“Before the case was settled, we had no income. My wife couldn’t go back to work. Fred stepped in and guided us to a bank that loaned us the money we needed. And the law firm was extremely helpful in finding us a new place to live. We were under so much stress and they helped in so many ways.”
Our explosion lawyers work to make a positive difference in the lives of our clients. They have won multimillion-dollar settlements for people who have suffered from burns, traumatic brain injury, and other injuries caused by explosions.
We will do what we can for you and your family, even before a settlement is reached. This can mean talking to banks to help secure loans, talking to hospitals to delay payment of medical expenses, and working with insurance companies to get you or your injured loved one the best possible medical care.
Our lead attorneys for these cases are Fred Pritzker and Eric Hageman.
How Can We Help You?
We are personal injury lawyers who treat our clients with compassion and aggressively pursue justice against gas companies and other responsible businesses.
Independent Investigation by Explosion Lawyer
A lawyer with experience will know that it is necessary to conduct an independent investigation to determine the following:
- Was there gross negligence on the part of a company responsible for the blast?
- Did a company know there was a risk of an explosion, and what was done to prevent it?
- Was a defect in a product or process involved?
- Was a service technician or other maintenance worker careless, and if so, was it because of inadequate training?
Because of our past successes, we have the resources and skill to unearth evidence to win complex cases.
Settlement for Client with Third-Degree Burns
Attorneys Fred Pritzker and Eric Hageman recently won $10 million in a settlement for a man who was severely burned in a blast caused by a propane gas leak.
We alleged that the propane tank was only filled with one third of propane needed, in violation of industry safety standards and the explicit warning on the tank. Our argument was that, because the tank was under filled, odorant in the propane (added so that a leak can be detected by the awful smell) was rendered odorless. Because it had no odor, our client had no warning a propane leak had occurred. According to Eric:
“As most people know, propane has a distinctive odor, added by the manufacturer, but various environmental factors can cause propane to lose its odor, which allows escaping gas to go undetected and result in a serious hazard. Odor fade is a major problem with new propane tanks, which can absorb the odorant into the metal shell of the tank. We have found liability for ‘underfilling’ propane tanks, causing odor fade.”
Our client spent nearly 2 months in a burn unit. He had third degree burns over almost 60% of his total body surface. Almost 70% of patients with comparable burns do not survive.
He had 60% burns to his face and neck, entire trunk, bilateral hands and upper extremities, and bilateral lower extremities. He developed severe malnutrition and required enteral nutrition via a feeding tube placed for 43 days. He was on the ventilator for 4 days, had a bladder catheter for 28 days, and central venous access for 43 days.
Almost all of his burns were third degree, resulting in a total of 8 operations to achieve wound closure through various skin grafting techniques. He was hospitalized for 55 days, in which time he developed a graft infection. He also developed acute stress reaction, seen in essentially a third of burn patients, which progressed to persistent symptoms consistent with PTSD.
Wrongful Death from Carbon Monoxide Inhalation
In another of our cases, our client’s mother was sleeping in a duplex she had rented, when a blast emanating from the kitchen caused a fast-moving fire. The mother did not awaken until after smoke and carbon monoxide had filled her side of the house. She was found dead in the charred remains of the home. There were no smoke or CO detectors.
The mother died as a direct result of the fire. The autopsy report and blood toxicology indicated that the cause of her death was carbon monoxide inhalation. Our lawyers argued that the high level of carbon monoxide found in her blood indicated that she survived the initial blast and was alive for some time, breathing in smoke containing deadly levels of CO.
“If the landlord had installed smoke and CO detectors in the home, our client’s mother would have been alerted of the danger and would have had time to escape the fire.”
Family members who may have wrongful death claims after an explosion include the following: wife, husband, child, parent, and possibly other close family members. A lawyer will need to be consulted.
Explosion injuries have four classifications; all can be fatal. Primary injuries are blast wave injuries caused by the increased pressure exerted on the body. Secondary injuries are penetrating trauma injuries from flying debris. Tertiary injuries result from being thrown by the blast. All other injuries, including smoke inhalation, burns, crush injuries, and complications of existing medical problems, are classified as quaternary injuries. Contact our law firm about a lawsuit if you were injured in an explosion and want compensation.
Burn injuries from explosions can be from the heat generated from the blast or the resulting fire, or from flames touching the skin. The severity of the burns depends on the percentage of the body burned and the depth of the burns. There are horrific injuries. In some cases, a column of fire shoots into the air, creating such intense heat that it can melt the siding on houses almost a mile away. That kind of heat also melts skin off of flesh. One of our clients lost limbs. In all of our cases, our lawyers find that a company did something wrong, either a safety violation, sloppy maintenance, or careless excavation.
