If you or a family member was hurt or someone has died in a propane grilling or propane tank explosion or fire, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, injuries, and other losses through a propane injury lawsuit. Propane gas grills and tanks have the potential for causing explosions that can result in severe burns, disfigurement, and even death. Unfortunately, many victims of propane injuries are not aware that they are entitled to sue and may even blame themselves for causing the fire. As a result, they fail to investigate the root cause and never get the legal assistance they need to seek the restitution they are potentially entitled to.
Propane Injury Lawyers
This is when and where the propane injury lawyers and burn injury lawyers at the Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law can help. We provide a free consultation to examine the facts of your situation. If hired, we take the burden off you by gathering crucial evidence and dealing with the insurance adjusters and legal issues, and we are prepared to take your case all the way to trial to fight for the settlement you deserve.
Contact us today at (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000 for your free case evaluation so we can start working for you. Ask us about our No Fee Guarantee.
When Do You Have a Propane Injury or Propane Explosion Lawsuit?
Many gas grill fires and tank explosions are caused by leaking propane. According to the National Fire Prevention Association’s (NFPA) 2018 “Home Grill Fires” report, from 2009 – 2013, an annual average of 8,900 home fires involved grills, hibachis, or barbecues, and almost half of all grilling injuries involved thermal burns. The NFPA reports that leaks or breaks were the prime problems for gas grills: causing 11% of gas grill structure fires and 23% of outside gas grill fires.
Typical was the July 4th, 2014, grilling accident reported by today.com. When Brian bent over to light his grill to start cooking for a party at his home, the grill exploded, “engulfing his body in a wall of fire.” Fuchs was relatively lucky as he wound up with just second-degree burns on his arms and lesser burns on his legs. In cases like this, our burn injury lawyers can provide skilled legal help to victims.
If propane injuries were caused by defective grills, propane canisters, or gas lines, you might have grounds for a gas grill explosion lawsuit, a propane injury lawsuit, or a product liability case. Also, a lawsuit may be warranted when someone else was negligent. Negligence may be a factor …
- if there were improper installations of propane equipment
- if the labeling of the tanks was missing or improper
- if there was a failure to odorize the propane
- when propane tanks or canisters were not correctly prepared or filled
- in cases where the equipment was not properly inspected
- a design defect interferes with the normal operation of the igniter
- if there was a failure to adhere to or enforce OSHA industry safety standards.
For a successful lawsuit, an individual or a company, such as a tank manufacturer or installer, would have to be found negligent, at fault, and legally responsible for the explosion. Our propane explosion attorneys are prepared to do the necessary investigation and research. We’ll examine all the evidence to prove that the responsible party was liable for your injuries and damages and that you are owed compensation. Call us now at (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000 to discuss your case.
Learn About Propane Injury Lawsuit Settlements
Settlements for propane injury lawsuit injuries vary greatly, depending on factors that include the circumstances of the accident, the severity of the injuries, and the degree of fault involved. Some of the largest settlements, which can be worth millions, may involve severe injury or death, inability to work or enjoy life, and significant property damage, such as when a fire or explosion causes a house to burn down.
In addition to burns, propane-related injuries that may bring large settlements can involve smoke inhalation and lung damage; spinal injury, organ, and brain damage; loss of limbs, lacerations, scarring, and disfigurement; and loss of eyesight or hearing. Settlement amounts may also depend on factors such as the number of companies that may be liable, the insurance coverage these companies have, and whether workers’ compensation enters the picture.
Example Propane Lawsuit Settlement Amounts
The following are some examples of the wide range of past propane explosion lawsuit settlement amounts (*Please note: Every case is unique. Past recoveries are no guarantee of a future result. To better understand the potential value of your claim, speak directly with a licensed attorney with experience in this area.):
- In Svacina v. Propane Retailer, a 2008 case in Iowa, the claim was settled for approximately $150,000. The victim suffered burns as a result of a propane gas explosion due to a propane tank that was inadequately prepared for usage.
- In another Iowa case in 2012, Amos v. Pelgas, the settlement included past and future medical and disability benefits near $2 million and insurance of approximately $4 million. The victim had extensive burns and scarring over major portions of his body due to the rupture of a filing hose while he and another individual were filling propane in a cylinder.
- In a 2016 case, relatives of a couple who died after a house fire near San Benito, Texas, on Christmas Day filed a $500 million lawsuit alleging negligence against Hino Gas Sales, Inc., Rego Products, Inc., Engineered Controls, Inc., Thompson Tank, Inc., La Pulga De Rio and Lowe’s Home Centers, L.L.C. Six other people were left injured.
