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Gas company issues compensation in anticipation of suits

It only takes one instant for entire lives to be turned upside down when something like a gas explosion occurs in cities like Los Angeles, California. Such events are known to happen without notice or obvious warning signs and can have destructive and deadly consequences for those involved. Tragically, dozens of people were seriously impacted recently by a gas-related explosion in an apartment building. Now, the gas company linked to the fatal accident has reportedly begun compensating victims even though the company is not officially implicated in the case.

Eight people lost their lives and dozens of others sustained injuries when a New York building collapsed recently. And while the official cause of the massive explosion is still under investigation, it is suspected that a natural gas leak contributed to the incident. Consolidated Edison Inc., the gas company that runs a pipeline in the area, has begun issuing payments to individuals impacted by the explosion, providing monetary compensation to 87 victims so far.

The specific pipeline that the company operates a said to be well over 100 years old, and an attorney familiar with the case noted that it is not regular practice for companies to begin compensating potential victims so soon after an incident occurs. If and when victims begin pursuing personal injury and/or wrongful death lawsuits against the gas company, the payments already made by the defendant would likely be considered by the court when determining potential damages. Similarly, some victims may be deterred from filing suits against the company since they have already received some level of compensation.

It’s not stated how much the company has paid victims already. However, a separate fund has been established to help victims and their families account for related expenses.

Source: Wall Street Journal, “ConEd Paying East Harlem Explosion Victims,” Yoni Bashan, March 19, 2014

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