Workplace Injury Lawsuits and Fertilizer Plant Explosion AnniversaryApril 16, 2014
April 17 marks the anniversary of the explosion at a West, Texas, fertilizer plant. Twelve emergency response personnel were among the fifteen fatalities, along with more than 300 injured. The mysterious explosion has spurred numerous workplace injury lawsuits against the West Fertilizer Company, as well as against the manufacturers of the volatile chemicals the plant used to make fertilizer. Plaintiffs have sued the affected parties on grounds ranging from hearing loss to traumatic brain injury to post-traumatic stress disorder.
Physical Pain and Workplace Injury Lawsuits
As victims of the explosion were treated and released at area hospitals, authorities at the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District and the Texas Department of State Health Services distributed injury surveys to local residents. Cuts, lacerations and penetration traumas were the most common injuries reported in the survey, with 139 responses indicating such injuries. Many victims reported hearing damage, including tinnitus and ruptured eardrums, lung damage and eye injuries. Many residents are using these injuries as the starting point for their workplace injury lawsuits against the manufacturers.
Mental Anguish Workplace Injury Lawsuits
The victims of the West explosion are also reporting high incidences of mental and emotional trauma. The injury survey reported that more than 50 respondents experienced some form of concussion or traumatic brain injury. These injuries can result in damage to the portions of the brain that control speech, movement and memory. A major impetus behind workplace injury lawsuits stemming from the explosion is the rising tide of post-traumatic stress disorder experienced by the survivors.
Compiling Data for Workplace Injury Lawsuits
One of the major issues that agencies who track workplace injury lawsuits have encountered involves how the victims reported their injuries. Early survey data was limited to hospital emergency rooms and urgent care clinics. Dozens of patients visited their primary care physicians, rather than go to a larger medical facility. The initial survey also did not account for injuries that only became apparent days or weeks later, such as hearing loss, TBI and PTSD.
The Role of Attorneys in Workplace Injury Lawsuits
The West Fertilizer Company and its suppliers are facing over 200 lawsuits from local residents. While many of these are workplace injury lawsuits, some cases also involve property damage lawsuits from local homeowners and business owners. The first trials are scheduled to take place in January 2015, but observers are unsure how many trials will start with the new year. Defendants may consider settling so many workplace injury lawsuits to avoid any bad publicity or unforeseen verdict in court.
Source: Dallas Morning News
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