CALL (800) 863-5312 TO SPEAK WITH A DENVER APARTMENT FIRE ATTORNEY TODAY
Apartment fires can almost literally uproot a family’s life. These accidents do not discriminate and can happen at a moment’s notice. Victims of apartment fire incidents often incur significant costs, such as medical bills, missed time from work, and property repair costs. If the fire was caused or was allowed to proliferate as a result of someone else’s negligent or reckless acts or omissions, the victim may be able to seek recovery for such costs by filing a claim against the at-fault party.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Denver apartment fire and are interested in filing a claim, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 to receive a free case evaluation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys today.
APARTMENT FIRE RISK FACTORS AND FIRE SAFETY TIPS
One of the most frightening aspects of apartment fires is that they can happen in the blink of an eye. Activities that pose a risk of an apartment fire occurring include:
- Using candles
- Playing with matches
- Handling fireworks
If you are unprepared or unaware of how to respond to an apartment fire, the consequences can be fatal. Below are several tips that may help you be better prepared in the event of an apartment fire.
- Be familiar with all exit routes out of your apartment complex, as well as where all exit doors and stairwells are on your floor.
- Contact management, the leasing office, or your landlord if you notice a broken or missing smoke alarm, fire extinguisher, or emergency light in your apartment or on the premises.
- If your door is warm to the touch, do not open it; call 911 and inform the dispatcher of your situation and your apartment number.
- Never use an elevator to escape an apartment fire; use the stairs instead.
- Once outside, do not go back inside for any reason unless and until firefighters say it is okay for you to do so.
WHO MAY I SUE?
One of the most important aspects of filing a claim following an apartment fire injury is to determine which party or parties can be held legally responsible for the incident. Determining liability requires careful consideration of several factors such as how and when the accident occurred. Listed below are three classes of parties that may be sued following an apartment fire incident.
Person Who Caused the Fire
We all owe one another a general duty of care. This means that we must act toward others with the attention, caution, and prudence that a reasonable person in similar circumstances would use. If a person's actions do not meet this standard of care, then the acts are considered negligent, and any damages resulting may be claimed in a lawsuit for negligence.
In the context of an apartment fire, any party that negligently or recklessly caused the fire may be subject to liability for the foreseeable consequences of their actions, including injury to others. For example, if someone negligently forgot to put out their apartment’s candles before going to bed and a subsequent fire started, that individual may be liable for negligence. Similarly, if someone were to toss a lit cigarette in a dry area thus causing a fire, that person may also be subject to liability for his or her negligence.
Apartment Owner or Landlord
The law also imposes certain duties of care on apartment owners and landlords. The precise duties vary from state to state. Generally, however, an apartment owner or landlord must make sure that the premises is in a habitable condition upon delivery to the tenant. This includes making repairs to conditions that materially affect the health and safety of an ordinary tenant. If, for example, an apartment managing company or landlord has knowledge of a broken fire alarm and fails to fix it, the apartment managing company or landlord may be subject to liability if such failure causes injury to another.
Product Seller or Manufacturer
Product liability law refers to the standards by which the seller or manufacturer of a product must adhere to when placing a product into the stream of commerce. Product liability law also sets forth what remedies may be available to a person who is injured by a defective product. Because there is no federal product liability law, product liability claims are brought under the laws of the individual states. Although state laws may vary, product liability claims are typically based on theories of negligence, strict liability, or breach of warranty.
Product liability law may come into play in the context of an apartment fire incident when, for example, a defective smoke detector fails to go off in anticipation of a fire. Similarly, a product liability claim may exist when a faulty stovetop, dryer, or other appliance malfunctions and causes a fire. In these cases, the seller or manufacturer of the defective product may be liable.
WHAT FORMS OF COMPENSATION MAY BE AVAILABLE FOR APARTMENT FIRE INJURIES?
If a victim of an apartment fire can establish liability against another party, the at-fault party may have to compensate the victim for costs incurred as a result of the fire. This compensation, referred to as “damages,” is intended to make the victim whole for both monetary and non-monetary losses. Thus, the forms of compensation that may be available for an apartment fire injury come in two forms: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are the monetary, objective costs incurred by the victim of an apartment fire. Examples of economic damages may include:
- Medical expenses
- Pharmacy expenses
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
Non-economic damages are the intangible, non-monetary costs incurred by the victim of an apartment fire. Calculating non-economic damages is an inexact science and may vary across jurisdictions. Typically, it is up to the jury in a lawsuit to determine the value of a victim’s non-economic damages. Types of non-economic damages in an apartment fire lawsuit may include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Disfigurement and disability
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
Because apartment fire cases often result in severe injuries, including death, these types of lawsuits have the potential to have damages exceeding hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars. Therefore, consider consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney before taking any action, speaking with insurance companies, or agreeing to a settlement. A brief consultation may ensure that your rights are better protected and may make a significant difference in the amount that may be awarded to you.
LEGAL TIME LIMITS
A personal injury victim, such as someone injured as a result of an apartment fire, must file a lawsuit within a certain time frame following the injury. This time frame is referred to as the statute of limitations. Failure to properly file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations may lead to forfeiture of some or all of the victim’s legal rights.
Each state has its own statute of limitations. Colorado has a two-year statute of limitations for most personal injury claims.
Under narrow circumstances, the statute of limitations may be “tolled” beyond the original time period. Tolling has the effect of giving the victim more time to file a lawsuit. Most circumstances that lead to the statute of limitations being tolled involve fraudulent concealment by the wrongdoer or injury to a minor. For instance, if a minor is injured as a result of an apartment fire incident, the minor may have until the time he or she reaches the age of majority to file a claim.
Consider consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible following an apartment fire incident. Doing so may help prevent the situation where you are scrambling at the last possible minute to file a claim within the applicable statute of limitations.
ZINDA LAW GROUP’S DENVER APARTMENT FIRE ATTORNEYS MAY HELP
Apartment fires can result in hospitalization, extensive rehabilitation, and even death. The recovery process can be an uphill battle in and of itself, without even taking into consideration the stress that comes with repairing your apartment, finding a new temporary or permanent residence, and dealing with insurance companies.
Thankfully, the Denver apartment fire injury attorneys at Zinda Law Group are ready and willing to help you navigate the recovery process. While you focus on recovering and getting well, we’ll make it our mission to assist you by investigating the nature of your injury, building the strength and viability of your claim, dealing with insurance companies and claims adjusters, filing a timely lawsuit, and taking any other step necessary to protect your legal rights.
Our firm also believes that an injury victim should never have to worry about being able to afford legal representation. That is why we offer 100% free consultations, and why you pay nothing unless we win your case. That's our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys are by appointment only.