On Thursday, January 7, 2015, an explosion rocked the Dow Chemical Plant in North Andover, Massachusetts. As a result of the incident, police, and firefighters, as well as paramedics and EMT’s, responded to the scene. Although the damage appears to have been contained, authorities have reported that four people were injured in the incident and brought to Lawrence General Hospital for treatment of burns and other serious injuries. A spokesman for the hospital reported that three of the patients were being transferred to other facilities while one was remaining at Lawrence General for treatment. The source and cause of the explosion are currently under investigation. A worker was killed in a chemical explosion at the same plant in 2013.
Chemical plants can be some of the most dangerous places to work because of the variety and large quantity of highly flammable and toxic substances. Not only can injuries be caused by fires and explosions but also simply by exposure to toxic chemicals, both of which are common at chemical plants.
Although injured employees are often limited to pursuing worker’s compensation claims for their injuries, if the injury is caused by the negligence of a third party or outside the company, a civil lawsuit may also be pursued. Under the Massachusetts Workers Compensation statute, damages are typically limited to claims for lost wages, medical expenses, loss of function, and scarring. However, in cases where an employer has exhibited gross negligence or extreme recklessness, employees may be able to pursue claims for double their typical compensation. If a civil of ‘third-party’ claim is available against an outside company, the injured employee would also be able to pursue the—often more substantial—claims for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life as well as claims by spouses and children for the damages caused by the impact the injured worker’s injuries have had on their lives. Such claims are referred to as loss of consortium claims.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a chemical plant accident or another type of workplace accident, obtaining prompt legal representation is essential to protecting your rights and pursuing all available claims.
Keches Law Group is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected injury law firms in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and New England. Our attorneys are available to meet with individuals suffering from injuries and their families at one of our offices located throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. If you are unable to travel to meet with us at our office, we will make arrangements to meet with you at your home or other convenient location.