Close Menu

Workers Injured In Houston Chemical Leak Yet To Recover


A disastrous chemical leak in Houston left two dead and dozens injured. Now, the injury lawsuits are coming in, accusing the company of serious negligence in the maintenance of its facility. The plaintiffs allege that the company that owned the chemical plant is guilty of negligence and gross negligence for allowing the leak to occur.

According to witness accounts, a yellow cloud began engulfing the workers. While several experienced side effects of inhaling the toxic fumes, others were injured in an attempt to get away from the danger. Some still have respiratory complications related to inhalation damage. It is not clear if those injuries will have permanent effects, or if the injured workers will recover completely.

What happened? 

The leak was first reported at 7:30 pm in the acetyls unit. The unit had been shut down and maintenance had begun. The leak came from an acetic acid reactor. At least 30 people suffered injuries as a result of the leak and two contractors were killed. Some of the 30 were employees of the Houston chemical plant while others were contractors performing maintenance there. It is likely that OSHA will investigate whether there were any safety violations at the plant that could account for the chemical leak.

Elements of negligence 

It’s not clear how the chemical leak occurred, but unless the owner of the plant can prove that someone was tampering with a valve, they are unlikely to avoid litigation. In fact, it’s hard to see how the chemical plant is not responsible for the incident. The chemical plant controls the facility, allowing a chemical leak to occur during maintenance, and 30 individuals were injured along with two more who were killed.

Contractors and employees 

Workers’ compensation is run at the state level which means it doesn’t work the same way in every state. In Florida, the chemical plant would have likely been forced by law to carry workers’ compensation coverage. That means that any worker who was directly employed by the chemical plant would be stifled from filing a lawsuit against their employer. Texas is another story altogether. Texas does not like forcing large businesses to do anything. Instead, Texas employers have a choice of carrying workers’ compensation coverage or setting aside funds to handle claims filed against them. If the company does not carry workers’ compensation insurance, then they can be sued by their employees.

The families of the two deceased contractors would still be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit in either state. If the chemical plant has workers’ comp insurance, the employees will be forced to file claims under workers’ comp insurance. The contractors, however, would still be entitled to recover pain and suffering damages along with a larger payout.

Talk to a Miami Personal Injury Attorney Today 

Not every work-related injury is forced through the workers’ compensation program. Before you begin the process of filing a claim with your employer, have a Miami personal injury attorney take a look at your claim to determine whether a lawsuit is appropriate. If not, we can still pursue your workers’ comp benefits. Call Payer Law today!


Facebook Twitter LinkedIn