Any natural gas explosion has the potential to cause catastrophic injuries to those involved. Sadly, explosion victims tend to be innocent bystanders who were, for whatever reason, in the wrong place at the wrong time. Most natural gas explosions take place in industrial factories, buildings, and plants where these gases are stored in places that are considered safe. When gas leaks, however, it could come into contact with a source of ignition, leading to a violent and dangerous explosion.
Immediately after a blast occurs, an investigation will be launched to determine the cause. Investigators will analyze the blast site and look for anything that indicates why and how the explosion took place when it did. The investigation stage of a natural gas explosion is crucial because the findings will help establish liability. They will also ensure that safety measures are enforced so the same conditions that led to the explosion do not occur ever again.
If you were injured in a natural gas explosion, one of the most important things your natural gas explosion lawyer can do for you is to investigate the blast itself. A meticulous inquiry into the cause of the explosion is usually the only way to determine liability. After your lawyer has performed a full investigation and gathered all relevant evidence, they will work hard to reach an outcome that is in your best interests.
How Do Gas Explosions Happen?
Natural gas is a naturally occurring, odorless, gaseous combination of hydrocarbons consisting primarily of CH4 (methane). It comprises roughly 30% of the energy used nationwide. Around 40% goes to the production of electric power, and the rest is divided between commercial and residential purposes, such as cooking and heating, as well as industrial uses.
Even though natural gas is a dependable, well-established alternative fuel that has been used to power natural gas vehicles for a long time, less than 1% is used for transportation. In and of itself, natural gas isn’t combustible. However, if it is allowed to mix with air at a specific temperature, it becomes incendiary and could explode.
In the United States, the majority of natural gas explosions happen in enclosed areas where the gas has managed to escape. This includes sites such as industrial plants and factories as well as construction sites and residential structures. The leading causes of natural gas explosions include:
- Faulty or defective equipment
- Leaky pipes
- Inappropriate use or negligent maintenance of gas-powered appliances, such as generators, central heaters, outdoor grills, space heaters, dryers, and ovens
- Damaged or corroded gas lines
- Insufficient or improper maintenance
Any one of these could result in an explosion. Determining the cause of the leak and ensuing blast is critical in figuring out the best way for an explosion victim to move forward.
How Are Natural Gas Leaks Investigated?
Natural gas leak investigations begin immediately after an explosion takes place. In most instances, a federal agency will take control of the preliminary investigation. At the federal level, these investigations are almost always lengthy and complex. It can take more than a year for the investigators to finish their research and analysis and issue a formal report on the exact cause of the blast. In certain cases, an initial report with preliminary findings is issued. In others, only a final draft will be published. The findings eventually reached by investigators will play a major part in any ensuing litigation.
Who Can Be Held Liable For My Gas Explosion Damages?
A reputable gas explosion attorney will investigate your case to the full in order to identify all potentially liable parties following an explosion. The investigation could determine that multiple parties share liability for your explosion-related injuries and property damage. If multiple parties are found to be at fault, it may be the case that multiple claims need to be pursued in order to get you the financial recovery you need to move forward with your life.
Potential defendants in a gas explosion claim often include:
- Property owners, such as factory owners, store owners, and homeowners
- Installation contractors
- Maintenance contractors
- Contractors or construction companies
- County or city utility companies
- Propane or natural gas retailers or distributors
- County or city transportation systems that use buses fueled by natural gas
- Product retailers
- Product manufacturers
Expert Witnesses in Natural Gas Explosion Investigations
Along with federal and other official investigations, your gas explosion attorney will perform an independent investigation into the cause of the blast. When this is the case, your lawyer will need to work with experts in the field. These specialists could be chemists, physicists, engineers, or other scientific experts. These witnesses will have strong backgrounds in investigating explosions and figuring out what caused them.
A natural gas explosion specialist will meticulously examine the circumstances leading up to the explosion. They will study the formal investigation report and decide whether it is accurate and complete. Eventually, the specialist will give their personal conclusion about what caused the incident in an official written report.
If your gas explosion case ends up going to trial, the specialist’s opinion will be admissible. Having a professional explain the source and cause of the explosion to a jury in layman’s terms is a critical aspect of a successful gas explosion case. Before your case gets to trial, the specialist’s report could be used to pressure the other party into settling your case, achieving better financial results without the risks that come with a trial.
A natural gas explosion attorney will use all of their considerable resources, including experts in the field, to help build the strongest case possible for maximum compensation.
If you or a member of your family have been impacted by a natural gas explosion, you probably sustained serious or even catastrophic injuries resulting in massive medical bills and other explosion-related damages.
It is vital to begin an investigation into the explosion as soon as possible since, depending on where the explosion occurred, the statutes of limitations could significantly reduce how much time you have to bring a lawsuit. Also, many blast sites are not properly secured against trespassers and are often exposed to the elements. In order to achieve a successful outcome to your gas explosion case, partnering with an attorney like the ones at Burg Simpson can make all the difference in achieving the settlement award or jury verdict that you need and deserve.
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