Natural Gas Explosion Attorney: Chicago, Illinois
Attorneys for Natural Gas Explosions in Chicago, Illinois
According to the National Fire Protection Association, about 4200 residential home fires are caused by igniting natural gas leaks. Approximately 40 people die every year from gas fires.
Were you severely injured in a natural gas leak, or did you lose a family member through a wrongful death caused by another's negligence?
The personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can ensure that your family receives the financial compensation they deserve.
National Fire Protection Association statistics reveal that firefighters respond to about 340 natural gas and propane leaks every day that do not involve ignition, fire, or a gas explosion. While gas leaks occur more often than spontaneous gas ignitions, they are often the precursor to a catastrophic event.
Contact an explosion lawyer today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or through the contact form to schedule a free case review. All information you share with our attorneys and personal injury law firm remains confidential through an attorney-client relationship.
Gas Line Fires and Explosions
Drilling for gas and oil has always been dangerous, where employees are often involved in serious accidents when fuel vapor leaking from a broken pipe liner valve contacts an ignition source. Even with highly restrictive safety regulations, a natural gas explosion fatality takes place at worksites in the mountains, prairie, and offshore.
Fracking and drilling operations are notorious for causing catastrophic accidents to workers and residents living close by any time an explosion from a pipeline or propane tank occurs. The explosion can hurt not only the workers but families living in nearby communities.
In addition to a natural gas explosion accident, gas company workers, plumbers, contractors, and the public can be exposed to potential calamities including explosions and fire caused by natural gas.
A natural gas explosion fatality is often the result of lack of training, worn or defective equipment, safety violations, cracked gas pipelines, or improper safety inspections.
The gas supplier, construction company contractor, subcontractor, and other third parties can be held legally liable and financially accountable to pay all explosion victims and surviving family members financial compensation for their damages.
Residential Home Property Gas Leak
National statistics reveal that local fire departments responded to about 125,000 natural gas and propane leak calls every year that did not start a fire at or in the home property. However, since 2007, the fire department's incident rate of leaking propane tank calls has increased significantly.
According to the National Fire Incident Reporting System, some reported leaking propane tanks were attached to gas grills on the property. Leaking tanks has been a leading contributing factor to many residential fires, including gas explosions and fires involving heating equipment, including water heaters.
Many of these gas leaks were caused by broken gas line piping, grill cylinders, grill tanks, and direct gas lines of natural gas from the home to the grill.
The cost of residential natural gas leaks is estimated to be $54 million for direct property damage each year. Many catastrophic fires and explosions caused by gas leaks cause significant damage to single and multi-family homes, including apartments, multi-family housing, and manufactured housing.
Statistics show that approximately 73% of natural gas ignitions that led to a catastrophic fire were confined to the igniting object, like a water heater, gas line, or grill.
Common Causes of Fuel Explosions
Leaking fuel from a pipeline or tank in an industrial setting can lead to an explosion. Additionally, an explosion might be the result of a malfunctioning consumer product (product liability) that contributes to the explosion, like a faulty appliance that was not properly manufactured, distributed, sold, installed, or repaired.
- Malfunctioning seals, valves, and connectors
- Insufficient labeling and warnings
- Theft of piping or copper wiring
- Any pipeline installation violating safety or standards and building codes
- Improper odorization (insufficient sulfur smell additives)
- Leaky hoses and tanks
Common Injuries: Natural Gas Explosions and Fires
Exposure to propane and natural gases can place individuals at great risk of severe injuries or loss of lives if a catastrophic explosion or fire occurs. Damaged gas pipelines and faulty valves can cause harmful gas to escape, leading to gas explosions.
Many people involved in natural gas explosions experience severe life-altering injuries, including:
- Fractured bones
- Burn injury
- Crush injury
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Amputation and/or crushed limbs caused by equipment failure or mechanical malfunction
- Blunt force head injury or trauma causing substantial brain issues
- Heat and chemical burns
- Sickness as a result of poisonous gas or chemical release
- Fatalities as a result of some catastrophic mishap/gas explosion causing burns
Injuries involving a natural gas explosion accident usually produce permanent or temporary disability, and at times, wrongful death.
Common Severe Injuries Associated With Explosion Of Natural Gas
Often, companies overlook specific hazards on the worksite, for the sake of increasing profits. Protecting the bottom line of the corporation is often at the expense of dedicated, loyal workers.
