Few injuries are as devastating as those suffered in an explosion. Explosions have the potential to inflict life-threatening injuries to several people in an instant. These disastrous events can lead to many serious injuries, including brain, burn, and spinal cord injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the most common post-blast injuries involve penetrating and blunt trauma. Explosions can also cause extensive property damage, and all too often, loss of life.
If you have been hurt by a blast – or if you have lost a loved one in an explosion – you could be eligible for needed compensation for medical expenses, pain, suffering, lost property, and lost wages, among other damages. It is critical to speak with a personal injury lawyer quickly.
Burg Simpson has extensive experience and a successful track record litigating fire and explosion lawsuits. Call our lawyers for help right away at (720) 500-5995 or fill out our FREE case evaluation form to get started.
Causes of Explosion Injuries
Any number of things can lead to an explosion, such as a defective product, faulty product installation, shoddy maintenance, negligence, or safety oversight. Explosions can occur almost anywhere – at home, at work, or even after a motor vehicle accident. Explosions in confined spaces are often severe and associated with greater mortality rates.
Any gas leak in an enclosed space can cause an explosion, including propane, natural gas, methane, and butane. As the gas seeps out, it mixes with the air and causes pressure to build up. When the pressure reaches a high enough level, almost anything can trigger an explosion – a single flame or static electricity spark can ignite a devastating explosion.
If any gases leak in your home for any reason, you may be at risk of a home explosion. Here are some of the most common causes of explosions in a home or office building:
- Tanks that hold fuel placed near flammable material
- Hoses or tanks that are leaking
- Gas appliance leaks
- Gas lines or propane lines that were improperly installed
- Defective control valves, meters, pipes, regulators
- Old and aging pipes and/or gas lines
- Rupturing a gas line while digging
- Equipment improperly reconnected by workers
- Equipment left on, resulting in an explosion
Explosions are often complicated and it can be difficult to point to a single factor that caused the explosion. More often than not, there are multiple small issues or defects that end up leading to a much larger, sometimes fatal explosion.
Types of Injuries in Explosion Injury Cases
Explosion injuries are typically classified by one of four types:
- Primary: Primary injuries are a result of shock waves and suggest close proximity to the original blast. These injuries typically affect the ears, lungs, and the gastrointestinal tract. Some of these internal injuries are not apparent right away. Primary injuries often include what is referred to as blast lung, a severe pulmonary contusion, bleeding, or swelling that includes blood vessel damage. These injuries are the most common cause of death among blast survivors.
- Secondary: These fragmentation injuries are caused primarily from flying debris, which can cause penetrating trauma, bleeding, and eye injuries. Roughly 10 percent of blast survivors suffer an eye injury.
- Tertiary: Tertiary injuries are caused by the explosion’s sudden displacement of air, which can toss victims around. These impact-type injuries typically present as blunt and penetrating wounds and can include fractures and traumatic amputation.
- Quaternary: This category of injury encompasses everything not mentioned above, which can include flash burns, a crushing injury, and respiratory injuries.
Most Common Locations for Explosions
Construction sites are already very dangerous. They have many hazardous components that can cause explosions, and much of the material used in construction is volatile and extremely flammable.
Although explosions can happen at any location at nearly any time, there are various areas that seem to be more prone to these disasters. Some of the most common locations include:
- Chemical plant explosions: The majority of explosions at chemical plants occur due to incorrect storage practices, inadequate maintenance, improper handling of flammable objects, the non-compliance with federal and state laws, defective equipment, and inadequate training.
- Plant and refinery explosions: Many plant and refinery explosions occur due to unseen corrosion, improper maintenance, improperly cared for boilers, well blowouts, unsafe practices and procedures, and inadequate training. These incidents are truly devastating and often result in burns, fires, and massive property damage.
- Land rig explosions: Although not as common as plant explosions, land rig explosions continue to happen through the U.S. In most instances, land rig explosions occur because of gas truck accidents and pipeline transport errors. Failing to maintain the equipment and property adequately can also lead to life-changing explosions.
