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Avoid Natural Gas Injury Claims

We’ve had a number of cases involving serious injuries related to natural gas.  They’ve run the gamut from an explosion in a residence to carbon monoxide poisoning cases from leaking appliances.  And the common theme is that all of them involved serious, and perhaps permanent, injuries. 

That’s why I was so glad to see an article in yesterday’s Austin American Statesman talking about natural gas safety. 

In the article, Austin Fire Department Battalion Chief Palmer Buck talks about some of the ways that natural gas can cause problems and has safety tips to avoid those problems.  I’m paraphrasing, but some of this thoughts include:

  • Older appliances often have issues with pilot lights going out.  If the pilot lights go out, gas can leak  or problems occur when relighting the pilot light. Be alert to these dangers and follow instructions when relighting appliances.
  • When people attempt to move older gas supply lines, they can develop pinhole leaks, again causing risks of poisoning or fire.
  • If you smell gas, leave the house.  If conditions are right, even turning a light on or off or trying to use the phone can ignite the leak.  Similarly, opening windows may allow more oxygen and make the conditions more flammable.  Just get out.
  • Natural gas also brings with it risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.   When appliances do not burn properly or the exhaust from appliances is not properly vented out of the home, then it will produce carbon monoxide in the home.  In the worst cases, carbon monoxide poisoning can result in death.  But even in more “mild” cases, the problems can include long-term brain injury.

You can obviously see how these problems might result in a lawsuit.  If an appliance leaks, you might want to investigate potential claims against the manufacturer to make sure the product was designed and built correctly.  Additionally, you might want to investigate potential claims against the company that installed or serviced the appliance to make sure that they did their jobs correctly.

If your issue arises on property owned by someone else, you would want to investigate potential claims against the property owner.  For example, we have successfully made claims against an apartment owner who failed to properly fix a malfunctioning furnace that resulted in our client’s carbon monoxide poisoning.  Similarly, a number of lawsuits are filed against hotels for carbon monoxide poisoning issues that occur in hotel rooms.

Another popular defendant in claims involving gas leaks are contractors who fail to do their job properly when dealing with gas.  Most of these cases involve contractors who failed to properly install or move gas lines during various construction projects.

These are real dangers, and I urge you to read the entire article and to purchase a couple of carbon monoxide detectors for your home.

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