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What can homeowners do if their house is damaged by an industrial accident?

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Photo Credit: lilcrazyfuzzy/iStock Photo

Industrial accidents can cause damage to a home – or an entire town in the case of Port Neches, Texas. The incident occurred on November 27 at 1 a.m. when a local petrochemical plant exploded.

Local residents, many sleeping in their beds, were woken up by a loud boom and their windows shattering.

Glass burst into bedrooms, causing at least one resident to have to be rushed to the emergency room for deep gashes in her leg. Eight people were injured that night when two explosions occurred at the plant.

Smoke and debris covered the town, which turned into a ghost town during several evacuations that week.

Chemical safety regulations were recently rolled back by the federal government, allowing for numerous toxic chemicals to enter the air. Evacuations occurred due to high levels of carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, butadiene and benzene in the air.

Many residents were sympathetic to the company that owned the petrochemical plant. A major employer, the town is known as the energy city because many of the local residents work at the plant. Residents wanted others, many that suffered injuries and damages to their homes, to show “grace.”

But grace is not enough to ensure that a person’s home is properly repaired.

Homeowners that have to deal with an industrial accident damaging their home don’t know how to proceed. No one expects an industrial accident to shatter their windows or cause their home to suffer structural damage.

How to Document the Damage

Homeowners will want to document all of the damage to their home. The damage will be significant in many cases, and in one case, the injuries a person sustained led to a wrongful death lawsuit.

One resident died thirty minutes after the blast, and his widow has filed a lawsuit against the plant’s owners.

Any time there is an industrial accident, it poses a risk to your:

  • Home
  • Health
  • Physical well-being

The plant, in this case, can cause long-term health issues due to chemicals and pollutants in the air. Homes are damaged, and the injuries that residents sustain are also considered damages.

You can file a lawsuit against the industrial company.

But you can also file a claim with your insurer for household damages.

You’ll want to document the entire ordeal:

  • Take pictures of all of the damage
  • Take video of all of the damage
  • Provide before and after images if possible
  • Hire contractors to provide estimates of the repairs

It should be fairly easy to prove that an industrial accident occurred. Police reports can help and will provide all of the relevant information you need to file a claim with your insurer.

How to Show Proof to the Insurance Company

Insurance companies want proof that the damage occurred due to an industrial accident. You can provide this proof with a police report or other documentation stating that an accident occurred nearby.

Texas residents have ample proof, including news articles, that show that there was an explosion at the local plant.

Insurance companies will want extensive proof, and you can only provide the proof that you gather, such as:

  • Images
  • Video
  • Estimates
  • Documentation of damages

But you’ll need to put everything together neatly for the insurance company. Put all of the files into a binder or envelope, and send them to the insurer. You should also provide a written statement of the events that occurred.

If you were in the home at the time of the accident, write down every last detail of what happened.

You can also provide proof of your own injuries to better help demonstrate the extent of the damages that occurred. For example, the injuries of the homeowner where her legs were cut badly, this can also serve as proof of the window shattering.

Any and every last detail should be provided so that you can make a strong case to the insurance company.

Insurers may ask for additional proof, but all that you can do is provide as much proof as possible about your injuries. Presenting all of the information will strengthen your case. Make sure to file a claim, and if a claim is denied, you can escalate matters further.

You can also hire an attorney or file a complaint for the claim being denied.


Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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Augusta Free Press