Damaged gas lines are often the cause of explosions that harm life and property. Accidents involving dig-ins to underground facilities occur every year. To protect the citizenry, New Jersey’s legislature has enacted laws that require all operators of underground facilities to participate in a One-Call Damage Prevention System and to require all excavators to notify the One-Call Damage Prevention System prior to excavation or demolition (see New Jersey Statute 48:2-74).
Pursuant to New Jersey law anytime any person or company intends on digging or working in the vicinity of buried, underground utilities, they must first contact New Jersey One Call System and notify that company of the location and scope of their intended work. It is then incumbent on New Jersey One-Call to notify all companies that may have buried utilities in the location of the proposed work site so that those companies may visit the site and perform a mark out of their underground lines. The companies then report back to New Jersey One-Call that the site has been marked out. New Jersey One-Call then notifies the excavator that they may commence their work. Unfortunately, often times due to human error, utilities are not properly located or identified and when digging begins damage is done to a utility. In the case of a buried electric cable, the result may be injury or death due to electrocution. In the case of a buried gas line the outcome may be a gas leak or an explosion that destroys property, causes injury or even death.
At Stark & Stark, we have experience handling cases against PSE&G and other utility companies for our clients who have been injured or killed due to the utility company’s failure to perform its legal duty. If you would like to know more about this topic, please contact us immediatly at (609) 896-9060.