According to an NBC News investigation, red portable plastic gasoline containers sold across the country post a rare but very real explosion hazards of which not many Americans are aware. Industry estimates indicate that consumers in the U.S. purchase approximately 20 million gas cans annually, and there are currently over 100 million plastic cans are in use throughout the country.
However, laboratory tests indicate that gas explosions can happen under certain conditions, causing significant and sometimes fatal injuries. The Consumer Product Safety Commission analyzed injury and incident databases and found at least 1,200 emergency room visits and 11 reported fatalities involving gas can explosions during the pouring of gasoline since 1998.
If you or a loved one were injured or you would like to learn more about gas can explosions, and even Blitz gas can explosion lawsuits, and whether you have a valid claim, contact Attorney Group for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
Risks of Gas Can Explosions
Conducted at Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s combustion lab, the results of scientific tests concluded that conditions under which these “flashback” explosions occur inside the cans are a very real possibility. Other tests conducted for a criminal investigation, for plaintiffs’ attorneys and for NBC News all reached the same conclusion.
The tests show that under certain conditions such as a very low volume of gasoline inside the container, gas can explosions can occur inside the plastic can when the vapors escape and make contact with a source of ignition like a spark or a flame. The vapor outside the container can catch on fire and “flash back” into the can, causing the mixture inside the can to ignite and lead to an explosion.
Gas Can Explosions Lead to Lawsuits
According to court documents, at least 80 lawsuits have been filed over the past 20 years on behalf of plaintiffs allegedly injured in these explosions. Many lawyers argue that plastic gas cans are unsafe and dangerous because they are more prone to these flashback explosions. Most of the lawsuits have named Wal-Mart, the largest seller of these cans, and Blitz USA, the largest manufacturer of cans until recently, as defendants in these cases.
Unfortunately, many have sustained injuries, describing the gas can explosions as bombs going off in their faces, covering their bodies from head to toe. Some have suffered severe burns over their bodies, spending months at a time in hospital burn units. The hospital stays, combined with multiple skin grafts and surgeries, can sometimes incur millions of dollars in medical bills, leaving the victim with financial, emotional and physical scarring.
In other cases, victims have died from the explosions or from the effects of third- and fourth-degree burns following these incidents. One patient required a six-week stay in a burn center and 15 surgeries including the amputation of a portion of his leg. He succumbed to an infection while being treated at the burn center.
However, the plastic can industry disagrees with the statements that the products are dangerous and unsafe. Manufacturers assert that individuals use these cans billions of times each day without incident by those who know how to use them appropriately. In these lawsuits, manufacturers of the cans argue that any alleged injuries were due to the users’ own misuse and negligence, not because of defective cans.
The lawsuits also claim that the gas cans are more prone to internal combustion and are therefore defective, unsafe and dangerous for a specific reason: Their design does not include a flame arrester, a part that could allegedly prevent these explosions from occurring. Flame arresters are disks or pieces of mesh with holes that are intended to disrupt the flame. Typically used in fuel tanks, metal “safety” gas cans and in storage containers of other flammable liquids, attorneys allege that any can that does not have this part is unsafe, period.
Injured? Contact Attorney Group Today
If you or someone you love have been injured in a gas can explosion, you should consider seeking legal advice as soon as possible. You may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries, including medical bills, lost wages or pain and suffering. At Attorney Group, we can review your case and help you to determine if you are eligible to pursue a claim. We will connect you with an attorney who is experienced in handling lawsuits involving gas can explosions and who will work to help you seek the compensation to which you may be entitled.