Sometimes the local community becomes an unwilling participant in severe accidents involving natural gas. Many hazards directly associated with a natural gas accident cause injuries that include:
- Burns from gas explosions or fire
- Ear damage or hearing loss caused by high-level noise from drilling equipment
- Injury to the back, neck, or other body parts from mechanical malfunctions
- Physical injury caused by recklessness, carelessness, or negligence of untrained or improperly trained coworkers
- Injury caused by fatigued or overworked workers
- Injury caused by non-existing or improper supervision and/or management
- Serious injury as a result of missing safety devices, improperly used or worn/defective equipment
Causes of Natural Gas Explosions
Explosions caused by natural gas are often the result of a leaking hose or tank, or improperly installed mechanical parts, equipment, or devices. Many household appliances and residential equipment have the potential of causing serious injuries due to a natural gas explosion.
A defective natural gas connector and/or control valve can cause serious injury or wrongful death. Household appliances and equipment that are often involved in a natural gas explosion include:
- Barbecue grill
- Water heater
- Gas generator
- Central heating and cooling (HVAC) system
- Gas oven or range
- Swimming pool heater
- Fireplace log
- Gas space heater
Determining Responsibility in the Aftermath of a Natural Gas Leak Explosion
Due to the hazardous nature of natural gas, components, devices, and appliances need to be properly managed, installed, and maintained. However, when manufacturers sell defective or substandard appliances and equipment, serious gas explosions can happen.
When an equipment marketing company sells a defective product, or the contractor improperly installs or repairs the device, it can lead to serious injuries from a gas explosion.
Personal injury attorneys that represent victims of an Illinois natural gas explosion can determine exactly what happened, and who is legally liable for the accident and injuries involved. Determining responsibility can hold those negligent accountable for their actions or inactions.
Legal liability for a natural gas explosion can often extend farther than the installer or user.
Those legally liable for the gas explosion often include:
- The appliance and/or equipment manufacturer
- The gas company
- The distributor
- Equipment sales representative/marketing company
- Installation professional and/or contractor
- Repair professional and/or contractor
Seasoned personal injury attorneys are often successful in handling natural gas explosion claims. Working on behalf of the victim, our attorneys can determine responsibility, violation of safety regulations, and every legal remedy for obtaining financial recompense.
Legal limitations might not stop with the victim's employer, or company management involved in the gas explosion. Many times, victims can pursue a claim against third parties responsible for deliberate or unintentional actions that caused the accident.
Filing a Civil Lawsuit for Financial Recovery
Many families wonder if they can file a civil lawsuit for a burn or explosion injury that was caused by the negligent actions of others. An explosion burn injury is typically very serious, leaving victims with life-altering long-term disabilities.
Explosion injury attorneys will typically file a compensation case or civil lawsuit against any party or company responsible to obtain financial recovery on behalf of their clients. Potential defendants in an explosion accident case could include:
- Utility Company
- Oil rig owner Construction companies
- General contractors and subcontractors
- Property landlord
- Installation company
- Maintenance company
- Component manufacturers
- Government agencies including the city, county, or state
If an explosion causes a worker's injuries, the victim can seek financial recovery through their employer's workers' compensation insurance.
However, the compensation is usually not sufficient to cover all of the victim's damages including medical expenses, hospitalization costs, lost earnings, pain, and suffering.
An explosion injury attorney working on behalf of their client will file a third-party claim against all other defendants responsible for causing the accident. Each third-party case is typically resolved through a negotiated settlement unless the defendant or their insurance carrier refuses to make a good faith offer based on the extent of the victim's injuries and damages.
Recent Gas Explosions
Baltimore, Maryland, August 2020 –One person was killed and six people injured when a natural gas explosion occurred, destroying three houses in Baltimore. The local fire department transported six people to the hospital with severe conditions. Three fire departments and 200 responders arrived at the explosion scene. The Baltimore Sun reported that gas explosions have become increasingly common in the state.
Fairfax County, Virginia, February 2021 –A fuel leak in Springfield, VA led to multiple workers suffering severe injuries and damaging vehicles when a backhoe ruptured a pipeline that exploded and caught fire just after 12:00 PM. A utility crew was excavating an underground pipeline when the rupture led to leaking fuel that caught fire and exploded. While the property damage was estimated to be about $250,000, there was only one injury of a firefighter reported.
