Liability and Plant Explosions | Denver Injury Lawyers
A plant explosion is a cataclysmic event that often results in extensive personal injuries and property losses. In many cases, the root cause of the explosion can be traced to human error. There are several different ways that you might win a large damages settlement to cover your physical, emotional, and financial losses from such an explosion. Due to the complexity of these sorts of cases, however, skilled legal representation is recommended to get the best possible results. This is because one of the critical steps to getting the compensation necessary to move forward is establishing which party or parties was responsible for the harm.
Negligence is the most commonly used legal basis for personal injury liability. Negligence occurs when someone breaches a duty owed to you and this breach causes you damages. A common way to establish negligence when there has been a plant explosion is to show that the plant violated Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations governing the safe operation of the plant. Once this is established, it is necessary to show that the breach of regulations actually caused the explosion. Depending on the facts of the case, there are other ways to establish negligence, which a skilled personal injury attorney can develop in consultation with his or her client.
When an employee commits a culpable act leading to an explosion (by ignoring safety regulations, for example), it often is not feasible to seek damages from the employee himself – he may lack the financial resources to pay a judgment or settlement or may have even been killed in the explosion. Typically, however, if you can prove liability, you can hold the employer responsible for the actions of the employee. There are two different ways this can happen. In some cases, an employer may be held strictly liable for the on-duty misconduct of its employee, with no need to show that the employer was at fault. Alternatively, the person who was harmed might seek to prove that the employer acted negligently by hiring an unqualified employee or by failing to train or oversee him properly. Employer negligence also applies when the culpable party was merely an independent contractor rather than an employee.
In some cases, a plant explosion is caused by malfunctioning equipment – this might include a malfunctioning safety valve or flammable gas to which an odorant was not added (rendering a gas leak difficult to detect). If you can prove that the explosion was caused by a defective or unreasonably dangerous product, you may be able to sue not only the manufacturer of the product, but also the wholesaler and/or the distributor of the product. Once you have shown that the explosion was caused by a dangerous product, it is not necessary to show any other fault on the part of the defendant. A retailer can be held liable in many cases, for example, for simply selling a product that it had no reason to believe was defective.
Damages in a plant explosion can be vast. Three main types of personal injury damages are generally available under Colorado law – economic, non-economic, and permanent or disfigurement damages. Economic losses such as medical bills, time off work due to injury, and injury-related out-of-pocket expenses are compensable in a negotiated settlement or jury award. Non-economic damages compensate a victim for physical pain and suffering, mental anguish such as anxiety and panic attacks, and loss of enjoyment of daily activities due to your injury. There also may be damages that recognize permanent disability or disfigurement. Colorado has strictly limited the situations in which punitive damages can be awarded.
If your loved one has been injured or killed in a plant explosion, you could be legally entitled to compensation for your losses if the accident was the result of employer negligence, employee reckless of negligent actions, or product liability. Zinda Law Group is a highly regarded personal injury law firm that focuses on the needs of our clients. Our attorneys are passionate about seeking justice and they will explore every avenue to obtain a comprehensive personal injury settlement or court judgment for you. Call us today at 303-800-1501 to schedule a free initial consultation.