A gas pipeline explosion can forever change the life of Missouri and Illinois residents in a single moment. We posted last month about one such deadly gas pipeline explosion which occurred in a major Northeastern city. Eight people lost their lives in the gas pipeline explosion and fire, which leveled two buildings and caused an investigation to be launched against the company involved. Consolidated Edison (Con Edison) has received criticism in how it trained workers to test gas pipelines in its control and operation. There have been several allegations that Con Edison did not properly train its workers and failed to follow federal safety rules in inspecting gas pipelines.
Now, six months after that fatal explosion, the investigation is still ongoing. However, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released the claim that it did discover a leak in a section of the pipeline beneath Park Avenue. Con Edison has announced that it is already taking steps to increase safety for the public. The utility company will apparently alter the methods it uses for testing gas pipelines for leaks, as well as make changes to the physical pipelines themselves.
According to a Con Edison official, the company will start monitoring thousands of miles of pipelines on a monthly instead of yearly basis. It reports that testers will have the ability to detect methane plumes in the areas that are patrolled, which will then allow them to get closer to any actual leaks and conduct further testing. A roving team of inspectors uses a truck equipped with sensors underneath to detect gas levels above a certain threshold. If higher-than-desirable levels are detected, the team then takes extra steps to determine if a leak exists; and, if so, repair the leak.
While this is an admirable outcome in the wake of the tragic explosion, it doesn’t change the fact that alleged negligence on the part of the utility company apparently caused massive destruction to both buildings and innocent victims in the East Harlem, New York area. It is believed that Con Edison will have to deal with a number of civil lawsuits stemming from this gas explosion.
Personal injury and wrongful death laws were passed in order to provide injured victims a method of obtaining civil compensation for their damages. This prevents other parties from acting negligently and causing financial harm to others without having to reimburse the injured victims. Even in cases where criminal charges are filed, an injured victim will still retain the right to seek justice in a civil lawsuit as well.
Additionally, the burden of proof in a civil lawsuit is much lower than in a criminal case. While criminal prosecutors must proof guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt,” the burden in a civil case is merely a “preponderance” of evidence. This means that it is easier for an injured victim to prove that a negligent party’s actions caused or contributed to the accident which caused their injuries.
For Missouri and Illinois residents, being injured or losing a relative in a gas pipeline explosion and fire can be traumatic. Please consider contacting my St. Louis personal injury lawsuit at 1-888-586-7041 in order to find out more about your rights under these laws. Filing a civil lawsuit can give you the chance to hold any negligent parties responsible for the injuries you have sustained. It can also send a message to such truck drivers and their companies that negligence will not be tolerated, and help prevent other innocent individuals from suffering a similar fate.
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