On March 17, 2019, a fire erupted at the ITC facility in Deer Park, Texas, (located at 2621 Tidal Rd, Deer Park, TX 77536) sending a massive smoke plume over Houston. The fire originated from several tanks containing hazardous chemicals and continued over three days. The fire was so severe, nearby businesses were required to shelter-in-place. Some of the chemicals (which may include Benzene) released in this fire can cause serious health problems. People who have been exposed to these chemicals may experience difficulty breathing, convulsions, loss of consciousness, vomiting, nausea, chest pains, headaches, dizziness, eye and skin irritation, and fatigue. Individuals with pre-existing medical conditions, such as people with asthma or allergies, may be especially sensitive to exposure of these chemicals. Many people have already sought medical attention due to exposure to the plume.
WHY HIRE A LAWYER IF YOU WERE EXPOSED?
Industry officials have gone to great lengths to downplay the severity of this fire and the smoke plume, even comparing it to a “backyard barbecue.” At least one toxicologist has called this a “shockingly inaccurate comparison” and believes the public is being misled.
When industry officials attempt to mislead the public within days of a massive chemical fire, it’s a sign of things to come. It’s a sign that they are gearing up for a fight. You should too. If you’re ready to fight, call Brian White. Our attorneys can help you take on large companies like Intercontinental Terminals Co, LLC (ITC), and get the compensation you deserve.
How to Get Compensated for Chemical Exposure in the ITC Deer Park Fire
When a company’s negligence needlessly endangers the public, such as by exposing local residents to a massive smoke plume, that company must be held responsible. Texas law allows for individuals who have been exposed to hazardous chemicals to recover for those injuries. This is commonly referred to as a “toxic tort.” Recoverable damages include money to help for medical bills, time missed from work, physical pain, and more.
In order to recover toxic tort damages, Texas law often requires injured people to prove that the specific dose and duration of the exposure would make them twice as likely to suffer these injuries. Unfortunately, this often requires testimony and reports from toxicologists, air modelers, medical doctors and other experts. This can often cost tens of thousands of dollars and often prevents individuals from being able to file their own claims.
In addition to personal injury claims, nearby residents may be able to bring a claim due to a private nuisance. A nuisance occurs when a condition “substantially interferes with the use and enjoyment of land by causing unreasonable discomfort” to the resident. Nuisances can include smells from pollutants originating at nearby refineries, which can migrate to nearby homes and business. Texas law allows residents to seek additional damages due to injuries caused by nuisances such as the ITC smoke plume.
Other Compensation Available
While health complications are the most severe consequence of exposure to these chemicals, you may also be eligible for compensation for other damages. These include:
- property damage
- business losses
- wage loss
- other incurred expenses that resulted from the incident.
Should I File a Claim with ITC?
ITC is currently accepting claims for reimbursement through a website. While you may be able to receive some compensation going that route, you should never sign anything without first consulting with an attorney.
One of the conditions of reimbursement stated on the site is:
“NO PAYMENT WILL BE MADE BY OR ON BEHALF OF ITC WITHOUT THE CLAIMANT EXECUTING A RELEASE OF ALL CLAIMS AGAINST ITC AND ITS UNDERWRITERS“.
This means you may forfeit your rights to additional or full compensation if you accept compensation directly from ITC. If you develop health problems or find that your economic damages are much greater than expected, you may not be able to recover those damages. Our attorneys can help you go over your options, read through the documentation and make a recommendation based on your situation. Call today for your free, no obligation consultation.