PG & E Record Flaws Exposed in San Bruno Explosion Investigation

Months after an explosion in a Pacific Gas & Electric pipeline killed eight people in San Bruno, maintenance documents released by the utility to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) show conflicting information about repair work performed along the line for decades, according to a report in the San Francisco Examiner.

The discrepancies concern the details of a 1998 leak a few miles away on the same high – pressure gas line. PG & E workers who repaired that leak reported problems and remedial steps different from those reported by the utility. In the wake of last year’s San Bruno explosion, the California Public Utilities Commission ordered the turnover of thousands of PG & E documents concerning safety, maintenance and repair records.

Comparing the documents to the utility’s previous statements, it appears that PG & E itself is yet to get a handle on the causes of leaks along its pipeline. For example, PG & E has previously stated that the pipeline was seamless, but the records show numerous welds and other repairs along lengthwise seams.

Complex Accident Investigation Depends on Careful Records Analysis

The San Bruno pipeline explosion case illustrates the complexity of investigating accidents involving public utilities. In civil actions for damages by the individuals and families most directly affected, it will be necessary to prove negligence on the part of the utility or its contractors in the design, installation or maintenance of the transmission line.

Because the most reliable and specific evidence of the causes of an accident will generally come from the records maintained by the utility itself, the failure to maintain proper maintenance and repair records can complicate the investigative efforts of plaintiffs’ lawyers as well as those of regulators. In some cases, however, proof of inadequate record – keeping practices by itself can help establish the plaintiff’s case for negligence.

Call Weber & Nierenberg for a Free Consultation: 866-288-6010

At the Bay Area law firm of Weber & Nierenberg, our experience with the investigation and proof of complex personal injury claims against corporate and public agency defendants can make the decisive difference in the outcome of a catastrophic personal injury or wrongful death case.

Contact us for a free consultation in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose or San Rafael if you need advice about your legal options in the aftermath of a public utility accident, a bus or train crash, or an accident on government property. You can also visit our website.

Investigating Motorcycle Accidents

Determining What Happened in a Motorcycle Accident

Most motorcycle accidents happen because car and truck drivers don’t see bikers on the road. As a result, it’s not uncommon for motorists to claim that a biker “suddenly appeared out of no where.” Consequently, car drivers and their insurers may try to blame a motorcyclist for an accident that was actually caused by negligence on the part of the car or truck driver. Since personal injury claims can be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to a motorcyclist, insurers are only too eager to dispatch investigators to a crash site to gather evidence and eyewitness testimony they hope will shift fault away from their policyholder. However, investigating a motorcycle accident can often reveal a great deal about negligence on the part of a car driver – despite how investigators for the insurance company try to twist the facts.

Using Modern Accident Investigative Techniques and Technology

Investigating motorcycle accidents today provides the investigator with a number of tools that make it possible to determine if a car or truck driver was telling the truth. The use of GPS technology allows the trail of debris to be mapped to specific coordinate points, allowing investigators to determine the direction and flow of an accident. Measuring skid marks indicates how fast a motorist was traveling and in what direction. If a car or truck has a GPS or black box data recorder system on board, information pertaining to the movement of the steering wheel, braking, and the speed at which a vehicle was traveling can also be learned. Coupled with information from the GPS mapping of an accident scene, motorcycle accidents can be recreated with a great deal of accuracy.

What Damage to a Car Tells Us about a Motorcycle Accident

By examining the damage to a car involved in a motorcycle accident, investigators can often determine if the driver was at fault. For example, damage to the front end of a car typically raises questions as to why the car driver failed to see the motorcyclist. Damage to the side rear portions of a car may indicate a driver changed lanes without seeing a biker or passed in front of a motorcyclist at an intersection without properly checking for traffic. Considered in light of eyewitness testimony, damage to a motorcycle, and evidence from the crash scene, it’s often possible to expose negligence on the part of car and truck drivers who try to shift blame onto the injured biker.

Hold Negligent Car Drivers Responsible – Call Weber & Nierenberg

As personal injury attorneys, we understand how to investigate motorcycle accidents and deal with insurance companies. Don’t take the blame for a car driver’s negligence – protect your rights and interests, email San Francisco motorcycle accident attorneys or call 1-866-288-6010 today.

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