Pipeline Explosion – Wrongful Death
From 2010 – 2021, there were at least 2,600 pipeline explosions in the U.S., with an average of 236 incidents yearly. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation – Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, these incidents resulted in 122 fatalities, 603 injuries, and over $4 billion in property damage.
A new gas leak is estimated to be reported to the federal government every 40 hours. This includes small minor leaks, but the danger level is still high. In the case of our client, it was life-altering.
Our clients’ lives were shattered when a nearby gas line began to leak, leading to a significant accumulation of gas underneath their home. Shortly after returning home from a family vacation, the dryer in the home sparked the gas, causing a large explosion.
The blast left one child dead and another with significant burns over her body. Both parents were also severely burned in the explosion.
In such situations, it’s critical to establish the contributing factors that led to the incident. The highest priority was establishing what led to the gas accumulating underneath the house. There are dozens of factors that could have caused the leak to occur initially. Improper installation, product defects, low-quality parts, and poor maintenance; there are dozens of other possibilities. Ultimately, the leak should have never occurred.
Important to cases like this one is establishing if negligence was a factor. Negligence is typically defined as a failure to what a reasonable person would do in the same or similar circumstance. In this case, the question is whether the gas company reasonably maintained its gas line.
Gathering relevant evidence is crucial to prove negligence, as in this case. Police reports, witness testimony, camera footage, and evidence from the scene can all provide relevant information. An experienced lawyer can help you with this; gathering this information alone can be expensive and confusing.
Through the legal process, Sutliff & Stout demonstrated what occurred and why the gas company was at fault. Through our efforts, we ensured that our clients would get the care they deserve and have the economic resources necessary to address any situation that may arise in the future. Because of the severity of their injuries and the loss of life, our lawyers negotiated a total settlement of $110 million on behalf of our clients. Net recovery for our clients, in this case, was $76,035,701.45.