Plant Explosion Injury Lawyers
Information About the Effects of Industrial Explosions, Factory Fires & More
Recent studies named the U.S. as the country with the highest number of deaths from explosions. America tops out the list with 197 deaths, followed by Colombia (105 deaths), South Korea (78 deaths), and Brazil (72 deaths). Mexico, Japan, and Germany are also on the list.
Common Injuries Sustained in a Plant Explosion
Usually, the injuries that are sustained in a plant explosion are from extreme heat. Statistics have shown these accidents can result in stepping over a thousand degrees in heat. This will, essentially, vaporize anything in its direct vicinity. For humans, this is fatal. Even should someone be hundreds of yards away from the epicenter of the blast, they can suffer from third-degree burns covering a vast majority of their body.
If the heat isn’t what causes the injuries, it is most likely caused by the force of the blast. Not only can this affect the human’s body itself (often resulting in them being thrown), but it can result in the infrastructure crashing to the ground. Falling walls, ceilings, and other pieces of the building can cause crush injuries, amputations, broken bones, as well as damage to internal organs, the spine, and even the brain.
In many cases, the force can be compared to a plane crash.
Not every injury that is sustained in a plant explosion has to do with the physical impact felt by the victim. In fact, in some cases, the harshest aftermath of the explosion will manifest as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. In these cases, the anxiety and mental distress can be more than some people can handle—and can, in fact, affect far more people than just the actual victim. For example, spouses could have grounds to file a claim.
Primary Blast Injuries
There are four different types of injuries that can occur after a blast or explosion. The four categories are typically used to diagnose a soldier’s condition in military combat after he or she is at the scene of an explosion, but the categories apply in all blast injury situations.
Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, primary blast injuries happen due to the over-pressurization force of the explosion. The over-pressurization force is known as the blast wave, which is the extreme force that can cause injury during an explosion. When this wave impacts the body surface, it can do significant damage to the organs and parts of the body that are filled with gases.
Some common injuries from the over-pressurization are explained below:
- Lung Damage: Sometimes a blast wave can lead to a pulmonary contusion or an injury to the lung. This can lead to odema or blood collecting in the alveolar spaces, which is potentially fatal.
- Pulmonary Contusion: This condition is categorized as a blunt lung injury and develops over 24 hours. It will lead to increased pulmonary vascular resistance.
- Air Embolization: Some victims who suffer lung damage from a blast will suffer from an air embolism. This happens when there is a bubble in the bloodstream.
- Eye Injuries Blast injuries can often affect the eye. In some cases, the globe of the eye will rupture, leaving a victim in extreme pain or permanently blind.
- Abdominal / Hollow Viscus Injuries: Gas-filled structures within the body such as the stomach are susceptible to a primary blast injury. The organs in the abdominal area can rupture or internal lacerations can occur because of the force of the blast.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries: In some cases, you may suffer a brain injury that is not related to a blunt force trauma accident. While most brain injuries happen when a person strikes their head, the over-pressurization at a blast site may also facilitate this injury.
Secondary, Tertiary & Quaternary Injuries
- Secondary Injuries - This category of explosion injuries involves those that result from flying debris and bomb fragments. Often, an explosion will damage buildings or structures and send heavy or sharp fragments throughout the air. These fragments or flying portions of a building can cause extreme harm to victims. Any part of the body can be affected by a secondary injury, but most often the injuries are blunt injuries or penetrating injuries. Sometimes, a blast can result in an eye penetration that can lead to permanent blindness. Sharp objects such as nails or pieces of metal may also cause deep lacerations or other more serious injuries. It may require surgery to remove the fragments.
- Tertiary Injuries - Victims of an explosion can also suffer from tertiary injuries. These are injuries that are suffered when the individual is thrown by the blast wind from the explosion. The force of the blast wind may cause people to topple backward and suffer a blunt force trauma injury to the head or fracture a wrist or leg as they tumble backward. According to the CDC, most of the time tertiary injuries are fractures and traumatic amputations. They can also be closed or open brain injuries.
