Understanding Fire-Related Accidents and Premises Liability Law
Property owners and managers are legally responsible for maintaining a safe environment. When these obligations are not met, serious injury — or even death — related to negligence can occur.
These types of cases fall under the vast umbrella of premises liability laws. Fire-related accidents are one of the most common forms of premises liability litigation.
Let’s take a closer look at how these cases unfold — and what you should do if you or a loved one suffers an injury related to negligent property construction, maintenance or management.
Fire Injury Litigation: The Basics
Property owners or managers are required to take certain steps, or to act within reason, to prevent fires from occurring on their property. While some fires may be considered an “act of God” and/or unpreventable, many injuries and deaths are directly tied to negligent conduct on the part of property owners and/or managers.
It’s estimated that there are nearly half a million structure fires in the United States annually, and that these fires cause nearly 3,000 deaths, 14,000 serious injuries and more than $12 billion in economic damage.
Many of these fires are caused by the same types of negligence involving, for example, leaky gas lines, faulty or exposed electrical wiring, smoke detector failures and defective outlets. In the commercial setting, industrial accidents like chemical explosions causing burns are often the result of inadequate training or poor safeguards.
These problems can develop into full-fledged disasters. Multi-family homes — particularly large apartment complexes — are especially vulnerable to fire accidents. One fire in a single unit can quickly spread throughout a building, potentially trapping people within their homes.
Injuries from uncontrolled fires are often severe and/or life threatening. Burns may require painful skin grafts, lead to life-long disfigurement and physical and mental pain. Victims may also suffer from serious infections or inhalation injuries — in fact, inhaled heat or toxins can do extensive lung damage. Though these injuries may be as severe as burns on skin (or more so), they may not be readily apparent.
Such injuries often make it impossible for victims to work or enjoy the quality of life they once had.
Property owners or managers are legally responsible for maintaining safe conditions. If a fire breaks out as a result of their negligent conduct — and someone is injured or killed — the property owner and/or manager may be sued and be required to pay compensation.
Next Steps After a Fire-Related Injury
Fire accident litigation is often very complex. It may require a detailed investigation into the source of the fire. Further investigation may be needed to uncover who is liable for the fire and to what degree. Once liability is established, an attorney will work to determine the extent of the damages caused by the defendant’s negligence.
Because of this complexity, it is imperative to work with an attorney with specific experience in premises liability and fire injury cases as quickly as possible. The right legal advocate can help ensure that victims are fairly compensated for the injuries and/or financial losses they’ve suffered as a result of the property manager or owner’s negligent behavior.
Choosing an attorney to represent you in a fire accident / premises liability case is an important decision. At Mansell Mansell Ayala + Villaneda, we have the necessary experience to handle even the most complex cases. Contact us today for a fast and free consultation.
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