Much of the cargo ships and barges transport consists of volatile and combustible chemicals, including oil and liquid petroleum gas (LPG). Even ships that do not carry these types of chemicals have fuel and other flammable materials on board and equipment that may explode. When these materials ignite at sea or at dock, it can set off an explosion that can severely injure crew members on the ship. Those crew members may be able to recover for their injuries under federal law.
A Washington maritime explosion lawyer from Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski can represent you in seeking compensation for damages you've suffered as a result of the ignition of chemicals while at work at sea, or if you've lost a loved one due to a maritime explosion. The injuries from an explosion can be substantial, and you could lose your ability to work. Contact us at 1 (800) 262-8529 to schedule a free consultation.
At Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski, our attorneys are licensed and experienced in the federal courts of Washington, California, Alaska and Oregon. For any claim you might have before those courts, we are able to represent you.
A significant cause of explosions at sea is cargo that is combustible. Barges that carry chemicals, pressurized gas, fertilizer and explosives like TNT and C-4 are especially vulnerable. While these materials are supposed to be tightly contained, any accident that exposes them to flame, including a collision with another ship or the harbor, may have an instantaneous, deadly result. Many of these materials are also highly volatile, and any failure to maintain them at a certain temperature can lead to explosion.
Explosions can also come due to malfunctions in equipment or mistakes made in maintaining it. Some causes of explosions on vessels include:
A number of consequences come due to an explosion, and a number of injuries may be caused.
The sheer force of a blast can cause injuries. A large enough explosion can cause a shockwave. The force of ignition can toss heavy objects that may impact with crew members, or cause a collapse on the ship.
When an explosion happens, fire typically soon follows. Crew members may have severe burns and suffer injury from smoke inhalation.
When the ship is on fire, the only place to go may be into the water. Or, the force of the explosion may actually throw a person into the ocean. In the icy waters of the Pacific, that crew member may drown or experience hypothermia.
People who are seamen on board vessels are given the right to seek relief in federal courts by legislation known as the Jones Act. Under the Jones Act, crew members can seek relief for medical bills, lost wages and lost ability to work if they were injured due to an explosion that is the result of negligence on the ship.
Negligence can cause an explosion when the vessel operator does not have sufficient procedures in place to guard against the events that caused the explosion. In other cases, the vessel operator did not maintain safety manuals or operating manuals detailing those procedures. Neither are the actions of a "reasonably prudent" operators.
In other cases, the vessel owner did not have sufficient crew to prevent the explosions or crew members trained on how to handle the volatile chemicals. In either case, the vessel may be deemed to be "unseaworthy."
If you are a crew member in the Pacific Northwest who was hurt in an explosion while on a vessel, or your loved one was killed at sea due to materials exploding, contact a skilled Washington maritime explosion lawyer at Anderson Carey Williams & Neidzwski. We will fight for the recovery you deserve. Call us at 1 (800) 262-8529 to schedule a free consultation.
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