Weitz & Luxenberg today began investigating claims by possible victims of a Feb. 16 tanker-car derailment and explosion that decimated the area in and around Boomer, West Virginia. The law firm indicated that the investigation will focus on potential cases against CSX Corp. and others responsible for the train disaster. As part of that investigation, W&L said it plans to examine the legal rights victims may be entitled to exercise against the wrongdoers for property damage and acute personal injuries. If you or someone you know has been a victim of this tragedy, please contact us. ”We hope to hear from people who were in the vicinity of this terrible event when it occurred and then afterward fell ill or in some other way suffered harm because of it,” said Robin L. Greenwald, who heads W&L’s Environmental, Toxic Tort & Consumer Protection Unit. ”Talk to us if you were exposed to toxins in the air, water or on the ground, and suffered an immediate physical reaction,” Ms. Greenwald said. Ms. Greenwald said the trouble started when 26 tanker cars being hauled by a team of CSX-operated locomotives left the tracks near Boomer.The tanker cars brimmed with crude oil which spilled when the derailment happened, according to press reports.
Victims’ Lives Turned Upside Down
The derailment triggered multiple explosions that pierced the sky with towering fireballs. An oil-fed fire has been raging for days, destroying at least one structure, according to news reports.News reports also indicated that the disaster has so far driven as many as 2,400 residents from their homes. Some were forced to flee barefoot through snow and ice. Many residents are now living off of bottled or boiled water following the derailment. Said Ms. Greenwald, ”We are particularly concerned about area residents whose health might be compromised by contamination or who have discovered they cannot safely use their tap water following the disaster, either because it has acquired a foul taste or smell or because safety warnings have been issued by officials.” As well, the fire blanketed the area with a sickening stench and at least one person was treated for what appeared to be respiratory problems, The New York Times relayed.
Legal Actions Contemplated By Weitz & Luxenberg
Ms. Greenwald said that W&L is evaluating the gamut of legal actions that might be taken to make CSX and others help residents harmed by the spill, including decontamination and clean up of the impacted area once the fires are extinguished. ”We also need to evaluate whether the contamination requires implementation of a long-term health-monitoring program to watch for signs of individual and cluster sicknesses, such as respiratory distress or other maladies, traceable to the oil spill,” she said. ”We also will be looking to determine if injunctive relief is called for to prevent this type of disaster from happening in the future. ”Weitz & Luxenberg has a venerable history of pursuing legal actions against corporations that cause harm by polluting or contaminating natural resources,” Ms. Greenwald offered.