Our Plant & Refinery Accident Law Firm Has Recovered Billions for Clients
Each day, plants refineries across the nation process crude oil into usable petroleum products. Houston is a hub of these plants and refineries. In fact, the greater Houston area has dozens of plants and refineries that can process 2.6 million barrels of crude oil each day. They account for 45.1 percent of the Texas’s total oil production and 13.8 percent of the nation’s total production. Combined with its neighbors Corpus Christi, Port Arthur, and Beaumont, Houston is part of a Gulf Coast region that produces more than a quarter of oil production in the United States.
While plants are vital to the Houston economy, they have great potential for danger. Explosions, toxic exposure, and fires are only a few of the dangers workers face. To make matters worse, the volatility of substances that these facilities produce place nearby residents at risk. When accidents happen, it almost always could have been prevented. At Arnold & Itkin, we demand answers and fight for the compensation clients deserve.
If you’ve suffered, Arnold & Itkin is ready to help. A consultation with our Houston plant and refinery accident lawyers is free and confidential when you call (888) 493-1629.
We proudly help clients throughout Houston and the surrounding areas, such as La Porte, Pearland, and League City. If you were injured in a plant or refinery accident, such as a chemical spill or explosion, we can help.
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caused by owners and managers who fail to take the necessary steps to protect their workers, forcing workers to utilize outdated equipment, failing to take recommended safety measures, and cutting corners to prioritize profit over safety.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, we've seen it happen again and again.
Throughout the years, our Houston explosion lawyers have stood side-by-side with the survivors of plant and refinery explosions, as well as family 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 the company will help—that the company will have their back and be there to support them during recovery. This almost never happens. Instead, the company immediately goes into cover-up mode. They 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.
Examples of Plants & Refineries in the Houston Area
The Houston area is home to a number of plants, factories, and refineries. We've listed several below:
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 Houston 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?
Arnold & Itkin's chemical plant fire lawyers represented workers who sustained injuries during the William Olefins plant explosion in Geismar, LA. Before the incident, 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 were injured. Our firms' investigation was so comprehensive that juries awarded our clients more than $30 million.
Common chemical plant fire injuries include the following:
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.
Some of Texas’ Most Devastating Plant Explosions
Phillips Disaster (October 1989): One of the deadliest days in Texas history was October 23, 1989, 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.
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."
Pasadena Industrial Plant Explosion (May 2018): More than 20 people were injured after a fire and explosion ripped through an industrial plant in Pasadena, TX . The Kuraray America facility had more than 250 workers inside at the time. Several workers were taken via ambulance to local hospitals for treatment after suffering burns. Two were flown. It was later reported that the accident occurred after the plant’s production system leaked a highly flammable gas.
Baytown ExxonMobil Fire (July 2019): In 2019, a fire occurred at an ExxonMobil facility in Baytown, TX. It was the second fire that year at the chemical plant and one of many in a string of industrial disasters in 2019. Nearly 40 people were injured, most with burn-related injuries, in the fire that sent smoke billowing into the sky, visible throughout the Houston area. Early reports stated that the fire was caused by an explosion that took place around 11 a.m. that morning.
4 Workers Injured in Fire at ExxonMobil Plant Outside of Houston
At about 1:00 am on December 23, 2021, a fire broke out at the ExxonMobil facility in Baytown, about 25 miles outside of Houston. Early reports also indicated that an explosion may have occurred. Local residents said they felt their homes shake, almost like an earthquake or even a bomb. Four workers were injured in the incident, which authorities called a "major industrial accident." Three were airlifted and one was transported by ground to the hospital for treatment. All four workers were reportedly in stable condition as of the time of this writing.
The facility houses an oil refinery, chemical plant, and an olefins plant. The fire, which was eventually extinguished several hours later, took place in a part of the facility that produces gasoline. Authorities did not issue a shelter-in-place order for local residents, and all of the workers were reportedly accounted for.
