High prices at the pump, warns an Orange County injury lawyer, are not the only thing California residents should be concerned about at Southland gas stations: in the past few months, defective spray nozzles have caused several injuries throughout the state, including one serious enough to require hospitalization.
The state fire marshal is warning all California residents to the possible spray hazard of the VST made nozzle and has issued a directive to thousands of service station operators to remove the 30,000 “open hold” latches that are in question. These latches are convenient due to the fact that you can go wash your windows at the same time the latch allows the pump to run without you holding it. This will affect approximately one-third of all California service stations.
Just last month there were accidents here in Orange County as well, in both Huntington Beach and Santa Ana, according to an Orange County injury lawyer. In fact half of all the incidences have been in Southland. The accidents are under investigation and the latches are being removed as a safety precaution until the results of an inquiry into the defective spray nozzles.
The California state fire marshal cited that this is “a hazard to the public and welfare”. Besides the obvious safety issues of gasoline that is being spraying onto your face and eyes, there is a real fire danger as well. Most Service station owner, obviously concerned for the customer’s safety and possible liability issue, are removing the latches immediately.
Daniel Berlant from the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection is setting up mandates for Service station owners to be complied with by Oct 15, 2010 They have the option to:
• Possibly revert back to employee pumping only • Removing the convenience of paying at the pump, going inside to pay • Remove all latches from the VST nozzles
One additional warning is to never put another object like a bottle or can to hold the nozzle in your tank. This could unfortunately cause the same problem.
Currently the deadline to remove all of the latches is required by October 15th. If you still encounter a gas station that has not removed the latch, an Orange County injury lawyer advises that you utilize these safety precautions to avoid an injury.
Since most accident are occurring once you have picked up the nozzle and then push your selection for type of fuel, experts are suggesting that you put the nozzle into the tank hole before you select the grade of gasoline. This will prevent most of the spray accidents. However, if the latch is still attached to the nozzle, there is still some danger of getting sprayed when you remove it. To be on the safe side for now, try to use only nozzle pumps with no latches attached.
After Oct. 15th, gas stations that have not complied with this order will be shut down.
James Ballidis is an Orange County injury lawyer specializing in injury claims arising from accidents resulting from defective products and manufacturer negligence. He has written numerous articles on subjects relevant to personal injury law. To request a copy of one of his books or articles, or to discuss a specific case, feel free to call 866-981-5596.