When specific chemicals combine to create risky, combustible conditions, the scenario is called a “chemical fire.”
Sometimes, a spark can be required to light the chemical ingredients on fire (usually liquids).
However, some chemical admixtures can result in fire-starting explosions.
Are Chemical Fires and Chemical Burns the Same Thing?
No. Chemical fires involve a burning substance that starts a fire. When the skin comes into touch with caustic or acidic chemical substances or liquids, it results in a “chemical burn,” in contrast. This results in an injury that resembles heat or fire burns in some ways. Even if you prevent a burn, exposure to the chemicals can still make you sick.
Chemical burns can occasionally be extremely severe because the liquid may spread or enter the body in ways distinct from a fire. However, chemical fires can frequently cause more property damage, particularly when combustion or explosion occurs.
What Situations Cause Chemical Fires?
Chemical fires or explosions could happen in the following circumstances:
- Laboratory tests
- Cleaning supplies being used in an unventilated area Handling flammable materials close to heat or sparks, such as when smoking,
- Handling illicit materials or producing illicit drugs without taking the necessary safety procedures, such as in a meth lab
Chemical fires may also occur due to faulty or improperly labeled products.
Federal Laws Against Meth Labs
The federal government recently gave combating methamphetamine top priority. The Comprehensive Methamphetamine Act was adopted in 1996. This bill allows for the domestic seizure and forfeiture of substances used as precursors to methamphetamine, like pseudoephedrine, and enables the Attorney General to coordinate efforts to halt the trafficking of such chemicals internationally.
The bill also increases the penalties for trafficking in certain precursor chemicals and having equipment used to produce restricted drugs and requires the creation and execution of prevention, education, and meth treatment programs by an interagency task team.
The Federal government has harsh sanctions for meth production. Depending on the quantity seized, mandatory minimum drug punishments call for 5 to 10 years in prison for meth manufacturing. Significant fines will also be levied.
State Laws Against Meth Labs
There are laws prohibiting the production of meth in every state. State laws governing meth production vary. However, meth production is illegal in every state. Expect long prison sentences and large fines, notwithstanding state variations.
States have also recently started to control the distribution of over-the-counter cold medicines, including pseudoephedrine. These rules constrain the quantity you may buy or sell. Additionally, it is illegal to possess specific amounts.
What Burn Injuries Caused by Chemicals Are Common?
Burns from chemicals often result from coming in touch with different chemical agents and compounds. These can happen in various contexts, including homes, offices, other places, and research facilities. A chemical burn can result from careless storage (resulting in a chemical exposure injury), poor cleanup, or illegal chemical use.
Skin burns and other chemical reactions, eye injuries, injuries brought on by splashes or dropped objects, or injuries to the hand or fingers are a few instances of chemical burn injuries.
Chemical burns can frequently be caused by a lack of safety equipment or by using chemicals inadvertently. Numerous consumer goods and household items, such as medicines, creams, and cleaning chemicals, can potentially cause chemical burns.
Common Reasons for Fires in Chemical and Electrical Plants
Dangerous chemicals frequently start fires at chemical factories. Even if hazardous chemicals provide a risk of ignition on their own, this risk multiplies significantly when these substances are combined with large machinery or other dangers.
The following factors contribute to chemical plant fires:
- Defective wiring
- Outdated machinery
- Overheated equipment
- Shoddy safety procedures
- A lack of personnel training, a lack of storage procedures
Combustible materials might catch fire when a business neglects to maintain its equipment.
Additionally, workers may make minor mistakes that have serious repercussions when businesses neglect to teach their staff.
To prevent chemical fires, every company must provide its staff with sufficient training.
Employers may be held accountable for the tragedy that results from poor training.
After a chemical fire, if you experience any of these symptoms, you should head straight to the hospital:
- Throwing up
- Moist eyes
- Throat or lungs burning
- Trouble breathing
The smoke may cover someone’s lungs if they are close to a chemical fire. The “chemical covering” may prevent the lungs from taking in and metabolizing oxygen. It may result in scarring in and around the lungs’ tiny air sacs.
Even though lung scarring due to the chemical coating is a serious side effect of chemical fires, it may take some time before symptoms appear.
Going in for a routine respiratory test is a good idea because of chemical coatings and other issues to ensure that you have no internal damage from a chemical fire.
What Options Are There for Compensation for Chemical Burn Injuries?
A monetary damages award may be the solution in most situations with chemical burn injuries. Other available alternatives for redress include:
- Requiring the defendant to pay court costs and expenses;
- Requiring the defendant to change their practices (such as making chemical goods safer); or
- Accepting a settlement offer
The severity of the chemical burn injuries, the defendant’s actions and liability, and particular problems with the product can influence the settlement offered.
Due to the severe harm and permanent scarring, burn injury settlements are typically higher than those for other forms of personal injuries. However, if the plaintiff accepts a settlement offer, they are typically not allowed to file or continue the lawsuit.
Who Is Responsible if a Chemical Fire Occurs?
Many chemical fires happen when the fire starts accidentally, and nobody is to blame. A person may occasionally be held accountable for harm or property loss brought on by a chemical fire.
For instance, distributing products that do not meet safety regulations or are not properly labeled may subject a manufacturer of hazardous materials to liability.
Similarly, if someone violates a duty to handle specific chemicals safely, they may be considered negligent. This is especially true for staff members whose jobs require them to handle combustible materials. Contact a lawyer if you have questions about who is responsible in the event of a chemical fire.
If a case is brought, there can be repercussions in the form of a monetary damages award.
How Are Chemical Exposure Injuries Treated?
Legal issues related to chemical exposure injuries can be quite complicated, and a lawsuit may be necessary. The remedy in most chemical exposure litigation will be some monetary damages award.
Losses, including medical costs, hospital bills, lost wages from work, diminished future earning ability, and the damages frequently cover other losses like pain and suffering.
If the same cause or source hurts numerous people, many chemical exposure claims are considered class actions.
Should I Get Legal Assistance with Chemical Fire Claims from a Lawyer?
Property damage and chemical fire injuries can require complicated legal principles. You might need to consult a personal injury lawyer if you require legal counsel or advice on a chemical fire occurrence.
Your attorney can conduct legal research on your situation and advise you on your claim’s best course of action. Additionally, if you have to appear in court, your lawyer can also represent you there.