When a Fire Becomes a Personal Injury Claim
In the early morning hours of January 28, 2018, a condo fire claimed the life of a local man. As of this article, the cause of the fire has yet to be determined—crews must wait and assess the structural damage before completing an investigation.
Household fires are a common occurrence. According to the United States Fire Administration, there were 1.3 million house fires in 2015 alone, resulting in over 3,000 deaths and $14.3 billion worth of losses. Fires cause lives and entire households to go up in smoke, and those injured are often hit with costly financial burdens.Winter is House Fire Season
As temperatures drop, many Americans seek the warmth and shelter of their homes. Even amid the cold and icicles, the number of home-related and structural blazes rise substantially during the winter months. Many of these incidents boil down to residents attempting to combat the cold.
We use heat—space heaters, electric blankets, etc.—significantly more often and for long periods of time. Sometimes these items are even used around flammable objects. All increase the probability of a fire.
Overall, the 10 most common causes of house fires throughout the year include the following:
- Cooking equipment;
- Heat sources;
- Indoor smoking;
- Electrical equipment;
- Lit candles;
- Children and pets;
- Faulty wiring;
- Barbeque grills;
- Flammable liquids; and
The cold of winter depletes the moisture in the air causing wooden structures to become drier and therefore more flammable. Additionally, newer homes are less likely to catch fire due to up to date regulations and inspections. Older homes had a different set of codes for wiring and, often in winter, we ask for more electricity than those wires are meant to sustain, resulting in electrical fires.
If you have an older home, an annual visit by a licensed electrician may uncover potential hazards before disaster strikes. Other precautions include:
- Hiring a fire safety inspector;
- Checking smoke detectors regularly;
- Having a fire extinguisher on each floor;
- Staying in the kitchen while cooking;
- Keeping flammable objects away from heat sources;
- Not smoking in the bedroom;
- Checking all electrical cords before use; and
- Blowing out candles before leaving a room.
Nearly 80 percent of house fires are preventable through proper maintenance and attention to detail. However, if the responsibility of care was someone else’s and they failed to act accordingly, you may be owed monetary compensation.
At Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. we understand that fire injuries can be catastrophic and leave families wondering how to meet their financial needs, including mounting medical costs. We focus on getting you the results you deserve by utilizing our experience, knowledge, skill, and resources to help you maximize your recovery. A San Jose, CA personal injury attorney can help. Call us today at (408) 289-1417 to get started.Sources
- Santa Clara: One person dead after condo fire
- U.S. fire statistics
- Winter fire safety outreach materials
- The Clintons, Hot Tubs?! Why House Fires Happen More When It's Freezing Cold