Our client received a settlement of $450,000.00 for personal injuries from an apartment fire. The cause of the apartment fire was in dispute. In addition, the origin of the aparment fire was in dispute. This is not unusual for many fires, in this case, a fire that eventually involved many units. That is, many times no one knows with reasonable certainty how or where the fire started. There can be many causes for an apartment fire. There could be old and faulty electrical wiring that causes an overload. There could also be human error in the kitchen while cooking. Many times, the fire may have started when everyone was sleeping. Whatever the cause of the fire, the occupants of the building need to be warned so that they can protect themselves. The warning device for apartment building fires are smoke detectors. In this case, there was evidence that the smoke detectors were not operating properly. This was enough to prove liability of the building owner and/or management company for the personal injuries from an apartment fire.
Most local jurisdictions require smoke detectors inside the individual units and in the common hallways of all apartment buildings. The reason for the smoke detectors is obvious. To prevent needless personal injuries from an apartment fire. The landlord has the responsibility to make sure the smoke detectors are in working order when the unit is leased. The tenant has the responsibility to change and maintain the batteries after the first year. The landlord has the further responsibility to make sure the hallway smoke detectors are functioning at all times. If they are not, the landlord can be liable for the personal injuries sustained from an apartment fire. This is true even if the fire began in the tenants own unit.
Because fires can destroy almost all of the evidence necessary to prove your case, it is necessary that an attorney be retained immediately after an apartment fire. Witnesses to the fire will need to be interviewed. Did they hear the smoke detectors? Did the fire department personnel hear the smoke detectors? Did the witnesses see the origin of the fire? Where was the location? Were there electrical issues with the building? Was power frequently going out months prior to the fire?
Our office has experience in dealing with personal injuries from an apartment fire and related issues. If you are involved in a fire and have sustained personal injuries from an apartment fire, call Charles J. Gale, P.C. Our phone number (312) 372-0300.