Massachusetts explosions and fires are both frightening and traumatic. They can cause catastrophic damage to life and property and can be emotionally devastating for Massachusetts survivors, witnesses and the families of victims. Massachusetts explosions happen in an instant and can cause significant personal injury, wrongful death and financial hardship to those Massachusetts residents involved. The most common causes of Massachusetts explosions are the negligence of a Massachusetts contractor or a Massachusetts utility or a defective design in the equipment or other product. Regardless of the cause of the Massachusetts explosion or Massachusetts fire, the effects are always devastating.
According to the Center for Disease Control, when explosions occur, they have the potential to inflict multi-system life threatening injuries on many persons simultaneously. Explosions and fires can cause injuries to Massachusetts civilians that are seldom seen outside of war combat. Nearby Massachusetts victims may suffer catastrophic injuries. These life altering injuries may include severe burns, blast lung, blunt trauma and other penetrating injuries.
Explosions and fires scar, kill and reap devastation in the United States every day. Massachusetts is no exception. Massachusetts gas leaks, Massachusetts chemical dust, Massachusetts electrical malfunctions, Massachusetts overheated boilers and Massachusetts explosives can cause Massachusetts explosions. Massachusetts explosions can happen anywhere: on a Massachusetts job site, at home, in a Massachusetts place of business, on Massachusetts rental property, in a Massachusetts motor vehicle or truck, or on an aircraft. Massachusetts factory and construction workers are most vulnerable to suffering explosion and fire injuries because they are required to use hazardous and flammable materials each and every day. The deadliest types of explosions have been coal mine explosions, and many of the largest fire losses in the United States are the result of explosions that started the fire.
In the aftermath of a Massachusetts explosion or fire, the events often take a significant physical and emotional toll on Massachusetts victims and their families. Tragically, many Massachusetts victims suffer wrongful death in the wake of an explosion or fire. Those who survive often endure an extensive rehabilitation process to recover from their injuries, such as broken bones, burns, respiratory problems and psychological trauma. The Massachusetts explosion injury victim and his or her family are forced to face a strenuous physical recovery as well as emotional stress, all the while dealing with mounting medical costs and lost wages. In cases of Massachusetts explosions in the home, victims may be displaced from their residences and forced to relocate for an indefinite period of time.
The majority of Massachusetts workplace explosions and fires involve repair work or construction sites. Under Massachusetts and Federal law, Massachusetts contractors, Massachusetts subcontractors and Massachusetts property owners have a legal duty to provide a reasonably safe work environment for Massachusetts employees. Without appropriate safeguards, proper maintenance and adequate staffing, a Massachusetts work site can quickly turn hazardous.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for the establishment and enforcement of all workplace safety rules and regulations. OSHA is also responsible for issuing fines to Massachusetts and other companies in violation of these regulations, as well as tracking the number of people who are injured or killed in Massachusetts workplace accidents and accidents in other states. According to OSHA reports, approximately two hundred and fifty workers die in workplace explosion accidents each year and over five thousand more are injured. What makes these statistics even more troubling is that most of these explosion accidents could have been prevented if the appropriate safety measures had been in place.
Massachusetts construction sites and other Massachusetts workplaces are full of potential explosion and fire hazards. Most of these Massachusetts sites contain tanks of compressed liquid propane, oxygen, acetylene, diesel fuel, gasoline and other chemicals. Massachusetts workers are constantly grinding, welding and cutting metal in the presence of these chemicals. If there is adherence to proper Massachusetts and Federal safety procedures and regulations, the chances of an explosion are reduced. However, if Massachusetts and Federal safety regulations are disregarded, Massachusetts workers are placed at an unreasonable risk for explosion accident injuries. Common Massachusetts explosion and fire accident injuries include:
In addition to Massachusetts employers doing their part to ensure safety, Massachusetts manufacturing companies have a legal responsibility to add adequate warning labels to Massachusetts products or Massachusetts machinery that could potentially explode under certain circumstances. A failure to do so can be found to constitute negligence and render these Massachusetts companies liable to Massachusetts victims for any injuries that they have sustained.
Massachusetts gas explosions are far too common. Massachusetts gas explosions may occur due to aging pipes, gas leaks, improperly installed gas lines, gas supplies left on during construction, and careless Massachusetts contractors and Massachusetts companies. These explosions can occur in private Massachusetts homes, as well as Massachusetts commercial buildings, and can also be caused by faulty utility pipes or defective appliances.
In recent years, in both Massachusetts and the United States, aging pipelines have been the number one cause of gas explosions. According to the United States Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety, in the past ten years, pipe explosions have killed over three hundred people and injured almost 1,500 others. Massachusetts utility companies have a legal duty to maintain pipelines in good condition and replace any aging lines that may pose an unreasonable threat to safety. Massachusetts companies must also ensure that all Massachusetts employees working around pipelines are adequately supervised at all times. Failure to do so constitutes negligence and can endanger both Massachusetts workers and Massachusetts bystanders.