How Our Propane Explosion Attorneys Can Help
In determining what amount to ask for, the propane explosion and injury lawyers at Terry Bryant will thoroughly analyze the facts of your case. We will provide you with an idea of what it may be worth by looking at factors that include …
- What companies can be held legally responsible and sued
- The total amount of insurance money available from the insurance policies these companies hold, including workers’ compensation
- The nature and permanence of the injuries you and your family suffered
- Whether there is a wrongful death case
- Whether the injuries prevent you from going back to work, how much income you have lost, and what losses there may be in potential earning capacity
- The amount of your medical bills, including doctor and hospital bills, physical and occupational therapy bills, transportation to and from medical institutions, and the cost of home aides and pharmaceuticals
- What non-tangible costs are involved, such as physical and emotional pain and suffering, and the effects on marriage, family, and social life.
Knowing what companies to sue and how much to sue for takes the kind of experience that the propane explosion attorneys at Terry Bryant Law have to offer. Call us today at (713) 973-8888, or toll-free at 1 (800) 444-5000.
What Leads to a Propane Accident and Explosion Lawsuit?
Propane is a gas that has no odor of its own to warn you of its presence. Propane has a higher density and is heavier than air, which enables it to be put into containers and stored as a liquid compressed in tanks and cylinders in the home. For safety, a chemical odorant is added to propane so that it can be smelled in case of a leak.
Propane is extremely flammable. When homeowners buy it for use in grills, it comes in a small, heavy tank with a valve that is supposed to shut tight to prevent leakage. If propane gas does leak out, it can easily be ignited by a spark.
Propane tanks require venting. This is because propane gas expands when exposed to excessive heat, and when the internal tank pressure exceeds 375 PSI, the pressure release valve opens to prevent excessive pressure build-up. If the valve fails to open, the build-up of pressure can cause the tank to explode.
The chemical odorant that is added to propane, ethyl mercaptan, has an odor similar to rotten eggs. If you smell this, it is a warning that gas is escaping and that steps need to be taken to prevent an explosion. However, the odor of ethyl mercaptan disappears over time, usually between five to seven days after a tank has been filled, and it can become completely undetectable after three weeks. This is called odor fade. If odor fade occurs or if the smell is not detected in time to pick up on the fact that propane gas is leaking, a real potential for explosion exists.
Propane leaks need ventilation; if this is not available, explosions can occur while propane tanks are being transported or during the installation process.
Propane Explosions at Home
Propane explosions at home are most often caused by leaks in tanks or their valves and hoses. Problems can occur when tanks are changed, refilled, or serviced if the tanks and valves are not properly sealed or closed.
Despite the possibility of explosions, propane is a popular product used in the home. Since it can easily be packed and in containers that can be stored on the premises, homeowners like to use it for grilling. It is also commonly used in campers and RVs for cooking, refrigeration, and heating.
The danger of propane explosions in home grilling is illustrated by what happened to ESPN anchor Hannah Storm, who received first- and second-degree burns while using a propane gas grill in her backyard. Storm had lit her outdoor propane grill on a cold evening, but when she went back outside to check on the temperature, the pilot light had blown out, and the grill was not hot. She then turned the gas off and back on again to relight it. It exploded and set her on fire.
Why did this happen, even though the cover was open? Propane is heavier than air, so it had sunk to the bottom of the grill instead of dissipating into the atmosphere, the way Storm assumed it would. As a result, there was enough fuel pooled at the bottom of the grill to explode when a flame was reintroduced.
Gas Grill Explosion Lawsuits – Prevention Tips Can Keep You Safer.
To protect yourself from a propane explosion similar to Ms. Storm’s, check out the NFPA’s grilling safety tips.
- Check tanks and hoses for leaks before using for the first time each year by applying a light soap and water solution. Propane leaks will produce bubbles.
- If you smell gas or see bubbles and there is no flame, turn off the gas tank and the grill.
- If the leak stops, do not use it until it has been professionally serviced.
- If the leak does not stop or you smell gas while cooking, get away from the grill and call the fire department.
- If the flame goes out, turn off gas and grill and wait at least 5 minutes before relighting.
- Only use propane grills outdoors.
- Place the grill away from the home and overhanging branches.
- Make sure the lid is open before lighting.
- Keep children and pets away from the grill area, and do not leave the grill unattended.
