When you mention “refinery,” the average person will assume
that you mean a facility that converts crude oil into gasoline, diesel,
and residential/industrial heating oil. This same person will be surprised
to learn that a “refinery” is an industrial operation that
converts raw materials into something of value and/or the production of
materials to be used in other manufacturing operations. Regardless of
the type of refinery, these facilities have several things in common:
- Refineries use raw materials that are themselves potentially toxic to humans
or are capable of damaging the environment.
- The refining process usually involves subjecting raw materials to high
temperatures and/or pressures, both of which can cause explosions and fires.
- The refining process often makes use of chemicals that are themselves dangerous
if encountered outside carefully controlled conditions.
- Many refineries are located in, or relatively close to, urban areas where
their employees live.
On this page, the
refinery and chemical plant explosion injury lawyer at the
Doan Law Firm will discuss the more common types of injuries that refinery/chemical
plant workers could suffer in an explosion and then explain why injured
workers should talk to an experienced industrial plant accident lawyer
to make sure that they receive the full amount of compensation that they
deserve for their injuries.
Types of injuries in refinery explosions
There are literally dozens, if not hundreds, of injuries that refinery
workers following a workplace explosion and/or fire. Since there are an
almost infinite number of injuries, or combination of injuries, it will
be convenient to group refinery explosion injuries based on their physical
mechanism. Note that there is considerable “overlap” in these
types of injuries, meaning that it is rare to encounter a single “pure”
injury type. As an example, burn injuries are frequently accompanied by
injuries to the victim’s lungs that are caused by smoke or toxic
Refinery explosions are capable of hurling workers several feet into the
air and tens of feet across the open ground. In addition to injuries such
as fractures that are directly caused by an explosion, refinery workers
are often struck by debris that is sent flying by the explosion. Since
explosions are so frequently accompanied by fires, many refinery safety
experts consider them to be “two sides of the same coin” when
investigating refinery accidents.
Very often, refinery explosions are accompanied by fires that cause burn
injuries. In refinery explosions, burn injuries can range from minor to
life-threatening to fatal. In addition to thermal (heat) burns, refinery
workers often suffer burns by coming to contact with any number of chemical
compounds that are used in routine refinery operations. In addition to
thermal and chemical burns, refinery workers can also suffer burns from
an unusual source: exposure to extreme cold.
Many refining processes make use of gases that are contained or stored
under very high pressures. If these gases suddenly escape into the atmosphere,
their temperature will often fall to subzero levels and produce an extreme-cold
injury that is similar to frostbite but destroying/damaging tissues at
depths much deeper than typically seen in frostbite. Such extreme cold
injuries typically require, at best, repeated surgeries and may require
amputations to save the victim’s life.
Many refinery explosions are accompanied by a release of potentially-toxic
gases that are routinely used in the refining process or are produced
in fires that frequently such explosions. If these substances are inhaled,
they can cause damage to lung tissue that may be very difficult to treat
except at major hospitals or regional trauma centers.
Exposure to toxic or dangerous chemicals
As mentioned earlier, many refinery processes make use of substances that
are dangerous to humans. Many of these substances are known to cause cancer
or birth defects, sometimes years following accidental exposure. Those
suspecting that their health problems may be due to a refinery accident
are advised to speak with a refinery explosion accident lawyer for advice
on how to further investigate their suspicions.
Injuries to those living near refineries
Many refineries are located close to both residential structures (homes
and mobile homes) and the business districts in many communities. This
means that explosions and/or fires at a refinery can cause both personal
injuries and property damage in areas that are well beyond a refinery’s
boundaries. In most cases, there is little doubt as to the liability of
the refinery’s owner for these “offsite” losses. There
are, however, special cases where a refinery owner can be held liable
for damages even in the absence of an explosion or fire.
Anyone living near the site of a refinery explosion who suffers a physical
injury and/or property damage as a direct result of that explosion may
have grounds for a lawsuit against the refinery’s owner.
Why you need a refinery explosion lawyer
If you were injured by a refinery explosion or a similar accident, you
may be able to bring a lawsuit against the refinery’s owner to recover
compensation for your injuries. To increase your chances of being successful
in such a lawsuit, you should retain the services of a lawyer with experience
in such lawsuits. One such refinery explosion lawyer can be contacted at the
Doan Law Firm, a nationwide refinery explosion law practice.
When you contact the
refinery explosion accident lawyer at the Doan Law Firm, your
injury case review and your initial consultation with our firm is always free of any charges
to you and does not obligate you to hire our firm as your legal representative
in you in your refinery explosion injury lawsuit. Should you decide to
hire our firm to manage your refinery explosion lawsuit, we are willing
to assume all responsibility for preparing your case for trial in exchange
for an agreed-upon percentage of the final settlement that we will win for you.