Law Offices of Lewis & Williams
A fire in your home can be a traumatic experience. Damage to your home can often be repaired or rebuilt. Personal possessions can often be replaced. The most traumatic situation involves a fire related injury or death. In these cases, house fires are devastating. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), fires are the fifth leading cause of unintentional personal injury in the United States. Many fire related injuries and fire related deaths occur in Florida. Over 80% of fire deaths occur from fires in the home. Most of these deaths happen as the result of smoke inhalation or breathing of toxic gases released during a fire. Smoke and toxic gas exposure can also cause lung damage and or brain injuries to fire victims who are fortunate enough to survive. Of course survivors can also have significant burn injuries that can be horribly painful and require extensive medical treatment.
Burn Injury Classification
Burn injuries may be classified in any of the following ways:
-First Degree Burns - These are minor burns to the top layer of skin that will usually heal within days.
-Second Degree Burns - These burns will damage the dermis or the second layer of skin. Second degree burns may result in scarring or require skin grafting.
-Third Degree Burns - These are burns that damage all layers of the skin and may involve nerve damage as well. Skin grafting and plastic surgery may be necessary.
-Fourth Degree Burns - These severe burns can be life threatening. They cause damage to all layers of the skin and extend to the muscle or bone underlying the skin. Generally, extensive skin grafting and plastic surgery are necessary.
Asphyxiation and Smoke Inhalation
Asphyxiation and smoke inhalation injury may not be visible but can prove to be just as disabling to someone injured in a house fire. A fire consumes available oxygen and creates a toxic mix of carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide and other harmful gases. At times flammable furniture or clothing may intensify or expedite the spread of flames in a house fire. These fire hazards can also release toxic smoke, increasing chances of severe injury or death.
In the example of a house fire with the point of origin being a piece of upholstered furniture, often the foam (cushion) is made from flammable petroleum products. These flammable items of upholstered furniture can actually accelerate a fire. The smoke produced from a flaming upholstered furniture cushion can be a toxic mix of poisonous chemicals. These poisons not only cause injury and damage directly, but the inhalation of such poisonous smoke can also cause confusion to the victim breathing the toxins. The smoke produced by a flaming article of upholstered furniture is often thick and black. This adds to the victim’s difficulty in getting out of the house fire.
A home fire may stem from countless sources including smoking (cigarettes, cigars, etc), space heaters, cigarette lighters and cooking appliances. Additionally, fires may be caused by or intensified by:
Defective hot water heaters
Flammable wall paneling
The cause of a house fire may be the result of the negligence of a landlord or the manufacturer of a flammable or defective product. If you believe that you or a loved one have been in a fire that was the result of carelessness or negligence on the part of another person or manufacturer, then you may want the services of a Florida attorney who can assist you in evaluating your concerns. Our Lawyers at Lewis & Williams, PA will work to help determine the cause of the fire and whether someone or some company’s negligence led to the results. Our lawyers will work with house fire “source and origin” experts to understand such things as the dynamics of the fire, the fire source, possible fire code violations and possible fire-related product liability. Our lawyers will also help you to determine the lifelong financial impact of the fire and work to get you compensated for your loss.
You are not alone. You do not need to tackle the insurance company on your own.
The insurance adjuster that the insurance company sends out to inspect and evaluate your property fire loss is not there to look after your best interest. Despite the adjuster being very cordial, polite, pleasant and appearing to be sympathetic to your losses, they are at the end of the day, going to look out for the insurance company before you. Frequently, the insurance company will ask the policyholder making the claim to give an Examination Under Oath, or, to submit a “sworn proof of loss”. These are highlyy technical procedures that can have a significant impact on how much you recover on your fire loss claim. You should never attempt to complete these technical procedures required by the insurance company without the advice and counsel of a Florida attorney experienced in making fire loss claims. Furthermore, you should never sign or execute a document submitted by an insurance company without first seeking professional legal advice.
Contact Florida house fire lawyers at Lewis & Williams, P.A.. We will be pleased to answer your questions about fire related claims. The personal injury attorneys here at the Law Offices of Lewis & Williams offer a free consultation. For more information call us today at 561-444-2260
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