Gas explosions don’t happen often, but when they do the damage they cause can be catastrophic. As more pipelines are approved and installed, the risk of a gas explosion increases. This is not necessarily because of the new pipelines, but rather a lack of attention to and maintenance of existing gas pipelines.
If companies do not properly maintain and service pipelines they can become incredibly dangerous. Gas explosion injuries can be life-threatening and costly. It is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney if you are harmed in an accident.
Why Do Gas Explosions Happen?
Gas explosions happen when gas leaks from its container (e.g., pipeline, tank) and mixes with an ignition source. An ignition source can range from sparks and flames to static electricity or smoke. When these two meet the result can be deadly.
A gas explosion can happen industrially and be caused by a major pipeline gas leak. This was the case for the 2010 San Bruno gas line explosion. The San Bruno explosion killed 8 people, injured 58 more, and obliterated nearly 40 houses. Gas explosions of this magnitude do not happen often but are be costly when they do.
A gas explosion can also happen at home. Gas stoves, heating devices, and propane grills all have the potential to cause serious harm. If the pipelines bringing gas into your home are not properly maintained, if the equipment in your home is faulty, or if appliances are not serviced regularly a gas explosion could happen.
Causes of Gas Leaks in Gas Explosions
Gas explosions generally do not happen unless there is a gas leak. So, what causes gas leaks to happen? When gas pipelines and tanks are designed, manufactured, installed, and operated safely there is little-to-no risk of a gas leak. Pipelines, valves, and canisters are designed to be leak proof. So, if a gas leak does happen it is likely due to negligence. The 2010 San Bruno explosion, for example, was reportedly caused by pinhole leaks that went undetected.
The gas company, PG&E, had a duty to safely maintain and inspect the pipeline. It failed to provide information about how it established pressure limits for its pipeline. A gas explosion can occur when excessive pressure meets a pinhole leak if an ignition source is nearby.
California has strict regulations that gas companies must follow when running natural gas pipelines through the state. Failure to adhere to these regulations can result in liability if a gas explosion occurs. Victims who suffer a personal bodily injury, unexpected death of a loved one, or property damage can file claims to recover compensation based on the theory that the gas company (or appropriate defendant) was negligent.
Negligence can arise from any time in a gas pipeline’s history. Pipelines must be designed, manufactured, installed, maintained, and operated safely. Companies are responsible for making sure that pipelines are properly tested, installed correctly, inspected regularly, and maintained correctly. Many times, pipelines are below-ground. If pipeline, tanks, or valves are above the ground they must be clearly visible so that they are not damaged by mistake. Companies must also make sure that they train all employees in the latest safety standards and protocols.
Gas Explosion Injuries
The consequences of a gas explosion can change a victim’s life forever. Survivors of gas explosions may endure a life-long road to recovering from severe and debilitating injuries.
Lacerations, broken bones, concussions, projectile damage, paralysis, and spinal cord injuries can be caused by a gas explosion. The most common gas explosion injury, however, is severe burning. Severe burns can require dozens of corrective surgeries and leave victims with lasting deformities and scars. The financial and emotional costs of gas explosion injuries can be devastating.
Recovering Damages After a Gas Explosion Related Injury
If you suffer from severe burns because a Los Angeles gas explosion your recovery can be time-consuming and expensive. Burns are complex injuries that can require extensive medical care. Burn victims are at an increased risk of complications, including infection, sepsis, organ failure, and pneumonia.
Just how expensive can burn injuries be? Moderate burns without complications can generate medical bills of approximately $206,000. Severe burns without complications can generate medical bills of more than $1.6 million. Severe burns with complications can generate medical bills in excess of $10 million.
Most Americans do not have enough savings to cover the cost of an emergency costing a few hundred dollars. It is hard to expect that the average burn victim would be able to foot costly burn injury recovery expenses.
In California, gas explosion injury victims can pursue compensation from negligent companies by filing a personal injury claim for damage. Hiring an experienced Los Angeles gas explosion attorney is the best way to recover the compensation you need and deserve. Your attorney can seek to recover damages for both financial and emotional harms.
Your attorney will ask for economic damages to compensate you for any medical bills, nursing care, funeral expenses, burial costs, and lost earning you suffered because of the gas explosion. Economic damages are awarded to help you cover the financial losses you have. Ideally, an award of economic damages will put you back in the position you would have been in (financially speaking, that is) had you not been injured.
Your attorney will also ask for non-economic damages to compensate you for the emotional and mental trauma you have endured because of the accident. Non-economic damages are a way of compensating you for the intangible losses you may have suffered. Pain and suffering, mental anguish, depression, disfigurement, embarrassment, and the loss of enjoyment of life are all compensable harms.
As you can imagine, these injuries and harms are difficult to value. The pain and suffering one accident victim endures may not be the same as the pain and suffering a different accident victim endures. Your attorney will present evidence of the extent of your suffering and may even use expert testimony to help maximize compensation.
Los Angeles Gas Explosion Attorneys
At Citywide Law Group, our Los Angeles gas explosion injury attorneys understand that the time following an accident can be traumatic and stressful. However, we also know that it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after you have been injured. We established our firm in 2010 to make sure that accident victims like you would have access to passionate and experienced personal injury attorneys when you need us the most.
For the past 17 years, our attorneys have helped thousands of clients like you fight to hold negligent parties accountable while recovering millions in compensation. Hiring an attorney is the best way to maximize the compensation you receive from negligent gas companies.
If you have been injured because of a gas explosion you should not hesitate to contact the Los Angeles gas explosion injury attorneys at Citywide Law Group to schedule a free consultation. During your initial consultation, we will determine which parties may be liable for your injuries, answer your questions, and explain your legal options.