When Negligence Causes Injuries and Death by Fire and Smoke

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Exposure to fire and smoke can cause catastrophic injuries including extensive burns, smoke inhalation and other life-altering medical conditions. In the United States, more than 30,000 individual suffers serious injuries or death every year by fire and smoke. Even though some fires are the result of an act of nature including lightning, many fires are preventable, especially those caused by another’s negligence. In addition to the disastrous loss of property, exposure to fire and smoke inhalation often causes lingering respiratory medical issues or death.


In many of these cases, the recovery process is extremely long and painful, requiring months or years of rehabilitation involving skin grafts and surgery. In many incidences, the victim suffers serious permanent disfigurement, amputation, deformity and scars. Injured victims involved in a fire or smoke negligence premises liability case often suffer years of emotional trauma and dealing with the aftermath of the accident.

A Duty to Ensure Safety in Rhode Island

Property owners and on-site managers are required by Rhode Island  law to ensure that the premises remains safe at all times. This means that the RI  property must be well designed and constructed, and that all smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are in good working order. Any failure in adequately maintaining the property can open up a liability case for compensation filed by victims and surviving family members. Depending on the cause of the fire, defendants in a  Rhode Island premises liability case could include:

Property Owners, On-site Managers, Landlords and Commercial Tenants – Companies and individuals who manage the property can be held legally liable if they fail to maintain wiring, obstruct fire exits, store flammable materials close to any heat source or do not adequately maintain smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.

Building Designers and Contractors – Civil liability often extends to builders and designers if electrical lines or propane gas units are not installed properly. This also extends to poorly maintained propane gas valves and electrical lines, or defective building designs and substandard construction, faulty wiring, hazardous or unsafe materials or building code construction that is noncompliant.

Product manufacturers are often included as defendants against the victim in a  RI premises liability case. This is especially true for manufacturers of electrical equipment, heaters, wiring, circuits and heating grills. This is because defective equipment can easily explode a propane or gas tank, or fires can rage out of control if smoke detectors fail.

Structural Fire

Fires that destroy structures often happen in residential homes, stores, office buildings, nightclubs, restaurants, hotels, theaters, schools and industrial facilities. These fires often begin in the kitchen or from furnaces, candles, faulty wiring, unattended grills or careless smoking.

Many horrific deaths caused by fire occur because exit doors to the building were blocked or locked, trapping the victims in the burning building. Other times, broken smoke detectors delay evacuation, which leads to unnecessary fatalities. These types of fires are usually attributed to another’s negligence.

Vehicle Fires

Vehicle collisions can ignite flammable fluids in automobiles, boats and aircraft causing serious fires. These usually happen when a filter, gas, tank hose or fuel line ruptures during the crash. Leaking flammables can easily explode engulfing the vehicle in flames leaving little to no time for the occupants to escape. The injuries caused by smoke inhalation and burns along with the fatalities are often attributable to negligence.

Hiring a Rhode Island Premises liability Lawyer

If you, or a loved one, have suffered serious injuries caused by exposure to fire or smoke inhalation, you are likely entitled to file a claim for recovery. A skilled personal injury attorney who specializes in fire and smoke premises liability cases can ensure that you receive adequate compensation for:

• Hospitalization and medical bills
• Ongoing rehabilitation therapy expenses
• All necessary medical devices
• Pain medications
• Lost wages and loss of future earning capacity
• Non-economic damages including pain, suffering, mental anxiety and depression

These types of RI premises liability cases are accepted on contingency, meaning that you can receive instant legal representation without paying upfront fees. Reputable  Rhode Island personal injury attorneys and providence personal injury lawyers offer free initial consultations to discuss your rights and evaluate every legal option to recover monetary compensation.

http://www.usfa.fema.gov/data/statistics/

Legal Notice per Rules of Professional Responsibility: The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers and attorneys in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer / attorney as an expert or specialist in any field of practice. While this firm maintains joint responsibility, most cases of this type are referred to other attorneys for principle responsibility.

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