Centuries Old Legal Doctrine Underlies West Fertilizer Explosion Lawsuit, Attorney With Roberts & Roberts Explains

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Randy Roberts, a Tyler personal injury attorney, says the explosion site itself is Exhibit A in a recently filed case that relies on the legal doctrine that allows courts to presume negligence in situations where an occurrence would not ordinarily occur without negligence.

Texas trucking accident attorney, personal injury lawsuits, wrongful death claims

Randy Roberts

The law has always allowed courts to presume negligence when an event occurs that would not ordinarily occur without negligence.

How can a lawsuit allege "negligence," when the investigation is not over? That's the question being asked about the lawsuits already filed against the operator of the fertilizer plant that caught fire and exploded in West on April 17, 2013, according to Texas attorney Randy Roberts.

Roberts with Roberts & Roberts law firm in Tyler, Texas, filed the first lawsuit against Adair Grain, Inc. d/b/a West Fertilizer Co. (414th District Court, McLennan County, Texas, Case No. 2013-1653-5) on behalf of a person harmed by the explosion. Roberts said today that he relied on a centuries old legal doctrine to make his case.

"The law has always allowed courts to presume negligence when an event occurs that would not ordinarily occur without negligence," explains Roberts. "A fire might be the result of an 'unavoidable accident.' An explosion of this magnitude that results from a fire, however, is not an unavoidable accident. Fires, regardless of how they may start or whether they can be prevented, are foreseeable occurrences. The result should not be an explosion that decimates half of a town," observes Roberts.

This common sense legal doctrine is called "res ipsa loquitur," a Latin term that translates to "the thing speaks for itself." This legal doctrine was passed down to Texas and most states through the common law by courts in England.

Roberts points to dramatic new video of the aftermath of the explosion of the fertilizer plant which was shared today by Roberts & Roberts. "The explosion scene itself is Exhibit A for the survivors' cases against the plant," states Roberts.

Roberts is a frequent lecturer at advanced personal injury seminars. He is one of only 16 trial attorneys in the nation to have earned the "Advanced Studies in Trial Advocacy" award from the National College of Advocacy because of his commitment to continuing legal education.

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