May 6, 2013 — Adair Grain, the company that owns West Fertilizer Company, had $1 million in liability insurance. Last month, an explosion at the fertilizer plant killed 15 people, injured 200, and caused an estimated $100 million in property damage alone. If Adair Grain is found negligent, their insurance coverage will likely pay for only a small fraction of the insurance claims against the company.
Property damage included a 50-unit apartment complex, a nursing home, three schools, churches, dozens of homes, and more. Unfortunately, even buildings that look fine from the outside have actually sustained significant structural damage due to the pressure wave from the explosion. Roof damage is particularly expensive to repair.
Many lawsuits have already been filed. Lawyers were informed of the limited insurance policy on Saturday, May 4. According to attorney Randy C. Roberts:
“A million dollars is a pathetic amount for this type of dangerous activity. If you want to drive a truck down the interstate, you’ve got to have $750,000 in coverage, even if you’re just carrying eggs. But if you want to put this ammonium nitrate into this town next to that school and that nursing home and those houses, you’re not required to carry insurance.”
Texas does not require companies that handle hazardous chemicals to have a certain level of liability insurance, which is not unusual in the United States. Even states that do have liability insurance requirements typically set the bar significantly lower than the actual cost of an accident. In many cases, companies get just enough insurance coverage to cover the cost of their own property damage, but not enough to cover the victims in a potential accident.
Lawyers expect Donald Adair, the owner of Adair Grain and West Fertilizer Company, to ask a judge to split the $1 million in insurance money among the victims and then file for bankruptcy. It is likely that victims who do not receive the compensation they deserve will be required to use their own homeowner’s or health insurance to pay for claims. Those who are uninsured may be forced to pay for their damages out of pocket.
It is possible that investigators will find other parties that may have been responsible for the explosion. According to the fire marshal leading the investigation, May 10 is the approximate date when the investigation will conclude.
Do I have a Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion Lawsuit?
Our law firm has already been contacted by residents of West, Texas and we are now currently representing a number of victims in the horrible tragedy. If you or somebody you know was harmed by the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation.
We are currently accepting potential lawsuits involving personal injury claims, hearing loss, property damage, economic losses, recovery costs, and more. Please use the form below to contact our Accident & Personal Injury Litigation Group or call us toll-free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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