Victims of fires and other burn injuries can suffer extraordinary physical and psychological trauma, leaving them with massive medical bills, lost wages, and drastically changed lives.
Regardless of how much someone is hurt, though, a fire or burn injury can have a negative impact on a person’s life. What makes all of it worse is when it’s not your fault. It could have been a landlord who didn’t follow fire-safety rules for your building; a restaurant, nightclub, or hotel that wasn’t up to code; or even a defective product or an unsafe workplace.
If someone else’s negligence causes you life-altering harm, you have a right to hold them accountable. You may be able to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other losses.
Nevertheless, even if you try to get compensation, insurance adjusters, landlords, and others could try to minimize your claim. It doesn’t have to be this way, though.
Ben Crump is a skilled fire/burn injury attorney, and he has the experience and dedication necessary to help victims of burn injuries obtain justice after everything they have suffered. Contact Mr. Crump today to see if he can help you pursue your claim.
Types of Fire and Burn Injury Lawsuits
There are several types of fire and burn injury claims that Mr. Crump can help victims pursue, including:
- Apartment building fires
- Workplace injuries
- Recreational fires (hotel, restaurant, retail outlet, nightclub)
- Truck accidents and tanker explosions
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Electrical cord fires
- Defective products
- Locked fire exits
- Scalding water and pipes
- Electrical accidents
There are other types of claims, too. If you’ve been burned, contact Mr. Crump for a free, no-risk case evaluation.
How Safe Are You as a Tenant?
One common way in which people are injured by burns is apartment and house fires. Landlords have a responsibility to keep their properties in good condition and to ensure their properties are equipped with proper fire safety features. They don’t always fulfill their end of the bargain, though.
Landlords can potentially be held liable for their negligence if a tenant is injured in a fire that could have been prevented if the landlord followed basic safety codes.
Landlord responsibilities generally include:
- Ensuring the property’s electrical wiring is in good condition, and safely installed;
- Making sure properly located smoke alarms are on the property;
- Having a safe, sturdy fire escape;
- Installing fireproof doors;
- Providing regularly serviced fire extinguishers; and
- Keeping escape routes clear in shared areas of a building, such as the hallway or laundry room.
Smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are basic, but often highly effective fire safety tools; that’s why some local building codes require your landlord to provide them to you.
An important thing to note is that even if a fire starts in a tenant’s apartment — for example, in the kitchen — the landlord could still possibly be liable. There are building codes and laws that govern what landlords need to be doing to keep tenants safe, whether it’s public or private housing.
If you’re burned in a fire, even if you think it’s your fault, you should contact a knowledgeable burn injury attorney like Mr. Crump as soon as you can. You have a right to hold a negligent landlord accountable for your injuries caused by an unsafe home.
What If Your Fire-Safety Products Failed You?
Landlords are generally responsible for providing and maintaining certain types of fire-safety equipment. But what happens if they dutifully follow code and provide the equipment and it fails?
Tenants can get injured, or even lose their lives, despite the best efforts of the landlord — all because of the negligence of a manufacturer.
Some fire-safety equipment may have a defect causing it to fail when it’s needed most, while other equipment may actually be dangerous by design. Regardless of the reason the fire-safety equipment failed, if you are hurt in a fire due to defective equipment, you may be able to pursue a lawsuit against the manufacturer who made it and recover compensation for your injuries.
Allegedly Dangerous Fire-Safety Products
There are two products that some people buy for fire safety in the home that have been shown to not function as promised.
Ionization smoke detectors have come under fire for allegedly failing to detect slow smoldering fires fast enough. Of the three types of smoke detectors — Photoelectric, Ionization, Ionization-Photoelectric combo — ionization smoke detectors are the cheapest, the most commonly used, and the type of smoke detector found in the majority of deadly house fires.
Ionization smoke detectors reportedly take as much as 15-30 minutes longer to sound an alert than other alarms. Because of this, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Iowa have banned them, and lawsuits have been filed against ionization smoke detector makers such as Kidde, Inc., BRK Brands, Inc., and USI Electric, Inc.
Williams-Pyro’s Range Queen, StoveTop FireStop, and other manufactured “fire suppression” devices for stove ranges have also been under fire for product defects.
These devices — which magnetically attach to a vent hood and hang above the stove — are used as a one-time fire suppressant. In the event of a fire, these devices are supposed to activate and drop sodium bicarbonate powder on the flame to suppress it.
However, there is no apparent evidence that these products actually extinguish fires. Worse yet, the activation of products like the Range Queen can reportedly cause hot grease to splash out of pans on the stove. This not only potentially spreads the fire even further, but can cause grave burn injuries to those in the splash range.
As a result, the Air Force, Navy, and Army have banned the use of all such products in military housing. Unfortunately, these products are still found in apartment complexes, including low-income housing, all across the country.
Burned at Work?
There are often plenty of hazards in the workplace, and for some workers, burn injuries are at the forefront of their worries. These are well-placed concerns: fires and explosions alone cause about 5,000 burn injuries each year, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
When an employee suffers a burn injury on the job, they may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim — a type of insurance providing workers injured on the job with wage replacement and medical benefits. In order to get these benefits, the employee forfeits the right to sue his or her employer for negligence.
But because some insurance companies will try to limit payouts or even deny benefits entirely, workers who have suffered a burn injury on the job should contact an attorney immediately to discuss their legal rights and options.
Workers’ compensation benefits may cover wages and medical bills, they do not offer payment for pain and suffering, loss of life’s enjoyment, loss of consortium or disfigurement — all damages that victims of burn injuries may often pursue. However, these damages may be available for burn injury victims in certain circumstances.
In these cases, the worker will fill a suit against a third party, such as a subcontractor or product manufacturer, to seek damages which may supplement their workers’ compensation benefits. Mr. Crump handles both workers’ compensation and third-party claims stemming from a variety of accidents, including refinery fires, chemical plant explosions, construction site accidents and chemical exposure. If you suffered a burn injury at your workplace, Mr. Crump may be able to help you pursue these types of claims.
Fire or Burn Injury? Contact Ben Crump
If you or a loved one has suffered a severe burn injury, contact Mr. Crump today for a free, no-risk consultation. Mr. Crump has built a reputation helping victims of negligence, and he and his team will work hard to determine how they can help you fight for the compensation to which you might be entitled.