Burn Injury and Apartment Fires

Burn survivors have life-altering injuries that affect every aspect of life. From physical injuries to psychological trauma to massive medical bills, the inability to work, and pain-burn injuries are the worst injuries imaginable. When someone else was negligent or careless and caused the fire or explosion, such as a residential landlord failing to follow fire safety laws or the local fire code, or an employer not following workplace safety regulations, you can seek compensation for your injuries.

Insurance adjusters, landlords, natural gas or propane providers, and others who may be responsible will fight any claim from a burn injury survivor. Why? Because they know these claims can be substantial and are generally difficult to defend. From the moment a fire or explosion happens, insurance adjusters and industrial plant owners have “investigators” and even lawyers on the scene, immediately, to frame the narrative of the fire or explosion and “direct,” in their favor, the course of any governmental or law enforcement investigation. If you have been burned, you need a lawyer with the financial resources and experience to tip the scales in your favor, as soon as possible.

Flynn Law Firm has represented burn injury survivors all over the country, from Oregon to Wisconsin to Georgia. Jonah Flynn tirelessly advocates for burn survivors, recovering millions from product manufacturers, national product retailers, and negligent landlords. Jonah Flynn has held landlords accountable for their failure to follow basic fire codes and for failure to install working smoke detectors. Jonah has decades of experience in burn injury litigation, and will aggressively pursue your claim.

Types of Fire and Burn Injury Lawsuits

Jonah handles lawsuits involving:

  • Gas Can Explosions
  • Water Heater Fires
  • Stove “tip overs” at Apartment buildings
  • Apartment fires
  • Industrial accidents
  • Refinery explosions
  • Oil well fires and explosions 
  • Offshore rig explosions
  • Natural gas explosions
  • Propane accidents and explosions
  • Workplace injuries
  • Truck accidents and tanker explosions
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Electrical cord fires
  • Burns caused by powerlines, to the public or “contract” lineman
  • Defective products
  • Locked fire exits
  • Scalding water and pipes
  • Electrical accidents
  • Hotel Fires
  • Fires at any place of business or residence
  • Overloaded electrical power strips

House fires and apartment building fires can devastate families

Many fires and burns occur in the kitchen. Cooking, particularly frying, is the leading cause of home fires and injuries, according to a National Fire Protection Association report analyzing fires from 2019, which is among the most recent data available. In 2019, local fire departments responded to 1,291,500 fires, and these fires caused roughly 3,700 civilian deaths, 16,600 civilian injuries, and $14.8 billion in property damage.

Every 24 seconds, a fire department in the United States responds to a fire somewhere in the nation. A fire occurs in a structure at the rate of one every 65 seconds, and a home fire occurs every 93 seconds.

Seventy-five percent of all fire deaths and 73 percent of all injuries were caused by home fires.

Sixty-five percent of all fire deaths resulted from fires in one- or two-family homes and 10 percent were caused by fires in apartments or other multi-family housing.

Seventeen percent of fire deaths were caused by vehicle fires.

Heating, candles, and smoking can cause home and apartment fires. Heating equipment was involved in one of every five fire deaths at home, according to the NFPA. Often, devices like portable and fixed space heaters, propane heaters, natural gas appliances, propane systems, and wood stoves are defective, causing a serious burn injury.

Electrical wiring and lighting equipment installation are also contributors to home fires: 16 percent of fire deaths and 9 percent of fire injuries in the home stem from electrical work. Overloaded power strips are a common cause of residential fire. 

Landlords have an obligation to abide by the laws and fire codes designed to ensure that, tenants are safe from fire injury and wrongful death. When landlords don’t follow the rules, and people get hurt or die. 

Negligent Landlords and Fire Injuries

Fire and burn injuries often occur in the home, apartment, public housing, trailer, hotels, or other rental facilities. Landlords are required to follow special city, state, and even federal regulations designed to keep their tenants safe from harm.

Some of a landlord’s responsibilities regarding fire safety can include:

  • Properly installed and maintained electrical wiring, up to code and consistent with current National Electric Code standards
  • Making sure “hard-wired” smoke alarms are in the home or apartment and located in the proper place and tested according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  
  • Adequate ways to escape, including windows that work, and a safe fire escape.
  • Keeping the fire escape clear.
  • Using fireproof doors and smoke alarms in the common area. 
  • Fire extinguishers within each unit, in common areas, and on the property. 

