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North Carolina Gas Explosion Lawyer for Devastation from Gas Leaks & More

Explosions from gas leaks often have devastating consequences for both the direct victims of the tragedy as well as their family members. Gas explosions can cause severe and permanent injuries, destroy families, and decimate property. Perhaps the most tragic aspect of these types of accidents is that, in a large number of Raleigh gas explosion lawyer cases, they could have been prevented altogether had the people responsible acted with reasonable care. 

Regardless of whether the accident occurred in an industrial setting, an office building, was the result of a deadly gas leak, or occurred because dangerous chemicals were not properly controlled, explosions caused by negligence destroy lives, families, and entire communities. 

While a Raleigh gas explosion lawyer is in the best position to help you determine the exact cause of the accident that has impacted you and your family, the following provides an overview of public safety issues related to gas leaks and some of the most common causes and results of gas and chemical explosions. 

What to Do When You Smell a Gas Leak

PSNC Energy provides a guide on Customer and Public Safety Awareness that includes instructions on what to do if you smell a gas leak. Every Raleigh gas explosion lawyer at our firm is familiar with this guide and it provides helpful information to property owners. 

Since natural gas is actually odorless, PSNC explains that the rotten egg you smell comes from a chemical that they add to the natural gas so it can be detected when even the smallest leak occurs. Their guide states,  “Everyone should be able to recognize it and associate it with natural gas.”

If you do smell the rotten egg odor, notify your supervisor or follow your workplaces evacuation and emergency notification protocols. If you are a domestic worker or work in a home-based business, leave the building immediately and once you are safely outside, call 911 and PSNC Energy at 877-776-2427 to report the leak from a cell phone or from a neighbor’s phone. Do not use a cell phone while you are still inside the building. Do not light a match, and do not turn your lights or any electrical switches on or off.

Common Causes of Gas Explosions 

Of course, one of the best ways to prevent gas leak explosions is to properly inspect and maintain equipment and containers that use and store gas. Unfortunately, reasonable care measures are not always taken and explosions can occur. Often this is due to the following: 

  • Mechanical failure. The most common cause of explosions and fires associated with gas leaks is a mechanical failure of the gas containing equipment. When the failure occurs, the gas can leak creating fumes that ignite, causing explosions and fire.
  • Improperly maintained equipment and pipes. Improperly maintained boilers, water heaters, and pipes holding gas can release hazardous fumes with the potential to explode when they contact an ignition source. Sometimes external damage to the gas containing structure creates a leak allowing gas to escape.
  • Ignition dangers. A spark due to an electrical light, a pilot light, or the lighting of a cigarette can ignite leaking gas and cause an explosion. The power of the gas explosion depends on fuel, the gas concentration, the ignition location, the location of structure vents and the size of the structure. If the gas accumulates in a confined space before igniting, the pressure can cause damage to the structure from the explosive forces.

Your Raleigh gas explosion lawyer will look into the possible reasons for the accident. 

Questions about Gas Leaks and Explosions
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Injuries a Raleigh Gas Explosion Lawyer Can Help With

Explosions due to gas leaks can cause severe and even catastrophic injuries. Too often, these include:

  • Burn injuries
  • Smoke inhalation and other respiratory/lung issues and injuries
  • Injuries that result from exposure to chemicals and other toxins
  • Partial or complete hearing loss
  • Eye injuries including blindness
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Lacerations

Our Workers Comp Attorneys Fight for Compensation for Mental Health Claims, Too 

Along with physical pain and suffering, victims of gas explosions often suffer extreme psychological damage as well. Because many gas explosion victims are left with burns and other injuries that can cause permanent disfigurement, they are also left coping with extreme mental health issues related to these injuries. 

Even in cases where there has been no lasting physical impairment, people who experience the trauma of a gas leak and explosion can carry emotional scars for years, if not a lifetime. In addition, family members who become caregivers of gas explosion survivors can find themselves coping with the psychological and emotional fallout of what has happened to their loved ones as they feel the day-to-day strain of performing their caregiving duties. It is for these reasons that victims should seek the assistance of a Raleigh gas explosion lawyer.

It is common for any individual whose life has been impacted by a gas explosion to suffer psychological illness, which could include:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder, where they experience flashbacks, nightmares, and an inability to control their thoughts about the event.
  • Depression, manifested as fatigue, trouble concentrating, insomnia, irritability, loss of interest in usual activities, overeating or loss of appetite, digestive problems, restlessness, and/or suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • Anxiety, where they may be constantly worrying or  fearful, have panic attacks, avoid situations that could be potential triggers, and find themselves unable to sleep

Recovery Options for Gas Explosion Compensation 

A gas explosion is a catastrophic event that can result in serious injuries and even death. If you have been injured or you have lost a loved one in a gas explosion, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out what happens next. In addition to medical bills and other expenses, you may be facing a sudden loss of income or permanent disability and disfigurement. A Raleigh gas explosion lawyer can help you obtain compensation. 

Workers’ Compensation

For workers who have been injured in a gas explosion, workers’ compensation is likely to be your first and best option for compensation. Workers’ compensation will pay up to two-thirds of your income and all of your medical expenses arising from the accident. Workers’ compensation begins paying benefits almost immediately and does not require that you prove someone is at fault. 

The main drawback with workers’ compensation is that you cannot receive compensation for all of your losses. One-third of your income will be lost, and you will not be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering, loss of companionship, or other non-economic losses. A lawyer can help you understand exactly what losses will be covered by your workers’ compensation benefits.

Suing Your Employer

Generally speaking, you cannot sue your employer if the accident would be covered by workers’ compensation. There are two important exceptions: 

  1. The accident was caused by your employer’s intentional misconduct knowing with reasonable certainty that it would result in serious injury or death; or
  2. Your employer intentionally caused harm to you and other employees. 

It is unlikely that the second exception would apply, but the first exception may apply where employers refuse to maintain equipment, ignore safety standards, and disregard warnings. If you think your employer engaged in intentional misconduct that lead to the gas explosion, a Raleigh gas explosion lawyer can review your case and determine whether suing your employer is an option. 

Product Liability

Some gas explosions are caused by mechanical failures due to defective valves, tanks, furnaces, or other equipment. In these situations, you may be able to pursue a claim against the manufacturer of the defective equipment. If you can prove that the product was defective due to a design or manufacturing defect, you may be able to receive full compensation for your injuries and other losses. However, product liability cases are extremely difficult for non-lawyers to pursue, but a Raleigh gas explosion lawyer will know how to proceed. 

Other Third Parties

You may also have a claim against contractors, subcontractors, or other parties who are responsible for installing, maintaining, or otherwise responsible for the gas system. In order to pursue a claim against these parties, you will have to prove that they were negligent in some way and that negligence directly caused the explosion. 

Contact a Raleigh Gas Explosion Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been injured in a gas explosion accident, contact a Raleigh gas explosion lawyer by calling 1-800-662-1234 or reach out to us online. Our workers’ compensation attorneys have offices in Raleigh, Durham and Wilmington.

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The law firm you choose makes a difference. If you are the victim of an accident or an illness that someone else caused, the North Carolina personal injury law firm of Martin & Jones has the depth of experience, skills and sensitivity to make your road to recovery as smooth as possible. Whether you have experience with the legal system or have never hired a medical malpractice or personal injury lawyer before, our attorneys and staff will do our best to answer your questions, provide clear advice and prepare you and your family for what to expect. If you would like more information or to meet with one of our attorneys, please fill out the form below or call us at 800.662.1234.