- Fertilizer plant explosions: The majority of synthetic fertilizers are made of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which lead to violent explosions when combined with other substances. In some cases, inadequate training and improper storage methods can lead to these incidents.
- Oil rig explosions: Working with oil rigs present unique challenges that most people fail to recognize. There are extensive risks associated with using heavy machinery while working with volatile substances. When oil rig explosions occur, many companies try to shift the blame to the victim. For this reason, it is crucial that you seek legal guidance from a skilled attorney as soon as possible to ensure your legal rights are protected.
- Pipeline explosions: gas and oil pipeline explosions can result in mass casualties and billions of dollars in property damage. These incidents are truly catastrophic and can take days to clear up. Regrettably, when pipelines explode, it can lead to extensive property damage, toxic exposure, burn injuries, severe blunt force trauma, and even death.
Types of Damage Claims for Explosion Injury Cases
Depending on the circumstances of the fire or explosion and the types of damages incurred, you may be able to receive compensation for funeral expenses, current medical bills, future medical care, past and future pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, inconvenience, emotional trauma, lost wages, lost future income, loss of consortium, and more. The types of things you may be able to claim as damages include:
- Economic losses: These are objectively quantifiable monetary damage that can include past and future medical bills, rehabilitation expense, lost income, any lost earning potential, and any out-of-pocket costs you may have incurred.
- Non-economic losses: These are more subjective and much harder to quantify, including claims for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, mental and emotional distress, and inconvenience.
- Permanent impairment and disfigurement
- Loss of consortium
Working with an experienced legal team can help ensure you are able to maximize your recoveries after being injured in an explosion. The personal injury attorneys at Burg Simpson provide an array of services for our clients to ensure they secure the compensation they deserve. Some of the services we offer our clients include:
- Investigating the incident to determine what led to it occurring
- Gather evidence from the scene of the accident
- Speak with witnesses and gather statements on behalf of our clients
- Investigate the property owner where the incident occurred
- Investigate the company that manufactured the product that exploded
- Gather medical reports and damage statements to determine the cost of each accident
- Work with financial experts who can fully calculate lost wages and long-term earnings by taking many factors into consideration
- Filing all documents and evidence in a timely manner
- Ensuring the accuracy of statements, evidence, and documents provided to the court, our clients, and to the defendants in each case
- Aggressively negotiating full and fair compensation to ensure our clients are in the best position possible to move forward and cover their debts
- Provide responsive legal representations in court whenever we are unable to come to a settlement agreement with at-fault parties
When Explosion Cases Result in the Wrongful Death of a Loved One
Explosions are one of the most devastating types of accidents, and they often result in loss of life. Even in instances when victims survive the initial blast, they are at an increased risk of passing away from their severe injuries. When victims lose their lives in explosions, their surviving relatives may have legal options available to help them obtain compensation to alleviate various costs they face moving forward.
Depending on the state where the incident occurred, there are various parties who may be able to file wrongful death lawsuits after a tragic loss. Some of the parties include:
- The surviving spouse of the decedent
- The surviving children of the decedent
- The decedent’s parents
- The adopted children of the decedent
- The designated beneficiary
In some cases, extended relatives may be able to file wrongful death lawsuits after experiencing the sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one due to an explosion. Working with an explosion attorney can help to determine if you meet the required criteria to bring forth a wrongful death lawsuit.
Determining Liability for Explosion Injuries
If you have been injured in an explosion, your first priority is to seek medical attention. Any investigation of an explosion after that, however, is best left to the authorities – trained investigators who know how to analyze the scene of an investigation. Between local emergency services and insurance companies, there will be several parties involved in investigating any explosion incident.
However, it is still in your best interest to retain legal counsel for yourself. Our compassionate personal injury lawyers have more than four decades of experience fighting for victims of accidental explosions. We work with our own experienced investigators to recreate the situation and explore the actual causes of the explosion, so we can best establish liability to recover deserved damages.
If you have lost a family member or loved one in a catastrophic explosion – no matter what the cause – or if you have survived a blast yourself, contact Burg Simpson’s personal injury lawyers before it is too late at (720) 500-5995 or fill out our FREE case evaluation form immediately.