Injured Parties File Lawsuits After Plantation Mall Explosion
One year after a vacant restaurant leveled a Plantation shopping mall, those who were there when the explosion occurred are filing lawsuits. While no one was killed, 23 patrons were injured. Many continue to suffer from injuries sustained that day.
Witnesses described people laying all over the parking lot covered in glass. One man had a large piece of glass that punctured his abdomen. Someone was trying to apply pressure to stop the bleeding. Not only was the restaurant destroyed, but the buildings flanking it were also taken out in the explosion.
Witnesses said that they thought it was a terrorist attack. Now, six patrons of the strip mall have filed lawsuits against the strip mall’s landlord, the property management company, and the gas company.
What Caused the Explosion?
The plaintiffs contend that when the gas appliances were removed from the pizzeria, they also took the valve, leaving the gas pipe uncapped. Had a $2 cap been placed on the gas line, the restaurant would have never exploded, no one would have ever been injured, and this lawsuit would have never been filed.
The lawsuit further states that the gas company turned off the gas, but never checked the valve, nor did they place a lock on the outside valve. Gas was allowed to build up in the restaurant until, finally, a spark from the air conditioner ignited the gas causing the explosion.
The plaintiffs are alleging that the gas company and the landlord were grossly negligent.
Understanding Gross Negligence
Basic negligence implies that a defendant owed a duty of care to a plaintiff, failed to act on that duty of care, and the plaintiff was injured as a result. Gross negligence, on the other hand, takes that a step further. The standard is higher, but the accusations are harsher.
Gross negligence can imply overt malice or a “reckless and wanton” disregard for the safety of others. When plaintiffs allege a defendant was “grossly negligent,” they are entitled to collect punitive damages on top of compensatory damages.
Compensatory damages are awarded to make an injured party whole. This includes medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Punitive damages are awarded to punish the defendant for exceedingly careless or brazenly indifferent behavior.
It is unclear, at this point, how strong the plaintiff’s arguments are for gross negligence. Even if a $2 cap could have prevented the incident, gross negligence requires a very high standard of proof.
The law defines “gross negligence” as:
“Gross negligence” means that the defendant’s conduct was so reckless or wanting in care that it constituted a conscious disregard or indifference to the life, safety, or rights of persons exposed to such conduct.
In other words, the plaintiffs would likely have to prove that the defendants knew about the danger and yet did nothing to stop the explosion from happening.
Talk to a Miami Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve been injured by a negligent party, call the Miami personal injury attorneys at the office of Alan Goldfarb, P.A. today to schedule a free case evaluation and learn more about our services.