Even with modern technology and today’s safety rules and regulations, industrial accidents occur too often, leading to the deaths of thousands of workers each year. For some workers injured in industrial accidents, the sole avenue of recourse may be the workman’s compensation system. For many others, though, the law may allow them to pursue something called a “third-party industrial accident claim.” These kinds of legal actions can be especially complicated, so be sure that, before you start, you have on your side an experienced Oregon industrial accident lawyer with the specialized knowledge necessary for your case.
An explosion in northeastern Oregon serves as a recent reminder of the continued frequency — and danger — of these types of workplace incidents. The site was a potato chip processing plant in Umatilla County, just south of Hermiston. The Oregonian reported that a boiler explosion triggered a massive fire that gutted the facility.
The good news is that no one died and no one suffered serious injuries. The bad news is that, two weeks after the fire burned the plant down, the employer laid off all 230 people who worked there, according to the Associated Press.
Regrettably, the incident in Hermiston is far from unique. Last March, The Oregonian reported on an ethanol-producing plant in Cornelius that was the site of “explosions and a large fire” that led to the evacuation of some 80 homes and nearby businesses. Again, fortunately, no one was seriously hurt.
Later that month, however, the news from outside Salem was more tragic. A dust explosion at a seed cleaning facility in Silverton left one person injured and a second, who was trapped on the plant’s second floor, dead, according to a KATU report.
If you were an employee of the entity that owned the facility where your accident occurred, you may have recourse through workman’s compensation but, as many workers know, workman’s compensation sometimes isn’t enough. In Oregon, you may potentially have more options in addition to workman’s compensation.
Holding Responsible Entities (Beyond Your Employer) Accountable for Your Injuries
If any of the causes of your accident lead back to negligence on the part of someone other than your employer, then you may have a viable third-party industrial accident claim against that other entity (or entities.) For example, say that you worked for ABC Foods at one of their processing plants, and were injured by a fire that was the result of a boiler explosion. If the evidence indicated that the boiler, manufactured by XYZ Corp., was defective and that ABC’s maintenance-and-repair contractor, PDQ Inc., should have spotted and addressed the problem but did not, then you could have very significant and potentially successful third-party industrial accident claims against XYZ, PDQ, or both.
Cases like these require the right kind of legal experience. You need a legal team that knows how to investigate these incidents and trace all the causes, including those that lead back to your employer’s vendors, equipment manufacturers, and other contractors. You also need someone knowledgeable in litigating these often complex matters. Look to the experienced Oregon industrial accident attorneys at Kaplan Law LLC. Attorney Matthew D. Kaplan has the specialized skills and experience necessary to help injured people navigate this often-challenging legal landscape. Call us today at (503) 226-3844 or contact us online to set up your free consultation.