lawrence home explosion on chickering road

If you have been personally affected by the Columbia Gas fires and explosions or the interruption of gas and electric service, we are here to help you.  We are currently assisting individuals injured in the explosions and fires, homeowner and tenants whose property was damaged, as well as families whose gas and electric service was interrupted.  It is important that you know your rights. Our Massachusetts law firm has extensive experience representing victims of explosions and fires.

Physical Injuries a Emotional Distress
The 70 gas fires and explosions caused one tragic death and more than 25 injuries.  Beyond physical injuries, countless residents who smelled gas and ran for their lives have been traumatized by the events of September 13, 2018.  The fear for one’s life and safety is real in the face of random explosions and fires in your community.  If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms such as nightmares, flashbacks or anxiety you may have a right to bring a claim for emotional distress, even without physical injuries.  We are here to speak with you and advise you of your rights to bring a claim for emotional distress.

Interruption of Gas Service
8600 Columbia Gas residential and business customers have no gas service which means no hot water, no heat or no cooking.  If your gas service has been cut off, you have been harmed.  Columbia Gas just announced that it may take “several months” to restore gas service to these families and businesses in the Merrimack Valley.  This is chilling news for every Columbia Gas customer, including homeowners, tenants and businesses.

Hot Plates and Space Heaters Are Not Enough…
Columbia Gas has distributed hot plates and space heaters to 6000 gas customers who are without service.  But is this enough?  Can a family of five be fed off a 2 burner hot plate?  Can a single space heater warm a multi-room home or apartment?  What about hot water?  If you are asking these questions, you likely have a claim for the interference with the use of your home or business.  We are here to help you.

Every Columbia Gas customer (property owners, tenants and businesses) who will be without natural gas for hot water, heat or cooking will be seriously affected.  How will families live in their homes and apartments without hot water for showers and bathing?  How will people endure the winter without heat?   Even if you or your home did not have property damage, you may be entitled to be compensated for the interference with your use and enjoyment of your property as a result of the loss of your gas service.  This is recognized claim for “nuisance damages” under Massachusetts law.  Given the uncertainty about how long gas service will be interrupted, it is important that you know your rights.  We are here to help customers facing the prospect of living in homes and operating businesses without gas service.

We urge you to consult with an experienced Massachusetts gas explosion lawyer before you sign off on any payments by Columbia Gas or any of the funds established to assist fire and explosion victims.  Breakstone, White and Gluck has over 100 combined years of experience helping families who have been seriously injured or displaced due to fires and gas explosions. We are here to assist and advise you about your rights.

Call us for a free consultation at 800-379-1244 or fill out our contact form.

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lawrence home explosion on chickering road

Merrimack Valley Gas Explosion: Home explosion on Chickering Road, Lawrence, Mass. on Sept. 13, 2018

We just learned that it may take “several months” for Columbia Gas to restore gas services to 8600 families and businesses in the Merrimack Valley. This is chilling news for every Columbia Gas customer, including homeowners, tenants and businesses.

THE PROBLEM
Every Columbia Gas customer who will be without natural gas for hot water, heat, or cooking will be seriously affected. How are families going to live in their homes and apartments without hot water for showers and bathing? How will people endure the long winter without heat? Even if you or your home did not have property damage, you may have a legitimate claim for compensation.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
If you are a customer of Columbia Gas facing these hardships, you need to know your rights. You may be entitled to be compensated for the interference with your use and enjoyment of your property as a result of the loss of your gas service. This is true for property owners, business owners, and tenants. Anyone who lives in a home or apartment that is without gas for heat, hot water, or cooking has a potential claim. Every business customer of Columbia Gas will be hurt. Given the uncertainty about how long gas service will be interrupted, it is important that you know your rights. This type of claim is recognized by the law of Massachusetts.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?
We are here to assist and advise you about your rights. We are Boston-based lawyers who have represented Massachusetts families and businesses that have been affected by gas explosions and fires for over 25 years. Feel free to call us for a free legal consultation: 800-379-1244. You can also use our contact form.

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explosion-accident-395-1If you were ordered to evacuate your home or business because of the recent Columbia Gas leak and explosions, you may have a right to compensation for the costs associated with your displacement. If you have returned to a home or business that has had the gas service shut off, you may also be entitled to money damages for interference with the full use and enjoyment of your property. This is what is called “nuisance” damages. Whether you own or rent, if you are living in a home or apartment with no gas, no hot water or no fuel for operating basic appliances, you have the right to bring a claim for compensation.

