I read a news report today about a chemical tank exploding at the DuPont plant in Tonawanda, New York. The Tonawanda plant produces countertops and sinks and laminate film used in solar panels.
The explosion killed one worker and injured another. Police say the blast may have been caused by fumes or residue from chemicals the tank once held that were ignited by welding activities nearby.
Sounds to me like DuPont did not properly empty or isolate the tank. Unfortunately for the injured worker and the deceased worker’s family, the case against DuPont will be barred by workers’ compensation law. That means that they will get only workers’ compensation benefits, which are minimal when compared to what they could get if a full-fledged lawsuit were allowed. Workers’ compensation generally pays medical bills and about 60% of the lost wages. No pain and suffering compensation is allowed.
We had a similar explosion case a few years ago. In that case, an explosion happened at the Carrier plant in Syracuse. Several workers were very seriously injured. We could not sue Carrier (because of the workers’ compensation bar), but we sued the manufacturers and suppliers of the equipment that exploded. And we settled for a multi-million dollar figure.
Perhaps there is a New York workplace explosion case here against the manufacturer or supplier of the tank or chemical that had been in the tank. Perhaps they failed to properly warn about the dangers of their product igniting and exploding. Perhaps there were defective valves on the tank that caused a leek. All these possibilities, and many more, should be investigated by a competent New York explosion injury lawyer.