Pope & Howard, PC

Blacksburg, Virginia, Industrial Accident Explosion Raises Questions About Plant Safety Practices

Marc Howard

On New Year’s Eve, an explosion at the Federal-Mogul plant in Blacksburg, Virginia seriously injured workers at the plant. Such industrial accidents often trigger an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and it is likely such an investigation will occur here.

Marc Howard, founding partner of the Pope & Howard, P.C. law firm, is a Blacksburg, Virginia native who routinely handles cases involving industrial accidents resulting in severe injuries.

“Explosion cases are some of the most difficult for the people involved, as they often result in serious burn injuries and post traumatic stress” said Howard. ‘Industrial accidents, including explosions often cause catastrophic and permanent injury.” In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were a total of 5,488 workplace fatalities in the United States in 2007.

Industrial and workplace accident litigation is an extremely complicated, sophisticated area of personal injury law. Usually, thousands of pages of documents, multiple parties, the need for electronic discovery, and large corporate defendants make industrial accident cases difficult for most Plaintiffs’ attorneys.

Contrary to what most personal injury lawyers think, workers’ compensation does not usually bar workplace injury or industrial explosion lawsuits. Contractors working at an industrial facility, for example, can usually recover against the premises owner. Employees of the facility operator may be able to recover against other contractors on the property, inspection services, and product manufacturers. In some states, employees may sue their employer for gross negligence (which often exists in the workplace accident scenario). Third-party lawsuits almost always result in a significantly larger award than the award available in the workers’ compensation system.

In the Blacksburg Federal Migul explosion case, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office stated that four contract workers sustained multiple injuries while doing maintenance on December 31, 2010. It is likely that OSHA and state investigators will review the case to determine a cause of the explosion.

Pope & Howard, P.C., www.popehoward.com, is a top rated industrial accident law firm specializing in numerous practice areas, including personal injury, construction site accident cases and premises liability cases.