A natural gas explosion brings the potential for very serious and catastrophic injuries. Victims of these blasts are usually innocent bystanders who were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Many natural gas explosions occur in industrial plants, buildings, and factories where gases are stored in areas that are supposed to be safe. When gas escapes, it can come into contact with an ignition agent, leading to a powerful explosion.
Investigating the cause of an explosion starts right after it occurs. Investigators will examine the explosion site and look for clues as to how and why the explosion happened when it did. The answer to these questions can help determine legal liability. They also help ensure that safety measures are implemented so that the same mistakes are not repeated in the future.
One of the most important roles of a natural gas explosion attorney is investigating the explosion itself. A thorough search into the cause of the explosion can uncover many clues about who should bear responsibility. Here at Burg Simpson, our attorneys will always go the extra mile to ensure that our clients have the benefit of a complete investigation into the explosion.
Once we have gathered all of the facts, we use this information to advocate for a strong resolution that is in the best interest of our clients. Here, we will take a look at some common causes of an explosion and how an investigation can benefit your case.
Causes of a Gas Explosion
Natural gas is an odorless, naturally occurring substance. It is made up of methane and accounts for about 30% of the fuel used and consumed in the United States. Natural gas is considered a fossil fuel as it is produced by the natural action of heat and pressure on organic materials contained in the earth’s surface. By itself, natural gas is not a flammable substance. However, when it mixes with air that is at a certain temperature, it becomes combustible and can explode.
Most natural gas explosions in the United States occur in confined spaces where natural gas is present but escapes. These places include factories and industrial plants, but also residential buildings and construction sites. Some of the most common causes of natural gas explosions are:
- Leaking pipes
- Defective or faulty equipment
- Improper use of appliances
- Rusty or damaged gas lines
- Negligent maintenance
Each of these causes can lead to a potentially fatal explosion. Knowing the cause of a natural gas leak and subsequent explosion is crucial in determining the next steps for injured victims.
Investigating Natural Gas Leaks
Investigations into the cause of a gas leak begin as soon as the explosion occurs. In many cases, federal agencies are in charge of the initial investigation. Recently, a gas explosion at the R.M. Palmer candy factory in Pennsylvania left seven people dead and injured 11 others. The National Transportation Safety Board assumed initial responsibility for the investigation. Investigators later determined that the explosive gas leaked from a pipe fitting that was more than 40 years old at the time of the blast. The pipe fitting was removed and replaced.
Federal investigations into natural gas explosions are often complicated and lengthy. It may take up to one year or more for investigators to complete their work and issue a report on the cause of the explosion. In some cases, a preliminary report with findings will be issued. In other cases, only the final report is published. Ultimately, the conclusions of investigators play a key role in shaping gas explosion litigation.
Expert Witness Investigations
In addition to federal or other official investigations, your legal team will sometimes want to conduct their own investigation into the cause of an explosion. In these cases, your attorney will hire an expert to work for them. The expert may be an engineer, physicist, chemist, or other scientific professional. Typically, this person will have a strong background in investigating gas explosions and determining their cause.
A gas explosion expert will look at all of the events surrounding the explosion. They may review the official investigation report and determine if it is complete and accurate. Ultimately, your expert will issue their own opinion on the cause of the explosion in the form of a written report.
Your expert’s opinion can be admissible in court if your case goes to litigation. Having an expert explain the explosion’s cause to a jury is a key element in a successful legal strategy. Prior to court, your expert’s report may be used to put pressure on the other side to settle your case and obtain a more favorable outcome without the risk of going to a trial.
At Burg Simpson, our natural gas explosion lawyers will utilize all of our available resources, including well-known experts, to help prove your case and maximize your compensation.
National Gas Explosion Attorneys
If you or a loved one have been affected by a natural gas explosion, you have likely suffered very serious and devastating injuries. Your injuries will require you to obtain significant compensation in order to make you whole again. It is important to have a lawyer who will stand up for your legal rights and obtain the outcome that you deserve. Here at Burg Simpson, we strongly believe that all negligent parties should be held fully accountable for their actions. Our team is dedicated to recovering compensation for those that were hurt in preventable accidents.
Our firm is standing by to assist you at any time. We utilize all of our resources to help win your case. We have recovered more than $2 billion in compensation for injured victims. With a team of dedicated attorneys and experts, you can rest assured that we are working for you at all times.
Our consultations are free for all potential and prospective clients. There is no financial obligation until we obtain a recovery on your behalf. To speak with a nationwide gas explosion attorney, please reach out to us using our online intake form or give us a call at (866) 695-1830.