If you or someone you love have experienced a propane explosion, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact a propane gas explosion attorney from Burg Simpson to learn how you can protect your rights.
Propane gas is used every day for common purposes like heating a home, boiling a pot of water, cooking, and even fueling certain automotives. It must be handled with care, and when accidents happen, they can be explosive.
Propane gas, sometimes called liquefied petroleum, is highly combustible, which means it can ignite and explode with no warning. Propane is colorless and odorless, and since it is heavier than oxygen, it can accumulate to a dangerous level before anyone even knows there is a leak. There are numerous federal and state regulations for the use of propane, as it is found in both commercial and residential settings. But despite these regulations, propane gas causes over 4000 residential fires a year.
Propane must be handled with extreme caution. It only takes a small spark to ignite a fire after a leak.
Most propane explosions result from a failure to follow safety regulations, defective propane tanks, lack of adequate training in maintenance personnel, or improper storage. These explosions can cause life-altering injuries, which is why you must understand your rights for securing compensation if you have been injured in a propane gas explosion accident.
Common Causes of Propane Tank Explosions
Propane gas is a hydrocarbon, so it must be stored as a liquid inside a tank and then vaporized into a gas in order to be burned. These tanks are highly pressurized, which presents a potentially high risk of explosion if the tank is not handled with proper care. Some of the common causes of propane explosions include:
- Grill fires. Many grills use propane tanks to fuel them, and if there is a fire on the grill, it can cause an explosion.
- Incorrect installation of propane stoves, clothes dryers, water heaters, or other appliances.
- Mistakes when refilling propane tanks, such as neglecting to reignite the pilot lights of appliances.
- Failing to supply propane with the recommended chemical smells added. Since propane is odorless, chemicals are added so consumers can smell a leak. If the propane lacks these chemicals and a leak goes undetected, it can easily ignite or explode.
- Failing to properly maintain propane tanks, such as not replacing worn parts or components.
- Mislabeled equipment
- Lack of tank inspections. Propane suppliers should inspect tanks periodically to ensure it is well maintained and safe to use.
- Malfunctioning tank valves, defective cylinders, broken gauges and flow valves, worn hoses, or obstructed burners. This can lead to a leak which ultimately could cause an explosion.
Explosions generally happen when propane leaks into an enclosed setting. When enclosed, the gas becomes more concentrated. If ignited, a devastating explosion accident could occur.
What to Do After a Propane Gas Explosion
In the event that you experience a propane tank explosion or fire, it's important to know what to do. It could save your life or someone else’s.
- Evacuate. Make sure everyone on the property gets away from the explosion site or any potential structure fires immediately.
- Call emergency services. As soon as you can, call 911. If the fire is small, you can attempt to douse the flames yourself with a fire extinguisher. Do not use water on combustible gasses. Do not take any chances if the fire is large or spreading quickly. Leave the premises and wait for the fire department.
- Apply first aid. If injuries to yourself or others are mild, you should apply first aid to reduce the risks of infection.
- Seek medical attention. If you are injured, go to the hospital for treatment. Burns have a high risk of infection and should be treated professionally. This also ensures you will have a medical record of your injuries, which you will need should you eventually pursue compensation.
- Call your insurance company. If the explosion happened on your property, you will want to notify your insurance company as soon as you can.
- Call a lawyer. If you believe the explosion was caused by the negligence of someone else, call Burg Simpson as soon as possible. We can then conduct an investigation to establish liability and help you bring a claim to be compensated for your injuries.
Liability for Propane Explosions
Propane explosions can create complex accident cases, sometimes involving multiple liable parties. Explosions often happen not because of the actions of one person but because of several minor issues culminating into a disaster. Determining the cause of the accident and who should be liable can take some time and investigative work, which is why it is important to have a knowledgeable attorney from Burg Simpson on your side.
Propane accidents resulting in injury are typically based on corporate negligence, human error, or a product defect. Liability will likely fall to one or more of the following parties:
- Anyone who directly damaged the propane tank
- Manufacturer of faulty propane tanks
- Manufacturer of defective propane tank components
- Retail that sells defective tanks or parts
- Propane suppliers or transporters
- Inspectors that fail to catch an obvious flaw
- Contractors who install propane gas appliances
- Individuals or property owners who do not take the proper safety measures
To file a claim against one of the above mentioned parties, you must be able to prove they were negligent in their duties.
To show that a third party has been negligent, you will be required to prove four things:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care. A landlord or property owner, for example, must ensure they are taking reasonable measures to keep those that visit their property safe. Manufacturers, contractors, and transporters are legally required to follow safety regulations to protect the safety of those that use their products.
- The defendant breached their duty of care. You must be able to prove that the defendant did not take reasonable measures to ensure your safety, or that a company did not follow regulations.
- The breach of duty caused the accident. You will have to prove that the negligence, defective part, etc is what caused the accident.
- The accident caused your injuries. You must be able to prove that you sustained injuries. You can do this by providing medical records from the day of the explosion and beyond, establishing the proof of medical care you received due to the propane explosion.
Common Injuries Suffered from Propane Gas Explosions
A propane gas explosion is incredibly destructive. Flames can engulf a person or set an entire house on fire in a few minutes, leading to serious and often lasting injuries and even fatalities.
- Burns: If a fire ignites due to a propane leak, anyone nearby is at risk of coming into contact with the flames. Many victims suffer second and third-degree burns that can cover a large portion of their bodies. These burns can lead to scarring, disfigurement, and even death. Seek the assistance of a burn injury attorney.
- Smoke inhalation: This is a risk after any type of fire, and propane explosions are no different. If your surroundings catch fire and you are stuck in an enclosed space, smoke inhalation is virtually inevitable. This can lead to severe lung damage, loss of consciousness, and death.
- Injuries from shrapnel: An explosion can cause pieces of metal or other debris to fly through the air, which can cause severe lacerations.
- Traumatic brain injury: This is usually caused by a victim hitting their head from the force of the explosion or being hit with flying shrapnel. These injuries include concussions, contusions, skull fractures, and more.
- Wrongful death: Propane gas explosions, fortunately, rarely cause death. But it does happen. Those injured in such an event can suffer severe burns and other injuries and may breathe in noxious chemicals that eventually lead to their death. If you need a wrongful death attorney, contact Burg Simpson.
These injuries can be damaging not only physically but mentally and financially as well. That is why the law makes it possible for those injured to seek financial compensation through a propane explosion claim for the damages they've suffered.
Compensation for Propane Explosion Injuries
Compensation for personal injury claims comes in two forms: economic and non-economic. Below, we will explain the difference between these two main categories.
Economic damages are easily calculable and include things like:
- Medical bills. Doctor's visits, ambulance rides, hospital stays, surgeries, and any future medical expenses may be included.
- Lost wages. If you had to miss work due to your accident, you are able to receive compensation for the wages you lost.
- Lost earning capacity. Some injuries are so severe that you are unable to continue performing your job or qualify for promotions within the field. When this happens, you may be entitled to compensation for the income you would have otherwise been able to receive.
- Property damage. The cost of repairs or the replacement of personal property you lost in the accident.
- Wrongful death. If you lost a family member due to a propane explosion, you may be able to receive compensation for funeral costs and loss of monetary support.
Non-economic damages are a little more difficult to define. This includes compensation for your pain and suffering and the loss of quality of life. These things don't come with a receipt or an obvious financial loss, but you may be able to be awarded financial compensation for the mental toll the accident took, especially if you are represented by a highly skilled personal injury attorney who is well-versed in propane explosion claims.
In addition to economic and non-economic damages, there are some rare cases in which punitive damages may also be assigned. If the defendant was grossly negligent or purposefully malicious in the actions that caused your accident, they may be required to pay extra damages as a form of punishment for their harmful behavior. This is designed to make sure these acts do not happen in the future.
The amount you receive in a settlement is reliant on many factors, like your age, occupation, the level of negligence, and the severity of your injuries. Your propane gas explosion claims attorney at Burg Simpson will determine a fair amount of compensation based on the specifics of your case.
If you use propane gas in your home, here are a few safety tips to help you avoid an explosion or fire:
- For things like grills or other small appliances, keep the valve on your propane tank closed when it is not being used.
- Don't store your propane tank inside the home. Instead, store it in a well-ventilated space away from the sun, such as a detached garage or shed.
- Do not store propane tanks near a heat source
- Have any propane appliances inspected regularly to ensure there are no leaks or damage to the propane source or lines.
- If you smell a gas leak, leave the area and call your propane company
- Do not attempt propane tank repairs or modifications on your own. Hire a professional.
- Keep propane tanks upright
- Routinely check lines and connections for leaks and call a professional if you detect a problem
How Can a Propane Explosion Attorney Help?
A propane explosion can be a life altering experience, especially if you've suffered severe injuries. A propane explosion attorney can help you by:
- Investigating the accident to learn how and why the explosion happened
- Determining who is liable for the accident
- Calculating how much you should receive from insurance or the liable party for your damages
- Collecting evidence to support your claim
- Filing your claim with insurance companies so you don't have to
- Negotiating with insurance companies to reach a fair settlement
- Representing you in court if the claim needs to be escalated to a civil lawsuit
Our attorneys have decades of skills and knowledge of the legal system and are well acquainted with what rights you have as an injured victim. We can help you seek justice and receive the compensation you are entitled to for your injuries.
Contact a Propane Gas Explosion Attorney
A propane explosion can be a traumatic event for everyone involved, especially if you are facing injuries, mounting medical bills, and a lengthy and confusing claims process. We at Burg Simpson know that you may be feeling overwhelmed and just want to get your life back. Let us do the hard work for you so you can focus on your recovery.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a propane gas explosion, Contact Burg Simpson
today at 888-895-2080 for a free case evaluation and learn if you are entitled to compensation.