Settlement Reached After Horrific Circle K Fire
Last December, two children watched their mother die by fire at a Circle K in Pinellas County. It was something that no one should ever have to witness. Recently, it was reported that her family had reached a settlement with 13 defendants that they claim engaged in a wide range of misconduct. Although the settlement means that no party admitted fault, the lawsuit itself sheds light on a number of alleged acts of misconduct – including concealing evidence. But what actually happened on that fateful day? What does this tell us about wrongful death lawsuits in Florida?
The Circle K Incident Explained
On December 22nd of 2021 – just three days before Christmas – a mother of five was pumping gas at a Circle K in Palm Harbor. A driver then reversed, knocking over a fuel dispenser. The mother found herself pinned between her vehicle and the fuel pump. Then the fire began. Her two children could only watch as their mother was engulfed in flames. It wasn’t long until her family sued Circle K Stores, Shell Oil Company, and 11 other defendants. They claimed that the accident occurred because Circle K’s safety systems failed on “multiple levels.”
The lawsuit also claims that the Circle K store intentionally destroyed multiple pieces of crucial evidence, including a shear valve. Shear valves are fire suppression systems designed to halt fuel flow immediately if the pump is struck or damaged by a vehicle. The family also claimed that the nuts and bolts used to hold the fuel pump in place were hastily destroyed before they could be examined by the authorities.
On November 28th, it was reported that the defendants and the plaintiff had reached a settlement. The full amount of this settlement was not revealed, but one can assume that it numbers in the millions.
This isn’t the first time that gas stations have been struck or damaged by vehicles. Just a couple weeks prior to the settlement announcement, it was reported that a truck had barreled into a gas station – completely knocking down the sign that indicates fuel prices. Fortunately, the pump system itself was not affected – but this could have easily led to a fire or an explosion under different circumstances.
Where Can I Find a Qualified Personal Injury Attorney in Orlando?
If your family member has been injured or killed in a fire, you may be able to sue negligent parties for a fair financial settlement. The above story is just one example of how negligence can cause deadly fires. Your landlord may have failed to install fire safety equipment at your home. Your vehicle may have malfunctioned in some way – perhaps causing the ignition of fuel or the explosion of an electric battery. Even if you have a slight suspicion that your family member’s death was caused by negligence, it’s worth reviewing your legal options with the help of an Orlando personal injury attorney. Book your consultation with Payer Law today to get started.