Investigators have announced that they believe the explosions which injured 125 and killed one in a New York cosmetics factory were an accident.
Two Explosions Rock A Community
On November 18th, 2017, at around 10:30 a.m., workers in the Verla International plant were going about their daily duties, helping with the creation of various forms of makeup. Then, their world was rocked – literally.
As video surveillance now shows, one worker was in the process of wiping down a chemical tank when a sudden flash illuminates the area and suddenly, flames are on the tanks. That worker sprinted as fast as possible away from the tank and thankfully survived, although he was badly burned. Within seconds, the first explosion happened.
It didn’t take long for 911 calls to flood the call center and for emergency officials to be dispatched. Firefighters arrived and began to battle the blaze, but the heat and flames caused a second explosion to occur. By the time the fire was under control, 125 people including some of the emergency responders had been injured and sadly, at around 7:00 p.m. that evening, a body was found in the wreckage.
Despite the fact that OSHA had cited the company for nine occupational safety violations in 2017 alone, investigators are saying none of those violations caused the explosions to occur, but that is was simple static electricity from the clothing being used to wipe down the tank which ignited the flames.
Numerous Workers’ Compensation Claims Expected
With more than 100 employees injured, it is likely that quite a few will file for workers’ compensation.
This form of insurance exists so that injured employees don’t have to suffer financially from trying to pay for medical bills. Almost every employer in New York is required to have coverage for all employees under the law, or they risk being named in a personal injury lawsuit.
Once a claim has been approved, all medical expenses relating to the workplace injury should be covered and if the employee is prevented from returning to work for an extended period of time, a fraction of their lost wages. The trouble is, not every claim is approved. In fact, a great number of claims are denied by the third-party insurer.
Why Would A Claim Be Denied?
Even though this insurance is no-fault, meaning the applicant’s own actions could have contributed to the accident which caused the injury, insurance companies are typically focused on saving the company money, not paying claims. In order to do this, adjusters are trained to look for even the smallest mistakes and deny based on those.
What Rights Do The Deceased Man’s Loved Ones Have?
When a worker dies from a compensable injury, his loved ones, which in the state of New York include the surviving spouse, children, and in some cases, other relatives who were dependent on the deceased, may be able to receive death benefits.
Death benefits will be weekly payments that are equal to two-thirds of the deceased’s weekly wage the year prior to the accident. In addition to this, funeral expenses can also be covered, up to $10,500.
Explosion Victims Should Consult An Attorney
Regardless of where they are in the workers’ comp claim process, consulting an attorney is always a good idea after being hurt on the job.
Research has shown that those who work with a lawyer are more likely to have their initial claim approved. If a denial has been issued, an attorney can begin the appeals process and can represent their client during the hearing before a workers’ comp judge.
Our firm, The Disability Guys, has been helping injured workers get the coverage they need for more than 80 years. Our legal team has dedicated their careers to this type of law and we fight passionately for workers’ rights. To learn more about how we tackle workers’ compensation claims, contact us today.