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Jackson Burn Injuries
A burn injury is one of the most debilitating wounds that you or a loved one can endure. Burns cause lasting financial and, more importantly, physical damage and can lead to psychological and other conditions for the rest of your life.
Our legal experts at Morgan & Morgan's Jackson, Mississippi, office understands the unfortunate realities of a burn injury, especially when it's been suffered through no fault of your own. When a burn injury results from another’s negligence, such as an apartment landlord failing to follow code or an accident on the job, the victim might be able to seek compensation for these and other losses.
There are many cases where insurance adjusters and landlords may work hard to minimize payouts to burn injury victims. That’s why it’s important for victims to contact an experienced fire and burn injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident to determine whether they are owed compensation for their trauma.
If you or a loved one sustained a burn injury, we may be able to help. To find out what a Jackson burn injury attorney may be able to do for you, please fill out our free case evaluation form today.
Types of Claims for Fire Injury Lawsuits
Our burn injury lawyers handle many lawsuits involving the following circumstances:
- Apartment building fires
- Workplace injuries
- Truck accidents and tanker explosions
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Electrical cord fires
- Defective products
- Locked fire exits
- Scalding water and pipes
- Electrical accidents
- Recreational fires (hotel, restaurant, retail outlet, nightclub)
These are just some of the many ways to sustain a burn injury. Burns can be caused anywhere a flammable or hot object exists. The most common burns occur in building fires, scalds, or with flammable liquids or gases, according to the National Institute on General Medicine Sciences. Regardless of the type of burn you experience, you’re going to need treatment.
Mississippi is serviced by a single burn center, the Joseph M. Still Burn and Reconstruction Center at Merit Health Central in Jackson. This can make treatment difficult to acquire, and expensive, especially if your burn is severe and your location remote enough to require a helicopter.
Jackson has had its share of fires, and one a few years ago burned down parts of the Mississippi Agriculture & Forestry Museum. The event touches upon the reality that no structure is safe, and some, like your apartment, might be in jeopardy.
How Safe Is Your Apartment?
Many common instances of burn injuries occur in buildings and homes with landlords, including public housing. Though it occurred where you live, sometimes in these instances, the fire might not be your fault. Despite this, there are landlords who will pressure tenants into not taking action against them, even though their negligence was the cause of a fire and subsequent injury.
Landlords have a responsibility to keep their properties in good condition and make sure they're following codes and basic safety standards. However, they don’t always live up to that responsibility. If they don’t maintain proper standards and a fire injures a tenant as a result, it’s possible they could be held liable for the damages.
Some of a landlord’s responsibilities regarding fire safety can include:
- Ensuring the property’s electrical wiring is in good condition and safely installed
- Making sure smoke alarms are on the property and properly located
- Having a safe, sturdy fire escape
- Keeping the fire escape clear
- Installing fireproof doors
- Having regularly serviced fire extinguishers on the property
- Keeping escape routes clear in shared areas of a building, such as the hallway or laundry room
Is Your Landlord Following the Law?
Even if an apartment building isn’t a landlord’s property, the landlord still needs to follow the law. Along with rules about dangerous conditions such as broken staircases and slippery floors, there are federal and state laws that determine how a property manager must protect their tenants from a fire. These laws include rules about smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, fire escapes, and more.
However, not all landlords follow these laws. In fact, some apartment buildings even fail to comply with their own company’s policies and procedures for fire safety. In these cases, if a fire breaks out and a tenant is injured, the property owner could be held responsible for not providing fire safety measures for tenants or guests.
A fire could start in the kitchen and go unnoticed because a smoke alarm is not installed in the right place. Smoke alarms are one of the most vital aspects of fire safety. You can encourage your landlord to take steps to make sure your smoke detectors are in a good working condition.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requires a smoke detector outside sleeping areas, plus one inside each bedroom. So at the very least, there should be two smoke detectors in every apartment, such as one in a hallway and one in a bedroom. A two-bedroom apartment should have three detectors, a four bedroom should have four, and so on.
