Residents and business owners learned of yet another gas leak at Aliso Canyon storage field in July. Unlike the methane leak between October and February that caused health problems, displacement of thousands of families and businesses, and significant cleaning costs, this one was stopped quickly. Yet, the issue was raised again: Shouldn't something more be done to hold the Southern California Gas Company responsible?
If you have been affected by the methane leak, there may be legal remedies available to you, not only from the sub-par cleaning job that was done and the time you spent outside of your home or business, but also for the health issues you have faced as a result of the leak. A report by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, released in early May, indicated that while most symptoms are temporary (such as headaches, nosebleeds and skin problems), some homes had elevated levels of cancer-causing chemicals, including benzene.
What are your legal options?
You may be able to bring a lawsuit for the damages you have suffered, including:
- Relocation damages: If you were forced to leave your home due to the blowout, you may seek money for your relocation costs as well as the loss of use and enjoyment of your home.
- Decrease in property value: It is no question that your property value has suffered due to the leak, and future buyers will consider its proximity to the wells as a reason to negotiate a lower price. You may be able to recover compensation for the change in property value that resulted from the gas leak.
- Medical issues: Past, present and future medical problems related to the gas leak should be included in a personal injury claim. This includes breathing problems, headaches, dizziness, skin irritation, nosebleeds and stomach pain. For some individuals, there is an elevated risk of cancer that they should monitor.
- Cleaning costs: The Los Angeles Superior Court has ordered the Southern California Gas Company to pay to clean the interior of approximately 2,500 Porter Ranch homes, yet you may have already spent your own money to clean your home or have experienced sub-par cleaning. Some residents claim that the cleaning was just a rung above regular household dusting.
- Pain and suffering: You may also be able to recover damages for the pain and suffering you have experienced as a result of the gas leak and the worry you have had about your safety and your family's future.
- Business losses: If you had a business in or near the affected area you may have suffered and continue to suffer loss of business income and other associated damages.
Many households and businesses have yet to take action against Southern California Gas Company for the harm it has caused. It is vital that we hold negligent companies accountable. If you are wondering whether you should bring a lawsuit, there is no risk in contacting an attorney to discuss your options. Attorneys are legally obligated to keep your conversations confidential, and many attorneys offer complementary initial consultations.
Learn about the most recent gas leak here.