If you lost a loved one in a gas explosion accident, or got injured yourself, contact Burg Simpson as soon as you can. We can offer legal guidance during your free consultation to see what your options are to seek compensation.

A report published by the National Fire Protection Association shows that on average, more than 4,000 residential homes catch fire and more than 40 people are killed every year due to an ignited gas leak. This report also shows that fire crews respond to around 350 gas leaks on a daily basis that do not involve explosions, fires, or ignitions.

A gas explosion is capable of doing a lot more damage than just destroying your home or job site. In the blink of an eye, your entire life could be changed. If you sustained explosion injuries due to the negligence of a utility company, property owner, landlord, boss, or a third party, you are probably wondering if there is anything you can do to recover your damages. The answer is most likely yes. An experienced gas explosion attorney will know the best way to help you get the financial compensation you are entitled to.

A gas explosion attorney is a personal injury lawyer who litigates premises liability and wrongful death cases arising from gas explosions at homes, businesses, construction sites, and elsewhere.

In spite of numerous precautionary and safety efforts, gas explosions are not uncommon. Our personal injury attorneys can help you and your family move forward with the compensation you deserve after a gas explosion accident. Call the law offices of Burg Simpson today to schedule your free case review with an experienced gas explosion lawyer or wrongful death attorney today.

Gas Line Explosions and Fires

Drilling for oil or gas has always been a dangerous job. Workers are at a high risk of being involved in a workplace explosion anytime gas vapors seep from a broken pipe liner valve and make contact with a source of ignition. Even with regulatory safety ordinances, gas explosions continue to happen at worksites, houses, apartment complexes, and many other places as well.

Drilling and fracking operations have become infamous for the catastrophic injuries their workers and nearby residents sustain when a gas explosion from a propane tank or pipeline takes place. Contractors, plumbers, gas company workers, and the general public are at risk of being exposed to these dangers, including fires and explosions.

Death by gas explosion is usually caused by inadequate or improper training, defective or outdated tools and equipment, broken gas pipelines, violations of safety ordinances, or insufficient safety inspections.

How Dangerous Are Oil and Gas Extraction Jobs?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 427,000 people are employed by the oil and gas extraction industry nationwide. The CDC also stated that the oil and gas extraction industry has an annual death rate that is six times greater than any other worker. Additionally, most of the employees who are injured or killed on the job are usually short-term employees or contractors and generally are not covered by workers’ comp benefits.

What Makes the Industry so Dangerous?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has indicated that the primary answer to this question is fires and explosions. Anybody who works in the gas or oil industry is in danger of flammable vapors or gasses touching off, causing serious and life-threatening injuries. These vapors and gasses can be released accidentally or deliberately. Should they encounter a source of ignition, a disaster can easily occur. An ignition source could be anything from welding tools, to an ember from a cigarette, to static electricity.

These risks and dangers do not apply only to gas and oil industry workers. Whole neighborhoods rest on top of pipelines carrying natural gas and are exposed to the same dangers when things go wrong. In 2018, one man was killed and several more were injured in Boston when a pipeline exploded and destroyed more than 130 buildings. From 2010 to 2018, the states of West Virginia and Virginia experienced several dozen gas-related fires and explosions.

How Does a Gas Explosion Happen?

Gas explosions are generally sudden, unforeseen, and very destructive. Since they usually happen with no forewarning, people in the area are not able to escape or prepare in any way for the situation. This is the main reason that gas explosion injuries are often serious or deadly. Although gas explosions obviously take place in and around the natural gas industry, they can take place in other environments as well, such as:

  • Residential neighborhoods
  • Fertilizer plants
  • Manufacturing plants
  • Fuel and gas stations
  • Power plants
  • Construction sites
  • Mining operations

Fires and explosions can also be caused by defective or improperly installed appliances, like an oven or a furnace. No matter what causes the explosion, anybody who is in the vicinity can sustain catastrophic or even fatal injuries.

