House Fire Lawyer | Fire Insurance Lawyer
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A house fire — and the injuries it causes — can devastate a family. And after the fire, survivors and family members often face physical, financial, and emotional hardship that can last a lifetime.
If you were severely injured in a house fire, or a loved one was killed or catastrophically injured by a fire in his or her home, a house fire lawyer can help. Although our firm cannot replace all that was lost, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, loss of income, and pain and suffering. Contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced house fire lawyer.
What Causes House Fires?
Often, house fires are the result of an electrical issue or malfunction of a product or appliances in your kitchen such as the refrigerator, ice maker, oven or dishwasher. Even small appliances that are left plugged in have caused hundreds of house fires resulting in death, burn and inhalation injuries. If this happens to you, don’t just assume that your insurance company is working on your behalf. The reality is they’ve only got one thing in mind; Their bottom line.
Most Common Causes of House Fire Injuries and Deaths
A variety of factors can cause fire injuries and deaths in houses, apartment buildings, and care facilities, such as:
- Building code violations
- Defective fire suppression systems
- Defective fire-retardant clothing
- Faulty smoke detectors
- Flammable liquids
- Frayed electrical equipment
- Improperly treated upholstery
- Portable heaters
Common House Fire Injuries
At The Carlson Law Firm, we have a deep understanding of different types of burn injuries that result from house fires and how to pursue medical treatment that addresses both physical injuries and psychological trauma. Our attorneys stay abreast of regulation and litigation on these issues and have recovered significant compensation to help the families move forward after the fire.
There are four categories, or degrees, of burn injuries:
- First-degree burns: This injury is comparable to a sunburn. The victim may experience minor pain and redness (erythema) of the epidermis (the top layer of skin). This category of burn will heal over a few days, however, some evidence suggests that these burns may be associated with an increased risk of skin cancer later in life.
- Second-degree burns: The damage caused by a second-degree burn is more extensive. The damage extends to the lower layers of the skin—the papillary or reticular dermis. Blisters are likely to form, and the site will be moist and extremely painful to the touch. This category of burn is subject to bacterial infection and cellulitis. It can take several weeks or month to heal from a second-degree burn.
- Third-degree burns: All layers of skin are charred and appear dry and leathery. Nerves are damaged, therefore the site is usually painless. When damage is this extensive, natural healing is impossible; the skin must be surgically excised and skin grafts used. The chance of infection is very high.
- Fourth-degree burns: Damage to the skin is so deep that muscle tissue and bone are charred. The skin is incinerated at all layers. Severe nerve damage renders the injury site painless. A fourth-degree burn is a life-threatening injury that may require amputation or extensive plastic surgery. The risk of infection and gangrene is very high.
The combination of suffocation (also called asphyxiation) and smoke inhalation during a house fire can be devastating. Breathing injuries are the primary causes of death in U.S. house fires.
There are three different components of these injuries:
- Oxygen-depleted air: An active fire consumes oxygen from the air leaving the remaining mix of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide. This is a deadly combination. It is difficult to revive a patient with oxygen therapy alone because carbon monoxide is toxic and bonds more closely than oxygen to the hemoglobin in the blood. Prolonged exposure to oxygen-depleted air causes confusion, drowsiness, and death. Extended exposure to oxygen-depleted air causes drowsiness, confusion, and death.
- Inhaled hot gases: Products of combustion such as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide can scar nasal passages and lung tissue when inhaled. This leads to permanent and disabling lung problems.
- Smoke: Smoke is a mixture of heated particles and gases that can damage the respiratory system permanently congested or obstruct breathing, and cause seizures and coma. Fire burns oxygen, therefore as a fire continues, more oxygen is removed from the room. Fifteen minutes of smoke with zero oxygen would kill you and five to ten minutes would cause permanent brain damage in humans. Those who are able to escape a burning fire will notice wheezing and breathing problems for many hours following.
House Fire Lawsuits: The Process
The goal of the investigation is to find the cause and origin of the fire. The first thing we do is examine the scene with the professionals we work with and the experts that we hire:
- Where is the area of the most severe damage?
- Where is the lowest level of damage?
- What was the cause of the fire?
- Was a defective product involved in or the cause of the fire?
- What materials burned and what was the pattern of damage?
A house fire lawyer will also interview eyewitnesses and fire investigators, to find out where they first saw the fire, analyze the cause of the fire in the debris, look at all appliances to determine if one of them could have been the cause analyze the pattern of fire damage. Each case is unique and should be treated as such.
When it comes to determining liability in your house fire lawsuit, there are many parties that may be held accountable, depending on the cause. In every case, we have to look at the facts, insurance and other corporate documents, real estate documents, and other evidence to determine who can be sued by the victim or their family.
- The owner of the rental house
- Manufacturer of a defective appliance (heater, stove, dryer, etc.)
- The manufacturer of a defective alarm
- A manufacturer of flammable furniture
- The builder (contractor) of the house
- An electrician and his or her employer
- A propane company, if the cause was a propane tank explosion
- A gas company, if the cause was a gas explosion
Landlords generally have to follow special city, state, and even federal regulations designed to keep their tenants safe from harm.
Depending on your state of residence, landlord responsibilities regarding fire safety can include:
- Ensuring the property’s electrical wiring is up to code, in good condition, and safely installed
- Making sure smoke alarms are on the property, properly located and functioning
- Having a safe, sturdy fire escape
- Keeping the fire escape clear
- Installing fireproof doors
- Having regularly serviced fire extinguishers on the property
- Keeping escape routes clear in shared areas of a building, such as a hallway or a laundry room.
Neglecting these duties and other fire safety obligations are dangerous and can lead to fire injury or even death. You may be able to file a lawsuit against your landlord if fire safety precautions aren’t adequate or are non-existent. However, there are instances when landlords use the language of a lease to convince or pressure tenants to not proceed with a lawsuit. Therefore, it’s important to understand your rights as a tenant to prevent your landlord from taking advantage of you. A burn injury lawyer from The Carlson Law Firm can help investigate your claim for you and may file suit on any negligent landlords.
Available Legal Remedies For House Fires
Equitable damages are commonly available in cases involving negligence and product liability. If a plaintiff can prove the defendant had a legal duty, breached that duty, and was the proximate cause of injuries or property damage, the plaintiff may recover damages. In product liability cases, the plaintiff must show that the defendant manufactured, distributed, sold, and installed the product, which caused harm to the plaintiff.
Typically, awards will aim to recover losses associated with the fire. If someone was injured, an award covering medical expenses as well as pain and suffering damages might be available. A house fire lawyer will be able to discuss all your options with you.
Contact A House Fire Lawyer At The Carlson Law Firm
At The Carlson Law Firm, we have more than 40 years of experience helping house fire injury victims. The time to file a claim is limited. Our 24/7 team is ready to review your case for free today. Contact a house fire lawyer today.
If you or a loved one was involved in a residential house fire or apartment fire, it is important to remember the insurance company is not on your side. While they may collect information about the fire and your injuries, it is the insurance adjuster’s job to minimize the value of the claim as much as possible. A Fire Insurance Lawyer will be able to provide you the assistance you so deserve.