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What Should I Do if I Am Injured in an Apartment Fire?

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In 2019, 3.515 people were killed in a fire. Washington DC was one of the three jurisdictions that year with the most deaths per million population. Unlike a single-family home, apartment complexes may be more difficult to escape when a fire starts. Residents may not be able to access the emergency exits quickly enough, which could be fatal.

If you or your loved one were injured in an apartment fire, you most likely have a long road of healing ahead of you. Physical injuries and emotional trauma can take years to recover from – and the recovery is often very expensive! If negligence played a role in how the apartment fire began, reach out to a Regan Zambri Long burn injury lawyer for a free consultation. We will help you recover compensation for your injuries that will offset the costs of medical bills and property damage.

How Do Apartment Fires Occur?

There are many different problems that can start an apartment fire. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the most typical causes of residential fires are:

Cooking

50.2% of residential fires happen because of cooking. Many landlords install gas cooking ranges because they are cheaper than electric. When using gas ranges, there is an open flame. If the gas is left on, it can catch fire to an item in the kitchen. Gas also has a greater potential of explosion even with basic kitchen items like cooking spray.

Heating

Space heaters and other heating equipment are the cause of 1 in every 6 home fires. If flammable materials are placed too close to a heating source they can catch fire. If an apartment resident plugs more than one heating source into an outlet, a fire can occur.

Carelessness

Many apartment fires are started simply because of negligence. A candle may be left burning. The dryer lint may not be cleaned out. When you are sharing a common space with other residents in an apartment building, you must take proper safety measures and consider other tenants’ well-being with your own.

Electrical malfunction

apartment fireElectrical fires can happen because of faulty wiring or overloaded circuits. Extension cords should always be checked to make sure they can handle what is plugged into them. Make sure as many appliances as possible have their electrical outlet.

Other causes of an apartment fire or things that can make fires worse are:

Causes of Apartment Fire Injuries

Several injuries can occur when you are trying to escape from an apartment fire. You may sustain broken bones, soft tissue injuries, or lacerations in your effort to get out of the building. However, there are two main injuries victims sustain when they are trapped in an apartment fire:

Smoke inhalation

According to FEMA, smoke inhalation is the main injury victims suffer in a fire. When victims breathe in too much smoke, it can damage their respiratory tract or lung tissue. Difficulty breathing and coughing are signs that you are breathing in too much smoke. When the smoke from the fire overpowers the victim, there will be a lack of oxygen that can be fatal to everyone who is trapped in the fire.

Thermal burn injuries

Thermal burns are skin injuries caused by excessive heat. Many victims of third-degree burns or other serious burns will need to receive care in a burn center. Severe burns can change someone’s life forever – they can cause severe deformities, as well as permanent disability.

Most injuries from fires are internal. However, the upper extremities are very vulnerable to injury when you are trying to escape an apartment building. If you or your loved ones suffered any injuries listed from a fire, you have the right to compensation. Call today for your free case evaluation with an expert personal injury attorney who will guide you through the claims process.

Proving Negligence in Fire Injury Cases

In most personal injury cases, there are several steps to negotiating your claim and collecting compensation. While you are not required to have legal services, your chances of securing the maximum compensation greatly increase with an experienced attorney by your side.

The first step in a personal injury case is determining who is at fault. In an apartment fire, the following parties may be accountable for the fire occurring:

The landlord/property owner

If it was the landlord’s negligence that led to the fire, then he or she would be liable and owe damages for your injuries. The landlord is responsible for the maintenance of the building. If your landlord neglected a fire hazard, such as faulty wiring, blocked emergency exits, etc. then your Regan Zambri Long lawyer will pursue damages against your landlord.

Neighbor/apartment resident

If a neighbor’s negligence led to a widespread fire in the building, your attorney may go after their insurance company for damages.

Regan Zambri LongAfter your lawyer determines who will be held accountable for your injuries and property damage, they will file the claim (within the statute of limitations in Maryland, Virginia, and DC). Then, your attorney will negotiate with the insurance company and prove the negligence of the parties who are at fault. To prove the landlord or another resident was negligent, your lawyer will prove:

Your lawyer will use video surveillance, the police report, and photos of the destruction to help prove your case. Our attorneys work with medical consultants and other legal experts to make sure you have a rock-solid case that will secure the highest amount of compensation. Our law firm has secured millions for our clients in the 3 decades we’ve been in business and we are confident we can do the same for you.

How can I prevent an apartment fire?

Not all accidents can be prevented, but there are several steps you can take to make sure you and your loved ones remain safe should an apartment fire occur.

The first priority is to install and maintain smoke alarms. Test them regularly, about once per month to make sure they are working properly. Working smoke alarms can be the difference between life-threatening injuries and escaping the fire uninjured.

The second thing you should do is keep common kitchen fire risks in mind. Make sure your stove is turned off. Make sure paper towels are not near an open flame. Keep your microwave vents clear and always keep a fire extinguisher in or near the kitchen.

If you are heating your home, use safety equipment. Do not plug in more than one heating appliance in an outlet. Keep anything that gives off heat at least 3 feet away from flammable objects. Never leave candles burning or heating appliances on while you are asleep or away from home.

Remove the lint from the lint screen in your dryer after every laundry load. Routinely inspect all your outlets and electrical wiring. Be sure not to neglect outside wiring, appliances, and outlets, as well. Finally, should the worst happen, the safest thing you can do for your family is to have an escape plan. Create a route that works for everyone and practice at least twice a year.

At Regan Zambri Long, we understand you and your loved ones never planned this. Living through the trauma of a fire is stressful. We can help lighten your burden. Call today for your free consultation to get the claims process started.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Have you or your loved one sustained injuries in Washington DC, Maryland or Virginia? Regan Zambri Long PLLC has the best lawyers in the country to analyze your case and answer the questions you may have.

Call 202-960-4596

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