Natural gas is a useful source of fuel for homes and businesses, but when there is a problem with the delivery system, people can suffer. The recent Southern California Gas Company gas leak in Porter Ranch is being blamed for the death of a 79-year-old woman. The woman’s children allege that the gas company’s negligent actions led to their mother’s premature death.
The woman’s home was located approximately 3 miles from the source of the leak. That leak was reported on Oct. 23 of last year. The woman’s family says that before her death on Jan. 25, the woman had to use an oxygen tank around the clock. While the woman was in poor health, due in part to lung cancer, her family members allege that the exposure to the gas from the leak worsened the woman’s frail condition.
Her son notes that his mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in March of 2015 but that she was still leading a normal life including going on vacations until November. In Nov., the woman started to have trouble breathing and walking. Everything went downhill from there.
The wrongful death lawsuit further notes that the gas company didn’t let the public know about the extent of damage that the leak could do to people’s health. One issue that there have been 15 instances during which the level of benzene, a known carcinogen, exceeded the levels that the state set for chronic exposure limits.
It is expected that the gas company will fight the lawsuit with claims that the woman’s health was already on a decline and that the effects of the gas exposure should take years to show up. For other people who are in a situation similar to this woman’s, seeking compensation via a wrongful death lawsuit may be possible. In many cases, expert testimony might be necessary.