Gas Leaks in Residential Homes

Nationwide statistics show that the average local fire department is called out to roughly 126,000 residential propane and gas leaks that do not involve fires or explosions.

The National Fire Incident Reporting System reported that leaking propane tanks attached to propane grills are a common source of these incidents. Leaking propane tanks are a primary contributing factor to a lot of residential fires and gas explosions where home heating equipment, such as a water heater, is involved.

Residential gas leaks cost an estimated $54 million in property damage every year. Most catastrophic explosions and fires caused by gas leaks result in a considerable amount of damage to single and multi-residential homes, like manufactured housing and apartment complexes.

Studies have revealed that almost 75% of all ignitions that lead to gas explosions were contained in the igniting object, such as a grill, gas line, or water heater.

Common Causes of Gas Explosions

In an industrial setting, when fuel leaks from a tank or a pipeline, it can cause an explosion. Further, an explosion could be caused or contributed to by a malfunctioning part or product. In the context of a civil lawsuit, this is known as product liability. Here are some of the most common causes of gas explosions:

  • Malfunctioning or defective connectors, valves, and seals
  • Inadequate or missing warnings and labels
  • Stripped copper wiring or piping
  • The installation of any pipeline that violates building codes, standards, and safety regulations
  • Insufficient odorization, such as inadequate sulfur smell additives
  • Leaky tanks and hoses

Chemical fires caused by propane gas can ignite if the delivery company fails to fill the tank correctly or adequately treat a new propane tank, allowing rust and moisture to remain. Propane is extremely combustible. Should a leak occur, it could be easily touched off by smoking materials, fire, static electricity, or electric sparks.

Injuries Commonly Caused by Gas Explosions

Exposure to natural gas and propane can put people at substantial risk of serious injuries and death, should a fire or catastrophic explosion take place. Most people who experience a job site or residential gas explosion sustain serious, life-changing injuries, such as:

  • Fractured or broken bones
  • Crush injuries
  • Burn injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Crushed limbs
  • Amputations
  • Blunt force trauma, especially to the face and head
  • Chemical burns
  • Damage to ears and hearing loss
  • Damage to vision and eye loss
  • Sickness caused by exposure to poisonous chemicals
  • Sadly, death

Companies often disregard safety violations and other job site infractions in order to increase their profits. Indeed, their singular concern is that of their profit margins, a highly dangerous focus that comes at the expense of loyal, dedicated employees and sometimes members of the public as well. These injured people, if they are lucky enough to survive, will be left to recover while trying to figure out how to cover their mounting medical bills they have acquired through no fault of their own.

Common factors that are directly related to explosions and leaks include:

  • Overworked or fatigued employees
  • Improper or non-existent management or supervision
  • Lack of safety devices
  • Worn out, improperly used, or defective tools, machinery, or equipment

Common Causes of Residential Gas Explosions

Gas lines are installed during an apartment building’s construction. Utility companies then use these gas lines to service entire buildings. Sometimes individual lines are run to apartments to power appliances.

A defective or faulty control valve or connector can lead to severe injuries and deaths. Household equipment and appliances that are commonly involved in residential gas explosions are:

  • Dryers
  • Space heaters
  • Barbecue grills
  • Central cooling and heating systems
  • Ovens and cook-tops
  • Swimming pool heaters
  • Fireplaces
  • Water heaters

Establishing Liability for a Gas Explosion

Given the dangers inherent in dealing with natural gas, it is imperative that any associated appliances, devices, and components are all properly maintained, installed and managed. Even when safety practices are in place, serious gas explosions can still take place when a manufacturer sells substandard or defective equipment or machines.