Spring, Texas, March 2021 – Emergency medical technicians transported six Center Point Energy workers to the hospital after a leaking gas incident that investigators identified as a "possible gas explosion and fire." Initial reports indicated that the crew had damaged an underground pipeline. In addition to the injuries, one home was significantly damaged by the fire.
Ames, Oklahoma, February 2021 – Authorities reported there were no injuries in a pipeline explosion in Oklahoma that occurred at 5:45 AM a proxy 65 miles northwest of Oklahoma City. Initial reports indicate that a 6 or 8-inch pipeline was ruptured, which was gathering fuel from various wells to be transported to other areas.
Quincy, Massachusetts, June 2017 – At 6:30 AM, law enforcement received a 911 call from a neighbor reporting the smell of natural gas leaking from a nearby neighbor's two-story dwelling. Firefighters detected a strong sulfur-smelling odor that is usually mixed with odorless natural gas to help identify a leak. Approximately one hour after firefighters shut the gas line off, the house exploded, sending part of the roof air bound, fatally striking the Battalion Fire Chief in the middle of the street who died of his traumatic injuries at the hospital.
Natural Gas Explosions FAQs
Our natural gas explosion lawyers know that some families have unanswered questions on how to resolve a compensation claim involving a catastrophic event. An experienced gas explosion lawyer answered some of those questions below.
For additional information about natural gas explosions, or what your next step is to hold those at fault for causing your damages, contact a gas explosion lawyer today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) today. We provide free case reviews to all potential clients.
Does natural gas explode?
Any flame or spark in the presence of gas leaks could cause a horrific gas explosion. Many explosive events are caused by leaking butane, and propane, and natural gas used in residential homes for heating or cooking.
A minor leak might only produce a small explosion that does not generate significant force to cause extensive damage, injury, or death. The leading cause of most natural gas and propane leaks include improper use of gases, incorrectly installed appliances, rusty gas lines, defective equipment, and malfunctioning gas tanks.
How common are natural gas explosions?
Statistics reveal that there are approximately 285 severe natural gas explosions occurring every year in the United States. Typically, insurance companies pay injured victims and surviving families more than $50,000 to cover property damage, loss of life, and severe injury.
Fire and explosion data revealed that 15 individuals died every year between 1998 and 2017, on average, in incidents associated with gas distribution in the US.
Is natural gas a high explosive?
Natural gas is primarily methane, which is much like propane gas that both have nearly the same energy density per unit mass. However, studies show that propane explosions produce much higher overpressure in an unconfined area when compared to natural gas.
Methane has a much lower reactivity response between the two fuels, whereas propane is considered a medium reactivity fuel. Additionally, propane expands at a higher ratio than natural gas during combustion.
Do gas leaks always cause explosions?
According to Fire Department statistics, most calls concerning propane or natural gas leaks do not result in fires or explosions. Both propane and natural gas have a sulfur-smelling (rotten egg) additive to alarm individuals that gas is present in the workplace, home, or area.
Any people smelling gas or believe there is smelling gas should leave the premises immediately and contact the appropriate authorities, including 911, as quickly as possible. Typically, the gas company or Fire Department will respond and take appropriate measures to stop the leaking quickly.
Is natural gas poisonous?
Natural gas is a non-poisonous (non-toxic) fuel. However, people can die from exposure to the gas through suffocation when the gas displaces the internal air of a confined space. Minimal exposure (25 to 30%) of gas in the year can cause oxygen deficiency, leading to unpredictable behavioral changes, euphoria, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
At 50% gas displacement, the individual can become incapacitated in just a few breaths and cannot self-rescue. At a 75% gas to air ratio, victims are immediately incapacitated and can die within minutes.
Hire Gas Explosion Attorneys to Handle your Compensation Case
Did you suffer severe burn injuries in a gas leak fire? Did you lose a loved one in a gas explosion caused by another's negligence?
At the law firm of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, the gas explosion attorneys can serve as your legal advocates to ensure that the insurance companies involved provide substantial compensation for your damages.
Families who have lost loved ones in natural gas explosions can file wrongful death lawsuits, holding insurance carriers financially responsible for all damages in your case, including hospitalization costs, medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, and income loss.
Contact the gas explosion lawyers at our law firm today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation. Our law firm is currently following CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Covid-19 (coronavirus pandemic) social distancing guidelines to protect our clients' health.