Fire & Explosion Accident
Injuries resulting from fires and explosions can be traumatic and frightening. At Altman & Altman, LLP, our MA Fire Injury Lawyers have been representing clients who have been severely injured by fire and/or explosions for over 40 years. We understand the toll these accidents can take on a family as a result of mounting medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity and the enormous uncertainty that faces individuals and their families. Our experienced and compassionate Greater Boston Fire Injury Attorneys will fight to ensure that you receive every benefit that you are entitled to and to maximize any and all potential personal injury awards / settlements / judgements that you deserve.
According to the United States Fire Administration, the following occurred in 2008:
- Fire killed more Americans than all natural disasters combined, with an estimated 1.5 million fires that year.
- That year, there were 3,320 civilians killed, 118 on–duty firefighter deaths and 16,705 civilian injuries all due to fire.
- 84 percent of all civilian fire deaths happened in homes, apartments, or other living areas.
- Approximately 32,500 fires were intentionally set; these caused about $866 million in property damage.
What to do after a fire or an explosion?
First, get medical attention for yourself and for anyone else involved in the fire. This applies to obvious injuries such as burns as well as less apparent problems such as potential smoke inhalation. If you are in need of a temporary place to stay if your residence was destroyed or damaged in the fire, local agencies such as the Red Cross or Salvation Army can help you do so. The fire department that handled the blaze can tell you if an investigation will take place, whether the structure is safe to enter, and if you may be able to return to the site to recover any belongings and /or begin cleaning up.
Next, it is usually in you and your family's best interest to contact an experienced Massachusetts fire and explosion attorney to help you navigate as you call your insurance company to report the loss and learn what may be recovered. Again, talking to an experienced MA Fire Injury Lawyer immediately after the fire will help you know what the appropriate time line is for recovering personal items, assessment of claims, and other details. Local police and utility companies should be called to protect your residence while it is uninhabited and to shut off utilities such as gas lines that are potentially flammable.
Depending on what your attorney and insurance company have told you, be sure to either keep damaged items for insurance claims or to take good photos of each item damaged or destroyed by the incident so you can prove the fire or explosion was the source of the items you are claiming as losses. Document exactly what each item is. Save all receipts and keep notes on all your expenses, which can be submitted to your insurance company or claimed as deductions on your taxes. Work with a contractor experienced in fire or explosion damage if you decide to reconstruct the damaged residence.
Who can be held responsible?
Depending on the specifics of the incident, there are different possibilities for who is responsible for a fire or explosion. These include:
- Landlords, if an incident occurs and fire detectors or alarms did not work or were not available, or if certain household items such as a broiler aren't maintained. Building designers/architects or maintenance/security employees may also be held liable, depending on the event.
- Guests/tenants in other residences that are attached to yours, including smoking, using grills improperly, or other reasons.
- Contractors who install faulty wiring, put in appliances incorrectly, or use materials that are likely to ignite when used unsafely.
- Manufacturers of defective items such as appliances, electrical outlets, and more.
- Business owners of establishments that experience a fire or explosion and need to evacuate patrons quickly.
- Any other party responsible for causing the fire or explosion.
There are different areas where a person might receive compensation after being involved in a fire or explosion. They may include medical costs, property damages, lost wages, lifestyle changes, pain and suffering, and potential punitive damages.
Choosing an attorney with fire and explosion experience is important to help you recover as much compensation as you are entitled to, particularly if there may be more than one source to recover from. Whether you or a loved one were a guest or patron in someone's home or business, or whether the incident occurred on your own property, it's important to talk to an attorney as soon as you can after the fire or explosion. Call Altman & Altman at 617.492.3000 or 800.481.6199 (toll–free), or contact us online for a free consultation.