Workers Win Billions of Dollars
Our passion for helping the injured and our dedication to the cause can be seen in the billions of dollars that we have helped our clients win over the years. We’re proud to have won hundreds of cases worth $1 million or more, as well as victories that set records on local, state, and national levels. Often, these massive wins were on behalf of injured industrial workers and their families—people facing circumstances much like yourself.
Some examples of plant explosion cases that we have won include the following:
- $97 Million – We reached a massive settlement on behalf of refinery workers who survived a severe fire at their place of work. We helped ensure they received the medical attention that they needed.
- $39.7 Million – We won a record verdict for a man who was severely injured in a dust fire and explosion at a plywood plant. Our client was forced to undergo seven surgical procedures to address his deteriorating skin—and that was before trial was concluded. He was projected to receive several more throughout the years. We argued on his behalf and fought in trial to win this verdict.
More Than $30 Million Won for Victims of Geismar Explosion
In recent years, plant explosion lawyers from Arnold & Itkin represented victims of the 2013 plant explosion in Geismar, LA. We took on the owner of the plant along with several other defendants in two separate trials to protect our clients. In the first trial, we won $15.45 million on their behalf. The jury assigned 95% of the responsibility to Williams Companies, Inc. and 3% to their holding company Williams Olefins, LLC. The jury found that both knew with “substantial certainty” that the explosion would occur. In the second trial, we won $18.5 million on behalf of four other victims. During this case, another defendant was introduced: Sabic Petrochemical. This company had a 16% stake in the plant.
"We spent more than $10 million of our own firm’s money to ensure
that our clients got the very best recovery and were taken care of. That’s
what we did, and that’s what we do."
– Plant Explosion Attorney Kurt Arnold
Arnold & Itkin in the News
- Workers Injured in Chemical Plant Explosion Obtain $30 Million Verdicts In Two Louisiana State Court Trials Against Plant Owners/Operators
- CSB: 'Process safety management program deficiencies' lead to deadly 2013 explosion
- New Orleans Jury Awards $16M to 4 Workers for 2013 Plant Explosion
- ComDust victim awarded $39.7 million
- Houston jury awards $39.7 million verdict to man injured in Corrigan plant explosion
- Williams Cos. Hit With $13.6M Verdict In La. Plant Explosion
What Workers Think About Our Houston Plant Explosion Attorneys
At Arnold & Itkin, we truly believe that the workers and families we help are the backbone of our economy—in Houston, across Texas, and nationwide. We are honored to work with them and committed to helping them recover when their company fails them. Throughout the years, we have helped clients from every walk of life and worked to demand justice on their behalf. We believe it is our responsibility to see them through to a successful outcome, and we work tirelessly to see it happen. One client recalled working with us during a case.
“It was just unreal how tirelessly they worked,” said Terry. “Our trial lasted around 10 days. Every night, they were working ‘til way after midnight. There were a couple nights they never even slept.”
Much of our success can be tied back to our firm’s passion, creativity, experience, and skill set. But we also believe it can be tied back to our work ethic. We refuse to be outworked. We put in the hours it takes—and the results can be seen in the massive victories we’ve won over the years.
See for yourself what plant and refinery workers think about their experience with us!
“I was able to actually witness them in court. They went in there
like straight bulldogs and they won. They’re unstoppable! They definitely
have the experience you need. They're fighting for these little people
that can’t handle themselves when a giant comes. Almost like the
David and Goliath. It’s amazing thing to see. I would recommend
them to anybody, I mean anybody. When they say Super Lawyers, that's what
— Shawn Thomas
“I felt like family because they were there to listen and hear—not
just brush you off because ‘you're just a client.’ They let
me know when I met them that everything was going be all right. Ever since
the day I met them until today that I'm sitting here, they have always
had my back.”
— Veronica Sowell
“They're very professional. They didn't back down. That's why I like
my lawyers. Even when I had to do my testimony in court, they didn't let
those lawyers run over me. They fought hard. You have some lions with
Arnold & Itkin. They not going to back down.”
— Maurice Dilworth
Houston Plant Explosion FAQ
Who Is at Fault for a Plant Explosion?
Ultimately, it’s up to the companies that own and operate a plant to make sure they provide a safe work environment for employees. This involves providing adequate training, tools, and keeping a plant safe through thorough and regular maintenance. In some instances, equipment manufacturers can be liable for an explosion if they failed to produce a safe product.
What Do Plant Explosion Lawsuits Accomplish?
These lawsuits accomplish two significant things. First, they hold companies accountable and help ensure that more workers don’t have to face a similar situation. Second, the help injured workers recover damages such as lost wages, medical bills, and so much more.
Do I Accept a Settlement After a Plant Explosion?
No. Companies offer settlements because they are trying to pay as little as possible while escaping further legal consequences. After accepting a settlement, workers release the responsible part from further liability. Speaking with a plant explosion lawyer ensures that you’re receiving a fair settlement and that your interests are being protected.
Contact Our Houston Law Firm for a Free Consultation
At Arnold & Itkin LLP, we are here to give a voice to you when you may feel as if you have none. We are here to help answer your questions and find justice—to uncover the truth about what happened and then protect your best interests. Don’t let responsible parties get away with what happened. Don’t let them cover up their actions and neglect to take care of you and your family. You deserve better than that. You deserve a future that’s stable and secure—a future where you can take care of yourself and your loved ones. At our Houston plant explosion law firm, we can help you fight for it. To take the first step in your case, we encourage you to contact us today.
Call (888) 493-1629 to schedule a free consultation. We can listen to your story and help explain all of your different legal options.
Arnold & Itkin LLP
6009 Memorial Drive
Houston, TX 7007