Visitor Question

Hose exposure covers vehicle and customer with gas…

Submitted By: A (USA)

The hose at the gas pump was exposed when filling up the vehicle, and sprayed on the vehicle and clothing of the person filling the car with gas.

Nobody was injured at the time. There was no manager at the station when this happened, the clerk said he would be in the next day.

The safety and health risks could turn into something more drastic if not fixed soon.

No action was taken to fix the hose when pumped, other than perhaps a sign that says “out of order.”

Would this be an incident of negligence regarding a threat to public safety, human health, or the environment? Is there a valid claim for property damage? Where would someone file a complaint about this station, to get it fixed? Thank you for any info you can give.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear A,

1. Would this be an incident of negligence regarding a threat to public safety, human health, or the environment?

The answer is, it depends.

It is safe to say the malfunction you experienced was the first. This can be supported by the station’s immediate action to protect its customers by placing an “out of order” sign on, or near the pump. It’s also safe to assume, in addition to placing the sign, the clerk shut off the valve to the pump.

Realistically, that would be all an employee could reasonably do until the pump was fully repaired and functional again. It is highly unlikely another customer would ignore the sign and use the pump.

As a result, the “out of order” sign and probable shutting off of the valve was a legally sufficient response to the problem. This of course presumes the pumps were regularly inspected according to state and federal regulations.

2. Is there a claim for property damage?

If property damage occurred, the corporate owner would likely be liable for the repair or replacement costs of the property.

3. Where would someone file a complaint about this station, to get it fixed?

Depending upon in which state the gas station was located, an aggrieved customer might file a complaint with the state’s environmental protection agency and with the Federal Environmental Protection agency. Additionally, the customer might file a complaint directly with the station’s corporate owner.

It is safe to say the last thing the corporate owner would want is for a customer to be injured. Such an injury could result in a massive lawsuit. That’s something every corporation wants to avoid.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: August 1, 2014

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One thought on “Hose exposure covers vehicle and customer with gas…

  1. I was pumping gas the tank, it was filled and normally shuts off the pump, but it did not shut off. Gas shot back out at me and a good 3 feet away from my truck.

    My clothes from my neck down were covered in gasoline, and my shoes were soaked to the point of taking them off and dumping the gasoline out.

    I told the people in the store. One of them came out and looked at the side of my truck and asked if I had the automatic lever hold on and said “yeah that happens.” REALLY?!?! Not a good day for my work clothes.

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