Most deaths in explosions are from smoke inhalation, which includes both searing heat and chemicals, both of which can cause severe burns to the esophagus and lungs (so this is a type of burn injury). The smoke can prevent intake of oxygen, which can cause brain damage due to oxygen deprivation, or cerebral anoxia. Smoke inhalation injuries can include the following:
- Cerebral anoxia, a kind of brain damage caused by insufficient oxygen;
- Atelectasis–a partial or full collapse of a lung;
- Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome – a life-threatening condition caused by fluid buildup in the alveoli (air sacs) of the lungs, characterized by severe shortness of breath;
- Carbon monoxide poisoning – characterized by flu-like symptoms including headaches, nausea and fatigue, this condition can cause brain damage and death;
- Cyanide poisoning – characterized by weakness, confusion, dizziness, shortness of breath, fatigue, and unusual behavior, this condition can cause heart attack, seizure, stroke, coma, and death;
- Hypoxia – oxygen deprivation that can cause brain damage.
There are several ways the brain can be damaged in an explosion.
- The pressure from the blast can cause a concussion, symptoms of which including headache, vomiting, dizziness, unexplained drowsiness, blurry vision, and cognitive problems;
- The head can hit a hard surface when the body is thrown by the force of the blast;
- Smoke can prevent oxygen from getting to the brain.
Blast lung is a common injury. Imagine what happens to the lungs when extreme pressure hits the body and then reverses. Air is sucked out of the lungs as tissue is constricted. This damages the lungs, and can create bubbles of air that release into the blood and travel to other parts of the body. If one of these bubbles gets to the brain or heart, the person can have a stroke or heart attack.
When the blast wave inflicts blunt force trauma to the chest, the pressure on the heart can cause cardiac arrest or other damage. In addition, debris, flying through the air at tremendous speeds, can pierce the chest and lacerate the heart muscle, valves, or arteries and veins. This both injures the heart and creates internal bleeding, which on its own can cause damage.
Crush Injuries happen when part of a building or large pieces of debris fall on someone or when a person’s body is slammed onto a hard surface, like the ground or a wall. When a house, apartment, office building or other structure collapses whole floors can fall onto people below. In a recent explosion, a boiler was blown through the air and onto another building, where it tragically killed one person and injured two. Bones can be absolutely crushed, requiring limb removal. There is often internal organ damage, nerve damage and severe bleeding in these injuries.
The most common injury is a ruptured eardrum. The overpressure from the blast wave can rupture the tympanic membrain and fracture ossicles in the middle ear, causing permanent hearing loss.
Eye injuries from explosions can include:
- orbital fracture, a break in the bone of the eye socket;
- ruptured globes, tear in the cornea and/or the sclera, the white part of the eye;
- traumatic optic neuropathy, damage to the optic nerve;
- the total loss of an eye.
Propane, also referred to as LP gas, is highly combustible, meaning it ignites with a bang very easily. Because of this, there are regulations regarding its use and industry standards that must be followed to prevent explosions. Our lawyers are some of the few in the nation who have successfully handled these cases and won multi-millions. To win requires a significant understanding of the laws and industry standards, the causes of these kinds of explosions, and the investigation process and procedures. For example, the lawyer needs to know that a chemical odorant is added to propane, which is odorless, to allow people to smell it if there is a leak. If this is not added, too little is added, or anything is done to fade the odorant, there may be a propane explosion lawsuit against a company.
“As soon as we are hired, we start an independent investigation, knowing that hard work and persistence can lead to valuable information. Our severely burned clients need answers and for the company at fault to be held responsible. Our efforts have found liability for violations of safety regulations, the sale of defective products and, in a recent case, the failure to properly fill a propane tank, resulting in odor fade.”
Natural Gas Pipline
The video below shows the inferno caused by a gas pipeline (main) leak. Witnesses said the fireball was 100 feet high.
Natural gas blasts are generally caused by either a gas line or defective product exploding. In these cases, the gas company, a manufacturer, and others may be liable, meaning they are legally responsible and can be sued for personal injury or wrongful death.
Some products that have caused blasts include water heaters, outdoor grills, ovens, and generators.
For more information, read Gas Explosion Lawyer.
Boiler blasts can occur when there is excessive pressure. When the boiler can no longer contain the excessive pressure allowed to build in the boiler, the boiler explodes. Excessive pressure accidents can completely destroy a building. Fuel-related boiler blasts can occur when there is a failure to purge combustible gases from the firebox before ignition is attempted. Leaking fuel valves can also cause a blast.
In some cases, a blast can be caused when the boiler is allowed to operate without adequate water. For more information, read Boiler Explosion Lawyer.
What Can an Explosion Lawyer Do for You?
If you hire a lawyer at our law firm, we will help you and your family:
- get answers;
- hold all responsible parties accountable.
Our attorneys have successfully used their experience to investigate, litigate, and win these cases. They are familiar with the terminology and have access to highly-qualified experts who can provide valuable testimony.
For more information, please read the following:
- Can I Sue if My House Exploded?
- Why Didn’t We Smell Propane Gas?
- Can We Sue the Company That Filled the Propane Tank?
- Vape Lawyer