Were You Injured at Work? Talk to a Workers’ Comp Lawyer
When an industrial plant has a problem, workers and nearby residents can suffer from explosions, fires, or exposure to toxic chemicals. The physical damage can include disfiguring burns, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, amputations, damaged lungs, crush injuries, or loss of life.
Who Is Liable in an Industrial Plant Accident?
Industrial accidents are complex situations. Identifying all liable parties may require an extensive investigation into the facts – what contributed to the explosion or release of chemicals, gases, or other toxic substance? The owner of the facility may be liable. In some cases, a utility, chemical-manufacturing company, or a company that produced a holding tank or other transfer system could be responsible.
All industries that use toxic substances are required to comply with stringent worker health and safety regulations. When federal and state safety regulations are violated, legal action can be taken to seek full compensation.
Workers’ Comp or Third-Party Lawsuit?
Under North Carolina law, injured workers typically only have access to medical care and some percentage of lost wages through the workers’ compensation program. The amount available through this system is often much too low to provide adequate support for an injured person and family. If the underlying cause of the industrial accident is found to lie with a third party, a lawsuit can be filed against them to pursue compensation above and beyond what is available through workers’ compensation.
Types of Industrial Accidents
North Carolina is one of the most attractive states for industrial plants. It is also the location of many accidents, with serious or fatal injuries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following were the most common fatal occupational injuries in the state:
- Exposure to electricity
- Exposure to temperature extremes
- Exposure to environmental heat
- Exposure to harmful substances
- Exposure to oxygen deficiency
- Fires and explosions
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Proving Negligence in an Industrial Plant Accident
Proving negligence can be lengthy and involved, since both state and federal agencies will review the scene of the accident. Your attorney may need to engage a team of professional accident investigators before filing a lawsuit to recover compensation. It is essential to establish that one or more parties breached what is termed the “duty of care,” the responsibility to ensure that workers are safe. In some cases, several parties can be held accountable.
In some situations, workers’ compensation insurance will (or should) cover an injury or illness, providing for lost income and medical treatment on a temporary or permanent basis, depending on the situation. If you have a legitimate workers’ compensation claim or if you have had a claim denied, our attorneys can help you plan your next steps.
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