- Quaternary Injuries - Finally, a person who is at the scene of an explosion may suffer from a quaternary injury. Most of the time, quaternary injuries are those that are exacerbations of existing conditions or complications. For example, if a person has a heart condition already, then an explosion may cause him or her to go into cardiac arrest. As well, those with asthma may have a terrible attack in the event of an explosion. Also, any injuries, illnesses, or diseases that are developed later after an explosion are typically considered quaternary injuries.
Burn Injuries from a Plant Explosion
Burn injuries are one of the most common injuries associated with explosions and can range from mild to severe or fatal. If you have suffered a burn injury, talk to a plant explosion injury attorney from Arnold & Itkin today. We believe that careless and negligent individuals should be held responsible for the damage they cause. If your employer or coworker carelessly neglected safety laws and guidelines, he/she may be liable for your injuries. If you are able to establish liability in a claim or lawsuit, you may be able to collect full financial compensation for your losses. That’s why our firm is committed to helping people like you—people who need an experienced lawyer to go to bat for them. Schedule a case consultation to learn more about the firm, injury compensation, and your rights as an accident victim.
Types of Burn Injuries
Generally speaking, a burn is an injury caused by chemicals, electricity, heat, radiation, or sunlight that damages your body’s tissue.
There are several types of burn injuries:
- First-degree burns are mild and usually heal without medical attention. First degree burns are identifiable by redness, pain, and swelling. This type of burn only affects the epidermis (the outer layer of skin) and can usually be treated from home. Unless a large portion of the victim’s body is covered by the burn, the injury should be treated as a minor burn by cooling the skin with a moist cloth or bandage and covering it with a sterile piece of gauze. Like any burn injury, never put ice on a first-degree burn or use a fluffy bandage to cover it.
- Second-degree burns can usually be treated as minor burns. If the victim experiences pain, an over-the-counter pain reliever may be taken. Like mild first-degree burn injuries, you may run cool (not cold) water over the burn and cover it with a sterile bandage.
- Unlike first and second degree burns, third- and fourth-degree burns are very serious and will not heal without the help of a medical professional. Third-degree burns are identifiable by charred and black regions of skin. If the victim has suffered a fourth-degree burn, his/her skin, muscle, fat, and bones may be affected by the injury. When treating major burns, avoid removing any of the victim’s clothes that are in contact with the injury. Never immerse a major burn in cold water. Instead, check for signs of breathing. Sometimes, major burn victims go into shock and require CPR. You may cover a major with a clean, moist bandage to protect it from infection. Major burns are extremely serious and may result in permanent physical, emotional, and psychological scarring. Burn injuries are also notable for being the most costly cause of hospitalization nationwide. Weeks of hospitalization, around-the-clock care, and the need for expensive specialists can leave families in debt for hundreds of thousands of dollars before healing has even begun.
Hearing Loss & Acoustic Trauma
Hearing loss is a common effect after an explosion—the severity of which depends on how close you were to the scene of the event. The loss of hearing that occurs because of an incident is often called “acoustic trauma,” which refers to your inner ear mechanism being harmed.
Understanding Ear Damage
In brief summary, the damages an explosion can have on your ear may vary.
- External ear damage can be caused by the debris of an explosion, rather than the actual overpressure of the blast. The Tympanic Membrane (TM) is essentially the part of your ear that transmits pressure oscillations using different sound waves. When an explosion happens, your TM is affected and displaced because the pressure from the blast will actually enter your external auditory canal. Depending on the blast, the damage may be between minor hemorrhaging to complete membrane perforation.
- Your middle ear may also be damaged in the event of a larger blast; if there are lesions with the Cholesteatoma, it can harm not only your middle ear but also the temporal bone or skull base.
- Damage to your inner ear is less severe as you will likely start hearing again within hours to weeks of the explosion.
Symptoms of Acoustic Trauma
You may have been a recent bystander of an explosion in your area, whether you are an employee or a resident in a town—either case may result in severe hearing damages or loss.
