How Do I Contact an Attorney to File a Lawsuit against Norfolk Southern?
If you or someone you know has suffered harm from hazardous chemicals related to the Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, along the Ohio/Pennsylvania border, You may be entitled to compensation through an East Palestine trail derailment lawsuit. Contact the environmental lawyers at Cory Watson Attorneys today for more information.
About the Ohio Train Derailment
On the evening of Friday, February 3, 2023, a 141-car Norfolk Southern freight train was carrying hazardous materials from Madison County, Illinois to Conway, Pennsylvania. The train was witnessed to be on fire at 8:13 PM, and then around 9:00 PM, the crew received an alarm signal indicating a malfunctioning railcar axle. Shortly after that, 53 cars derailed, including five cars carrying vinyl chloride, a colorless, flammable gas used in manufacturing. The vinyl chloride and other chemicals caught fire and burned continuously for three days.
Vinyl Chloride is Extremely Dangerous
Vinyl chloride is a colorless gas with a slightly sweet smell. Its primary use is to make polyvinyl chloride for use in products like PVC pipes and bottles.
Vinyl chloride is known to cause a variety of long-term and short-term health effects. According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), vinyl chloride is a Group A human carcinogen, meaning that it has been definitively linked to the development of cancer in humans who inhale, ingest, or have skin contact with it. In particular, this dangerous chemical is known to cause multiple forms of liver cancer, as well as brain cancer, lung cancer, lymphoma, and leukemia.
Widespread Contamination has been Reported
To deal with the hazardous materials remaining in the derailed train cars, Norfolk Southern vented and burned the chemical in a “controlled release.” The smoke from this “controlled release” resulted in a mushroom cloud stretching high up into the atmosphere. Once the black smoke could no longer rise higher, it spread horizontally into a thick cloud that stretched for miles around the site. Reports of fumes, sediment, and particulate matter from the derailment and fire have come from areas up to 30 miles from the site. The Testing by the Environmental Protection Agency found contamination and damage to local waterways, including notably the Ohio River, occurred from the release of toxic chemicals and water runoff from the derailment. An evacuation order was put into effect within a mile of the train derailment site located at 1020 East Taggart Street.
Southern Norfolk Faces Lawsuits, Escalating Cleanup Costs
The environmental cleanup of the train derailment site in East Palestine, Ohio, has climbed to $803 million as of July 2023, which includes $222 million in legal fees and $63 million in assistance to the community.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office, the U.S. Justice Department, and the EPA have all filed lawsuits against the railroad company. Norfolk Southern says it filed a lawsuit in the northern district of Ohio against seven companies involved in the hazardous materials spill to help with cleanup costs.
Can I Sue Norfolk Southern Over the East Palestine Derailment?
Many people were forced to evacuate their homes and businesses, and properties around the area are likely heavily contaminated. Officials warned that a significant temperature rise in tank cars indicated a high risk of toxic gas emissions or an explosion in the area.
On Feb. 6, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine issued a press release warning residents, “According to Norfolk Southern Railroad, the controlled release process involves the burning of the rail cars’ chemicals, which will release fumes into the air that can be deadly if inhaled. Based on current weather patterns and the expected flow of the smoke and fumes, anyone who remains in the red-affected area is facing grave danger of death. Anyone who remains in the yellow impacted area is at a high risk of severe injury, including skin burns and serious lung damage.”
Residents of East Palestine and surrounding communities began filing lawsuits against Norfolk Southern alleging the company’s decision to burn the vinyl chloride, rather than disposing of it safely, exposed thousands of people to highly toxic gas. Their lawsuit seeks payment for property damage, economic losses, and exposure to hazardous chemicals.
Why You Should Speak with a Lawyer if You Were Affected by the Norfolk Southern Train Derailment
Some people affected by the East Palestine derailment have been offered financial assistance. However, it is important that you not accept any compensation without first speaking with a lawyer. By accepting an offer, you may unintentionally waive your right to more comprehensive financial compensation in the future.
If you or someone you know has suffered health concerns or harm to property related to Norfolk Southern’s train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, contact the environmental attorneys at Cory Watson Attorneys at 877-562-0000 or fill out our 100% free case evaluation form for a free consultation and case evaluation.
About Cory Watson Attorneys
Cory Watson Attorneys is a nationally recognized personal injury law firm with offices in Birmingham, Alabama; Memphis, and Nashville, Tennessee. The firm has recovered more than $3 billion for clients across the country. Cory Watson attorneys are frequently at the forefront of major class actions and multidistrict litigations involving dangerous pharmaceuticals, hazardous waste, and product liability and are often appointed to leadership positions in national cases. Firm practice areas include Personal Injury, Product Liability, Environmental Law, Class Action, Asbestos, Business & Commercial Litigation.