Can I sue a gas station if while pumping gas, the hose split open showered mewith gasoline?

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Can I sue a gas station if while pumping gas, the hose split open showered mewith gasoline?

I stopped at a gas station on my way to work to fill up my car. While pumping the gas, the hose split open showering gasoline all over me and my car. I went inside and told the attendant what the the hose was broken. She accusingly asked “what did you do to it?'” I replied that I was just trying to get gas. She immediately called someone but was not speaking in English. I was already late for work so I left and went to work with gasoline all over me.

Asked on August 14, 2011 Georgia

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the gas station for negligence. Negligence is based on the failure to exercise due care(that degree of care that in this case a reasonable gas station would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).  In order to prove negligence, you will have to prove duty (duty of due care mentioned above), breach of duty (failure to exercise due care by failure to maintain the hose in proper condition), actual cause, proximate cause and damages.  Actual cause means but for the hose splitting open, would you have been sprayed with gasoline?  If the answer is no, which appears to be the case, you have established actual cause.  Proximate cause means were there any unforeseeable intervening events which would relieve the gas station of liability?  If the answer is no, you have established proximate cause.  Damages means the amount you are seeking to recover in your lawsuit for negligence against the gas station.  Damages could include any injury you sustained from being sprayed with the gasoline, damage to your clothes, damage to your car such as the paint if the gasoline wasn't washed off promptly because you were already late for work.

Prior to filing a lawsuit, it may be possible to settle the case with the gas station's insurance carrier.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance company, you will need to file your lawsuit for negligence against the gas station prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.


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