A refinery is a facility or site where various chemical engineering units refine certain chemicals and materials. This usually involves converting raw materials into useful products that can be marketed or incorporated into marketable materials or products. An example of this is with a sugar refinery, where sugar cane is refined to produce table sugar for consumer use. Another example is with the refining of petroleum to make usable oil products.
Due to the nature of refining processes, a refinery facility can house very complex and sometimes dangerous operations. Refining products typically involves the application of heat as well as the use of liquids, solids, or gases that may be dangerous to begin with. Thus, refinery accidents can occur in connection with these refining processes. Since large amounts of materials can be used, refinery accidents can be serious.
Common refinery accidents and injuries include:
- Explosions, especially fuel and gas explosions
- Heat and fire burns
- Chemical fires and chemical burns
- Exposure to toxic substances
- Various other types of incidents
What Parties can be Held Liable for a Refinery Accident?
As mentioned, refinery activities can be very complex. These can involve a large number of persons and parties all participating to create the final product. Liability for a refinery accident can be found in many parties, and fault can occur at many steps of the process. For instance, the following parties may be held liable for a refinery accident:
- Persons involved in handling materials (for example if they were negligent in handling materials)
- Safety inspection personnel
- Compliance managers
- Suppliers of materials or machinery used in the refinement process (for instance, with a defective product)
- Employees at the refinery site
Liability for a refinery accident can also involve multiple persons. Also, higher level management can sometimes be held responsible. An example of this is where the site management is aware of dangerous work practices but fails to remedy the working conditions.
Are There any Legal Remedies for a Refinery Accident?
Refinery accidents can be very large and can affect a large number of people. For instance, explosions or chemical leaks can affect many employees, and can even affect surrounding neighborhoods or communities. The effects of such incidents can sometimes linger for years, especially if chemicals seep into the groundwater.
Legal action may be needed for these types of issues, as well as for injuries that need more immediate attention. In many cases, refinery accidents can lead to a monetary damages award for losses suffered, such as medical expenses and property damage. Work injury laws may sometimes come into play as well. In cases where the accident can be attributed to faulty company policies, other remedies may be enforced as well.
An example of this is where a judge issues an injunction for a refinery site to cease operations that are harmful to workers or to nearby residents. Many refinery accidents can lead to class action lawsuits if many people are harmed by the accident.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with a Refinery Accident Lawsuit?
Refinery accidents can affect individuals as well as large groups of people. You may need to hire a personal injury attorney in your area if you or someone you know has been injured in a refinery accident incident. Your lawyer can provide you with advice on how to proceed and can research state laws to determine your recovery rights. Also, when you appear in court, your attorney can provide you with legal representation and guidance during those processes as well.