Fire injuries can be debilitating and life-changing injuries for the victims. It can be even more stressful and frustrating when the injury was due to an unexpected accident that was not your fault. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in 2018, fires resulted in 3,655 civilian fire fatalities and 15,200 civilian fire injuries.
This is an enormous number of people that had to deal with the consequences of frightening fire accidents. We hope to relieve some of the pain and financial burden of those who have been affected by fire injuries. With a successful injury claim, our attorneys can help you to recover monetary damages for what you have had to go through in the aftermath of this injury.
At Mike Agruss Law, we have helped thousands of clients to seek justice and compensation for personal injuries, and you won’t owe us a penny for our services unless we win your case. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a fire injury, contact our personal injury law office today for a free consultation.
Different Types of Fire Injuries
Many people immediately think of burn injuries on the skin when they think of injuries that can arise after being in an accident with fire. These certainly are the most common injury from a fire. However, this is just one of some other possible injuries and conditions that can result from a fire accident. Some different types of burns and fire injuries/complications include the following:
- First degree burns – These minor burns penetrate the first, outer layer of skin. Symptoms include reddening, sensitivity, and peeling, but this can heal on its own within roughly a week.
- Second-degree burns – This type of burn penetrates the first and second layer of skin. Symptoms include more pain, reddening, and a moist appearance.
- Third-degree burns – These burns all the skin’s layers and could damage tissue and nerves in the area. They may appear charred black or white. They require more intense treatment and measures to heal the area such as a skin graft, but almost all result in dense scars.
- Nerve damage – A severe third-degree burn can penetrate the skin to the point that it reaches nerve endings. The damaged nerves can result in no feeling of pain at the point of injury.
- Infection – After a burn gets through the body’s protective layer, the body is more vulnerable to infections that a person may come into contact with.
- Smoke inhalation – A fire can cause you to inhale some of the smoke at the scene of the accident, which can result in a number of respiratory conditions and complications.
How Fire Injuries Occur
A fire can cause a wide range of injuries, but those injuries also manifest differently depending on how the injury was experienced. There are many ways and settings in which a person can sustain a fire injury. Some common ways that fire injuries occur include:
- Motor vehicle accidents – A car accident can result in a fire injury if the fuel tank of the vehicle combusts if wires are exposed, if gasoline spills, and more.
- Workplace accidents – Many fires accidentally occur in various workplaces such as factories or restaurants. It may have been due to an actual fire, chemicals, gasoline, or another source that started a fire.
- Defective products – Products such as space heaters or stovetops may overload or malfunction in some way that starts a fire. This could be due to a design or manufacturing defect.
- Electrocution – Often in construction accidents, electrocution can cause intense burn injuries (along with other types of injuries) and even potentially start a fire.
Who Is Liable?
Fire injuries are judged on the basis of negligence, which has four essential elements to be proven. Keep in mind that the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Illinois is two years. This means that you must file your injury claim within two years of the date of the accident in order for it to be accepted and considered valid.
Negligence involves proving its four elements. First, you must prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care. Then, you must prove that that duty of care was breached, which can be shown by the accident itself being caused by the person. Then, you must prove that their actions or inactions were the direct and actual cause of the accident that caused your injury. Lastly, you must be able to prove that you did suffer actual damages and injuries which can be proven through medical records and bills, witness testimony, and more. Generally, you should be able to provide evidence that it was in fact this accident that caused your damages.
The liable party depends on the type of accident that you experienced. If you were in a motor vehicle accident, the other driver could be liable if the accident was their fault. If the accident was due to a defective product, such as a space heater catching on fire, it would be considered a product liability case. Product liability cases are based on the idea that any and all actors in the chain of distribution of a product can be deemed liable for a defective product released to the public. In this case, the manufacturer, distributor, and/or retailer can be found liable for your damages.
If the accident took place in the workplace, your coworker, your employer, or the property owner could be found liable. Your coworker may be liable if they were the direct catalyst to the accident’s occurrence, such as negligently spilling a hot liquid on you. Your employer could be liable if they did not properly train you on the correct procedure or gear required in order to be safe at your job. They may also be liable if they were responsible for inspecting and maintaining equipment that could cause this accident and failed to do so. The property owner could be liable in a premises liability case if there was a hazardous condition on the property (any property, not only workplace) that caused your injuries. If the hazardous condition was not warned about or marked with a warning, they could be liable.
Overall, it is most helpful to speak with your attorney about your specific situation and who could be liable in your case. After the accident, you should seek medical attention immediately to take care of your fire injuries and prevent further damage to your body. Then, you should take photos of your injuries and the setting in which it occurred. Try to gather witness statements if possible if anyone was there to witness the accident occur. Then, contact our experienced attorneys for a free consultation that will give you a better idea of how we can help you in your specific experience. We will help you navigate this tough process and make sure that you are compensated for the damages that you have had to endure throughout this devastating event.
Damages That Can Be Recovered
The treatment for any burn injury can involve tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills. This money may go towards emergency hospitalization, prescribed drugs, skin grafting, physical burn rehabilitation, and much more. This does not even include the psychological and mental scars that such a traumatizing and life-changing incident can have on you and your life. With our help, we hope to get justice for you and make sure that the other party pays for their negligence. Some damages that you can recover after a fire injury include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Lost wages
- Future loss of earnings
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of reputation
- Loss of consortium
If you or a loved one has been injured due to a fire injury, contact our office today for a free consultation.