The Beattie Law Firm recently settled an anhydrous ammonia wrongful death case after being retained to represent the children and surviving spouse of a retired farmer who was tragically killed following a release of anhydrous ammonia.
The release of anhydrous ammonia occurred when the retired farmer was spreading anhydrous on the farm of one of his sons. He was driving a tractor which was pulling tandem anhydrous ammonia tanks set on special wheels and gear. This tandem tank setup has become very popular in farming circles. The hose through which the ammonia flowed into the equipment that injected anhydrous into the ground broke.
When the hose broke the emergency shutoff valves on the tanks failed to activate to cut off the flow of anhydrous. The decedent attempted in vain to attempt to maneuver his tractor so as to avoid the spray of anhydrous directed toward him. Unfortunately, the decedent was unsuccessful in his attempt to escape the anhydrous ammonia cloud.
The reason that the emergency valves failed to activate was due to the defective design of the tandem tank setup. The two tanks that were used in tandem are designed to be used singularly. Because of this setup with the tandem tanks, emergency shutoff valves, which are designed to shut off the flow of anhydrous if a hose or other piece of equipment fails, did not properly activate.
The Beattie Law Firm, in its investigation of the causes of this horrible tragedy, uncovered evidence that this precise issue had been previously discussed at a meeting of those higher-ups involved in the agricultural industry more than two years prior to this event. Further, the manufacturers of the subject equipment provided no notice or warning or solutions and did not provide any fixes or recalls.
The Beattie Law Firm presented evidence that the damages suffered by the decedent and his family were multiple millions of dollars. A mediation of the case was proposed, and the Beattie Law Firm was able to obtain a very, very significant confidential settlement for the family. The family is now actively engaged in attempting to alert the farming community to these dangers.
The Beattie Law Firm has a great deal of expertise in the handling of agricultural related injuries and specifically with respect to anhydrous ammonia. Of note, in a 2006 trial involving the release of anhydrous ammonia, the Beattie Law obtained a verdict just shy of $10 million for its two clients.
Please contact us immediately if you or a loved one is injured or killed in an agricultural related incident.