The type of smoke detector can also make a difference. Many apartment fires are slow-smoldering, and an ionization smoke alarm, which is cheaper and more commonly installed, might not detect any abundance of smoke. A photoelectric smoke alarm detects smoke much more effectively.
When a fire extinguisher is not at hand, a fire can spread and result in severe burns and significant medical bills. This can cause undue financial and physical damage to a tenant, all because of a landlord’s negligence.
Your state or local code determines if your landlord is required to provide units with portable fire extinguishers, but it is important that you should know where one is located to be safe. Fire extinguishers may not be in your unit, but the NFPA and other applicable codes likely require an extinguisher to be present on your floor or in an easily accessible area.
Can I File a Negligence Lawsuit?
In the event these precautions aren’t available or inoperable, you may be able to file a lawsuit against your landlord.
There are instances where landlords may refer to a lease agreement to persuade or pressure tenants not to proceed with a lawsuit. It’s important to understand your rights as a tenant to avoid getting taken advantage of by your landlord.
Morgan & Morgan’s fire injury attorneys have experience navigating local laws and reinforcing tenants’ rights, and may be able to get you compensation and hold careless landlords responsible after they’ve failed to meet their legal obligations. If you’ve been injured in a fire caused by a landlord’s carelessness, please contact us for a free case evaluation.
Sometimes Products Fail to Protect You
Landlords are sometimes responsible for installing and properly maintaining equipment like smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in their buildings and/or properties. However, in some cases, these products don’t work as intended. When a fire occurs, a serious defect in a product can fail to protect you from a life-threatening situation.
Ionization smoke detectors have come under scrutiny for allegedly failing to detect slow smoldering fires in a reasonable amount of time. Of the three common types of smoke detectors — photoelectric, ionization, and ionization-photoelectric — ionization smoke detectors are the cheapest to purchase, the most commonly used, and the type found in the majority of deadly house fires.
Ionization smoke detectors take 15 to 30 minutes longer to alert than other alarms. As a result, several states have banned them, and lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers of ionization smoke detectors such as Kidde Inc., BRK Brands Inc., and USI Electric Inc.
Other products that have seen defect allegations are manufactured fire suppression devices for stove ranges such as Williams-Pyro’s Range Queen, StoveTop, and FireStop. These devices are magnetically attached to a vent hood and hang above the stove to suppress fires. However, there is little evidence that these products actually extinguish fires.
Even worse, the activation of products like Range Queen can reportedly cause hot grease to splash out of pans on the stove. This not only potentially spreads the fire even further but can cause grave burn injuries to those in the splash range. The U.S. military has even banned the use of the products in military housing. However, these products are still found in apartment complexes, including low-income housing, all across the country.
Burn Injuries Sustained at Work
Burn injuries are far too common in the workplace, with fires and explosions alone causing [5,000 injuries each year], according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
When an employee suffers a burn injury at work, they may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides employees who were injured on the job with wage replacement and medical benefits.
Workers’ compensation benefits do not offer payment for pain and suffering, loss of life’s enjoyment, loss of wages or disfigurement; however, these damages may be available for burn injury victims who pursue third party claims.
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. Our burn injury lawyers handle both workers’ compensation and third party claims stemming from a number of accidents, including refinery fires, chemical plant explosions, construction site accidents and chemical exposure.
How We Handle Jackson Burn Injury Claims
Your Jackson burn injury attorney will determine if you have a valid claim for damages under Mississippi law. In handling your case, your attorney may:
- Gather and secure all relevant evidence, including fire department reports, police records, and photographs of the scene of the accident
- Review medical records and reports prepared by your treating physicians
- Work with medical experts to evaluate the extent of your injuries and the costs associated with any necessary future medical procedures or rehabilitation services
- Retain safety inspectors, electricians, or accident investigators to help establish the cause or causes of the accident and determine who may be held liable for your injuries
Contact a Seasoned Jackson Burn Injury Attorney Today
Though first-degree burns can heal quickly, second-, third-, and fourth-degree burns can cause severe injury and disfigurement. If you or a loved one has suffered a severe burn injury, we may be able to help. To find out what our Jackson burn injury attorneys may be able to do for you, please fill out our free case evaluation form today.