Fire and Burn Injuries
Your home catching on fire can be one of the most frightening things to happen in your life. In addition to the damage to your home, burn injuries are extremely painful and can require extensive medical care and therapy to overcome.
According to the Natural Fire Protection Association, 72 percent of civilian fire injuries between 2015-2019 were caused by home structure fires. If a fire in an apartment or rented home resulted in burns to a tenant or guest, the landlord could be found liable.
The landlord’s failure to maintain a property to a standard of safety, like failing to provide smoke detectors, could establish negligence. If you were injured in an apartment or rental property fire, you could file a claim to recover compensation. Compensation could cover loss of property, medical costs, and other fire-related injuries and losses.
Burn Injuries from an Apartment Fire
Burn injuries can range from minor to life-threatening and are often incredibly painful. Treatment depends on the severity and location of the burn. Burns usually require immediate medical attention to assess the severity of the injury. If they are particularly serious, the injured party may need to be treated at a specialized burn center with an extended time of follow-up care.
Side effects from burns can involve additional complications, such as:
- Infections, which may cause sepsis
- Fluid loss and low blood volume
- Affected areas of skin caused by an overgrowth of scar tissue
- Breathing problems due to smoke inhalation
- Bone and joint problems when scar tissue shortens and tightens your skin, muscles, or tendons
Because burns can require extensive medical treatment, it’s important to speak with a knowledgeable lawyer about pursuing compensation to cover medical costs associated with the injuries. Compensation could also help offset additional costs related to the fire, such as:
- Property damage
- Medical bills
- Income lost while recovering
- Pain and suffering
- Mental health issues like depression and loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
A skilled burn injury attorney can help you calculate your losses and pursue compensation from the at-fault party.
Proving the Landlord is Liable for the Fire
Establishing your landlord’s negligence requires you to prove these four elements in your claim:
- Duty of care —The claim must prove the landlord had a legal duty of care to protect the tenants from known or foreseeable harm. Landlords must be careful and be aware of any unnecessary risks that might lead to a fire.
- Breach of duty — The landlord must take proper safety precautions to avoid a fire starting on the property. The claim can point out specific instances when the landlord failed to uphold his responsibility to protect his tenants.
- Causation — The tenant must prove that his injuries were caused by the fire that occurred due to the actions or inactions of the landlord.
- Damages — The claim must demonstrate how the tenant was injured or how the fire damaged the property.
A landlord could be liable if he or she did not fix a hazardous condition before or after you moved in. They can be found responsible for a fire if it resulted from a dangerous condition the landlord did not rectify. The tenant may successfully sue the landlord even if the tenant did not notify the landlord of the dangerous condition. However, if the tenant did inform the landlord, it could make a claim easier to prove.
Tenants can do their part to prevent an apartment fire by closely inspecting the apartment, especially if it is in an older building. Areas of concern could include:
- Electrical outlets — Make sure they have covers and are not loose or warm to the touch.
- Flickering lights — This can indicate loose wiring in the walls. Be sure to check if there are any exposed wires.
- Circuit breakers — Circuit breakers that trip unexpectedly can be another indication that the wiring needs to be inspected closely. If you smell something burning, that can mean you have wires that are shorting.
- Heating system — If this isn’t working properly, it can overheat, provide little heat at all, or short out, meaning it may need to be repaired.
- Natural gas leak — A natural gas leak is extremely dangerous. These can cause poisoning, a fire, or an explosion if unresolved.
- Reckless neighbors — You may need to tell the landlord if another tenant is being unsafe and engaging in behavior that could cause a fire.
- Building code violations — These violations could involve overcrowding and or not following construction or repair standards.
There are many things tenants can do to keep themselves safe from fires. Some of these suggestions include:
- Do not overload electrical outlets by plugging in too many things that produce a lot of power or heat, like incandescent lights or heating lamps.
- If your apartment does not permit smoking or space heaters, follow these rules. Otherwise, you are putting yourself at risk. Space heaters can be especially dangerous because something can fall on them or the heater itself can fall over and ignite a rug or carpeting.
- Don’t leave something cooking on the stove unattended. Remember to shut off the oven after you are finished baking or roasting something. Be very careful every time you use the broiler. Food can catch fire after being broiled at a high temperature.
- Keep a fire extinguisher in the apartment near the kitchen. Don’t block exit, as you and your guests may need to use those exits in an emergency.
Contact Loewy Law Firm Today
Being involved in a fire in your apartment or rental home is one of the most traumatic experiences a person can go through. Our compassionate and knowledgeable Texas apartment negligence attorneys at the Loewy Law Firm are here to aggressively pursue the compensation you need so you can focus on putting your life back together.
Since 2005, our firm has won millions of dollars for our clients. We pride ourselves on excellent customer service and notable results. Contact us today at 512-280-0800 or online for a free initial consultation. We will fight alongside you to seek compensation and accountability for your injuries and losses.