Natural gas and propane gas are both widely used for cooking and heating in almost all Massachusetts homes. These gases are also common causes of explosions. Many Massachusetts home appliances, such as stoves, ovens, ranges, water heaters, dryers, heating and cooling systems, and fireplaces require gas to work properly. In the case of an appliance malfunction, an explosive level of gas may accumulate in a Massachusetts home. Both natural and propane gases are odorless, so Massachusetts gas companies are required by both Massachusetts and Federal law to add an odorant to emit a “warning” smell. Failure to do so, or to add a sufficient amount of odorant, may result in liability for any injuries sustained in a Massachusetts gas explosion.
If you do happen to smell gas, above all you need to immediately leave the area.
Because explosions can cause fires and other dangers that spread quickly, warn everyone
and anyone nearby of the potential danger. Here are some additional DOs and DON'Ts:
Immediately leave the gas leak area.
Warn everyone nearby of the danger.
Call the utility or gas company, but only when safely away from the gas
DO NOT switch on anything electrical, including lights, computers or even
DO NOT light a match.
DO NOT use your phone anywhere near the gas leak area.
DO NOT stay in the gas leak area.
Several parties may be held legally liable for injuries and deaths in the aftermath of a Massachusetts gas explosion. The Massachusetts local gas company, other Massachusetts gas suppliers in the supply chain, Massachusetts installation and maintenance parties, Massachusetts appliance manufacturers, and even Massachusetts landlords and Massachusetts homeowners may all be responsible to injured Massachusetts explosion victims.
To prove liability and win a Massachusetts home gas explosion case, the Massachusetts gas explosion victim or his or her loved ones must prove negligence on the part of the defendant, i.e., the person being sued for the gas explosion. Proving negligence entails several steps:
Duty: The Massachusetts gas explosion victim must first prove that the defendant owed the victim a duty. Basically, you need to convince the judge that the defendant owed the victim an obligation to behave as a reasonable person would do under the circumstances or to adhere to applicable safety or professional standards. For example, someone installing gas pipes in your home typically has an obligation to take reasonable care in installing those pipes. If the judge agrees, we can then say the installer owed you a duty.
Breach: If the judge determines that the defendant owed the victim a legal duty, the Massachusetts gas explosion victim must prove that the defendant breached that duty. The jury usually decides whether the defendant breached his or her duty. The basic goal is to prove that the defendant’s action or inaction was out of line with the way a reasonably prudent person would have behaved under similar circumstances, or out of line with applicable safety or professional standards.
Cause: The Massachusetts gas explosion victim must also prove that this breach of duty was the cause of the victim’s injuries. This involves a two step process: First, the victim must prove that, had the defendant not breached his or her duty, the victim would not have sustained the injuries he or she did sustain. Second, the victim must prove that the defendant could have foreseen such injuries occurring.
For example, suppose you have been injured by a gas pipe explosion where the gas pipe was already corroded when installed in your home; that the defendant installation company knew or should have known the pipe was corroded; and that corroded gas pipes tend to result in gas explosions. In this case, it would be fairly easy to prove that the defendant installation company could have foreseen an explosion. On the other hand, assume that the gas pipe was reasonably safe when installed. Assume also that the pipe later sustained damage after an unusually strong hurricane or flood in the area, and that this damage resulted in the gas explosion. It may be harder to prove in this case that the defendant could have foreseen the gas explosion, because it is not clear that the installation company could have foreseen this unusually strong hurricane or flood, and even if they could, it is still not clear that unusually strong hurricanes or floods normally result in gas explosions.
Harm/Damages: The Massachusetts gas explosion victim must also be able to prove that the breach of duty caused him or her actual harm or damages. Determining harm entails a complex calculation involving numerous factors, so this task is best left to an experienced Boston gas explosion attorney.
Far too frequently, Massachusetts explosions or fires can be fatal and leave grieving and devastated families in their wake. When a Massachusetts explosion or fire results in Massachusetts wrongful death, the victim’s family may be entitled to bring a Massachusetts wrongful death claim against any party whose negligence was a cause of the explosion.
Along with their grief, the loved ones of Massachusetts explosion or fire accident victims may sustain many types of financial losses and are entitled to financial recovery for their damages. There are a variety of losses sustained by close family members in Massachusetts explosion accident cases that are compensable under Massachusetts wrongful death law. These damages include money for medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, loss of future financial contributions, loss of consortium and loss of companionship. The purpose of these monetary damages is to compensate the family members for their losses caused by the death of their loved one.
The Boston, MA Law Offices of Gilbert R. Hoy, Jr. and Affiliates is a group of Boston, MA attorneys from some of the best law offices in Massachusetts, including expert Massachusetts explosion accident personal injury lawyers, who have been personally selected by Attorney Hoy because of their skill, experience and expertise. Many of the Boston, MA personal injury lawyers who are available to our Massachusetts clients through referral agreements have been repeatedly selected and recognized as among the very best lawyers in Massachusetts and, indeed, the country.
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