Apartment fires can strike at any time, and determining the responsible party is vital to helping victims obtain compensation. An apartment fire can move swiftly and take away many of a person’s belongings in an instant.
They also pose a grave personal threat and many survivors escape with injuries from the fire. If you’ve survived an apartment fire, there are a few steps you can take to find out who is liable for the fire and compensating you for your losses.
Determining the Cause of the Fire
How did the fire start? If you caused the fire through your own negligence, your chances of obtaining compensation are greatly reduced. However, the following are common causes of fires in apartments and can be traced back to neglect by the landlord:
- Old or faulty wiring
- Old or faulty lighting fixtures or appliances
- Gas leaks
- Absence of smoke detectors and fire extinguishers
- Sealed or blocked doors or windows
- Presence of flammable materials
Keeping an eye out for risk factors that could contribute to an apartment fire is key to tenant fire safety. If you noticed any of the preceding factors, your landlord could ultimately be responsible for the fire.
The Landlord’s Duties
Landlords have a duty of reasonable care to their property and tenants, meaning they need to take precautions to reduce the risk of a fire. As such, the landlord must ensure that the property is free from defects that could start a fire.
They must ensure their building is up to code and that all appliances included with the property are not defective. A landlord who has left their property in a state of disrepair could have a liability for a fire that starts due to their neglect.
Is Your Neighbor Responsible?
Your neighbor could be responsible for the fire if their actions directly led to it. If they have renter’s insurance, you’ll have an open avenue to obtain compensation from them, while if they are uninsured, they may not have the ability to pay you what you are owed.
Their insurance company may try to settle with you for an amount that’s less than you can win with the help of an experienced lawyer who handles apartment fires.
What if I’m Injured?
An injury from an apartment fire can lead to a high medical bill and a long road to recovery. Burns can be life-threatening, even if they are relatively minor, and the small size of apartments allows tremendous amounts of smoke to build up in a short time.
This can prove deadly to residents, as smoke inhalation can lead to long-term damage requiring expensive medical care. The party that is responsible for the fire can also be responsible for paying your medical bills provided you file a claim against them and successfully prove their negligence or direct actions caused the fire.
Filing a Lawsuit
When you’ve determined who is responsible for your apartment fire, filing a lawsuit should be your next step. Even though you may be certain that you know who the party responsible for the fire is, you must still build a case to prove it to others.
Only when you’ve built a sufficiently convincing case will the responsible party settle with you for a reasonable amount or will a jury rule in your favor.
If you’re the victim of an apartment fire, it’s important to speak with a burn/fire injury lawyer. It’s likely you suffered injuries in your fire and may be entitled to compensation as a result.
A lawyer who specializes in this type of incident can help you navigate the process of identifying the party responsible for the fire and filing a claim against them. The road to recovery after an apartment fire can be long, but at least your finances can be placed on a solid footing.