Some of the symptoms of hearing loss include:
- Total deafness
- Continual ringing noise in one or both ears
- Difficulty hearing low-intensity sounds or quiet speech
- The speech and sounds you can hear are muffled
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Per the National Center for PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental disorder that occurs after a victim has endured a particularly traumatic event. In many cases, most people limit this disorder to veterans returning from the war, but the truth is that the victims of PTSD are much more varied than that. Someone who has suffered from sexual abuse, has lived through a terrorist attack, has been involved in a serious car accident, or has been through a natural disaster can all show signs of experiencing PTSD. One cause of PTSD is being involved in a plant explosion.
Due to the violent way in which these accidents occur, it can leave the victims permanently emotionally scarred and psychologically bruised. This can result in symptoms such as, but not limited to, the following:
- Re-experiencing the trauma at any moment;
- Feeling the need to avoid all reminders of the event;
- The feeling of numbness; or
- Being “hyperalert” or keyed up
Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Real? Is It Treatable?
There has been a lot of debate over the years about whether or not PTSD can be classified as an actual injury sustained in an accident. The truth is that yes, it is just as real of an injury as physical impairment and can do just as much, if not more, damage. Similarly, it is possible to receive treatment. The main course of treatment is through psychotherapy along with the proper medication. By talking to a mental health professional, a victim can find the treatments they need to help get on the road to recovery. While there is no quick fix, there is a way for patients to find help.
If you have experienced PTSD after being in a plant explosion, it is in your best interests to seek legal counsel from a plant explosion attorney. PTSD is a real injury that can result in not only serious emotional distress but fiscal strain as well. You deserve to be compensated for these damages.
Smoke is a combination of gases and heated particles, which are products of the materials being burned. When these materials are the machines and chemicals stored within an oil plant refinery, the smoke could be lethal. Breathing in the byproducts of an industrial fire can incapacitate a person, affecting their ability to breathe properly. In fact, studies suggest that the leading cause of death among fire victims is smoke inhalation, with anywhere from 50 to 80% of all fire-related deaths being the result of smoke inhalation.
The Dangers of Inhaling Smoke
Escaping the disaster of a plant explosion or fire does not automatically ensure your health and safety. In fact, there are many serious injuries, illnesses, and instances of fatality that are reported hours, or even days, after the initial incident occurred. The victims of smoke inhalation are among those who are most at risk of developing later problems that might not have been immediately identified after the explosion.
Although symptoms such as coughing and shortness of breath are identifiable, other symptoms are less easily noticeable. For example, burns on the cornea of an eye could be at first mistaken as minor eye irritation caused by the fire. In addition, an itchy nose or throat could be mistaken as minor symptoms of being around smoke, when in reality, they could be indicative of soot inhalation that causes swelling to nasal passageways.
As hours and days pass after a plant explosion, it is crucial that victims and their families pay attention to discreet warning signs that may appear. Although some symptoms such as headaches and nausea might seem normal, they could be indicative of a much more serious problem. Fires expose their victims to carbon monoxide, which is poisonous in large quantities. In addition, chemical asphyxiants and lower levels of oxygen can affect a person’s mental status. Changes in skin color, fainting episodes, seizures, and coma can all result from the inhalation of harmful smoke.
Why Plant Explosion Survivors & Families Call Arnold & Itkin
For victims involved in a plant explosion, we encourage you to give us a call. We want you to know that just because you have not filed a claim yet does not mean you are without hope. You have up to two years to file a claim. In fact, many of the most valuable cases that have been made in regard to these types of explosions waited almost 18 months before they decided to file. That being said, don’t let the statute of limitations pass you by. If you are suffering from the adverse effects of smoke inhalation or any other type of injury, we urge you to contact us today.
Arnold & Itkin fought for workers who survived the 2013 Williams Olefins explosion. Nearly a dozen explosion victims came to us for help because we had the resources to help them put their lives back together. When the company refused to acknowledge their responsibility for the explosion that killed 2 and injured 167, we helped our clients take them to court. In the end, our clients received $18 and $15 million in two separate verdicts for the injuries they suffered. Our firm did the same for victims of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and the 2005 BP Texas City explosions.
Give our firm a call to be represented by an attorney who has the resources to help you fight for your future. Our firm will be there to help you in every way possible as we fight for your recovery.