- Keep the grill clean by removing grease build-up.
Propane Explosion Lawsuits and the Workplace
Propane injuries can occur in the workplace if propane tanks and heaters are used. Industrial explosions may occur in facilities such as manufacturing plants or warehouses where chemical gasses are present. Causes include worker error or negligence, unsafe working conditions, chemical spills, faulty propane gas equipment, and fuel tanks, or problems when working with or transporting fuel.
An example that was reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) occurred on March 5, 2019, when two employees walked into an on-site trailer and went to light the propane-powered space heater. The heater exploded, and both employees were hospitalized with second- and third-degree burns to their hands, arms, and faces.
In another 2019 case reported to OSHA, an employee was installing a commercial range and had made all of the connections to the propane line. When the employee charged the lines with propane, fuel was smelled, and another worker brought it to the attention of the first employee. Instead of checking the fittings and connections, the first employee attempted to light the pilot light with a torch. The gas fumes ignited in a flash fire, and the employee was hospitalized for burns to his hands, arms, chest, and face.
Who Is Liable for a Propane Explosion at Work?
Depending on the circumstances, when propane explosions occur at work, liable parties may include employers, property owners, equipment manufacturers or maintenance people, or employees who were careless and caused or contributed to the accident. In some situations, workers’ compensation may cover benefits and compensation for losses such as lost wages and medical expenses of employees injured at work. However, workers’ compensation has claim limits, and it typically covers only employees, not independent contractors.
How a Propane Injury Lawsuit Differs from Workers’ Compensation Cases
Filing a civil propane injury lawsuit allows you to go beyond the limitations of workers’ compensation, which does not cover injuries caused by a third party. The propane injury lawyers at Terry Bryant will work to determine the responsible parties, which may include the employer who allowed unsafe conditions or a manufacturer or distributor of defective tanks and parts. We would work to prove that the parties committed a wrongful act or omission of duty, or there was a defective or unreasonably dangerous product, such as a leaking gas valve, involved. This may involve looking for signs of negligence and violations of OSHA regulations for the use and maintenance of propane.
Some signs of negligence include:
- Unsafe handling, storage, odorization, labeling, maintenance, and transportation of gas and equipment
- Defective tanks, valves, hoses, or other products
- Building or safety code violations
- Failure to train employees on safety or to enforce industry safety standards.
Propane Injury Lawsuits for Defective Propane Tanks
In cases where propane tank explosions are caused by defects in the tank, valves, or other product, you may have grounds for a product liability case. Product liability has to do with situations where the makers and sellers of goods are liable for damages caused by their products. If a manufacturer, distributor, or retailer makes or sells a dangerous product, they are responsible if you are injured as a result.
Our propane injury attorneys would seek to prove that these parties were responsible because there were …
- Defects in the design of the propane tank, valve, or other product
- Defects in the manufacturing process of the product, or
- Defects in labeling and failure to warn about known dangers of the product.
Propane Injury Lawsuit Settlement Recovery
In a propane injury lawsuit settlement, victims of a propane explosion may be entitled to recovery for both the monetary losses and the less tangible, non-economic damages they have suffered.
In a successful propane injury lawsuit, our attorneys may be able to recover compensation for:
- Medical, hospitalization, prescription and rehabilitation costs, both current and future
- Property damage
- Lost wages and future loss of income
- Pain and suffering and loss of consortium and life’s pleasures.
Be aware that Texas has a time limit, or statute of limitations, which requires that many personal injury cases must be filed within two years from the date of the accident that led to the injury. (***For the exact statute of limitations and deadlines that apply to your claim(s), you must speak directly with an attorney.***) Unless there is some rare exception, if you fail to make this deadline, the chances are your case will not be able to be heard in court. For this reason, it’s important to talk to a lawyer about your injuries as soon as possible.
Our Propane Injury Attorneys Have a No Fee Guarantee
The Terry Bryant Law Firm has more than 35 years of experience fighting for the rights of people who have been injured. We can help by gathering evidence and investigating your accident, interviewing witnesses, negotiating with insurance companies, handling all legal matters in a timely fashion, and taking your case to trial if necessary. We will build a strong case on your behalf and provide guidance to help you through this challenging time so you can focus on recovering.
Don’t delay. Contact Terry Bryant today for a case review to get the legal help you deserve. Call (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000 or fill out our online contact form. With our No Fee Guarantee, you don’t pay unless there’s a recovery. We’ll also give you a free consultation to discuss your case.