What Should I Do If I Was Impacted by the Ohio Train Accident?

What Should I Do If I Was Impacted by the Ohio Train Accident?

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What Should I Do If I Was Impacted by the Ohio Train Accident?

In February 2023, a train carrying hazardous materials derailed in the eastern Ohio town of East Palestine. This incident quickly became national news as residents of the town were advised to evacuate.

While the evacuation advisory was made out of an abundance of caution, it wasn’t made without reason. Officials understood that the train cars contained dangerous materials that were likely entering the air and groundwater.

This caution proved wise as locals started to complain about health problems within weeks of the derailment. Some were inhaling smoke from the fire burning at the accident site, and others appeared to be affected by contaminated groundwater.

The full impact of this accident won’t be understood for years or possibly decades. But if you feel that you have been affected by the train crash in any way, take steps now to protect yourself and your family. 

Contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Morgan & Morgan to schedule a free case evaluation as soon as possible.

How the Impact Will Change Over Time

If you live near East Palestine, you may not yet know whether you have been impacted by the train derailment. That’s typical, as the impacts of events like this change over time.

Immediate Impact

The immediate impact of this accident will be felt by people in Ohio and Pennsylvania who live close to the accident site. In particular, anyone who lives in East Palestine has likely already been impacted by the accident.

The derailment has resulted in an ongoing fire that continues to release smoke into the air. This smoke contains particles of toxic chemicals and diffuses across the area. This is one of the main reasons that government officials recommended that locals evacuate.

If you followed that advice, then you are incurring expenses like the costs of transportation and lodging. You may also be unable to work, either because you are out of town or because the place where you work has closed temporarily. All of these are ways that you have immediately suffered because of the accident.

People who didn’t evacuate may also be facing immediate impact. The town is filled with emergency vehicles, and many roads and businesses are closed. This means that you might find it difficult to engage in daily activities. Depending on how much this situation interferes with your life, you may be eligible to receive some compensation.

Finally, some people who live in the area have already begun to suffer health scares from breathing the chemicals released into the air. Norfolk Southern, the company that ran the train, may be liable for any harm you suffer from breathing contaminated air.

Short-Term Impact

Over the next few years, more people are likely to be affected by this accident, including many who don’t live in East Palestine. For example, one of the largest grocery stores in Pennsylvania, Giant Eagle, has stopped selling its branded water because the water supply is from a location near the derailment.

That’s just one example of how this accident could inflict economic harm. More examples will arise over the next few years. And these impacts will result in people losing income or even their jobs.

If your livelihood is affected by this accident, you should contact Morgan and Morgan immediately for a free case evaluation. Depending on the circumstances, you might be able to get compensation from the train company.

Furthermore, if the chemicals released in the accident cause long-term health problems for East Palestine locals, the problems should start to become apparent during the next few years. However, you shouldn’t wait until you start suffering to speak to a lawyer.

Instead, you should consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Even though you aren’t currently being affected, this will make it easier to get information when further details emerge. Your lawyer will contact you the moment they become aware of any information relevant to your case.

Long-Term Impact

Some impacts from this accident won’t arise for years or decades, though the seeds of those impacts may have already been planted.

For example, contaminated wastewater from the firefighting efforts was transported to a company in Texas to be disposed of. That disposal effort will hopefully be completely safe. But if it isn’t, contaminated groundwater in Texas might cause long-term health issues years or decades from now.

As more outsiders get involved in the cleanup efforts in East Palestine, the impacts of this event will continue to spread to other areas of the country. And impacts in those faraway places are less likely to be identified as quickly as those in eastern Ohio.

There’s little you can do immediately about these long-term impacts other than keep an eye out for problems. If you see hints of unexplained medical issues that can be connected to the Ohio train accident, you should speak to a lawyer familiar with this case as soon as possible.

What Should I Do if I Was Impacted by the Ohio Train Accident?

