What are my rights if I was exposed to the gas fumes from a leaking stove in my apartment?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What are my rights if I was exposed to the gas fumes from a leaking stove in my apartment?

I live in an apartment complex and 2 years ago my replaced my stove with a gas range. I called and complained a million times about the smell of gas. Finally, last week, the gas company came and determined there was a leak due to the way that the stove was hooked up. Now, this week, again the gas company had to come out and determined that there is another leak because the burner does not turn off the gas when in the off position. Who can I sue – the complex or the manufacturer of the stove? I have had a lot of health issues during this time and am sure it is due to the gas leak that I have been exposed to for the last 2 years.

Asked on July 5, 2015 under Personal Injury, Pennsylvania

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You can sue both your landlord and the manufacturer of the stove for negligence. Your lawsuit should also include a separate cause of action (claim) of strict liability against the manufacturer of the stove.  Strict liability is liability whether or not due care was exercised.

Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable landlord would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).

Negligence (manufacturer of the stove) is the failure to exercise due care to produce a product that is not defective.

Prior to filing a lawsuit, it may be possible to settle the case with the insurance carriers for both the landlord and the manufacturer of the stove.

 You should notify the landlord's insurance carrier and the stove manufacturer's insurance carrier in writing that you will be filing a personal injury claim.

When you complete your medical treatment and are released by the doctor or are declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary, which means having reached a point in your medical treatment where no further improvement is anticipated, obtain your medical bills, medical reports, and documentation of any wage loss.  Your personal injury claims filed with both insurance carriers should include these items.

Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.

If the case is settled with both insurance carriers (landlord and stove manufacturer), NO lawsuit is filed.

If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance carriers, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the landlord and manufacturer of the stove.  The strict liability claim is only applicable to the manufacturer of the stove.  If the case was settled with one party's insurance carrier, but not both, only name the party with whom the case has not settled as a defendant in your lawsuit.

If the case is NOT settled, your lawsuit must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

First thing, before suing: get a medical opinion that a gas leak caused your health issues, because it does not matter what you are "sure" of--all that matters is what you can prove in court with medical evidence/testimony. You have to prove a link between a gas leak and your health issue to have a case.

If your health problems are due to the gas leak, get yourself a personal injury attorney, who can evaluate your case and advise you on your options, including what to sue. To oversimplify, if the stove was manufactured or designed incorrectly, you sue the manufacturer; if the stove itself was fine, you sue the person or company who installed, which is presumably the complex (if their staff installed it).


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption