Gas Explosions: Who Is Liable for Damages?
When natural gas, methane, hydrogen, and other types of flammable gases are ignited, it results in a gas explosion. These incidents can be devastating for both human life and the environment.
A 2018 report by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) states that natural gas explosions are responsible for roughly 4,200 house fires each year. The top factors in these incidents were cooking equipment (54%) and heating equipment like water heaters (25%). Over the past 15 years, the rate of these incidents has increased steadily.
Many victims of gas explosions sustain injuries in the blast. This results in expensive medical bills for treatments, medications, and other services like therapy and rehab. Research has shown that gas explosion burn victims may have a higher mortality rate than victims of other types of fire-related incidents.
Types of Injuries from Gas Explosion Accidents
There are many distinct types of injuries that occur during a gas explosion. Factors that influence the type and severity of injuries include:
- Length of exposure
- Type of gas
- Size of impact
- Location of victim (in relation to ignition source)
Depending on any combination of these factors, a gas explosion victim could have mild or severe injuries. Aside from the physical impact, these incidents often cause psychological harm, as well.
Burns are one of the most common injuries that people get during a gas explosion. There are several levels of burns that have different treatment plans:
- First-degree: A burn that impacts the outer layer of skin and does not require hospital treatment. This level does not leave scars (in most cases) and although it is painful, does not last exceedingly long.
- Second-degree: The first and second layers of skin are impacted. This type of burn often results in blisters and can permanently scar (if deep).
- Third-degree: A burn that goes deeper than the first two layers of skin and impacts the nerve endings. These are often less painful initially because of the nerve damage. They often look brown, white, black, etc. instead of red.
- Fourth degree: The most severe type of burn. It goes deeper than the skin and impacts other areas like muscle and bone.
Burned skin can take anywhere from a week to 2 years to fully heal. The timeline depends on the severity of the injury, although for second, third, and fourth-degree burns, permanent scarring may be a result.
After a gas explosion, victims may experience lung issues. This is due to the inhalation of smoke and other chemicals. Intense respiratory exposure to these elements can lead to internal scarring of the lungs. Over time, victims can develop conditions like asthma, COPD, and more.
People often get tossed during a gas explosion. When this happens, it can damage arms, legs, hands, feet, and more. This leads to injuries like:
- Broken limbs
- Facial lacerations
- Head trauma
- Brain injuries
Because gas explosions kick up debris and projectiles, this makes the combination, type, and severity of injuries hard to predict. As a result, victims in these cases often have various medical issues that require months or years of rehab and repair.
The mental impact of being in a gas explosion can create a lifelong battle. Disorders like depression, PTSD, and anxiety are commonly developed after these incidents. This may lead to intense therapy to address the issues.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a gas explosion, contact SteinLaw today. We’ll help you get the compensation you deserve!
Gas Explosion in Plantation, FL
On Saturday, July 6th, a massive gas explosion destroyed a building, damaged others, and left 23 people injured in Plantation, Florida. While the investigation into the cause of the accident has only begun, several victims already have plans to sue. The only trouble is determining the cause of the accident, and liability may take months.
The gas explosion occurred at the Market on University shopping center in Plantation.
Altogether, 23 people were hurt in the accident, including a child at the childcare area of LA Fitness, and 19 were taken to area hospitals, including Westside Regional Medical Center, Plantation General Hospital, and Broward Health Medical Center. Additional victims were treated at the scene and released. By Monday, all victims were released from hospitals except one.
Following the explosion, investigators found a burst gas line at the nearby empty restaurant. It was also found that an apparent leak had been reported before the accident. The local gas company (Peoples Gas) had a technician on the way to the area when the gas explosion happened.
According to Peoples Gas, one of the nearby restaurants called them to report smelling gas in the area. A crew was being sent to the building when the explosion happened.
Although the cause of the gas leak was not immediately known, Peoples Gas is facing several lawsuits for the damages. In the past, Peoples Gas had faced hefty fines for falsifying its leak inspection reports. There is legal precedent for a gas company being held responsible for an explosion.
Victims of the Plantation gas explosion may be able to claim damages resulting from the incident. If the gas company were negligent in its upkeep or inspection of the gas lines, they could be found responsible.
Who May Be Liable for the Gas Explosion in Plantation?
Two parties will be the primary focus of the accident: the customer and the gas company.
Peoples Gas is the primary focus of the investigation. As the gas provider, Peoples Gas may be found responsible for the blast if they performed faulty work that led to the blast. In 2018, a Massachusetts gas company was found liable for a faulty plan to replace aging pipes that caused gas explosions in three towns.
It’s still unknown if work was being done on the gas line or the building that may have contributed to the explosion.
It’s also possible that the owner of Pizzafire may be held responsible for the explosion.
Peoples Gas is responsible for maintaining gas lines to the gas meter, but the customer is responsible for maintaining the lines from the meter to the building.
Generally, gas utility companies are responsible for the damage of a natural gas explosion when they fail to exercise due care, which includes a high degree of caution and vigilance. This high duty of care is also expected of propane gas tank manufacturers.
It isn’t just the pizza shop owner and utility company who may share liability for the accident. Gas explosions can also be the result of contractors who damaged or overlooked gas pipes, someone who improperly hooked up gas lines, or even a thief who damaged a gas pipe while attempting to steal copper pipes.
At the time of the blast, the pizza restaurant may have been undergoing renovations to prepare for new tenants. Sometimes construction work is responsible for a ruptured gas pipe that causes an explosion.
Victims of the Plantation gas explosion may have legal claims against more than one responsible party.
Injury claims involving a gas explosion can also involve premises liability, a legal concept wherein property owners owe customers and guests a reasonable duty of care to keep the property free of hazards or defects they have reason to know exist.
Contact Our Florida Gas Explosion Lawyers
Gas explosions can lead to catastrophic injuries. Even when injuries are not life-threatening, they can be life-altering, especially in the case of disfiguring and painful burns. After an accident, the most important thing is healing. When it’s time to think about how to pay for medical expenses and lost wages, it’s important to consult with a personal injury attorney to help you recover compensation for your injuries.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a gas explosion, you could receive damages after filing a personal injury case. Businesses are legally required to maintain a safe environment for their patrons. Under premises liability law, property owners who fail to proactively prevent an incident can be liable to pay injured parties.
The injuries sustained in incidents like the Plantation gas explosion can be lifelong. If you have been in a comparable situation, you want to make sure that your expenses are covered as much as possible. Oftentimes, victims have secondary injuries that do not present immediately following the gas explosion.
While you are trying to recover from these setbacks, it can be difficult to manage a legal case. The liable businesses and gas companies often have many more resources than individuals. This makes it even more difficult to get the compensation you need without a personal injury lawyer.
Although they have become slightly more common in past years, gas explosions are relatively uncommon. In comparison with other incidents, gas explosions can be more difficult to anticipate. Because many types of gas are odorless, victims usually do not see the blast coming. These explosions happen quickly and can be devastating for the property owner, patrons, and passerby.
When dealing with the liable parties, you want a firm that has experience in handling gas explosion cases. Our dedicated team at SteinLaw is ready to help gas explosion victims navigate the aftermath of the event.
If you were hurt in the Plantation gas explosion or another similar incident, contact SteinLaw today to schedule a free consultation with a Florida personal injury attorney to help review your case. Call 877-783-4652 today.