Is Atmos Energy Liable for Gas Leak Explosion?

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Closeup of gavelEarlier this month, five families in Northwest Dallas filed a lawsuit against natural gas provider Atmos Energy. The lawsuit accused Atmos of negligence in meeting gas line safety regulation and connected the claim of negligence to a fatal gas leak explosion in February 2018. The explosion occurred in the plaintiffs’ residential neighborhood, killing a 12-year-old girl.

The lawsuit alleges that, in the days leading up to the fatal explosion, two other gas line explosions occurred within the same residential neighborhood. Both were non-fatal but caused injuries to residents. Residents also allege that they had called Atmos earlier that month after smelling natural gas on the property, but were told by the company that there was “nothing to worry about.”

Who Is Liable For Natural Gas Explosions?

In cases like these, it is important to ensure that responsible parties are held accountable. Many factors can contribute to a situation like Atmos’s. Negligence can result from greed – a company suppressing potential problems with products or services in order to maintain steady revenue and avoid bad publicity. It can result from carelessness or laziness – a company may not investigate or fix a problem because they think it is an outlier occurrence, or they may not want to devote the necessary time, labor, or money to fixing what is wrong. Negligence can also come as a result of simple ignorance – a repairman or representative who is called to fix a problem may misdiagnose an issue, or incorrectly believe they have already fixed.

Whatever the cause of the explosions, the families involved in the lawsuit claim that Atmos holds liability for the incident. They say that Atmos had been made aware of serious problems with the gas lines in the weeks leading up to the fatal explosion. They sent representatives to the neighborhood, residents say, but they incorrectly assured residents that their homes were safe. They allege that swift and accurate action after the first report of natural gas could have prevented the later explosions, and the injuries and death that resulted from them.

Further Allegations of Mishandling the Situation

The residents claim that Atmos further mishandled immediate reaction to the incidents. Following the explosion, residents say they were told to leave their homes and alleged that the evacuation caused them difficulties in relocating and adjusting to temporary homes. In early March, Atmos told the residents that their homes were safe and that they could move back into their neighborhood. However, the residents claimed that they suffered further difficulties in moving back home, and they were wary of further explosions that could come from the gas lines. All of these claims are what constitute the residents’ allegations of negligence.

In order to obtain an accurate summary of events and assign responsibility, an attorney is a valuable resource. He or she is able to participate in an objective investigation, obtain records and documents that help construct a timeline, and ultimately discover the cause of these explosions and their aftermath. These skills are crucial for holding negligent actors accountable for their actions.

Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Grant Lawson