What Do I Do After a Fire Injury?

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Local fire departments responded to nearly 1.4 million fires throughout the United States in 2019. The fires caused 3,700 civilian deaths and 16,600 reported civilian injuries. Property damage caused by fires in 2019 exceeded $15 billion.

Fires represent one of the most devastating disasters, especially the outbreak of wildfires that have plagued the western half of the country over the past five years. If you have suffered property damage and/or injuries that were produced by a fire, you might be at a loss on how to proceed. Your life appears turned upside down, with no flicker of light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

At Morgan & Morgan, we help clients make sense of what to do after a fire injury. The most important step, as well as the first step, is to ensure you and your loved ones have not sustained any lingering injuries. Although we think of burns when describing fire injuries, the fact remains that smoke inhalation and the damage that it causes can keep you out of work for weeks, if not months on end.

Then, we have the often complex fire injury claim process. Our fire injury attorneys want you to concentrate on the health of you and your family. Let us take the fire injury claim process off your hands by filing a timely claim that contains more than enough evidence to get you the compensation you deserve.

What Are the Types of Fire Injuries?

One of the key components of navigating through the fire injury claim process is to understand the type of injuries that a fire can cause.

First Degree Burns

Medical experts compare first-degree burns to sunburn. The victim experiences minor pain and redness on the top layer of the skin. First-degree burns typically heal over the course of just a few days.

Second Degree Burns

Fires that penetrate the lower layer of skin develop second-degree burns. Blisters form on the skin and the location of the burns can be highly painful to the touch. Because of the potential for blisters, bacterial infections are common negative side effects of second-degree burns.

Third Degree Burns

Every layer of skin chars, as well as looks leathery. Because of extensive nerve damage, the location of the burns initially does not trigger pain. Healing the skin naturally is virtually impossible to do, which means third-degree burns require skin grafts to replace damaged skin.

Fourth Degree Burns

As a life-threatening injury, fourth-degree burns destroy all layers of skin. Because the risk of infection is extremely high, this type of burn can require amputation or plastic surgery.

Smoke

Smoke contains ash, carbon particles, and volatile organic compounds, all of which can permanently damage the respiratory system. The permanent damage leads to difficulty breathing, as well as generates seizures that can put the victim in a coma.

Oxygen-Deprived Air

A fire removes oxygen from the air, which leaves a damaging mix of chemicals that quickly suck the life out of a victim. Extended exposure to oxygen-deprived air can cause confusion and/or drowsiness.

Inhaling Hot Gases

It is not just the dangerous composition of toxic chemicals that harm victims of a fire. The intense temperature of the gases can scar lung tissue and nasal passages, which can lead to disabling lung conditions.

Other types of injuries that might become a part of the fire injury claim process include brain trauma caused by fallen debris and deep lacerations produced by tripping and falling over sharp objects.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Fire Injuries?

The heart of the fire injury claim process is to determine the cause of fire injuries and property damage. Once our team of investigators determines the cause of your fire injuries, we can then discover whether there was any negligence involved in the starting of the fire.

Fire injuries do not happen just at home; they can happen in just about any setting.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

According to the U.S Fire Administration, motor vehicle accidents constitute 16 percent of all fires responded to by local fire departments. A crash can make gasoline unstable, which then can burst into flames and cause severe fire injuries.

Hotel/Apartment Fires

Bring hundreds of residents together under one roof, and the recipe is there for a fire to start. The NFPA reports that firefighters respond to an average of 3,700 fires per year that start in hotels/apartments.

Workplace Fires

Workplace fires can start in an office or at a construction site. The fire injury claim process differs for workplace fires, as workers’ compensation insurance should cover the costs associated with diagnosing, treating, and rehabilitating any injuries.

Defective Products

Defective products can overheat and cause burns. If not detected in time, an overheated appliance can burst into flames. The burns resulting from defective products can be especially serious if the defective products received power from combustible fuel sources. Fire injuries resulting from defective products usually fall under product liability statutes.

Gas Explosions

Gas explosions can occur at home, as well as in the workplace. The explosions leave behind a trail of damage that includes severe burn injuries. Negligence is frequently the cause of gas explosions, whether a neighbor or an employer committed negligence.

What Should I Do After a Home Fire?

Although there are several places where you can experience fire injuries, home sweet home remains the number one location for the incidence of fires. One of the keys to completing the fire injury claim process successfully is to know the answer to the question, “What should I do after a home fire.”

First Things First

The health of you and your family matters more than getting a head start on the fire injury claim process. Even if everyone has avoided injury, you want to remain careful when it comes to entering your home to inspect the damage. Waiting for the local fire department can prevent you and your family from going from physically unscathed to the next case at the nearest emergency room.

Contact Your Insurance Company

The fire injury claim process does not start until you contact your insurance agent. Discuss how you can restore your home and ask what are the steps you need to take to process an insurance claim. When you meet with your insurance agent, the agent will want to review your home inventory list.

Get Help if You Need It

Organizations such as the American Red Cross and your local public health department are there to help you recover after a home fire. The American Red Cross can provide you and your family with temporary shelter, as well as food, clothes, and other essentials. You should also lean on both friends and family members for financial and emotional support.

Hire a Fire Restoration Company

After the smoke settles, the time has come to restore your home to its previously beautiful state. A fire restoration company can help you achieve this goal, but make sure to receive a written estimate of the costs associated with the project before you sign a contract. Save every receipt for when you file an insurance claim.

How Do I File a Fire Damage Home Insurance Claim

From a fire that starts inside your home to a raging wildfire that engulfs your humble abode, homeowners insurance offers you the financial assistance to help you and your family get back on your feet again. Receiving just compensation requires you to go through a multi-step fire injury claim process.

File a Claim

Act with a sense of urgency when it comes to filing a homeowners insurance claim. The sooner you file a claim after a fire, the sooner your claim payment should arrive. Filing a claim sets the stage for every other step of the fire injury claim process.

Document Your Losses

Your insurance company wants to see evidence of property loss before writing you a check to cover the costs of replacing your valuables. Take videos and photographs of your home after the fire. Images demonstrate proof that your home endured considerable damage. Gather and organize every receipt to submit to your insurance company when you file a claim.

Keep Your Property Secure

After you document the damage done to your home, the second step of the fire injury claim process is to secure your property. The fire restoration company that you hired should provide you with materials to keep your home secure, as well as offer advice on how to maximize security. The last thing you want after a heartbreaking event like a fire is to deepen the heartache after you discover thieves have taken some of the things you left behind.

Meet With the Insurance Adjuster

Meeting with your insurance adjuster onsite allows you to show the adjuster the locations where the most significant amount of damage occurred. Ask the adjuster to confirm the deductibles and policy maximums. Taking notes helps you monitor the progress of your claim, which is important if the fire injury claim process takes longer than you originally anticipated.

Ask for Several Repair Estimates

Although the insurance adjuster should have a home repair company waiting to give you an estimate of the total damage to your house, you should ask for at least two more estimates from companies that you choose. This is especially important if you had customized work done on your home.

Request a Claim Advance

The cost of restoring your home might put you on financially shaky ground. This means that you should request an advance on your claim from your insurance company. As they say, there is no harm in asking, even if your insurance company denies your request. You still have to make a mortgage payment each month and pay for housing in a temporary home or apartment.

An advance on your claim can help you bridge the financial gap caused by a home fire.

Get Legal Help for Your Fire Injury Claim

The road to receiving compensation for an insurance claim is full of potentially disruptive potholes. Make the fire injury claim process go much smoother by scheduling a free case evaluation today with one of our personal injury attorneys.

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