Fire & Explosion

Fire and Explosion Law: An Overview

Attorneys who specialize in personal injury cases are plentiful. There is, however, a subset of personal injury law that is unfamiliar to most people: fire and explosion law.

Fire and explosion law is concerned with the types of catastrophic injuries suffered at home or on the job in a fire or explosion that was the result of negligence.

Those injuries include:

  • Numerous types of burns, including chemical burns, which occur when living tissue is exposed to a corrosive substance, such as acid; and thermal burns, which result from making contact with heated objects, such as boiling water or hot cooking oil.
  • Chemical inhalation injuries, which result in permanent scarring of the lung tissue and severe breathing difficulties.
  • Smoke inhalation
  • Eye injuries and ruptured eardrums
  • Reduced mobility
  • Brain injuries (concussions are common in explosion cases)
  • Organ injuries (the lungs, liver and heart all can be damaged in an explosion or fire)
  • Nerve damage
  • Injuries suffered from being crushed (usually the result of structural collapses), such as a loss of limbs
  • Death

How do I file a lawsuit in a fire and explosion case?

If you or a loved one has been injured because of a fire or explosion, you undoubtedly have many questions. Elliot Olsen and his team of experienced attorneys can help answer those questions, and help you and your family start the healing process.

How can an attorney help?

Fires and explosions are almost always due to a failure to follow industry standards, state laws and state regulations, or federal laws and federal regulations. You need at experienced attorney who understands what can happen when there is a failure to follow such guidelines.

Elliot can help identify if negligence caused the accident, and who is responsible. He and his team will follow a process that ensures that the proper parties are held accountable and adequate compensation is sought.

How does an explosion happen?

Propane and other gas explosions typically occur because of leaking pipes or hoses, and with old, corroded, or otherwise defective valves and connectors. These types of explosions also can occur because of improper installation and poor maintenance.

A gas pipeline explosion can occur because pipelines become rusted and corroded over time, especially around the areas of connections and seals. Pipelines often are poorly monitored and maintained.

Pipelines also can be damaged by construction or maintenance crews. There is specific equipment to monitor pipelines. If the equipment is not properly sophisticated for the type of pipeline, it might not discover cracks, corrosion, or other leaks.

Many gas explosions are caused by construction errors. Construction crews must take care to avoid damaging a pipeline. Careful planning is necessary during any construction project that involves excavation.

What kinds of cases are there?

Elliot and his Siegel Brill team can help identify what parties are at fault and hold those parties accountable in cases such as:

  • Unsafe work environments
  • Carelessness and recklessness
  • Defective products
  • Manufacturing defects
  • Unsafe use of gas or other flammable liquids

What will an attorney do?

Elliot’s team will begin by independently investigating the incident to determine several things:

Gather and preserve evidence
This process needs to be done as soon as possible to prevent contamination of evidence by outside factors and to ensure that no evidence is lost. This is a very important step in being able to properly identify liability.

Determine the type of negligence
Elliot’s team will help ascertain if the responsible party was aware of the risk of an explosion or fire; what was done to prevent it; whether any defects in a product or process were involved; and if maintenance was done carelessly or incorrectly and, if so, if it was caused by inadequate training.

Identify and question witnesses
Talking to other people who witnessed the incident is important. A witness can provide details that may be overlooked or forgotten by those injured in the incident.

Identify experts to provide testimony:
Elliot and his team will identify the proper experts or specialists to help with several areas in the process. First, a specialist will be brought in to identify what caused the explosion or fire. They will examine burn and char patterns to determine the incident’s origin and what may have contributed to it. Second, an expert might be needed to identify characteristics of materials that have failed. Finally, a specialist will be brought in to help determine amounts of compensation to which someone may be entitled. A medical expert will be helpful in giving professional feedback on medical expenses, severity of pain and suffering, and if future costs may be endured. Any of these experts may do complex computer modeling and graphics to assist the jury’s understanding of the event.

What kind of compensation can be recovered?

You may be eligible to receive compensation for the following things:

  • Medical expenses, including hospital stays, physical therapy, or long-term nursing care
  • Lost income
  • Pain and suffering, including emotional distress
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of quality of life

Other frequently asked questions:

When should I contact you?

You should contact Elliot as soon as possible. It is important to preserve key evidence, and Elliot can take immediate steps to ensure that this is done.

How much will a lawsuit cost me?

A lawsuit will not cost you anything. Elliot and his team will be paid out of the lawsuit’s settlement. If a settlement cannot be attained, you do not pay anything.

Should I talk to an insurance company or sign anything?

Absolutely not. You should take advantage of a free consultation with Elliot before talking to an insurance company. Never sign anything before consulting Elliot.

If my smoke alarms don’t work and there’s a fire in my rental house or apartment, can I sue?

Potentially yes. Your landlord has the primary responsibility to see that your apartment is safe. This includes the installation of smoke alarms, which are cheap, easy to install, and highly effective.

The accident happened quite a while ago. Is it too late to file a lawsuit?

Call Elliot for a free consultation. There is a very good chance that you have a lot longer than you think. Call Elliot at (612) 337-6126 and tell him about your case. He’ll let you know if you have a case.

Get a Free Consultation

Elliot Olsen is an experienced fire and explosion attorney. He heads a Siegel Brill team of attorneys that has represented people harmed by fires and gas explosions across the United States. The team has recovered millions for the firm’s clients.

Free Consultation with Elliot Olsen

Fire & Explosion: In the News

Mulvane explosion injures two men

July 9: A GoFundMe page to help cover medical costs for two men injured in a propane gas explosion south of Mulvane, KS, identify the men as “father and son-in-law team” Rick McPhail and Robert Anglin.

The page says the men were working on a home in the 1200 block of N. Geuda Springs Road, south of Mulvane in Sumner County, when the explosion happened. Fire officials say a worker turned on a breaker in the basement, causing a spark to ignite propane that had built up in the basement.

McPhail was thrown from the home’s second floor, the page says, and landed in the rubble, breaking a leg and both feet. “(Anglin), who had been in the basement, was fully engulfed in flames,” the page says. “He managed to pull himself out of the active fire before he collapsed next to Rick on the ground.”

McPhail should recover after operations to his leg and feet. The page says Anglin is comatose with second and third-degree burns to more than 80 percent of his body.