Victims of Garner ConAgra Explosion Should Be Wary of Improper Attorney Contacts

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Raleigh workers' compensation specialist Benjamin T. Cochran says victims, families faced solicitation from out-of-state lawyers following 1991 Hamlet fire.

This is not the first tragedy like this we've had in North Carolina

Victims of the ConAgra plant explosion and their families should be wary of solicitations from out-of-state lawyers pursuing personal injury claims, cautions a Raleigh workers' compensation specialist.

An explosion rocked the Garner food processing plant Tuesday, causing part of the roof to collapse and sending more than 40 people to area hospitals, several with critical burns. At least three people were still unaccounted for Tuesday afternoon.

Authorities were still investigating the cause of the explosion at the Garner plant that manufactured snack food products such as Slim Jims.

"This is not the first tragedy like this we've had in North Carolina," said Raleigh, NC attorney Benjamin T. Cochran, a board-certified workers' compensation specialist and supervising partner with the law firm of Hardison & Associates. "We saw an influx of lawyers from out of state after the Hamlet chicken plant fire, and we do not want to see a repeat of that."

The 1991 fire at a chicken processing plant in Hamlet that killed 25 workers and injured 50 others brought an influx of out-of-state lawyers to Rockingham County hospitals, funeral homes and private residences seeking to sign clients, prompting complaints to the State Bar.

State Bar rules prohibit lawyers from soliciting work by phone or in-person from a prospective client with whom there is no prior relationship. Some law firms employed runners to circumvent rules against direct client solicitation following the Hamlet fire.

"North Carolina laws are complex, and families should be focusing on their loved ones right now, rather than having to fend off solicitations," Cochran said. "The State Bar has rules about improper solicitation for a reason."

About Hardison & Associates

Hardison & Associates is a highly respected North Carolina personal injury law and workers' compensation practice with offices in Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville, Dunn, Southern Pines and Wilmington. For more information, visit the firm's Website at or call toll-free at (800) 434-8399


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