Family Reports Smell of Gas Four Times Prior to Deadly Explosion
One family reported the smell of gas in their rental apartment four times prior to a terrifying explosion, according to investigators. Seven people ended up being sent to the hospital with major burn injuries and lacerations. Five of those all belonged to the same family.
This is something most people need to know but don’t. If you smell gas in your apartment and you fail to report the dangerous condition, you can be held personally liable if an explosion occurs. The plaintiffs in such an action usually don’t sue victims, but two of the seven people who were injured could have blamed the family for not filing a report. The family, however, was diligent and did file a report. So now the lone blame would fall on those who neglected to appropriately respond to the complaints of a gas smell.
The worst injuries were suffered by a 30-year-old woman who sustained burns to 80% of her body. Three of her children were also hospitalized with burns over at least 50% of their bodies. According to reports, the woman refused to leave her apartment until she had all three of her children.
Elements of negligence
Investigators said that the cause of the explosion was accidental but also noted that the family made at least four attempts to report the smell of gas. We know now that those complaints were basically ignored. All the plaintiffs would need to prove is that the landlord failed to address a serious issue, which appears to be already proven for them. Typically, incidents like this don’t have a paper trail of complaints foreshadowing them. Nonetheless, an exploding apartment would fall within the realm of the landlord’s negligence.
Property torts and premises liability
Premises liability lawsuits can be difficult to prove, because you need to prove what the property owner knew at the time of the injury. You must be able to show that the property owner either knew about the dangerous condition or should have known about the dangerous condition. In this case, the plaintiffs have provided their case with four attempts to resolve an ongoing gas leak that caused an indoor explosion. So, their attorneys won’t have to use much of their brains to prove that point.
Even in cases where the landlord could not have known, the landlord would be expected (via housing codes) to provide carbon monoxide detectors and other alarm systems. None were provided, according to the victims’ lawyers. The landlords are further accused of failing to replace dangerous gas appliances.
So, it’s hard to see how a jury would not rule in favor of the plaintiffs. Typically, in suits such as this, plaintiffs are given hefty settlements under seal, meaning they cannot discuss the settlement and the company admits no liability.
Talk to a Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured due to your landlord’s negligence, call the Jacksonville personal injury attorneys at Gillette Law today. We handle cases of landlord negligence and much more. Learn more about how we can help!