Neglecting these duties and other fire safety obligations is dangerous and can directly lead to injury in the event of a fire. Unfortunately, careless landlords who shirk their duties towards their tenants are more common than you would think.

Landlord Liability for a Fire

Landlords are required to follow fire codes and ordinances, both state and federal, when they allow you to rent a home or apartment. With some federally subsidized housing, like Section 8 housing, there is a book of codes landlords are required to meet before you can move in. Building codes exist to make sure tenants are safe: they require smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, sprinklers, and fire escapes. Many apartments and rent home fires are because of landlords simply not following the codes.

If a fire breaks out and a tenant is injured as a result, the property owner could be held responsible for not following codes and not keeping safe premises.

Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors serve an important role in fire safety. In rental homes and apartments, smoke detectors are required to be “hard-wired” in other words, if you only have a battery-operated smoke detector in your apartment, your landlord is violating the fire code. The reason a constant source of electricity is required for smoke alarms is because tenants may not know, or will not remember, to change the batteries. Hard wired smoke (with battery backup) alarms are always on and will detect smoke or flame in most circumstances. 

Many of the fires and injuries handled by Flynn Law Firm involve a landlord’s failure to install a smoke alarm in a rental home or apartment. This all but guarantees injury when a fire breaks out. Smoke detectors are crucial to fire safety. 

Generally, smoke detectors must be placed outside sleeping areas AND there must be one in each bedroom, although requirements might vary depending on where you live. So, in a one-bedroom apartment, there should be at least two smoke alarms, one in the hallway and one in the bedroom. 

The type of smoke detector can also make a difference. Less expensive “Ionization” smoke alarms will not detect certain fires, such as slow smoldering and smoke-filled. A photoelectric smoke alarm is more sensitive to smoke and is the safest smoke alarm for a rental installation. 

Fire Extinguishers

Easy to find and working fire extinguishers are often the only line of defense a tenant has when the apartment is on fire. Every unit should have a fire extinguisher. New apartment buildings are required to have sprinklers. At the least, regulations generally require fire extinguishers on the same floor of your apartment or in another area you have access to.

Many of the injuries we see at Flynn Law Firm are caused by the total failure of the apartment complex owner or owner of a rental home to install working fire extinguishers and/or the failure to test the extinguishers on an annual basis.

Can I sue my landlord after an apartment fire or fire at a rental home?

Yes. If the landlord violates the fire code, you likely can pursue a claim. In some instances, landlords use the language of a lease to convince or pressure tenants to not proceed with a lawsuit. In other instances, an insurance company for a landlord will try and settle your claim for pennies on the dollar before you have a chance to consult an attorney.

Industrial Accidents, Refinery Accidents, and Burn Injuries Sustained at Work

Some employees in certain workplace settings are susceptible to fire and burn injury. Fires and explosions alone cause 5,000 workplace burn injuries each year, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

When a worker suffers a burn injury on the job, the worker may be able to file a “third-party” claim against negligent parties who caused the fire or explosion. Third-party negligence lawsuits are not against your employer, and you can recover payment for pain and suffering, loss of life’s enjoyment, loss of consortium, or disfigurement.

In these cases, the worker will file a suit against a third party, such as a subcontractor or product manufacturer, to seek damages that may supplement their workers’ compensation benefits. Jonah Flynn has successfully handled third-party claims stemming from tragic work accidents, including refinery fires, plant explosions, boiler explosions, and chemical exposure — aggressively pursuing these claims and recovering millions for his clients.

Flynn Law Firm is Here for You

If you or a loved one has faced a severe burn injury, call Jonah Flynn today for a free consultation. Evidence related to a fire or explosion could be altered or destroyed after the fire, and you should take immediate steps to secure the evidence you will need to pursue a claim. The statute of limitations in some states limit the amount of time a burn injury survivor must file a claim, so contact us as soon as you can. Call or text 503-303-0600, email info@flynnfirm.com or fill out the contact information below.

Other Resources

  1. Boat accident burns
  2. Burns – FAQ
  3. Types of burns
  4. Electrical burn injury
  5. Gas explosions

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