Most New York City residents are likely aware of the tragic building explosion and then fire and collapse that occurred in Harlem earlier this week. Prior to the explosion there was at least one complaint to the utility company regarding the odor of gas. Thus far, seven people are confirmed as dead. Another 40 individuals were hurt in the incident. It is possible that the death toll could rise as the site is cleaned up.
The buildings that were involved in the explosion contained a church, retail store and apartments. One of the buildings has experienced gas leaks in the past, the last less than a year ago. Following that repair a spokesman for the utility company, Consolidated Edison Inc, said that the building was checked. Last month two “high speed” checks of the pipes were made.
It is hard to imagine that legal action will not be taken regarding this tragic incident. Individuals injured in the explosion could seek compensation for their injuries. In addition, the family members of those who lost their lives could bring wrongful death lawsuits against the individuals or entities deemed to be responsible for the accident. In addition to expenses that might have arisen as a result of the sudden death, such as medical bills, lost income and funeral and burial expenses, in a successful lawsuit damages may also be sought for things such as loss of companionship.
The sudden loss of a loved one is never easy to deal with. While financial compensation can never fill that hole, it could dramatically impact the lives of those left behind.
Source: Reuters, “Rescuers search site of NY building collapse; seven dead,” Chris Francescani and Victoria Cavaliere, March 13, 2014