In 2012 there were more than 97,000 apartment fires in the United States, which resulted in 380 deaths and more than 4,000 injuries. Property damage from these apartment fires was estimated at more than $1.1 billion.
Direct causes of apartment fires include:
- Space heaters,
- Faulty electrical wiring, fuse, and circuit breakers,
- Cooking, including grills and stoves,
- Storage of combustible materials,
- Defective appliances, and
- Extension cords.
Tragically, many apartment fires lead to unnecessary death and severe injury as a result of:
- The lack of smoke alarms,
- Defective smoke alarms or smoke alarms that do not have working batteries,
- Flammable clothing, and
- Furniture that is highly flammable as the result of polyurethane foam.
Who is Responsible for an Apartment Fire?
When an apartment fire results in injuries and death, our role as legal counsel is to identify those responsible so that they can be held accountable for the injuries and damages sustained by our clients. Often, many parties may bear legal responsibility, including:
Apartment owners may be liable for:
- Failing to install or failing to have working smoke alarms. Smoke alarms are one of the leading means of prevention of injuries and death related to fires. However, when smoke alarms have not been installed, or when they do not work properly, they can’t prevent injury or death.
- Having defective appliances or faulty wiring.
- Allowing other tenants to engage in dangerous activities (such as storing dangerous materials) if the apartment owner knew or should have known about such activities.
Other apartment tenants
Often fires in one unit will quickly spread to adjoining units, and even to entire apartment complexes.
Manufacturers of defective products
Defective products can include space heaters, gas dryers, and stoves.
Contractors performing installation or maintenance
Contractors are sometimes liable for fires when they fail to properly install wiring or appliances, when they inadvertently start fires through the use of their equipment, or when they use materials that can leave a residue and be combustible in closed areas.
Our Practice is Devoted to Careful Investigation of Fire Causation and Recovery for Our Clients Against those Responsible for Apartment Fires
In addition to obtaining official accident reports, in personal injury cases we often retain accident reconstructionists and other experts to identify all those who may be liable for the injuries suffered by our clients. In the case of a fire, more than one person or party may be liable for such injuries, including those responsible for the fire having started (such as the manufacturer of defective equipment), and those responsible for the exacerbation of the damages and injuries (such as the manufacturers of certain types of furniture which may lead to a sudden flash-over which should not have occurred).