Fires and explosions are traumatic events that often catch people by surprise. The inability to prepare or brace for the blast puts individuals nearby in a very vulnerable position, which can result in serious and catastrophic injuries and fatalities. There are many reasons explosion accidents occur, and many are due to the negligence or reckless actions of others. When this is the case, those who suffer explosion injuries deserve to be compensated.
These types of cases can be complicated, however, because determining the exact cause of the blast or explosion is not always easy. A thorough investigation is often required, and this may uncover several contributing factors, with multiple parties that could be responsible. If you or someone close to you has suffered an explosion injury, you need strong legal counsel in your corner working hard to prove your claim and ensure that all responsible parties are held fully accountable.
At Schilling & Esposito, we have several decades of experience representing clients in explosion accident cases and all other types of personal injury cases in Virginia. Our lawyers have an in-depth understanding of this area of the law, and we know what it takes to prevail in even the most complex cases. We routinely go up against well-funded adversaries such as large corporations and their insurers, and we have a successful track record with these types of cases.
We are skilled litigators and strong negotiators. It is generally in everyone’s best interests to negotiate a reasonable settlement that fairly compensates you for your injuries, and we do this whenever possible. That said, if the other side is not willing to negotiate in good faith, we are ready and able to aggressively pursue full damages at trial and upon appeal.
Explosion Accidents in Virginia
Blasts and explosions can happen for a number of reasons, some of the most common factors that contribute to explosions include:
Combustible dust: Combustible dust particles are fine particles that present an explosion hazard under certain conditions. Combustible dust is often a major contributing factor in many types of manufacturing plant explosions. Some of the industries that are most at risk include agriculture, plastics, wood, rubber, textiles, pharmaceuticals, and many others.
Flammable gases and liquids: A large number of explosion accidents happen because of gases and liquids that are flammable. Examples may include oil and gas drilling explosions, pipeline explosions, chemical and power plant explosions, and fuel tank explosions that happen after a vehicle collision.
Electrical hazards: Buildings have been known to catch fire and explode due to electrical problems such as faulty wiring, wiring that is not up to code, overloaded circuits and outlets, wiring that is exposed to excessive moisture, and similar problems.
Hot work: Various types of hot work such as welding, soldering, heating, and torch cutting can cause explosions and subsequent injuries under the wrong set of circumstances.
Defective machinery and equipment: When machinery and equipment is defective and/or not properly installed, this can cause explosion accidents and injuries. For example, when a furnace has defects or has not been installed properly, it can ignite and blow up the whole building.
Damages Available for Explosion Injury Cases
Injuries from explosion accidents can vary widely, depending on the proximity of the individual to the blast and other specific circumstances. Some common explosion injuries include:
Blunt force trauma injuries
Blast lung and other internal injuries
Ruptured eyes and eardrums
Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
Loss of limbs/amputations
The types of compensation injury victims can recover depends largely on where the explosion accident occurred, who was responsible, and other specific circumstances. If the accident happened in the workplace, your first step will likely be to file a workers’ compensation claim. Most Virginia employers are required to carry workers’ comp insurance for their employees, and if you qualify, this will provide reimbursement for medical bills, a portion of your lost wages, and compensation for a permanent injury.
Although workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, the claims process can be complex and confusing, and employers sometimes put up unnecessary barriers to frustrate their employees into giving up on obtaining the benefits they rightfully deserve. If you are having any type of difficulty dealing with a workers’ comp claim, call our office right away for assistance.
If the explosion injury happened at work but it was the fault of another party (such as a third-party subcontractor or manufacturer of faulty equipment), you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the party responsible. Compensatory damages that may be recovered in personal injury claims include:
Loss of earning capacity
Pain and suffering
Loss of enjoyment
Loss of consortium
Funeral and burial expenses
In rare cases in which there is clear and convincing evidence that the party responsible acted with malice or gross negligence, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the wrongdoer and help deter them (and others) from engaging in similarly egregious behavior in the future. Virginia caps punitive damages at $350,000 (§ 8.01-38.1).
Pursuing a personal injury case in Virginia can be an uphill battle because of the state’s “contributory negligence” legal doctrine. Under contributory negligence, if an injured party is found to have “contributed” in any way to the underlying accident that caused the injury, they may be barred from recovering damages. For this reason, it is crucial to get an experienced attorney involved as early as possible in the case, so your legal right to compensation can be protected.
Speak with a Seasoned Virginia Explosion Injury Attorney
At Schilling & Esposito, we understand the major physical, emotional, and financial toll explosion accidents can take on those who were injured and their families, and our goal is to make the legal process smooth and seamless. We work closely with our clients, handling all the complex legal tasks, so you can focus on recovering from your injuries and moving forward with your life. Throughout the process, we provide strong legal guidance and moral support, and we are always available to answer any questions or address any concerns you may have.
For a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call our office today at 804-261-1001 or send us a message through our online contact form.
We accept all personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, so you only pay attorney fees if we win your case