North Carolina Pipeline Explosions
Natural gas provides a valuable service in our daily lives and helps all kinds of important appliances run – from gas furnaces to propane grills. Regrettably, gas is also volatile. That means that if there’s something wrong with a gas appliance or an underground gas pipeline is struck during construction, it can result in a sudden release of gas causing an explosion.
If you or your loved one has been harmed in a pipeline explosion caused by someone else’s negligence, then you may be entitled to substantial compensation. A pipeline explosion can cause long-lasting or fatal injuries. Since many different factors can contribute to a pipeline explosion, victims typically find it challenging to determine who was responsible for their accident.
At Hardison & Cochran, our Raleigh personal injury and workers compensation lawyers have more than 30 years of experience seeking justice and maximum compensation for our clients in Raleigh, Durham, and surrounding areas.
We care deeply about making our community a safer and better place for everyone. We are not only dedicated to getting top-dollar results for our clients but also volunteer our time and resources to important local causes such as the Autism Society of North Carolina. As our past clients have shared in testimonials and reviews, you can trust that the team at Hardison & Cochran will do all we can to help you get the best outcome for your case.
If you’ve been injured in a pipeline explosion, contact Hardison & Cochran today to discuss your legal options. The consultation is free. With several offices in North Carolina, our respected personal injury attorneys have the skills to fight on your behalf for maximum compensation. We won’t charge you unless we help you win your case.
To get started, call us today at (800) 434-8399 to set up your free and confidential consultation.
Common Sources for Pipeline Explosions
Gas-run appliances and pipes become dangerous if they aren’t manufactured properly, installed correctly and adequately maintained. Many different events can lead to natural gas explosions – from a leak to negligent installation. Some of the most common causes of gas pipeline explosions include:
- Improper maintenance of pipes and gas appliances that might corrode over time
- Excavation work that ruptures a pipeline and leads to a pipeline explosion
- Propane leaks after a pipe or container ages and decays or it is punctured
- Improper training of employees that work near gas pipelines
- Faulty installation of water heaters, gas furnaces, or other appliances
- Negligence in the construction of structures with gas pipes and appliances, such as poor venting around a propane tank or poor welding on pipes
- Failure to install emergency shutoff valves or other safety measures
- Manufacturing defects, such as leaking valves or defective safety equipment
- Negligent actions by gas or utility providers such as failure to add mercaptan to gas, giving it a familiar rotten egg smell, and making gas leaks easier to detect.
Types of Pipelines
Many different kinds of pipelines run throughout North Carolina. Some pipes are underground, while others are visible. Some of the most common types of pipeline include:
- Interstate natural gas pipelines. The interstate natural gas pipelines transport processed natural gas under high pressure from refineries and processing plants to large urban areas. The interstate pipeline system extends throughout North Carolina and across the United States.
- Gas distribution pipelines—Local gas utilities transport natural gas from delivery points on interstate pipelines to households and businesses within a geographic area through thousands of miles of small-diameter distribution pipelines. Local distribution companies are regulated utilities. Distribution pipelines move smaller amounts of gas at lower pressure to individual users.
- Oil pipelines. Most of these pipelines are underground, but some oil pipelines surface at pump stations or run above ground, such as the Trans-Alaskan pipeline. The pipelines, which oilfields and refineries use to transport refined oil, are usually made of steel or plastic and range in size from four feet in diameter to just a few inches.
Pipeline Failure Statistics
There are more than 2.5 million miles of gas pipelines that transmit, distribute, or gather fuel in the United States, plus more than 200,000 miles of pipelines for liquid commodities like carbon dioxide, biofuel, and crude oil.
Many of the gases and liquids that flow through these pipelines are highly flammable. A pipeline explosion endangers workers, residents, and anyone in the area whenever there is a fire near one of these pipelines or when there is some sort of failure with a pipeline.
According to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, pipeline incidents in the United States have killed over 300 people in the past 20 years, injured more than 1,200 others, and cost over $9.4 billion in damages.
A History of Pipeline Explosions
Many communities throughout the United States have had pipeline explosions. In April 2019, a gas pipeline explosion in the Brightleaf Square area of Durham, North Carolina, killed two people, left 25 others injured, and destroyed several buildings. The pipeline explosion was ruled an accident caused by a cable contractor who ruptured a pipeline while boring under the sidewalk.
Previously, eight people died in a natural gas pipeline explosion in September 2010 in San Bruno, California, that was so violent that residents thought it was an earthquake. It was later discovered that aging and faulty welds in the pipeline caused the explosion, and the utility company responsible for maintaining pipeline safety had diverted money from the safety budget to pay for executive bonuses.
Individuals and businesses that cause accidents that lead to pipeline explosions may be held accountable. A pipeline explosion lawsuit would seek compensation for losses due to injuries suffered in the explosion or the wrongful death of a loved one killed in the explosion.
Pipeline Accident Information
Pipeline explosions can happen in many locations, such as a building where you live or on a job site. For non-workplace accidents, victims may be entitled to sue whichever party was responsible for the explosion.
If the accident happened on-the-job, then you may be eligible to claim workers’ compensation benefits including paid medical care and partial replacement of lost wages. However, you might also be able to file a pipeline explosion lawsuit if a third party was responsible for the accident. An experienced pipeline accident attorney at Hardison & Cochran can help you understand all the legal options that might be available to you.
Whether an explosion takes place at home, on the job, or another location, it can lead to serious injuries, costly medical expenses, and disruption of your life. Some of the most common injuries in pipeline explosions include:
- Head, back, and neck injuries
- Brain injuries from the explosion
- Skull fractures
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage
- Lung damage from hazardous fumes
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Ruptured eardrums, loss of hearing
After a pipeline accident, victims can typically seek compensation to cover damages like:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Emotional distress
An experienced attorney at Hardison & Cochran is available to review your injuries and discuss the kinds of compensation that may be available to you following your pipeline explosion accident.
Who’s Responsible for Your Injuries Due to Gas Explosions
Many gas explosions are preventable through proper maintenance, responsible installation, and suitable precautions when digging or working around pipelines. When a person or company fails to take appropriate safety measures, the individual or business may be liable for the devastation a pipeline explosion can cause.
Explosions are complex, and it’s sometimes difficult for victims to determine who was responsible for an accident, especially while they’re trying to focus on recovering from their injuries. However, a skilled gas explosion attorney can help launch a full investigation and help determine all of the parties that might be liable.
Some examples of those who are commonly liable in gas explosion incidents include:
- Owner or landlord of the building
- Gas or utility provider
- Construction company or their subcontractors
- Device or component manufacturers
- Installation company
- Maintenance company
Our firm will use our experience and resources to investigate the cause of a pipeline explosion and build a strong case on your behalf.
Get Help From a Pipeline Explosion Lawyer Today
It is difficult for explosion victims to get fair treatment and compensation if they try to deal with insurance companies on their own. However, you don’t have to shoulder the burden all by yourself. If you or a loved one has been injured in a pipeline explosion incident, the attorneys at Hardison & Cochran are here to help.
Our Raleigh personal injury and workers compensation lawyers are prepared to aggressively fight for your rights, while also providing you with the compassionate and personalized attention that you deserve. Don’t wait to get on the road to recovery. Call us today at (800) 434-8399 or contact us online to schedule your free and confidential consultation.