Any type of explosion is a very serious and potentially catastrophic event for those who are affected. Explosions can lead to a number of major consequences, including serious bodily harm, property damage, loss of homes and businesses, and even death. One aspect of an explosion that often is overlooked is the potential for harm to the environment. Explosions can have a massive effect on the area surrounding the blast. The fallout may take many months or years before a full recovery is reached. In some cases, damage to the environment may be irreversible.
Here, we will take a look at some of the ways in which an explosion can have an impact on the environment and steps that can be taken to ensure that the negligent party is held accountable for their actions. When you have been impacted by an explosion in any way, it is important to reach out to a skilled attorney who can help advise you of your legal rights and options. Here at Burg Simpson, we represent victims who have suffered any type of loss in an explosion. Give us a call if we can advise you and help you protect your legal rights in the aftermath of a blast.
The Environmental Impact of Explosions
There are numerous historical examples of the very severe impact that an explosion can have on the surrounding environment. Perhaps one of the most famous or infamous events was the tragic BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Deepwater Horizon incident took place on April 20, 2010, when an oil tanker stationed in the Gulf of Mexico suffered an explosion due to a leak aboard the vessel. The resulting blast killed 11 of the crewmembers and injured many others. The fireball from the explosion was visible up to 40 feet away.
In addition to the tragic human cost, the Deepwater Horizon spill went down as one of the most environmentally devastating events on record. According to estimates, between 17 and 39 million barrels of oil leaked into the ocean, causing an extreme impact on wildlife in the area. Nearly 10,000 animals were killed as a result of the oil spill. Following a series of lawsuits and fines, it is estimated that BP paid more than $63 billion to clean up the spill.
More recently, a Norfolk Southern railway train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio. The incident took place on February 3, 2023. Following the derailment, a massive fire burned for several days, and chemicals were spilled from derailed train cars. It is estimated that the chemical spill resulted in the death of thousands of fish in nearby streams.
Residents of East Palestine were forced to evacuate their homes due to fear of airborne toxic chemicals as well as contaminated drinking water. Many citizens did not return to their homes for more than six months, and some have reported physical symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, and rashes. Norfolk Southern has since offered payouts to affected residents and a series of lawsuits have been filed seeking compensation for damages caused by the incident.
Taking Legal Action for Environmental Harm
Following an explosion, victims often wonder what legal rights they have at their disposal. In cases where the explosion directly affects the environment, there are often a number of victims. Most of these victims are similarly situated, or they have suffered similar harm, including being forced from their homes and potentially being exposed to toxic chemicals and other substances released by the blast.
Due to the potentially large number of victims and similar legal claims, environmental litigation is frequently addressed through a class action lawsuit. Legally speaking, class actions are brought by a representative “class” of victims. The representative class files a lawsuit on behalf of many other victims who have suffered similar harm. The class action lawsuit then goes forward with the class members representing all of the victims.
Class action litigation has the advantage of efficiency. While multiple individual lawsuits can be filed, it becomes costly and there is a risk of inconsistent or differing outcomes across cases. By utilizing a class action, victims can pool their resources into a single case and will receive a single outcome to their claims.
A class action lawsuit is complex. Class action litigation has special rules for certification of the class and there are certain procedures that must be followed in order to effectively handle a class action lawsuit. It is vital for victims seeking class action relief to speak with an attorney who has experience handling these types of lawsuits on behalf of numerous individuals.
Recovering Damages for Environmental Harm
Recovering damages for the environmental effects of an explosion is a key part of explosion accident litigation. The harm to individual victims from environmental impacts can include both short-term and long-term damages. Some issues that may be experienced from environmental harm are:
- Acute illnesses such as asthma and respiratory disease
- Long-term illnesses, including cancer caused by exposure to toxic materials
- Loss of use of property
- Damage to property from dangerous chemicals
- Loss of income due to displacement from the community
The physical and financial losses of an explosion can be tremendous. Properly valuing your claim is the first step to obtaining an appropriate recovery. Before you speak with an insurance company or other third party about your case, it is important to contact an experienced nationwide explosion accident attorney right away.
National Explosion Accident Lawyers
Here at Burg Simpson, we are aware of the multitude of harms that can follow a major explosion. The impact on the environment often has a direct impact on individuals who live and work in the immediate vicinity.
Our team of skilled and experienced lawyers can help during your time of need. We will fight to recover the compensation that you deserve. We provide free consultations for all potential and prospective clients and there is no fee until we obtain a recovery on your behalf. To schedule your time to speak with one of our national explosion accident attorneys, please reach out to us using our online intake form or give us a call at 866-696-1750.