In its natural state, propane gas is colorless and odorless. Refiners add a substance known as ethyl mercaptan that gives propane its distinctive rotten egg aroma– to alert individuals of propane leaks. Even with that additive, under certain circumstances, propane leaks might not be detected. The resulting explosion can cause serious property damage and injuries.
The Dallas gas explosion lawyers at Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP, have developed a keen understanding of propane gas technology and its attendant risks and dangers. They’ve acquired this knowledge through their many years of representing explosion victims in personal injury lawsuits against propane refiners, distributors, and retailers.
If you or your loved one have suffered grievous injuries in a propane gas accident, a Dallas gas explosion attorney from our firm will give you the professional advice and representation you need. They can help you recover compensation for your losses and injuries regardless of whether you smelled propane before the explosion.
How Can a Propane Explosion Happen if You Did Not Smell Any Propane?
Dangerous concentrations of propane can accumulate, and explosions can occur without anyone first detecting any smell. This can happen for any one of several reasons:
- The refiner or distributor did not include sufficient quantities of ethyl mercaptan in the propane supply for detection
- The propane supply experienced “odor fade” overtime when the additive either oxidized after coming into contact with iron in the storage tank or absorbing into a tank lining
- Because propane is denser than air, it can concentrate at lower levels such as basements, crawl spaces, ditches, and escape detection by individuals above those levels.
An experienced personal injury lawyer will examine all aspects of a propane explosion accident. This would include possible sources of the propane and the ambient conditions before the explosion. All of this would help us determine its cause and eliminate any argument that an injured party failed to take precautions against damages and injuries.
How Might Negligence Cause a Propane Gas Explosion?
Because propane gas is an extremely volatile and explosive substance, refiners and distributors operate under well-defined rules and regulations to provide safeguards against explosion injuries when propane is used correctly. Those safeguards include, for example:
- Filling propane tanks only to their proper rated capacities
- Not allowing stored propane to sit for an extended period, which can lead to odor fade
- Verifying that supply lines and pipes are not leaking due to age or damage
- If a storage tank is new or has not been previously used, confirming that the tank is properly purged and filled to an appropriate level during its first use (this minimizes absorption of the additive into tank linings).
How Might an Inability to Smell Gas Affect a Negligence Lawsuit?
Texas is a modified comparative negligence state. If a person who is injured in a gas explosion is more than 51% responsible for their losses and injuries, they will not recover compensation from the party whose negligence created the conditions that led to the explosion.
In propane gas accidents, the refiner, supplier, or distributor will inevitably ask an injured party if they smelled gas before an explosion. If the accident victim detected a propane gas smell but took no further action, the negligent party can use that lack of concern to shift some or all of the fault to an accident victim. The defense attorney will inevitably argue that because the propane smell is so distinctive, the victim could not possibly have failed to notice it.
A knowledgeable Dallas propane explosion lawyer will be prepared to respond to this presumption with an objective explanation of propane gas technology that defuses the negligent party’s attempt to trap the victim. If you suffer losses and injuries in a propane gas accident, make sure that your attorney understands that technology and can explain it in terms that will convince a jury that you bore no responsibility for your injuries.
Call the Dallas Gas Explosion Lawyers at Crowe Arnold & Majors LLP for a free consultation
Please see our contact page or call us at Crowe Arnold & Majors LLP in Dallas for a free consultation. We can discuss your right and ability to recover the largest available damages award after you have suffered property losses and injuries in a propane gas explosion accident, even if you did not smell propane.
We will devote our full attention and energy to creating a forensic explanation of how your accident happened, and we will fight tirelessly to recover the compensation you deserve.