Common Damages in Chemical Spill Accidents
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Gregory H. Herrman with Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C..
Chemical spills are dangerous situations that can result in a wide variety of damages for the people affected by the spill or exposure to chemicals. When an employer uses any kind of potentially hazardous chemical in their business, they are legally required to have an adequate spill plan in place and to provide training for employees so that they can know what steps to take in the case of a chemical spill.
Immediately after a chemical spill, it is important to do the following:
- Alert coworkers
- Alert supervisors
- Remove contaminated clothing
- Flush any skin exposed to the chemical for at least 15 minutes
- If the spilled chemical is flammable, contact the fire department
- Contact a hazardous material team to contain the spill
Waiting to take action after a chemical spill can result in the dangerous substance spreading, putting even more people at risk. If you work near dangerous chemicals, it is essential that your management team has a clear plan in place regarding how to handle one of these spills and what to do in the case of exposure. If one of these plans does not exist, the company could be liable if an accident occurs.
Some types of chemical exposure include:
- Chemical spills
- Chemical leaks
- Contaminated groundwater
- Chemicals leaked into the environment
These are just a few means of chemical exposure that can be facilitated by actions as simple as breathing, eating, and even absorption through the skin. If you think you might have been exposed to a dangerous chemical, seek medical care immediately.
Types of chemical spill and exposure injuries:
- Eye injuries: One of the most common injuries that occurs in chemical spills and exposure is injury to a victim’s eyes. The eyes are extremely sensitive and subject to burns and severe irritation. This is why it is imperative to use protective eyewear anytime there is a chance the eyes could be exposed to a chemical substance.
- Inhalation injuries: This can involve extreme damage to not only the lungs and respiratory system, but the cardiovascular and nervous systems as well. In a chemical spill, it is often difficult to contain the hazardous substance, and it is imperative that anyone in the vicinity of the chemical take precautions to avoid inhaling the toxin.
- Ingestion injuries: These injuries generally involve extreme damage to the inner workings of an exposure victim’s body when a chemical is accidentally or intentionally ingested. If there is any possibility that someone might have ingested a dangerous chemical, call poison control immediately.
- Body injuries: This most commonly includes injuries to an exposure victim’s hand, leg, or other part of the body that has come into contact with a dangerous chemical through mishandling or other means.
Each of these injuries can result in costly medical bills, lost wages, and other more non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. After sustaining an injury as a result of a chemical spill, it is imperative to seek immediate medical treatment, not only to protect your health but also to ensure that an official record exists confirming the extent and cause of the injury. It’s also important to contact a chemical spill attorney who can advise you on how to seek compensation for your damages and assess the viability of your personal injury claim.
To learn more about chemical spill accidents or if you or a loved one were injured by a chemical spill or exposure, seek legal counsel.