More people die and receive severe burn injuries in house fires than in all other types of fires combined. People spend more time in their homes than any other single location including work. Modern residences contain dozens of ignition sources and are built and furnished with combustible materials. Homes and apartments in the United States are not subject to the same fire prevention codes as commercial structures. For these reasons St. Louis fire and burn injury attorneys must be experienced with and knowledgeable in the potential causes of house fires and the evidence necessary to win their clients’ cases.
Nighttime House Fires
The majority of residential fires which result in injury or death occur at night, when the house is dark and the occupants asleep. Less deadly fires occur during the daytime because occupants may be directly involved with the fire cause and thus immediately aware of the fire with plenty of time to escape or extinguish the fire. People who are awake and alert are able to quickly see, smell, hear and feel the effects of fire compared to those who are asleep. Working smoke alarms are an essential element of home fire safety.
Causes of Home Fires
House fires are caused by home electrical appliances, highly flammable household products, home electrical systems, faulty electrical wiring, power cord failure, defective products and open flames. Fire deaths and burn injuries result when occupants do not receive sufficient time to escape, when smoke alarms fail and when escape is impeded by unsafe conditions such as barred windows or inadequate exits. Personal injury attorneys must not only identify the cause of the fire but also the cause of the injuries and deaths. Further, since most fatal fires occur at night when occupants are asleep, often there are no witnesses to the cause of the fire. The cause, in those cases, must be determined by fire investigators who rely on the physical evidence and fire patterns remaining after the fire.
House fire scenes must be preserved and investigated immediately after the fire so that a fire cause can be determined. Municipal authorities and insurance companies are quick to demolish burned structures often while victims lie in hospitals or funeral homes. It is essential that those people burned in fires and families of fire-death victims obtain qualified legal representation soon after a serious fire so that evidence may be preserved and a fire investigation can be initiated. Fire and burn injury lawyers can stop the destruction of evidence and coordinate a fire investigation with the proper experts. Failure to obtain early representation by an experienced fire and burn injury attorney may result in the loss of compensation for burn survivors and the families of fire-death victims.
Burn Injury Attorney
Claims for burn injuries or fire related casualties may usually be brought one year or more after a serious fire. However, it is the hours and days after a fire which can make the difference between just compensation and a lost cause. If you or someone you know has been seriously injured in a house fire, contact Anthony Bruning at 314-735-8100 for a free consultation.