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Explosion and Fire at Steel Plant

Multi-million Dollar Recovery for injured worker - A steamfitter working for an outside contractor assigned to a U.S. Steel plant in the Pittsburgh area suffered serious burns to his face, hands and lower body as a result of a gas explosion inside the plant. The plaintiff and members of his work crew had come into the plant to do some repair work on a large piece of equipment serviced by a 30-inch gas line. It was our contention that the plant owners failed to safely control the flow of volatile coke oven gas which was allowed to escape and then was ignited producing a tremendous explosion. The owner of the plant attempted to argue that it was the plaintiff and his co-workers who had the responsibility to control the gas, but we were able to show that all of the instructions for shutting off and controlling the gas were prepared by the plant owner, not the plaintiff or his crew.

As a result of his injuries, the plaintiff spent nearly six weeks in the hospital. Burns are among the most painful injuries that we see, and this gentleman endured a great deal of suffering not only in the hospital but for a long period of time after his discharge. Additionally, despite multiple surgeries on his hands, he was never able to re-gain enough function to be able to return to his former job as a steamfitter. Therefore, a large part of our claim was for past and future wage loss. The plaintiff was a married man, and in any case involving injury to a husband, the spouse has a separate claim for loss of consortium, and in this situation that claim was a significant one as the wife not only lost a great deal of what her husband used to provide for her, but she was required to pick up a lot of the burden around the house for things that her husband was unable to do.

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