Explosions are serious events that can cause severe and sometimes fatal injuries. Explosion victims can suffer various types of injuries, ranging from cuts and scratches to broken bones, serious internal injuries, and even death. Following an explosion, the first concern is receiving immediate and proper medical care. Explosion victims are likely to need prolonged medical attention in order to help them make a full recovery from their injuries.
After an explosion victim has reached the point of medical stability, the next thought turns to holding the appropriate persons and entities responsible for what happened. An explosive accident presents a very long list of potentially responsible individuals. This list includes government and regulatory agencies.
Suing the local, state, or even federal government can seem daunting and intimidating. After all, the government is a large entity with a lot of resources to defend itself against individual claims. However, in certain cases, a government agency must be held responsible for its actions.
When you or a loved one have been injured in an explosion, you should turn to a law firm with experience handling claims against municipalities and government entities. Here at Burg Simpson, we can help if you were injured in an explosion. Give us a call today to learn more about your legal rights.
The Role of Government Agencies
At first glance, it might seem that the government can not be held responsible for an explosion. However, this overlooks the important role that government agencies play in the regulation and prevention of explosions.
First, the law surrounding explosions is mostly a set of federal laws that govern various industries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established a set of precautions and guidelines for industries dealing with combustible dust products. These regulations apply to sawmills, bakeries, grain-handling facilities, paper and textile mills, and other industrial facilities. OSHA requires that these safety regulations are to be distributed to employees. Failure to follow OSHA guidelines can result in fines and other penalties for employers.
Another federal government agency in charge of regulating hazardous materials is the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). The ATF has jurisdiction over explosives. The ATF makes rules regarding the use of explosives, including the manufacture, distribution, and sale of explosive materials and products.
Holding Government Agencies Responsible
In order to hold a government agency responsible for a blast, victims must show that the agency was somehow negligent in connection with the explosion. Negligence is a legal concept meaning that a person or entity failed to act with ordinary care under the circumstances. This can mean that an improper action was taken or, in some cases, the appropriate action was not taken.
In the context of explosions, negligence can occur when a government agency fails to take action. For instance, a state or local governmental authority may be responsible for properly inspecting industrial plants and factories. This would include ensuring the business fully complies with OSHA and other federal regulations. If an investigator or inspector fails to note and enforce federal laws, they may be held responsible if the failure leads to an explosion.
In another scenario, a federal or state government may receive information about a potential explosive hazard. This information can come from whistleblowers, or it may simply comes as part of a required inspection. If an agency has credible information regarding a threat and fails to investigate properly, there may be a case for liability.
Recovering Damages from Government Agencies
Suing the government comes with many complexities. Under the principle of sovereign immunity, the government may actually be immune to lawsuits accusing the government and its officials of negligence. When government employees are acting in their individual capacity, your right to file a lawsuit can be limited.
Despite this general principle, victims are not completely without a remedy. While sovereign immunity generally protects the government and its officials from being sued, there are exceptions. In many jurisdictions across the United States, the government can still be sued if the government agency has purchased liability insurance. In this case, the agency can be sued up to the amount of their general insurance policy.
If you have a claim against a government agency, your attorney will investigate to see whether a government agency has failed to follow appropriate standards. If they have, the next step is to request a copy of their insurance policy to see if they have waived their sovereign immunity. If they have done so, a victim has a potential recourse up to the amount of the insurance policy.
A National Explosion Accident Lawyer Can Help
Hiring a national explosion accident lawyer is the first step to moving forward after a tragic incident. Explosion accident litigation is complex and requires an attorney with substantial experience investigating every aspect of these claims. There are many potential defendants after an explosion. In some cases, it is necessary to look into the role of various government agencies. Having a law firm with the resources and skills to do this is vital to ensuring that your rights are protected.
At Burg Simpson, our United States explosion accident lawyers can help in the aftermath of a blast. We have handled explosion cases in many jurisdictions across the country. Whether your case is in state or federal court, we can assist you. Our firm knows and understands the importance of tenacious representation during this difficult period in your life.
Suing the government comes with many rules and conditions. The time frame you have to file suit may be limited by special laws designed to protect the agency from legitimate claims. In order to ensure that your rights are protected, your lawyer should have extensive knowledge of explosion accident law. When you need a tough and reliable law firm, you can contact us for assistance. To speak with one of our attorneys, please reach out to us using our online intake form or give us a call at (866) 695-1236.