The number of gas-related building explosions across the United States have been disturbing. The aging infrastructure – as well as a decline in the number of gas utility inspections and routine maintenance – is putting many regions of the country at risk.
Gas explosions have also increased in New York City. In March of 2014, the East Harlem apartment explosion occurred within two buildings in the East Harlem section of Manhattan. At least 8 people were killed and more than 70 were injured. Over 200 claims involving property damage, a variety of injuries and wrongful death were filed against the City.
Just over a year later, gas explosion ripped through four buildings and ended up leveling three of them, leaving a total of 19 people injured in the East Village. New complaints against the City are just the matter of time.
A gas explosion occurs when the gas mixture reaches a critical value and is ignited by a spark, flame or heat source. The most common cause of gas explosions are natural gas leaks through leaking hoses, defective control valves or gas connectors. The sad truth is that most gas explosions could be avoided, but for the negligence of a third party.
Gas explosions are incredibly destructive. The victims who survive suffer severe blast injuries, broken bones, head and brain trauma, burn injuries and all other profound physical and emotional damage caused by a gas explosion. The injured immediately need medical assistance, which usually occurs to be a long-term and very expensive treatment. Who is going to cover all of the expenses and provide you resources for life in the event of lost or diminished working capacity?
Well, you can sue to recover damages for personal injury or death of your close family. However, determining liability in a gas explosion often requires extensive investigation. Depending upon where the fault lies, a number of parties could be held liable. Whether the product is defective or if negligence was involved in the installation or maintenance, liability could fall upon the manufacturer, the gas company, the installation or maintenance company or the landlord. Under certain circumstances, you can even be able to sue the City. The important thing is to make sure all of the liable parties are sued because that will help ensure you get all of the compensation you deserve under the law.
Generally, you have to prove the defendant’s negligence. In a gas explosion case, it can be shown by an improper installation, faulty or defective parts, poor maintenance, or even through a negligent act that causes the ignition, and therefore the explosion. Poor maintenance often time leads to a failure to replace corroded gas lines and results in faulty or inadequate repairs. The massive explosions are usually a result of gas line ruptures which can be caused by the gas company not maintaining the pipeline or by someone physically striking and rupturing the pipeline.
Therefore, the gas explosion expertise is necessary to establish the cause and origin of the gas leak, as well as applicable codes and standards. When prosecuting a gas explosion case, gas safety experts and professional legal representation are inevitably involved.
Since the gas explosion usually results in death or serious injuries, the injured or families of the deceased may be awarded very high damages.
In several cases in the New York City, plaintiffs received substantial money damages. For instance, children were awarded damages of $18,000,000 for wrongful death of their parents who died in a gas explosion on Ann Street, that was caused by gas accumulating in the basement.