Hullverson Law Firm

Claimants agree to settlement in gas can explosions

Burns are some of the most horrendous injuries a person can experience. Burn victims often require ongoing treatment for years to come, not to mention the excruciating pain they experience. Injuries can include first-, second-, or third-degree burns, disfigurement, amputations, scarring and even death.

A group of claimants involved in a suit with Wal-Mart and Blitz USA recently agreed to a proposed settlement made by Blitz. The lawsuit was for personal injury claims against the red plastic gas containers sold by Wal-Mart. The containers were made by Blitz and are accused of being unsafe and causing gas explosions.

The combined lawsuits exceed 80 separate claims of wrongful death, personal injury and negligence suits. Blitz proposed a $161 million settlement that would be put in a trust for the claimants who were injured by the gas cans. $23.8 million of the funds would come from Wal-Mart. Although Wal-Mart claims they have done nothing wrong, they apparently have agreed to the settlement.

Some of the consumers who filed claims disagreed with the settlement going into a trust. They held out until recently, believing they would be better off in a jury trial against Wal-Mart. The claimants argue that the Wal-Mart should have known the gas cans were defective.

Many of the injuries with the gas cans seem to have occurred while pouring gas out of the cans onto a fire. Two siblings built a fire in a dog kennel and attempted to pour gasoline on the fire from the plastic gas can when it exploded. One of the siblings, a 5-year-old girl, was fatally injured.

In St. Louis, attorneys who represent claimants in personal injury or wrongful death claims advocate diligently for their clients. They provide individualized service to each client. A burn victim cannot afford not to have an advocate as their attorney. Their needs are unique, possibly requiring ongoing skin grafts, surgeries and treatment for years to come. They may need to be compensated for future medical expenses and possible cosmetic expenses related to disfigurement and scar removal.

Source: Reuters, "Wal-Mart-backed $161 mln deal to end gas can suits clears hurdle" Tom Hals, Dec. 19, 2013

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