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When There is a House or Apartment Fire, Who is at Fault?

Posted on in Personal Injury

According the U.S. Fire Administration, an average of 3,000 people die every year in house and apartment fires. The most recent data, which is from 2015, saw 3,280 deaths by fire and 15,700 injuries, for a grand total of $14.3 billion in losses.

In most instances, the homeowner is to blame when a home catches fire, but what happens when the fire occurs in a rental or an apartment, and when the fire was started because of poor electrical or some other reason? Who is to blame then?

At Clark Law Group, our attorneys strive to help injured individuals recover compensation for medical expenses and other financial losses that are the result of another's negligence. If you had no part in the fire that started within your home, and if you believe that faulty wiring, a poorly manufactured product, or some other factor beyond your control is to blame, our attorneys can perform an investigation and ensure that you recover the compensation you rightfully deserve.

When the Homeowner is Not Liable for Injuries and Losses in a Fire

When people think of house fires, they think of individuals who have placed candles carelessly throughout the home, left curling irons on, and placed towels atop an in-use stovetop. While each of these things do commonly result in house fires, they are not the only cause.

Bad wiring, poorly made products, construction that is not up to code, and other factors that the homeowner or occupant cannot control are often the culprits of house and apartment fires. One such example of an uncontrollable factor causing a house fire occurred just last week, when a treadmill caught fire and hospitalized three people in San Antonio, Texas.

According to reports, a treadmill in a home's living room caught fire and caused $20,000 worth of damages. Though the fire was contained to the living room, furniture throughout the room caught fire and filled the home with black smoke. As a result, the home's three occupants were hospitalized and treated for smoke inhalation.

In this instance, it is likely that the treadmill company will be held liable for manufacturing a faulty product.

There are several ways in which a third party might be held liable for your injuries and losses, but in order to determine who is responsible for the fire and subsequent damages, your attorney may need to perform a thorough investigation and retrieve a copy of the fire report from your local fire department.

When the Landlord Can be Held Liable for a Fire

In many instances, a negligent landlord can be held liable for the injuries and damages caused by a house fire.

While there are some procedural steps you need to follow in order to be able to recover damages for a fire in a rental property, your landlord can be held liable if it is determined that negligence is at play. To determine this, our personal injury attorneys may ask the following questions:

  • Did the home you were renting have an electrical system that was up to code?
  • If it did not, did you notify the landlord of the unsafe electrical condition in writing?
  • Did the landlord then make upgrades to the electrical system as requested?
  • Did the landlord provide an adequate fire safety system?
  • If he or she did not, did you notify him or her, in writing, that you wanted the system updated as required by law?
  • Did the landlord maintain the alarm systems?
  • Did the landlord comply with fire safety codes?
  • Did the landlord provide a fire suppression system?
  • Was there a safe exit for each apartment unit (if applicable)?
  • Was there anything that could have been done to prevent the fire?

In order to hold the landlord liable for your injuries and damages, the state needs to see that your landlord willfully neglected to maintain and/or upgrade the home's existing safety and electrical systems. With adequate documentation and a thorough fire report, that may be simple to do.

Seek the Help of an Experienced Lawyer

If you were recently involved in a house fire and if you want to know if a third party can be held liable for your injuries and losses, reach out to the lawyers at Clark Law Group to schedule a private consultation. Our team can review the facts of your case and determine how much, if anything, you stand to gain from a personal injury claim.

Call our office today or schedule an appointment online to get started.

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