Not sure what that smell is? — A checklist to protect yourself from environmental harm.

Texas_Pollution_s640x420A few days ago there was an explosion at the Air Liquide plant  in La Porte, Texas where one worker was killed and at least one other person injured.  Air Liquide owns  the industrial gas facility where various gases, including oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, and argon, are mixed at the plant into cylinders that are used in the processing of such items as food, beverages and electronics, according to a company spokesman.  At least 15-20 other employees were working that day and the explosion was so loud and forceful that it caused many other neighboring businesses to feel the resulting tremors.  La Porte, Texas is a suburban bedroom city lying just outside the city of Houston, but still firmly within the confines of Harris County.

Although people know that the eastside of Houston and Harris County is predominantly composed of working class families, many are unaware that people who live here are commonly exposed to a steady influx of air pollutants, contaminated groundwater, and environmental toxins. So one must wonder how the explosion of a plant such as Air Liquide may contribute to the overall health of surrounding families?

Well, there is no short and sweet answer for this type of problem.  However, if you feel that your health is being impacted by local businesses below is a list of steps you can take to strengthen your lawsuit if you decide to pursue it in the future:

  • Record the date of the accident or the day you first recognized your injury.
  • The location of the accident (if it is an on-the job injury workers’ compensation laws prevail)
  • The amount of any medical bills you have paid to date since the accident or living in the affected area.
  • Whether an accident report was made ( you should try to secure a copy for your records as well)
  • Who the potential parties are ( other plaintiffs and defendants).
  • Record changes in your physical condition (Keep a diary and/or medical journal that describes how the injury has changed your life, sleep, medications, treatments, etc.)
  • Report all evidence and subsequent occurrences to the police or monitoring authority (Texas Railroad Commission or Texas Commission of Environmental Quality)
  • Keep all evidence of expenses.
  • Keep a record of the time lost from work.
  • DO NOT discuss your case, DO NOT fill out forms, and DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING without your attorney’s prior approval.  If an insurance representative tries to talk to you about your case, immediately tell them to call your attorney.
  • Do not overlook other sources for payment of expenses.  If you have sickness or accident insurance, be sure to let your attorney see everything before you sign it.
  • Collect all medical bills, names and addresses of all witnesses and insurance policies and bring all these things to the law office.
  • DO NOT MISS DOCTOR’S APPOINTMENTS.

As usual, these blog posts do not serve as legal advice or a binding legal relationship. They are merely my recorded thoughts as an Environmental lawyer and created for my intellectual pleasure.

Categories: Air Pollution, Groundwater Pollution, Houston, La Porte, Texas, Toxic Torts | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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