Tucson Hazardous Spill - Mass Tort Case?

Tucson Hazardous Spill

The Arizona Department of Public Safety lifted evacuation and shelter-in-place orders on February 15, 2023, following a fatal crash from a truck carrying nitric acid on Interstate 10 near Tucson on February 14. Nitric acid is a colorless liquid with an acrid odor and has yellow or red fumes. A passerby reported seeing orange gas coming from the overturned tractor-trailer, a sign of the nitric acid spill.

The Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center and Pima County Health Department encourage residents to assess their potential exposure to determine their next steps.

Who is Affected by the Tucson HAZMAT Spill?

Those affected by the Tucson HAZMAT spill include anyone exposed to nitric acid fumes for over 15 minutes within a mile of the incident.

If you were affected by the spill, the Pima County Health Department recommends seeking a medical evaluation to have your primary or urgent care doctor evaluate possible respiratory issues as soon as possible.

Residents who sheltered in place within a mile of the exposure and used air exchanges, such as recirculating devices or HEPA filters that drew outside air, may also need to seek medical care.

The 15-minute exposure threshold does not apply if you drove past the chemical fumes and the accident.

Possible Complications of Nitric Acid

Nitric acid can cause chemical respiratory illness by releasing nitrogen dioxide into the air. If you breathe in these fumes, you may experience lung complications within 12 to 24 hours after exposure to nitrogen dioxide gas:

  • Wheezing
  • Shallow breathing
  • Respiratory difficulties
  • Asthma or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) flare-ups

Exposure to nitrogen oxide gas can have long-lasting consequences on your health. If left untreated, bronchiolitis obliterans, or popcorn lung, can develop 2 to 8 weeks later, with your lungs showing signs of tiny nodules when under a chest radiograph.

Bronchiolitis obliterans also includes symptoms of continuing chills, chest pain, dyspnea, and fever. There is no cure for this disease, but your doctor may recommend treatments involving cough suppressants, inhalers, and oxygen therapy to help you manage your symptoms for the rest of your life.

How Can a Mass Tort Lawyer Help

If you develop respiratory symptoms from the Tucson HAZMAT spill, you may need long-term medical treatment to manage them. To help you obtain compensation for your disease, you can file an individual lawsuit or join a mass tort case. A mass tort lawsuit involves a group of plaintiffs who suffered similar harm merging their lawsuits into one.

An experienced mass tort lawyer from Berberian Ain, LLP can represent you alongside other victims who have suffered as a result of the spill and help you recover compensation. Your compensation may cover a variety of losses related to your exposure to the incident, including:

  • Medical bills associated with the treatment of your disease
  • Lost wages
  • Non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life

Your lawyer will work to gather evidence and investigate your claim to determine the cause of your respiratory symptoms and the extent of the damages you suffered due to the nitric acid spill. They will identify the parties liable for the spill, including the truck company, and seek a settlement from their insurance companies. Throughout the legal process, they can negotiate damages to compensate you for your medical visits, prescriptions, and therapies to manage your symptoms.

Berberian Ain LLP’s experienced chemical lawyers can help determine if you have a legal claim arising from the Tucson HAZMAT spill. Our lawyers are investigating any complaints regarding the spill and will take legal action for compensation owed to residents against the responsible parties.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a mass tort lawyer.