Thousands of customers of Columbia Gas have been so affected. Homeowners, tenants and business owners have the right to file these claims. We urge you to consult with an experienced lawyer before you sign off on any payments by Columbia Gas or any of the funds established to assist fire and explosion victims. Breakstone, White & Gluck has over 100 combined years of experience helping families who have been injured or displaced due to fires and explosions. We have also represented many seriously injured individuals in home fires and explosions.

As an example, Breakstone, White & Gluck successfully recovered $7.5 million for the family of William (“Billy”) Nichols in a wrongful death lawsuit. Mr. Nichols was an electrician, working in a new construction home when it exploded due to leaking propane gas. He suffered under burning embers for one hour before he died of his injuries. Our attorneys aggressively litigated the case which resulted in a recovery for the family.

Watch this video of Scott Nichols who talks about his experience being represented by our firm.

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Attorney Marc L. Breakstone of Boston in a television interview in 2016.

Attorney Marc L. Breakstone, speaking to a reporter in 2016.

Attorney Marc L. Breakstone was interviewed by The Boston Business Journal about the Merrimack Valley home explosions. Attorney Breakstone roughly estimated there are $100 million in legal liabilities related to the natural gas explosions, which devastated entire neighborhoods in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover last week. His early estimate was based in part on a preliminary assessment of home values in the area.

Attorney Breakstone is a Boston personal injury lawyer, with over 35 years of experience representing those who have been injured by negligence. He is experienced at representing those injured in construction accidents and home gas explosions. In the summer of 2010, our client died after a propane gas explosion in the Norfolk, Massachusetts condominium where he was working. Our client was trapped for more than 90 minutes before he was rescued. He died the next day.

We later learned our client had no warning there was a propane gas leak. The chemical odorant added to emit a “rotten eggs” smell had faded. Attorney Breakstone filed a wrongful death lawsuit against EnergyUSA and Smolinsky Brothers Plumbing and Heating, alleging EnergyUSA was negligent and had under-filled a new propane tank. He later negotiated a $7.5 million settlement with the defendants in 2012.

The Norfolk explosion raised awareness of the dangers caused when companies are negligent in handling propane gas. In Massachusetts, state officials warned consumers to check recent propane deliveries. In July 2013, the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration published a national safety alert warning the public about the risks of under-odorization.

For background on this case, read the settlement announcement. You can also visit our website.

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Residents will spend weeks, months and even years recovering from the Lawrence, North Andover and Andover gas explosions. And throughout New England, many are also asking: are we safe in our homes?

If your family has been affected by the Columbia Gas explosions or fires, we can assist you. Please call us at 800-379-1244.

On Sept. 13th, natural gas explosions and fires erupted in the three Merrimack Valley communities. At least 70 blazes in all, causing devastation, dozens of injuries and one death.

At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our attorneys are saddened and stunned to learn about the devastating natural gas explosions in Lawrence, North Andover and Andover. Our hearts go out to the victims, the young man who was killed and his loved ones, the dozens who were injured and the hundreds who were forced to evacuate unsafe conditions.

Like so many others, our attorneys are following the media coverage. We hope everyone stays safe. We share these resources for anyone interested in helping:

Resources
Want to help Merrimack Valley residents displaced by fires? Here’s how, The Boston Globe

This article provides a list of relief organizations which are helping victims of the home gas explosions. There is contact information for the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Essex County Community Foundation and other organizations.

How to help the victims of the Merrimack Valley fires, explosions, WCVB
The Red Cross has nearly 75 people working in four evacuation centers in Merrimack Valley. You can make a donation to help fund their efforts.

Update 09-17-2018: Governor Charlie Baker has announced the establishment of the new Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund at Essex County Community Foundation.

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Thanks to MassBike for letting us show their terrific photos! MassBike hosted a bike rodeo this summer during the Lawrence Ciclovia. Breakstone, White & Gluck donated some of our bicycle helmets from our Project KidSafe campaign to Massachusetts Safe Routes to School this year. Our attorneys are pleased to see some of our helmets ended up at the Lawrence Ciclovia, when cyclists get to enjoy the open streets without any traffic.

