- May 19, 2022
- Attorney Matt Stoddard
- Product Liability
Propane is a common fuel for both household and commercial purposes across the U.S, particularly in rural areas. Lots of Georgia farmers rely on propane to keep livestock warm through winter, dry out harvested crops, and even perform some organic weeding processes.
The use of propane isn’t something a farming operation, even a large one, can handle completely in-house. It’s a utility, controlled in any given region by a few highly specialized companies. Propane suppliers are responsible for making sure propane is properly formulated, refilling their customers’ tanks to the correct pressure level, providing thorough safety instructions, and troubleshooting problems. Often, they also supply, install, and maintain the equipment that makes propane use possible, though this may be done by a separate company.
While it’s certainly possible for farms and other businesses to misuse propane products in dangerous ways, many propane accidents happen during normal use. To address these accidents and prevent future ones, it’s important to hold propane suppliers and equipment providers to the highest possible safety standards.
A Putnam County Propane Supplier May Be Responsible for a Farmer’s Death
This past April, an apparent propane explosion occurred in a shipping container at an agricultural facility about four miles northeast of Eatonton. The shipping container seems to have been serving as part of a distillery for Embry Farm Service’s Fertilizer Division.
Charles Roy Embry, owner of Embry’s Farm Service, was inside the container at the time and did not survive. Though the exact cause of the blast has not been determined, police believe it was an accident with no foul play.
No foul play does not mean no negligence, however. Properly functioning propane tanks will not explode without first venting excess pressure through a safety valve, and correctly filled tanks will not need to vent during normal use. The most likely explanation for such an explosion is that the equipment catastrophically failed, or the propane company overfilled the tank, leading to a release of flammable fumes.
As a result of this accident, Embry has left behind his wife, Ruth, and a large extended family.
Families Who Have Lost Loved Ones to Negligent Propane Services Have a Right to Sue
Suppliers of propane and propane equipment aren’t just selling a product. They’re selling their safety expertise. Customers put their faith in these companies to install their systems correctly, and keep them running right. Just like doctors or firefighters, lives depend on propane workers’ professional competence. If that competence falls short, propane companies are financially responsible for the harm their faulty products and maintenance services cause.
When a responsible propane user is killed in a propane explosion or fire, the next-of-kin has the right to file a wrongful death suit. A full wrongful death settlement for a propane explosion will typically include compensation for the victim’s final expenses, their pain and suffering, and their lost lifetime income. There may also be a sum intended to compensate the plaintiff for the loss of the victim’s companionship.
As well as providing the surviving family with a sense of justice and an easier recovery process, holding a negligent propane company accountable can also help motivate better safety practices in the future.
If you are Mrs. Ruth Embry, or if you have experienced a wrongful death a loved one due to a propane explosion in Georgia, reach out to The Stoddard Firm to learn more about your rights.