[UNITED STATES] Blast victim also waited to see a doctor, BP attorneys say

Donaciano Peralta said he broke his ankle trying to get off his forklift when the isomerization unit exploded at the BP Texas City refinery in 2005. But he didn't see a doctor until more than a year later and only when his lawyer told him to, according to testimony and evidence presented Friday in the latest civil trial related to the blast.

Donaciano Peralta eventually had three surgeries to repair his ankle. Evidence showed different doctors offered different opinions, with one recommending surgery and another telling Peralta he needed to use an exercise bike to strengthen the joint, according to evidence.

Attorneys for BP seized on the varying diagnoses in court Friday. Donaciano Peralta, 35, and nine other workers are suing for physical and emotional trauma they say stemmed from the explosion, which killed 15 people and injured scores more.

BP has admitted responsibility for the blast, but the company disputes the extent of plaintiffs' injuries and the $950 million they're seeking in damages. Donaciano Peralta, testifying through an interpreter, added that he became depressed after the blast and got better only with psychiatric help.

Executive deposition
Also Friday, plaintiffs' lawyers played a videotaped deposition of Ross Pillari, then-president and CEO of BP Products North America.

Pillari put the blame for the explosion on refinery managers. Ross Pillari was asked about trailers that were close to the explosion in violation of company policy and about a BP report that said the company thought trailers would simply roll over in an explosion.

Asked whether he would want to be inside a trailer while it rolled around, Ross Pillari said he wouldn't know if it was safe without seeing a study.

The trial is scheduled to resume Monday.

Source:Houston Chronicle|By BRAD HEM

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