Posted On: November 28, 2012 by William D. Kickham

Springfield Massachusetts Gas Explosion Illustrates Dangers of Utility Leaks

It’s only due to sheer luck that there weren’t more people injured in the explosion at the Scores Gentleman’s Club in Springfield, Mass., last week. Apparently, because of reports of a natural gas leak earlier that day, the premises were evacuated and it’s simply a miracle that no one was killed.

The gas explosion occurred last Friday in Springfield, one of New England’s largest cities. It not only leveled the Scores Gentleman’s strip club, it exploded with a noise that reverberated for miles. In its wake, about 12 other buildings were damaged. The explosion happened in an area of downtown Springfield that is filled with commercial properties and residences. The damaging blast blew out all the windows in a three-block area. It left three buildings irreparably damaged and also forced an evacuation of a six-story apartment building that was buckling due to the blast.

At about 4:20 PM earlier in the day, firefighters responded and were investigating the gas leak. The blast happened about one hour later, and seriously injured over 18 people. The cause of the explosion hasn’t been identified yet but is under investigation.

But what about the victims of the blast? Whay happens to them after they leave the hospital and try to move on with their lives? They may well be entitled to sue for considerable damages for their injuries. The underlying facts aren't clear yet, but when cases like this are brought to court, the types of injuries inflicted in a gas explosion like this can fall under two areas of Massachusetts law: General negligence, and an are of law known as “premises liability.” The "liability" comes from the fact that, under Massachusetts law, business owners and homeowners alike have a distinct responsibility to maintain their premises in a safe condition for both business invitees and social visitors. In general, this requirement applies to all people who might reasonably be expected to enter or come onto the premises. However, when owners do not maintain their premises in a safe condition as the law requires, they may in fact be liable to you for any injuries you may suffer on their property.

Whether the owners of this property in Springfield are responsible for this gas leak, or the utility company(ies) that serviced the property, is far to early to know. But I can assure you, those questions will be answered.

What kids of damages can victims of an explosion like this be potentially awarded? In general, for a variety of damages. They can be compensated for their medical and hospital bills they had to pay out of pocket; for lost wages and earnings, for rehabiliation, and for pain and suffering. All this is very important, because serious injuries like those that have resulted from this explosion can last a lifetime.

If you have suffered a personal injury due to someone else’s negligence, or the negligence of a business, you should seek out an experienced Massachusetts property injury lawyer. And importantly, you should do this before you ever speak to any representatives of insurance companies.