In Victorville, an apartment fire caused several individuals to suffer physical injuries in addition to thousands of dollars in property damage. This Victorville apartment fire got me thinking about the rights of those injured people to recover for their injuries. So what rights do those who suffer losses, and/or injuries, in a fire have against those who caused the fire? The answer to that question all depends on the nature of the property, where the fire occurred and how the fire got started.
The basic rules of negligence or intentional acts apply to injuries as a result of a fire. First, one has to determine how the fire was caused. Was the fire started by the negligence or intentional act of another? Fires are started all the time by simple acts of negligence, a carelessly placed cigarette, a kitchen fire, an improperly constructed electrical outlet, a fire started by a careless welder, etc. Unfortunately, some fires are started on purpose and the person starting those fires can also be held responsible. From there, one needs to prove that the act of negligence was the cause of the injury suffered by the victim of the fire. Finally, the victim needs to establish the amount of damages he or she suffered from the fire. These damages include medical expenses, lost property, lost earnings, pain and suffering, physical injuries or other damages.
Here are some examples to review and compare to your situation. Was the fire started at an apartment complex by a person other than the injured person? If the fire was started in another apartment, you may have a claim against the person or company that caused the original fire. For example, if one of the tenants was negligent in causing a fire, then you could pursue a claim against that person and/or the tenant’s liability insurance company. Maybe the fire was caused by faulty wiring due to improper maintenance, or a failure by a contractor to properly install something which results in a fire. There may be the possibility to secure compensation from the company which caused the faulty condition. Also, there is the possibility of bringing an action against the landlord for the failure to perform a proper inspection of the property or properly maintaining the property.
Another situation may be where there is a commercial fire and injuries occur. If you are able to show that the fire was caused by the negligence of another and that negligence actually caused your injuries, then you may be able to secure a financial recovery from the negligent party or its insurance company. However, proving negligence, causation and damages, may require the use of an attorney to help you navigate the challenging process of proving someone did something wrong which resulted in your injury, then figuring out the value of those injuries. Sometimes expert witnesses are required who can reconstruct the situation and determine the actual cause of a fire.
One of the most frustrating parts of these types of claims, besides the injury themselves, is when there is no insurance coverage available to compensate injury victims. If a fire is accidental caused by someone who does not have insurance or any assets to pay for the damages, then a victim may have no financial recovery from his or her injuries. When a fire is set intentionally, generally no insurance coverage is available to compensate an injured victim from that fire. However, one source of some minimal recovery may be a fund set up by the State of California called the Victims Restitution Fund.
If you have been a burn victim from a fire started by someone else, you may have rights to financial recovery. The Inland Empire Law Group, under certain circumstances, can help injury victims recover damages from persons or companies negligent in causing those injuries. Please call the Inland Empire Law Group to learn your legal rights. (909) 481-0100.