If 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.
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.
Residents were forced to evacuate as Columbia Gas shut off service for 8,600 customers in Merrimack Valley. Emergency responders spent hours and hours putting out flames and stabilizing the area.
The next day, Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency, putting Eversource, not Columbia Gas, in charge of the recovery. As the NTSB investigates the Merrimack Valley natural gas explosion, Columbia Gas says it will rebuild 48 miles of gas pipeline in the region. This accelerates its modernization plan for the region.
Many residents have now returned to their homes, but they are without gas service and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) continues to investigate. The NTSB is investigating a pressure increase detected in the natural gas pipeline north of Boston, according to CNN. According to WCVB, NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said the investigation will focus on the activity of the pressure sensors on the gas line.
Breakstone, White & Gluck provides answers to a few common questions:
- Homeowners Insurance Agents. If your home or property was damaged, contact your home insurance agent. Columbia Gas has set up a property damage hotline, but the company is struggling to keep up with claims. Many people waited in line this weekend, only to be turned away. Call your home insurance agent first. Your agent works for you and can be a resource in navigating this stressful situation. For more help, read this advisory from the Massachusetts Division of Insurance.
- Property Damage to Your Car. Contact your auto insurance if your car was parked on your property and damaged as a result of the fires and explosions.
- Gather Receipts. Collect receipts for expenses you incur as a result of the gas explosion, including for hotel rooms, the purchase of new groceries and home maintenance. Keep a written list of other losses, such as if you miss work or your child misses school. Note everything, even things such as your child missing out on playing after-school sports for an extended period, if relatives cannot come stay with you for the holiday and purchases of new clothing. Share the list with your home insurance agent and Columbia Gas. It is important to keep a list on a daily basis so you don’t forget any of the details. Remember to use your cell phone camera too.
- Injury Claims. If you or a loved one have been injured, learn your legal rights. Injury claims are much different than claims for property damage. Injury claims should be handled by a personal injury lawyer who specializes in representing those who have been injured by gas explosions, fires, burns and construction accidents. These cases require intense and thorough investigation and knowledge of state and federal regulations. Read more about our law firm’s experience.
Free Legal Consultation – Breakstone, White & Gluck
Breakstone, White & Gluck and our personal injury lawyers are reviewing cases for injury victims of the Lawrence, North Andover and Andover natural gas explosions. If you have been injured, you may have the right to seek compensation for damages, including medical bills, lost wages, emotional and psychological injuries and physical pain and suffering. If you are married, you may also seek damages for the loss of consortium, which is compensation for the stress and hardship placed upon a spouse.
Learn your rights. For a free legal consultation, contact our lawyers at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.