Gas leaks are often the result of negligence and can be lethal to workers or any individual in the vicinity at the time of the leak. When a pipe or other containment is compromised, the natural gas inside can escape into a living area or place it should not be. Though it may go undetected, a gas leak is an extremely dangerous situation, as any spark can cause the gas to combust and an explosion can occur.
The American Gas Association released a report chronicling the number of natural gas leaks and fatalities between 1990 and 2012. The most recent data reflected 29 instances of gas leakage which caused 10 fatalities and injuries to 55 individuals. The total property damage caused by the leaks was estimated to be almost $11 million, while the amount of spilled gas equaled 1,500 barrels.
Because natural gas is odorless and colorless, perceiving the threat of a leak is very difficult. If you or a loved one was injured in a gas leak event because of another person’s negligence, you may be eligible for compensation based on the pain and suffering you experienced.
The Eichholz Law Firm has years of experience representing personal injury victims and gas leak injury lawyers are proud to fight for the rights of those who have been injured and are in need of an ally. The legal process can be confusing and intimidating, and after experiencing a gas leak the last thing a victim needs is more stress and frustration in their life.
Causes of Gas Leaks
The Pipeline Safety Improvement Act was passed in 2002 to improve safety standards within the industry. Under this act, homes or buildings receiving natural gas must undergo a safety inspection to ensure there are no leaks.
Though many times negligence is the ultimate underlying factor in gas leak cases, there are other factors that initially contribute or create the leak. The most common causes of a gas leak include:
- Chemical plants and refineries
- Damaged service lines
- Damaged underground pipelines
- Faulty equipment or piping
In most cases, companies use additives called mercaptans to give the gas an odor which can be easily detected in the event of a leak. Smelling like sulphur or rotten eggs, the mercaptans tell those in the area that they must evacuate immediately and be careful not to ignite any flames or sparks or an explosion could take place.
Injuries Associated with Gas Leaks
The risk of an explosion is the most immediately threatening factor when a gas leak has occurred, however inhaling large amounts of natural gas can cause a person to suffocate. The following are some of the most common injuries related to gas leakage:
- Brain damage
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Facial disfigurement
- Gastrointestinal injuries
- Loss of hearing
- Pulmonary contusion, or blast lung
- Severe burns
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cite an annual death toll of 500 resulting from carbon monoxide poisoning, and many of these accidental deaths were the direct result of an undetected gas leak.
Faulty appliances like stoves, dryers, water heaters and fireplaces are common culprits of gas leaks in homes, and if your injuries were the result of a faulty product or a negligent person, seeking legal representation can be the most effective way to bring justice to your family.
Gas explosions can kill, maim, and emotionally scar those they affect and the medical costs after an incident can be exorbitant. Long stays in the hospital, surgery, and ongoing rehabilitative treatment can put an epic financial strain on the victim and their family. The compensation that a successful verdict or settlement brings can assist with these costs to ensure that the victim does not suffer more than they already have.
Contacting Gas Leak Litigators in Georgia
Surviving an incident of gas leakage can be a traumatic experience, but for those who have lost a loved one because of it the stress and turmoil mounts. Whether you sustained injuries from a gas leak or someone you love was killed by a gas leak, the attorneys of our law firm can help facilitate the legal process and give you peace of mind during a difficult time.