In the wake of the devastating East Palestine chemical spill, attention has been drawn to the risks involved with living near chemical plants or where those chemicals are transported. Everyone has the right to live in a safe, toxin-free environment. However, living in an area where serious chemicals come into play can be very dangerous, especially if you are traveling the same roads. If you were injured in an accident caused by the negligence of a chemical or industrial company, talk to the Delaware injury attorneys at Silverman, McDonald, & Friedman in Newark, Wilmington, and Seaford today.
While the dangers of the East Palestine, Ohio train derailment may seem far away for Delaware residents, it is important to remember that there are still some hazards close by. DuPont has an experimental station located right in Wilmington, Delaware, where toxic chemicals are used. While there are a number of safety protocols in place to keep the area safe and protected, accidents do happen, whether that is by transporting the chemicals or working with them inside the lab.
In fact, the state of Delaware reached a $50 million settlement in 2021 with DuPont, along with two other major companies, over “forever chemicals” polluting the area’s drinking water. Unlike some other toxic spills, these “forever chemicals” do not have the ability to break down over time, which greatly affects everyone in the area.
Knowing that this chemical plant has been negligent in the past, it can be worrisome to know that they may be traveling with toxic chemicals right next to you on the road. If the driver of their vehicle exhibits the same negligence, it could lead to fatal injuries for everyone involved.
Why do chemical explosions or accidents even happen?
The only major reason such serious accidents happen when it comes to handling toxic chemicals is because proper safety protocols are not being taken. Employees or companies are likely trying to cut corners in some way in an effort to save time, energy, or money. Sometimes they are just not paying attention. However, there is not always a single person responsible for an accident; it is worth noting that accidents can happen due to things like manufacturer defects as well.
According to the World Health Organization, some types of chemical-related accidents include:
- Factory explosions
- Food or water contamination
- Oil spills
- Leaks during transportation
- Disease outbreak associated with exposure
Thankfully, these types of accidents do not happen all too often. But when they do, the effects can be devastating.
So just how often do these chemical accidents happen?
USA Today dug into the details and found hazardous materials have spilled or leaked from trains more than 5,000 times in the last decade in the United States. Even more shocking, there were two plane leaks and 67 vehicle leaks for every train-related leak reported just last year. Recently, a truck carrying hydrogen fuel got into an accident and caught on fire upon impact. The flames from this hazardous material were reported to have melted traffic lights and damaged utility lines. As you can already see, chemical accidents do not just happen in major train derailments like in East Palestine, Ohio. There are all sorts of vehicles that help carry hazardous chemicals and materials all over the country—and some can be even more serious, including truck accidents.
There may be hundreds of thousands of hazardous shipments on the road at any given time
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are more than one million shipments of hazardous materials every day. Most of those shipments (about 65%) go by truck. In 2022, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics noted close to 25,000 incidents involving hazardous materials leading to fatalities, injuries, and/or property damage.
Accidents involving chemicals can cause even more injuries
Car accidents unfortunately happen often, and victims can experience all different types of injuries depending on how serious it was. If a truck was involved, the injuries could be even worse because of the size and weight of the other vehicle. Sometimes trucks can even explode upon impact. Some injuries car accident victims may experience are:
- Broken bones
- Back injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
But when chemical or hazardous materials are also thrown into the mix, victims can experience a whole slew of injuries in addition to the ones above. Depending on what kind of hazmat the truck is carrying, it can be dangerous for accident victims – or employees – to come into contact with or inhale the fumes. Some injuries that people may experience after being involved in an hazmat accident are:
- Burns to the lung’s lining
- Eye irritation
- Smoke inhalation
- Burned esophagus
- Respiratory issues
- Blurry vision
- Chemical burns to the skin
If you were involved in a Delaware car accident with a truck carrying hazardous materials, be sure to contact an experienced truck accident attorney today. It may not be easy to connect the dots between your symptoms or injuries to the accident, so it is important to work with a team who is capable of handling such a complex claim.
The attorneys at Silverman, McDonald, & Friedman will help investigate the accident and determine fault so you can be properly compensated for all of your pain and suffering. Property damage can be fixed quickly, but recovering from the physical and emotional distress of an accident involving hazardous materials can take much, much longer. That means more time off of work and potentially more medical bills. Do not leave a case like this up to chance. To discuss your personalized workers’ compensation case, call our office or submit our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Wilmington, Newark, and Seaford.
Attorney Jeffrey S. Friedman joined Silverman, McDonald & Friedman in 2001. He graduated from Widener University School of Law, and is admitted to practice law in Delaware and Pennsylvania, and in several Federal Circuit courts. He areas of concentration include auto accident and workers’ compensation cases. Read more about Attorney Friedman here.