Chicago Apartment & Home Fire Fatality Lawyer
Most apartment fires are preventable. If your family resides in a condominium or apartment, you need to understand how to get out quickly in case of a fire. Knowing that fire safety features on your floor can help ensure your prepared should a fire occurred.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), all apartments should be equipped with smoke alarms. Also, families should develop a fire escape plan and ensure that each member practices how to escape twice every year.
The Cook County personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC understand that even a simple fire at home can cause catastrophic destruction and the disruption of day-to-day living.
Injured victims often need financial compensation to move on. That is why our Chicago area law firm fight for families who experienced an Illinois house fire or explosion that led to property damage, personal injury, or wrongful death.
Apartment Fire Fatality FAQs
What Should You do if Your Apartment is on Fire?
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), apartment dwellers in high-rise buildings should not panic when the fire occurs. Remaining calm during a fire and smoke event increases the potential chance of your survival.
Smoke rises, so staying close to the ground when fire and smoke are present can help you breathe while you escape. Make your way to the door and reach up to touch the doorknob to check if it's hot, indicating that the fire might be on the other side of the door.
Leave your personal belongings behind as you leave and shut the door behind you. Take the stairs instead of the elevator that might not be functioning correctly due to a loss of power or excessive heat.
What are the Causes of Accidental Fires?
A report released by the Consumer Product Safety Commission revealed that nearly 22,000 residential fires are started by malfunctioning or defective space heaters on average every year. Additionally, there are about 300 apartment fire fatalities annually by heater fires, cooking fires, electrical malfunctions, defective appliances, and arson.
What Happens When Your Apartment Catches on Fire?
It is the landlord's responsibility to repair all the structural damage if your apartment caught on fire inside your living area, from another flat, or outdoors. You will likely need to move out of your apartment if the damage is extensive but will have the right to cancel the lease if repairs cannot be made quickly.
You likely needed to obtain renter's insurance before moving into the apartment to cover all your personal property damage. You will need to file a compensation claim under your policy and deal directly with the claims adjuster, who will offer you an initial settlement to resolve the claim, that you can accept or not.
What Would You do if a Fire Broke Out in Your House or Apartment?
First, remain calm, and determine how you would exit the apartment or building safely. If you smell or see smoke, call 911 immediately to report what you know to ensure that the fire department is on its way.
If you must leave your apartment, keep your head low near the floor as you make your way toward the door. Touch the doorknob to detect heat, which might indicate the fires in the hallway or outside. Use the stairwell, not the elevator, to make your way outdoors to safety.
What Should You do if You are Trapped in a Burning Building?
Stay calm and gather your children, who might be hiding, to one location near an outside doorway. Close all doors between you and the fire and place a sheet or clothing along the opening at the bottom of the door to repel smoke.
If possible, open an outside window and yell for help, screaming, "Fire! Fire!" Stay in the safest location inside the house until firefighters arrive at the scene.
What Kills You First in a Fire?
Nearly four of every five fire fatalities occurred because smoke inhalation burned the victim's respiratory system. Intensely hot smoke injuries could cause poisoning, thermal damage, and irritation/swelling of the fire victim's pulmonary system, causing instant death.
Carbon monoxide poisoning and inhalation of cyanide and other combustible materials could cause instant death.
Finding Out What Started the Fire
Families want peace of mind, to know where and how the fire originated to ensure that it cannot happen again. Finding answers requires visiting the scene with trained experts who will look for evidence:
- What was the arc damage? (The result of a rapid release of energy, possibly caused by electrical failure)
- What was the pattern of damage?
- What materials burned?
- How did the fire ventilate?
- Where is the lowest level of fire damage?
- Was there work being performed by an outside contractor or company in the home or nearby area?
- Where is the area in the home of the most severe fire damage?
Researching this information and combining the evidence with available eyewitness testimonies can help the experts determine what caused the fire. Every explosion is unique, so it is essential to ensure a qualified professional determines the cause and origin of the fire.
Hold Those Responsible for a Fire Accountable
Defective smoke detectors, flammable liquids, gas explosions, cheap upholstered furniture, and faulty wiring are all different reasons that our clients have recovered cash settlements.
It is essential to combine the known facts about the fire, insurance information, real estate information, and any possible evidence at our disposal to determine how our clients can get the compensation they are entitled to receive.
Depending on the situation, it is possible to take the following parties to court:
- The gas company if a gas explosion caused the fire
- The propane company if a propane tank explosion started the fire
- An electrician and his or her employer (faulty wiring, for example)
- The contractor who built the home
- The manufacturer who created flammable furniture
- The manufacturer who sold a defective fire alarm
- The landlord of the building who may not have adequately maintained the premises
- The manufacturer who built a defective appliance (heater, stove, dryer, etc.)
Some Statistics About Fires involving Injury and Death of Occupants
While house fire safety might not be a primary concern for many families, this data may help you realize that home fires can change a family's life overnight. Firefighters tackling ablaze in an apartment building or large home must take quick steps to ensure family members, loved ones, and pets are extracted from the structure before the flames become uncontrollable.
Statistics on businesses, homes, townhouses, and apartment fires involve:
- House fires caused more than 90% of property owner fire deaths.
- House fires resulted in more than $6.9 billion in property damage in 2018.
- Premises liability attorneys say that the kitchen remains the primary location of house fires (49%) and injuries (38%).
- Cooking continues to be the leading cause of fires in homes and apartment complexes across the United States, resulting in a severe burn injury (49%).
- Approximately 60% of all horrific building fires in Chicago apartments, nursing homes, and office buildings had non-working smoke detectors.
- Insurance company data says that while only 4% of all home fires start in the den, family room, or living room, these fires account for 24% of all home fire deaths.
- Fire officials claimed that about 4% of all home fires start by a malfunctioning washer or dryer.
- While the bedroom was the point of origin for only 7% of all house fires, these were responsible for a quarter of the house fire deaths.
- Many motor vehicle accidents in the United States involve fires starting in the garage when the car or truck ignited due to product manufacturers' defective car parts.
- Elderly Americans continue to make up a disproportionate number of house fire deaths. We can attribute this to lowered reaction times and reduced hearing/vision.
Maintaining a working smoke alarm markedly decreases the household's chance of surviving a house fire without life-threatening third-degree burns. However, while many households have at least one alarm, the maintenance of these devices is often inadequate.
Contact an Illinois Apartment Fire Fatality Lawyer
You could file a lawsuit against all parties at fault if they failed to respond to the fire safely. If the cause of the fire was due to the action or negligence of a third party, you could receive monetary compensation.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can ensure all responsible parties are held accountable. Contact our personal injury lawyers today at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a free consultation.
We accept all fire explosion and fatality cases through contingency fee agreements. This arrangement ensures you pay for our legal services only after settling your case or one your lawsuit at trial.
Our attorneys follow social distancing pandemic guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19 (coronavirus).