Ohio Train Derailment Lawsuit

On February 3, 2023, a Norfolk Southern train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, potentially putting thousands at risk.

Sokolove Law is closely monitoring the situation and is here for your family. As more is known about this tragic event, we will continue to provide updates.

February 2023: About the East Palestine, Ohio Train Derailment

On February 3, about 50 Norfolk Southern freight train cars went off track in East Palestine, Ohio on the way from Illinois to Pennsylvania. At least 10 of the derailed cars were carrying extremely hazardous and flammable chemicals.

A mechanical issue involving an axle on one of the 150 total train cars may have contributed to the crash. Security footage in Salem, Ohio showed sparks or flames under the train before the derailment occurred nearly 20 miles down the track.

As a result of the crash, East Palestine residents were evacuated from the area for a short period, so railroad crews could burn the carcinogenic or cancer-causing chemicals to avoid an even bigger explosion.

Ohio Train Chemicals & Health Risks

At this time, we know the derailed Norfolk Southern trains were carrying vinyl chloride, butyl acrylate, ethylhexyl acrylate, ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, isobutylene, and more.

Vinyl chloride is a colorless but hazardous gas used to produce polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic. Exposure to vinyl chloride can cause a range of potentially serious health effects, including:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Eye and skin irritation
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Liver and lung damage
  • Neurological effects
  • Reproductive effects
  • Respiratory harm
  • Several types of cancer

However, when vinyl chloride burns, it becomes hydrogen chloride and phosgene. Phosgene is highly poisonous and was used during World War I as a choking agent, while hydrogen chloride is irritating and corrosive to any tissue with which it comes into contact.

These chemicals may have become airborne and been carried into neighboring areas, as well as being absorbed into the rain clouds and nearby waterways.

The Risk of Water Contamination

Tragically, the contamination may only continue to spread and put more families at risk. On February 9, Ohio Department of Natural Resources officials estimated that the crash had already resulted in the deaths of 3,500 fish about 7.5 miles downstream of the town.

According to the EPA, chemicals from the incident have already been found in samples from:

  • Sulphur Run
  • Leslie Run
  • Bull Creek
  • North Fork Little Beaver Creek
  • Little Beaver Creek
  • The Ohio River

The Ohio River supplies drinking water to over 5 million people, and over 30 million people live in the Ohio River Basin. As of February 14, these waterways are still believed to be contaminated. In addition, groundwater may be, or may become contaminated, potentially affecting well water supplies.

Ohio state officials will continue to work with the EPA and a company hired by Norfolk Southern to determine the full extent of damages in the area. The drinking water supply wells and water system are also being tested at this time.

Until more is known, Ohio health officials recommend that East Palestine residents use bottled water and have their water source checked for contamination — particularly those with private wells.

Residents and business owners in the area have turned to filing lawsuits for the train derailment in Ohio and their potential injuries from exposure to toxic chemicals.

Legal Options Over the Train Derailment in East Palestine, Ohio

The derailment of a train carrying toxic chemicals can give rise to various types of lawsuits, including personal injury claims, wrongful death claims, property damage claims, and business interruption claims.

Who can file a lawsuit may depend on the extent of the damages. Generally speaking, the following parties may have legal claims arising from the train derailment in East Palestine, OH:

  • Exposed residents
  • Injured passengers
  • Local governments
  • Property owners and businesses
  • Railroad workers

Additionally, government agencies may also file lawsuits to hold companies criminally accountable for environmental damage and force them to clean up the contamination.

As a national personal injury law firm, Sokolove Law may be able to help affected families take legal action and hold Norfolk Southern accountable for their negligence.

Filing an Ohio Train Lawsuit Against Norfolk Southern

Sokolove Law has over 40 years of experience helping people file personal injury lawsuits. Our law firm is committed to helping those harmed by greed, misconduct, and negligence get the help they deserve.

As more is known about this tragic event, Sokolove Law will continue to provide updates.

Norfolk Southern Derailment Lawsuit FAQs

Is there a class action lawsuit against Norfolk Southern for the Ohio train derailment?

Yes. Class action lawsuits for the Ohio train derailment have been filed against Norfolk Southern by residents and business owners in the area who allege the company acted with negligence.

Because litigation is still so new, you still have time to file an Ohio train derailment lawsuit if you or a loved one suffered harm from the tragic event.

Can I file a lawsuit against Norfolk Southern for the train derailment in Ohio?

Possibly. There could be legal options if you or a loved one was negatively affected by the Ohio train derailment on February 3.

You may be able to hold Norfolk Southern accountable and pursue compensation for any harm your family suffered.

Sokolove Law Team

Contributing Authors

The Sokolove Law Content Team is made up of writers, editors, and journalists. We work with case managers and attorneys to keep site information up to date and accurate. Our site has a wealth of resources available for victims of wrongdoing and their families.

Last modified: March 15, 2023

  1. ABC News. "Waterways along Ohio River still contaminated following train derailment carrying hazardous materials: Officials." Retrieved from: https://abcnews.go.com/US/waterways-ohio-river-contaminated-train-derailment-carrying-hazardous/story?id=97195028. Accessed on February 14, 2023.
  2. ABC News. “Why the toxins from the Ohio train derailment could have posed deadly threats for residents nearby.” Retrieved from: https://abcnews.go.com/Health/toxins-ohio-train-derailment-posed-deadly-threats-residents/story?id=9697839. Accessed on February 14, 2023.
  3. Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission. "The Ohio River at a Glance." Retrieved from: https://www.orsanco.org/river-facts/. Accessed on February 14, 2023.
  4. United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). "General Notice of Potential Liability. Retrieved from: https://response.epa.gov/sites/15933/files/Norfolk%20Southern%20East%20Palestine%20Train%20Derailment%20General%20Notice%20Letter%202.10.2023.pdf. Accessed on February 14, 2023.