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Restaurant Owner in Huntington Beach Fighting for His Life after Oktoberfest Explosion

A restaurant owner, who has been identified as Bernie Bischof, is fighting for his life after an electrical explosion in his Huntington Beach restaurant on Saturday. His family has stated that he is “badly burned.” According to the incident report, the restaurant owner asked patrons to leave the area closest to a transformer before it exploded. The restaurant owner allegedly noticed an odd smell coming from the electrical vault, cleared guests from the immediate area, and called the emergency department. Restaurant Owner in Huntington Beach Fighting for His Life after Oktoberfest ExplosionThe explosion occurred at approximately 8 p.m. at Old World Village’s German Restaurant. According to the incident report, the restaurant owner was leading two firefighters towards the restaurant’s patio area with concerns of a strange smell coming from an underground vault with three transformers. There was suddenly an explosion. The firefighters lost sight of the restaurant owner and were searching for him when there was another explosion; there was a total of three explosions. The firefighters involved were transported to a burn center but have since been released. Based on reports, the restaurant owner sustained burns over approximately 40% of his body; he sustained second- and third- degree burns. As of Sunday, he remained in critical condition. A total of five people were injured as a result of the explosions.

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Southern California Edison responded to the scene and is investigating the cause of the explosions. The investigation is also trying to determine whether gas had a role in the explosion (since the owner and many patrons had complained of a smell similar to that of gas).

Liability in the Incident

Although the restaurant owner is seriously injured, he could actually face some sort of liability for the incident – and be financially responsible for the harm that other victims suffered. However, other parties could be liable as well. Consider the following points:
  • Property owners (such as the restaurant owner mentioned above) have a duty to ensure that their premises are free of any hazards. As soon as they identify any potentially hazardous situation, they must act immediately to address the hazard to ensure that guests are not put at risk of suffering harm.
  • Utility companies (such as electric and gas companies) have a duty of care towards their consumers. They must ensure that all equipment is working properly and that they quickly and efficiently respond to any complaints (e.g. of strong smells).
There is still no information regarding the specific cause of the accident; however, many things could have happened.
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Hypothetically, the property owner could have noticed the concerning smell before the day of the incident and simply failed to take any action until it was too late. Or, the property owner could have immediately sought the expertise of a utility company to investigate the concerning smell, but the utility company could have failed to immediately respond. It is also possible that something was defective – and that the property owner could not have possibly known of the risks. Based on the reports surrounding the incident, however, the restaurant odor took immediate action – clearing the areas closest to the electrical vault and calling the emergency department. Regardless of the situation, it is important to be aware that things don’t just explode without a reason. Further investigation will likely reveal the cause of the explosions – which could make liability clear.

Suing and Recovering Compensation

Depending on the specific details of the incident and the harm suffered, victims and their families might have grounds to pursue a claim – and even receive compensation. In general, the basis behind an injury claim is negligence: a party or entity owed you a duty of care that was breached, resulting in harm. In other words, the negligent actions of a party or entity directly caused the incident and, subsequently, the harm suffered. Depending on the specific details of the claim, victims and their families might also be eligible to recover at least some sort of compensation. In general, the compensation available for recovery could include the following:
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage
  • Loss of consortium
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Punitive damages
Regardless of the specific details of your claim, allowing an experienced attorney to fight for your rights after being harmed is likely to increase the possibility of reaching a successful claim outcome and recovering the compensation that you deserve. At Downtown L.A. Law Group, our lawyers are dedicated to representing our clients’ best interests – which is recovering the maximum amount of compensation available for your claim. When you allow our lawyers to handle your claim and fight for your right to recover compensation, you could be certain that you will recover the compensation that you deserve. For more information about the type and amount of compensation available for your claim, do not hesitate to seek legal assistance with our experts as soon as possible.

Learn more about your options for compensation by calling (213) 389-3765.

Understanding Applicable Deadlines

All claims are subject to strict deadlines that determine the length of time that claimants have to sue. If claimants do not file their claims on time, they could lose their right to sue and lose their right to receive compensation. In general, injury claims in the state of California are subject to a two-year statute of limitations; however, exceptions could apply. Depending on certain details surrounding your claim, the applicable statute of limitations could be tolled – or paused. Because failing to have a thorough understanding could severely affect your claim. More specifically, failing to understand the deadline that applies to your claim could simply result in losing the right to pursue a claim. To ensure that you have access to information regarding the timeline that applies to your claim, do not hesitate to seek legal assistance with our experts immediately.

Contact Downtown L.A. Law Group

At Downtown L.A. Law Group, our experts have many years of experience successfully handling all sorts of claims and helping victims (and their families) to recover the compensation that they deserve. At our firm, we understand that it could be very difficult for affected parties to access the necessary legal assistance; therefore, we offer free legal services, which include free consultations and free second opinions. During our free consultations and free second opinions, our lawyers will be available to answer all your questions and address all your concerns; they will do everything within their reach to ensure that you have access to all the information that you need to pursue your claim. If you would like to benefit from our free consultations or free second opinions, do not hesitate to contact us today. Our free legal services are available as part of our Zero-Fee guarantee – a guarantee that our clients will never have to pay any upfront legal fees for any of our legal services. Our law firm is also based on a contingency structure that ensures that our clients never have to pay anything until after reaching a successful claim outcome. If you would like to learn more about your right to pursue a claim whether you or a member of your family were harmed in the incident mentioned above or any other similar incident, do not hesitate to seek legal assistance – our experts are ready to represent you and fight for your right to be compensated.

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