Anytime a company manufactures or sells a faulty or defective product, or a contractor improperly repairs or installs a device, it could lead to an explosion and serious injuries. Several different parties could be liable for a gas explosion, such as:

  • The manufacturer or the piece of equipment, tool, or appliance
  • The gas company
  • The distributor of a faulty or defective product
  • The marketing company or sales representative
  • The contractor or a professional installer
  • The contractor or a professional repairman
  • The utility company
  • A third-party

The bottom line is, the most common cause of gas leaks is negligence. It can be anything from corporate negligence to the negligence of a property owner or property manager. The injuries and deaths that are suffered from these explosions could be prevented, and that is why any negligent party who contributes to an explosion should be held accountable for the destruction they have caused.

An experienced gas explosion lawyer should have a well-established track record of successfully handling explosion injury claims. The liable party should be required to compensate all explosion victims and their surviving family members for their injuries and other losses, and the lawyers at Burg Simpson can make sure that happens.

Most explosion victims are also entitled to pursue third-party claims against the company or entity responsible for accidental or deliberate actions that lead to the explosion. These cases can get complex quick, so it is imperative that you seek experienced legal counsel as soon as possible after an accident occurs.

Filing a Civil Lawsuit

A lot of families are unsure if they are eligible to bring a civil lawsuit for an explosion or burn injury that was caused by someone else’s negligent actions, such as those of a utility company or property owner. Because burns caused by explosions are usually serious and can leave victims with permanent scarring and disabilities, there is usually grounds for a lawsuit. The more severe the injuries, the more likely it is that you would benefit from filing a lawsuit against any liable parties that caused the gas explosion.

A gas explosion attorney will generally file a civil lawsuit or a case for compensation against any person or entity deemed liable in order to obtain a full and fair recovery for their clients. Before the suit is filed, they may make a demand to the liable party or parties to see if they will be willing to settle the case before a lawsuit is filed. If the statute of limitations is coming up soon, which is a time limit imposed on all personal injury lawsuits, the lawsuit will be filed as soon as possible regardless of the status of settlement negotiations, to ensure that you do not lose your right to sue.

If a worker is injured in a gas explosion, they are most likely eligible to pursue financial compensation via their employer's workers' comp insurance, unless they are a contractor or subcontractor not employed by the primary company. The compensation paid out by workers’ comp is, however, not usually enough to cover the worker’s total damages, including medical bills, hospitalization expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering.

A personal injury attorney will know how to file a third-party claim against any and all potential defendants who played a role in causing the explosion. Do not wait to seek legal representation after getting injured or losing a loved one in a gas explosion.

Pursuing Damages After a Gas Explosion

The company or person who is liable for the damage caused by a gas explosion should be held responsible. A legal claim’s purpose is to pursue compensation for damages caused by injuries sustained during the blast, along with the expenses associated with restoring any property that was damaged in the explosion.

Usually, a claim goes to the insurer that covers the business, person, or other entity responsible for the explosion first. If the insurer refuses to offer a fair settlement or denies liability altogether, your lawyer will then file a personal injury suit that names all potentially liable parties as defendants.

Although every accident scenario and state’s personal injury laws are different, a gas explosion personal injury lawsuit will typically demand financial compensation for the following expenses:

  • Medical bills, including those from physicians, emergency responders, physical rehabilitation clinics, and hospitals
  • Anticipated costs of future personal and medical care associated with your injuries
  • Lost wages caused by being unable to work due to injury
  • Lost or reduced earning capacity for the future
  • Damage to personal and real property, including rebuilding expenses
  • Funeral, and burial or cremation costs in a wrongful death claim is filed
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of consortium

Reach Out to Our National Gas Explosion Injury Lawyers

If you or a member of your family was injured in a gas explosion anywhere in the United States, we encourage you to speak with one of our qualified gas explosion injury attorneys right away. We are committed to getting justice and financial compensation for injury and wrongful death victims of gas explosions caused by negligence.

An experienced personal injury lawyer from the law firm of Burg Simpson can walk you through each phase of the civil suit process and help prevent errors that can cost you your recovery. To schedule your free initial consultation, call our law firm today at (888) 895-2080 or fill out the contact form on our website.
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