If you live or work near East Palestine, Ohio, you should consult with an attorney from Morgan & Morgan immediately. It doesn’t matter whether you think you have a case yet. Our lawyers will give you up-to-date information about the situation and tell you what you should expect.

Additionally, we will gather information about your situation so we can inform you in the future if things change. By contacting us as soon as possible, you may have a chance to learn about health problems from us before you are affected by them.

And if you do already have a case, then the earlier you speak to us, the sooner we can start getting you money. If you have lost time at work or already have medical bills, you will need compensation as quickly as possible. Remember, our attorneys can only start getting you money once you hire us.

In the Future

If you are reading this years after the accident because you’re worried that you or a family member has been impacted by the spill, the good news is that you can still take action. Morgan and Morgan will investigate your case and determine whether you were harmed by the accident.

As long as you contacted us immediately after you became aware of the harm, you should still be able to receive compensation from the train company. Statute of limitations laws in nearly all states start the clock for action once you become aware of harm or should reasonably have been aware of the harm.

We will investigate the circumstances of your case and the laws of your state. Once we understand the situation, we’ll let you know what your options are and help you get the money you deserve.

Possible Damages From the Ohio Train Accident

It can be hard to accurately predict the types of harm people might suffer from the Norfolk Southern train derailment. It could be decades before the full extent of the accident is understood. As facts come to light, additional harm will be identified and the people affected will be eligible for damages.

Despite this lack of knowledge, our law firm can predict some harm that is likely to be caused by this accident. We expect cases seeking damages for the following:

  • Lost wages or jobs
  • Loss of property value
  • Property damage from the accident, including the resulting fire
  • Long-term diseases like cancer from toxic chemicals in the air or groundwater

As a rule of thumb in any civil case, if you suffered expenses or losses due to the negligence of another party, you are eligible to receive damages to offset them. While Norfolk Southern may not be liable for all consequences, it will likely be found responsible for most of the harm caused by this accident.

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

Morgan & Morgan

  • Do I Need an Attorney if I Was Impacted by the Accident?

    Yes. When personal injury cases involve major events like this accident, there are typically a lot of legal intricacies involved. Unless you have a law degree, you are unlikely to know how to proceed, which means that you will probably not get the compensation you deserve for your case.

  • Should I Join a Class Action Lawsuit Against the Train Company?

    Every case is different. When you speak to our attorneys during your free case evaluation, we will let you know all your options. Joining a class action lawsuit may be one of those options. We will only recommend the option if it is the best way to get you the money you deserve.

  • Do I Have to File a Lawsuit to Get Compensation?

    No, you don’t. Typically, the majority of civil cases never end up at trial. Instead, our attorneys negotiate with the insurance company for the liable party to get you a fair settlement based on the details of your case.

    You can still choose to go to trial if you think that would get you better results than a settlement. But you will rarely be forced to go to trial to get money.

  • How Much Will an Attorney Cost Me?

    There are two answers to this question. If we successfully get you compensation, then we will charge you a percentage of the money we win for you as our fee. That is the only bill you will receive, and there are no surprise charges.

    Should we fail to get you money, our services are completely free. This is true regardless of how long the case takes and whether it went to trial.

  • How Do I Know My Lawyer Won’t Settle for a Low Amount of Money?

    There is no reason for your attorney to settle for a lower amount of money than what you deserve. If we settle for less than you deserve, we get paid less. Too many cases like that would likely cause us to lose money. It is much better for our bottom line to fight for as high a settlement as we can possibly get. Additionally, we want to see justice won for our clients.

  • Experienced Lawyers With an Excellent Record

    Morgan & Morgan has been a leader in civil law since 1988. Our attorneys have won billions of dollars in compensation for our clients from settlements and trials. When incidents like the Ohio train derailment occur, we devote significant resources to helping people like you get the money they need to recover quickly.

    If you have been impacted or expect to be impacted by the East Palestine train derailment, contact our law firm immediately to schedule a free case evaluation.

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