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What Should I Do if I'm Injured in an Apartment Fire?

What Should I Do if I'm Injured in an Apartment Fire?

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What Should I Do if I'm Injured in an Apartment Fire?

Being in an apartment when a fire breaks out can be an incredibly scary and traumatic experience. If you or a loved one finds yourself in this situation and you’ve experienced property damage or injuries, you might be able to recover compensation from the responsible party. This might be the owner of the apartment complex, the person who improperly installed the fire alarms and sprinklers, or anyone else that might be responsible for the fire. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to help you determine who is at fault and what amount of compensation you’re entitled to. You’re probably wondering, “What to do if I get injured in an apartment fire?” That’s where Morgan & Morgan comes in. 

We have been handling personal injury cases for decades, including claims involving apartment fires. We understand how serious the injuries and damage can be from fires, and we will do whatever we can to make sure you get justice and the compensation you deserve. We have recovered more than $15 billion dollars for our clients throughout our career. We have attorneys across the United States, so that no matter where you’re located, we can help. Contact Morgan & Morgan today for a free consultation.

Common Causes of Apartment Fires

Being involved in an apartment fire is undoubtedly a scary experience. It’s important to understand what the common causes are so you can try to avoid these fires as much as possible. If someone else causes the fire, there’s not much you can do to prevent it, but it’s still a good idea to know what precautions to take in your own apartment unit. Some of the most common causes of apartment fires include the following:

  • Lack of or broken smoke detectors
  • Not having fire extinguishers on hand 
  • Faulty wiring
  • Space heaters 
  • Smoking 
  • Lack of fire alarms 
  • Blocked fire exits
  • Building code violations 

There are many different issues that can cause an apartment fire, and some of the above problems also make apartment fires even more deadly. If a fire breaks out and you have a fire extinguisher, you might be able to keep it under control. If you don’t have one, it’s possible that the fire will spread fast and you won’t be able to do anything about it, and the damages and/or the injuries will be significantly worse.

Landlord Responsibility for Preventing Fires

Other important information regarding apartment fires includes knowing what your landlord is responsible for. What must they do to prevent fires, and what must they do after a fire occurs? Typically, landlords must take reasonable measures to prevent a fire from occurring in a building that they are responsible for. This includes making sure that all units have working fire alarms and fire extinguishers. This also includes making sure there are accessible fire escapes and that all wiring in the building is up to code. If a fire started and you were injured because your landlord failed to take any of these measures, you may be entitled to significant compensation and should speak with a personal injury lawyer experienced in fire cases as soon as possible. 

What to Do if I Get Injured in an Apartment Fire

If you are injured in an apartment fire, it’s important to take certain steps so you can make sure you have the best chance of healing, and in being able to recover the compensation you deserve should it come to that. The following steps should be taken, if possible:

  1. Save Important Documents. If you’re able to, you should try to save as many important documents as possible. It can be really difficult and time consuming to replace documents such as passports, birth certificates, tax documents, insurance information, etc. Of course, make sure it’s safe to gather these documents, as your safety is the number one priority. 
  2. Take Photos. If you experienced an apartment fire, whenever you are safe enough to do so or are allowed to re-enter your apartment, you should take photos of as much of the premises as possible. Take pictures of property that was destroyed and any other damage the fire caused. It’s helpful if you have photos of what the apartment looked like before the fire as well as the condition of your personal property before and after the fire.   If you’re able to collect before and after photos, this can be very helpful. 
  3. Seek Medical Attention. Even if you don’t feel injured, you should always seek medical attention if you were involved in a fire. There could be internal damage to your lungs from smoke inhalation that you’re unaware of. A medical professional can make sure you’re okay and help you with your next steps if there is any treatment needed.
  4. Obtain a Copy of Any Reports. If law enforcement is called to the scene, or a fire inspector takes a look at the building and the damage, you should make sure you get a copy of any reports they write up. This can be helpful to show to your attorney and it will help you in the future should you decide to file a civil claim against your landlord or whoever was responsible for the fire. 

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  • How Can I Prove That My Landlord Is Responsible?

    If you were involved in an apartment fire and you believe that your landlord’s negligence was responsible for the fire and injuries you suffered, you can bring a lawsuit to civil court to hold them accountable. In order to recover compensation and win your case, you will likely need to show that your landlord was negligent. There are four elements that you and your lawyer will have to show.

    1. Duty of Care
    The first element you must show to prove negligence is that your landlord had a duty of care to keep you and other tenants safe. This means they should have protected you from foreseeable hazards, and this duty requires them to provide adequate protection and safety measures against possible fires. If your landlord knows that there is something dangerous within the apartment building that could cause a fire, they have a duty to rectify the situation. If you’re a tenant and you have a lease, it’s a pretty safe bet that your landlord has a duty of care to perform these services. This is usually one of the easier elements to prove.

    2. Breach of Duty
    Next, you must prove that your landlord breached their duty of care. You might do this by showing that they knew or should have known about a fire hazard but failed to fix it because it was too time-consuming or expensive. Perhaps you and other tenants sent them emails about dangerous conditions in the building with the wiring, and they ignored you or told you it wasn’t a big deal. 

    3. Damages/Injuries
    Additionally, you will have to show that you suffered damages and injuries. This could be in the form of significant property damage or physical and emotional injuries, such as smoke inhalation, cuts and burns, emotional distress, pain and suffering, or any other problems that you are now dealing with because of the fire.

    4. Causation/Injuries
    Finally, you must show that your injuries and damages were a direct result of the fire. If there was a fire and you were injured but it had absolutely nothing to do with the fire or your attempt to escape from the fire, you won’t be able to collect damages. There must be a causal relationship between the fire and your injuries in order for you to succeed in court and collect compensation.

  • What’s the Statute of Limitations for Apartment Fire Cases?

    This depends on what state the apartment fire occurred in. An apartment fire case will likely be handled as a typical personal injury case, meaning the personal injury statute of limitations applies. In some states, this might be one year, while in others, it might be four years. It’s important to speak with a lawyer who is familiar with the local area in which the fire occurred so they can ensure that everything is filed properly and on time. If you fail to file your claim on time, you will miss out on recovering any compensation, even if you otherwise would have been entitled to receive it. 

  • Morgan & Morgan Is Here for You

    If you or a loved one was injured in an apartment fire, you’re probably wondering, “What to do if I get injured in an apartment fire.” Fortunately, Morgan & Morgan is here to help you. If you believe someone else’s negligence or intentional act was responsible for the fire and therefore your injuries, you could be entitled to significant compensation. We will help you determine if you have a case, and if so, what kind of compensation and how much you may be entitled to. Morgan & Morgan has attorneys throughout the United States, so we can help you no matter where you’re located. 

    Additionally, all our lawyers are trained in litigating and negotiating cases, so they will always have your best interests in mind and will never push a settlement offer on you just to resolve a case more quickly. We take all our cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning we don’t get paid unless we win or settle your case. Therefore, you can rest assured that we will do everything in our power to recover the maximum amount of compensation possible. Contact Morgan & Morgan today for a free consultation.

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Last updated on May 11, 2023

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