The LyondellBasell Chemical Leak in La Porte
On July 27, 2021, the LyondellBasell plant near La Porte has a serious chemical leak. The incident occurred when a pressurized cap blew off a line containing acetic acid. Exposure to the toxic substance killed 2 workers and injured 30 more. Each of the deceased workers were contractors, and the plant was partially shut down for maintenance at the time of the chemical leak. At the time of this writing, investigators are still working to determine if any other factors caused the accident. The plant is the third largest producer of acetic acid glacial acetic acid, a substance used to preserve food. Acetic acid is highly corrosive and exposure to it can cause skin irritation, burns, and respiratory injuries. The LyondellBasell leak released approximately 100,000 pounds of acetic acid.
After the incident, reports indicated that the La Porte chemical plant had a recent string of citations for pollution. Additionally, the company’s Galena Park facility made headlines just weeks ago for having a leak that released a garlic-like smell. Residents in the area complained about headaches and nausea.
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 families 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.
With a successful wrongful death suit, you can not only get answers and see the at-fault party (or parties) held accountable, but you can get the financial support that will help you face a more stable future. As a spouse, parent, child, or other close family member of a person who died in a fatal plant accident, you could be entitled to money for loss of companionship, loss of support, funeral costs, emotional trauma, and punitive damages. Most importantly, you can experience peace of mind seeing justice served in your loved one's name.
Our Plant & Refinery Explosion Attorneys Have Won 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, 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
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. Our trial lasted around 10 days. Every night, they were working ‘til way after midnight. There were a couple nights they never even slept.” — Terry, Client of Arnold & Itkin
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 they mean.” — 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
Contact Our Houston Plant & Refinery Injury 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!
Who Is Responsible for Houston Plant & Refinery Accidents?
Ultimately, it’s up to the companies that run these refineries to make sure no accidents happen. Proper training, maintenance, and safety procedures mean that accidents are always preventable. Yet, too often, companies decide that neglecting safety in favor of profits is the right choice. When this happens, workers suffer the most.
What Are Common Refinery Accidents?
Explosions and fires are the most common types of plant refinery accidents. When these happen, workers sustain life-changing catastrophic injuries such as burns, amputations, and brain injuries. Other common Houston plant and refinery accidents include explosions, fires, falls, and toxic exposure. Many of these accidents are the result of companies failing to adequately maintain their facilities. The refining process requires incredibly temperatures, high pressure, and incredibly volatile chemicals. This means that companies have no excuse when they fail to maintain the equipment that handles processes at their refineries.
How Can a Houston Plant & Refinery Accident Law Firm Help?
Arnold & Itkin focuses on making sure anyone hurt receives the compensation that they need after an accident. Since refinery accidents often cause severe injuries, we always focus on the recovery a worker needs rather than the settlement they’re offered. Our Houston plant and refinery accident attorneys often secure compensation for things such as lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, cost of future medical care, and more.
What If My Loved One Was Killed by a Houston Plant Accident?
Unfortunately, the behavior of negligent companies often results in the deaths of their workers. If your family is suffering because a member was killed by an accident, you might be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Doing so will hold the company accountable, help prevent more accidents from causing more families to suffer, and help you get the compensation you need to move forward. Compensation we help grieving families recover often includes funeral expenses, medical expenses, loss of companionship, lost wages, and emotional suffering.
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 protected.
Why Are Oil Refineries Dangerous?
Oil refineries are potentially dangerous places for a few reasons. The most obvious is the presence of highly combustible substances like crude oil, natural gas, and the chemicals commonly used to process these. A single spark could set off an explosion or start a fire that rips through the entire refinery, injuring workers and claiming lives. Other hazards at oil refineries are present because workers must perform physically demanding labor, work at heights, and work with or around heavy machinery or equipment that can cause severe harm if it is misused, poorly maintained, or improperly designed or manufactured. Even though oil refineries are dangerous places, however, this is no excuse for safety violations or acts of negligence that lead to serious accidents and injuries.