Fire injuries are any type of injuries which are caused by uncontrolled or unexpected fires. Fire injuries often occur as a result of the negligence of one or more individuals.
Negligence can be proven by showing that a defendant breached the duty of care which they owed to a victim and that the breach was the actual and direct cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. For example, an individual may be found liable for a fire injury if they stored flammable chemicals in a negligent manner and their negligent storage caused injuries to another individual.
When Do Fire Injuries Commonly Occur?
A fire injury commonly occurs in places where high heat or exposure to an open fire or furnace is present. This may include:
Fire injuries often occur due to a spontaneous explosion or combustion. This may occur, for example, when an individual lights a match in an area where flammable liquids are being stored.
Who Can be Held Liable for a Fire Injury?
Who may be held liable for a fire injury depends on a number of factors. As previously noted, the majority of fire claims are based on negligence.
This means that only parties who owed a duty of care to a plaintiff may be held liable for their fire injury or damages. This typically includes individuals such as:
- Safety inspectors;
- Job supervisors who are required to ensure the safety of other employees;
- Product manufacturers and designers;
- Apartment complex owners;
- Rental home owners; and
- In certain cases, home owners.
Owners of apartment complexes and rental homes are often found liable by courts for either installing defective smoke detectors or failing to install smoke detectors and other required safety equipment in each unit or residence. These claims are based on the negligence of the owner.
The legal remedies for a fire injury claim typically includes a monetary damages award. This award is intended to reimburse the individual for their losses.
The costs which an individual is being compensated for typically includes:
- Medical expenses, past, present, and future;
- Present and future lost wages;
- Damages for pain and suffering;
- Loss of enjoyment of life;
- Property damage;
- Compensation for any disability or disfigurement which resulted from the fire; and
- Other applicable expenses.
What are Fire Damage Lawsuits and What Causes Them?
The National Fire Protection Association states that fire departments respond to a fire every 24 seconds. A fire at an individual’s residence or business may result in financial hardship.
It is estimated that there are 6.7 billion dollars in direct damages every year. Fires may also cause emotional damage, personal injuries, or other types of property damage.
Fire damage is one of the top five categories of the most commonly filed insurance claims. Fire damage can be even more costly if a lawsuit is involved.
There are numerous different types of fire damage lawsuits, which may range anywhere from negligence to arson. Some common categories of fire damage claims may include:
- Gas and explosion fires which are caused by gas line leaks or gas lines being poorly installed, maintained, or repaired;
- Electrical fires which result from faulty electrical wiring or maintenance;
- Furnace or water heater fire damage claims which result from poor installation, maintenance, or a faulty repair;
- Chemical fire damages which result from the use of chemicals or from improper chemical storage;
- Defective product fires, including fire damage caused by defective cell phones, appliances, or power tools;
- Fire damage claims resulting from a failure to provide proper working safety equipment, such as:
- smoke detectors;
- fire sprinklers;
- fire alarms;
- fire escapes;
- fire extinguishers; and
- other necessary protective equipment; or
- Other fire damage claims, including:
- kitchen fires;
- fires which were caused by trash burning or tossed cigarettes;
- campfires; or
- other forest wildfires.
Because there are numerous different ways a fire can start, there are often multiple parties who can be held liable for fire damage and associated losses.
What is a Heater Fire Lawsuit?
Heater fire lawsuits can be filed for injuries or property damage which is caused by a heater or a heating system. In many instances, this may occur on residential property because of a faulty central heating system or because of a small, personal-sized heater.
A heater fire can be very dangerous because heater fires tend to occur at night while individuals are sleeping. This may lead to potentially dangerous situations and may result in severe injuries as well as property damage.
What Type of Evidence is Required for a Heater Fire Lawsuit?
In order to prove liability in a heater fire lawsuit, a plaintiff will be required to provide various forms of evidence which shows that the defendant is responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries or for the fire damage.
This may include evidence which provides:
- Proof that the defendant was aware of the defective heater system;
- Proof that the defendant did not take the necessary steps to correct the potential danger; and
- Evidence of actual injury or property damage. It is important to be aware that fake or imaginary losses cannot be compensated for in court.
Therefore, liable parties may include a property owner or a landlord who failed to replace a broken heating system. It may also include the manufacturer of the heating equipment, especially in cases where the manufacturer had knowledge of the defect but continued to market and sell the defective product.
What Legal Remedies are Available?
A heater fire can cause extensive damage to property. In the majority of cases, remedies in heater fire lawsuits will include an award of monetary damages, which compensates the plaintiff for any costs that they incurred for repairing the fire damage.
If an individual is injured by the uncontrolled heater fire, such as with a burn injury, the defendant may also be required to pay damages to compensate for the hospital and medical expenses, as noted above. In addition, the defendant may be required to compensate the plaintiff for any lost earning capacity that resulted from their injuries.
An industrial heater fire can result in various employment law remedies. These may include changes in company policies or multiple worker’s compensation claims.
The available remedies will depend on the location of the fire as well as the scope of the heater fire damage. In general, however, the plaintiff is typically seeking compensatory damages whether their claim involves negligence or product liability issues.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help Filing a Heater Fire Lawsuit?
It is essential to have the assistance of a personal injury lawyer for any heater fire issues you may be facing. A heater fire lawsuit may involve very complex legal theories and concepts.
Your attorney will review your case, advise you regarding the types of claims you can make, and help you file a claim or a lawsuit. Your attorney will represent you in court or if you are required to appear before any type of regulatory body. Having an attorney will provide you with the best chance of receiving compensation for your injuries due to a heater fire.