2023 East Palestine Ohio Rail Disaster

The February 3, 2023 catastrophic derailment of a Norfolk Southern freight train at East Palestine Ohio is a prime example of the need to properly characterize and declare hazardous materials for shipment. When accidents happen during transportation, first responders and affected citizens have an urgent need – and a statutory right – to know what chemicals were involved, what emergency response procedures should be followed, and what risks are posed by the hazardous materials in transport.

The lawyers at Parr Richey are experienced in handling cases involving personal injuries, damage to homes and business property, and other losses caused by the failure of offerors or transporters of hazardous materials to properly characterize and document shipments of HazMat, and/or caused by negligent operations of transportation equipment. They also routinely handle personal injury and property damage cases of all kinds on behalf of businesses and individuals in Indiana and other states.  

Vinyl chloride (CAS # 75-01-4, chemical formula C₂H₃Cl) is associated with an increased risk of certain cancers, including liver cancer, brain and lung cancers, leukemia and lymphoma. Exposure by inhalation is, therefore, very concerning. As has been widely reported, several of the derailed cars involved in the accident were transporting vinyl chloride, and the chemical was involved in the controlled release as shown in various news reports.

Already in the case of the East Palestine derailment we are learning that some of the initial information provided by authorities in the critical early hours following the catastrophe was incomplete or incorrect. Attorneys at Parr Richey continue to monitor the developments in the ongoing investigation.