Derailed Train Carrying Toxic Materials Sends Thousands to Hospital
Recently, a train carrying very toxic material derailed and caught fire in eastern Tennessee, forcing thousands of people to evacuate and sending others to the hospital for respiratory injuries.
Firefighters were particularly concerned that the fumes contained cyanide because of the chemical (acrylonitrile) that was both leaking out of the train car and burning into the air at the same time. The air contamination was so bad that approximately 5,000 people and several businesses had to be evacuated.
Reported side effects including headaches, dizziness, erratic heartbeats, nausea, and skin irritation issues, with over 50 people being sent to the hospital. Even the first ten firefighter responders had to be rushed to the hospital for breathing in the fumes, in spite of having protective equipment.
Authorities still do not know how much total acrylonitrile spilled out and burned into the environment, or how much remains in the tank. They have requested that residents nearby avoid drinking well water for now, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is planning to test air, water, and soil samples in the coming weeks.
According to the Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety Analysis, there were nearly 3,700 railroad accidents in the first three months of 2015 alone—more than the total railroad accidents in 2012 and 2013. While some of these accidents may be completely accidental, others are likely due to negligence—including driver distraction, texting, not obeying signals, etc., failure to address train maintenance, failure to properly follow regulations re: transporting hazardous materials, etc. If people riding a train, or located near a train, are injured as the result of a train or railroad company’s negligence, they can seek damages for their injuries, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Another Disaster for CSX
CSX is the company that operates these railroad tracks and is now paying for hotels, food and water for residents affected by the derailment. This is the same railroad company associated with another accident in late June, when a teenage boy was struck and killed near the railroad tracks in Franklin.
CSX is no stranger to being sued. Between 2007 and 2011, there was a long-running CSX railroad court case involving stock and the Securities and Exchange Commission. In addition, last year, the company was involved in a dispute over a video taken of a train accident that occurred on tracks operated by CSX.
Contact our Personal Injury Attorneys
Railroad accidents often result in devastating injuries and even death when a person is hit by a car, truck, or train. At Calhoun Law, PLC, our experienced Nashville personal injury attorneys have been helping clients in Tennessee get the compensation that they deserve. Call now at 615-250-8000 for a free and confidential consultation or contact us by e-mail to speak directly with our attorneys.