Child riding around obstacle course at the Lawrence Ciclovia. Breakstone, White & Gluck, a Boston personal injury law firm, donated bicycle helmets for the kids.

Photo credit: MassBike

Children wearing Project KidSafe bicycle helmets at the Lawrence Ciclovia this summer. Breakstone, White & Gluck, a Boston personal injury law firm, donated the helmets as part of its Project KidSafe campaign.

Photo credit: MassBike

School bus with stop sign and lights

With students back to school in Massachusetts, local police departments are stressing safety around school buses while stepping up enforcement of drivers who fail to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.

If a traffic enforcement sting came to your community, how many drivers would be stopped and cited for unsafe driving? Would you be among them?

We ask these questions as students head back to school across Massachusetts, in communities from Boston and Cambridge to Plymouth and Brockton to Worcester and Springfield.

Police departments across the state have set up traffic enforcement over the past few weeks, focusing on drivers who are not stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks and school buses. A few of the communities include New Bedford, Attleboro and South Boston.

In South Boston, the surveillance followed the tragic death of a 2-year-old in a traffic crash. The child was being pushed in a stroller on the sidewalk, when a van and car collided. The van plowed onto the sidewalk, injuring and ultimately killing the young boy. A day after the crash, the Boston Police Department and Massachusetts State Police set up a traffic enforcement initiative focusing on crosswalk enforcement, speeding and other unsafe driving behaviors. Within a few days, officers had issued approximately 500 citations for traffic violations. This is a very telling number, one Massachusetts drivers can’t ignore.

Breakstone, White & Gluck is a Boston law firm which specializes in personal injury, medical malpractice and car accident cases. Our firm is committed to safety for children, giving away over 20,000 bicycle helmets to children in Massachusetts through our Project KidSafe campaign. With experience representing clients who have been injured in pedestrian crosswalk accidents and other traffic crashes, we offer these tips for safe driving:

Slow down at crosswalks. Students who walk to school may have a crossing guard help them across the street. Always slow down as you approach crossing guards and children. Make eye contact with the crossing guard and assume you should stop. The crossing guard will wave you through when it’s safe to go.

But even when there is no crossing guard, drivers must stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk when there is a “Walk” or green signal. Other times, drivers have a responsibility to yield the right of way by slowing or stopping for pedestrians in the crosswalk. This includes times when pedestrians are in the crosswalk on the same side as the driver and when pedestrians are approaching from the other half of the lane and within 10 feet. There is a $200 fine for crosswalk violations in Massachusetts.

The best thing to do is approach crosswalks slowly and stop if you see anyone even near the entrance of the crosswalk. If you can, make eye contact with them, then wave for them to go. Depending on whether other cars stop, they may not be able to immediately cross. You may need to be patient for a few moments.

M.G.L. c.89 § 11 is the law governing pedestrian rights in crosswalks in Massachusetts. Read more about the law.

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Boston personal injury lawyers Breakstone, White & Gluck

Left to right: Attorney Ronald E. Gluck, Attorney Marc L. Breakstone and Attorney David W. White have been recognized by Best Lawyers in America© 2019.

Breakstone, White & Gluck announces that our partners have been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© 2019. Best Lawyers© is the oldest and most respected attorney ranking service in the world, providing a resource for those searching for legal services for more than 30 years. It ranks lawyers in partnership with U.S. News & World Report and other media partners.

Best Lawyers© compiles its annual list of attorneys based on a peer-review process. Nominations can be submitted online by members of the public, clients and other attorneys. But attorneys alone provide evaluations. Nearly 87,000 lawyers around the world are eligible to participate. For the ninth year, lawyers in the Boston region chose to rank Breakstone, White & Gluck. Our rankings:

Attorney David W. White of BostonThe Boston Globe recently interviewed Attorney David W. White for an article called, “What to do if your dog bites someone.” Attorney White joined veterinarians, dog trainers and Boston animal control in explaining the legal steps following a dog bite in Massachusetts.

Breakstone, White & Gluck has decades of experience representing children and others who have been bitten and attacked by dogs. We understand that dog bites are painful, emotional and frightening for families. If you or a loved one have been injured, it is important to learn your rights. Following a dog bite, children may require multiple surgeries to recover and the emotional trauma can be crippling for their entire family. Find answers to common questions about dog bites in Massachusetts on our website. For a free legal consultation, contact Breakstone, White & Gluck at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676. You can also send us a message using our contact form.