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A burn injury can be both a physically and emotionally traumatic experience for a victim. Burn injury victims may suffer from permanent scarring and disfigurement from this injury, which can lead to a lifetime of pain and psychological damage.
There are many ways that burn injuries can occur, but the most common burns are those caused by scalds, building fires and flammable liquids and gases. When a burn injury results from another’s negligence, such as an apartment landlord failing to follow codes, or an accident on the job, the victim may be able to seek compensation for these and other losses.
Unfortunately, some insurance adjusters and landlords in Nashville 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 injuries.
If you or a loved one sustained a burn injury in Nashville, we may be able to help. To find out what a Nashville 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
The burn injury lawyers at our Nashville office handle many lawsuits including the following:
- 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; and
- Recreational fires (hotel, restaurant, retail outlet, nightclub).
These are just a few ways a person could sustain a burn injury. Burns can be caused anywhere a flammable or hot object exits.
How Safe is Your Apartment?
Many common instances of burn injuries occur in buildings and homes with landlords, including public housing. Too often, tenants believe that if the fire occurred in their apartment, it was their fault and they have no legal recourse. However, landlords have a responsibility to keep their properties in a good a condition, and make sure they are following codes and basic safety standards.
If they don’t maintain it to proper standards, and a fire starts and injures the tenant as a result, it’s possible the landlord could be held liable for the damages.Despite this, there are landlords who will pressure tenants into not taking action against them, despite their negligence being the cause of the fire and subsequent injury.
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; and
- 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 a broken staircase and slippery floors, there are international, federal, and state laws that state 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 as a result, 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, and a tenant could get injured in the aftermath. Smoke alarms are one of the most critical and vital aspects of fire safety, and your landlord should have them installed in the appropriate places in your home.
The National Fire Protection Association 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 — 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, it can cause a fire to spread and result in severe burns to tenants and insurmountable medical bills, all because of negligence on the part of a landlord.
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. However, there are instances where landlords may refer to a lease agreement to convince or pressure tenants to not proceed with a lawsuit. So it’s important to understand your rights as a tenant, in order 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 work to get you compensation and hold careless landlords in Nashville 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.
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 which 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 consortium 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 which 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 Nashville Burn Injury Claims
Your Nashville burn injury attorney will determine if you have a valid claim for damages under Tennessee law. In handling your case, your attorney many:
- 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; and
- 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 an Experienced Nashville 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 in Nashville, we may be able to help. To find out what our Nashville burn injury attorneys may be able to do for you, please fill out our free case evaluation form today.