When the negligence of someone else results in your injuries from a fire, you might be able to obtain compensation.
Victims of fires in New Jersey are often left not just with physical scars but psychological scars amidst a mountain of lost wages and medical bills. Workplace fires and residential fires alike can cause significant injuries throughout New Jersey.
On average, there are over 1.1 million burn injuries from fires across the United States, 50000 of which require hospitalization and 4000 of which are fatal. Out of all reported incidents in New Jersey, 6.8% are fire-related, which is nearly twice the national average of 3.8%. Moreover, there were 1,110 work-related burns requiring hospitalization in New Jersey between 2000 and 2019. And in 2020, there were 34 home fire fatalities reported in New Jersey.
To prevent fires and their resulting harm to innocent victims, homes and offices can be safeguarded with smoke detectors, emergency exit plans, and the help of firefighters. However, New Jersey is comprised of 88.7% volunteer fire departments, with only 11.3% career firefighters. This means many people responding to fires are volunteers with comparably less training than career firefighters.
Common Causes of Fires in New Jersey
There are many common causes of fires. In the workplace or at home, a major contributor to fires and fire injuries has to do with electrical components, electrical outlets, and an overload of too many appliances plugged into a single outlet or extension cord. Other examples include car accidents or an overturned truck containing flammable materials which ignite and result in serious burns.
Fires can take place in shared spaces like an outdoor patio for restaurant seating that comes with open fire pits during the winter. In addition, workplaces like hotels or restaurants, even apartment buildings and condominiums, if not properly managed, can result in scalding water from hot water heaters that are too high or scalding drinks at a restaurant.
Other examples include:
- Electrical accident fires
- Car or truck accident fires
- Apartment building fires
- Workplace fires
- Recreational fires in hotels, restaurants, and other shared spaces
- Defective products
- Scalding water
Common NJ Fire-Related Injuries
The most common injury related to fires is that of burns and smoke inhalation. The most significant fire injuries are burns brought about by contact with hot surfaces, hot liquids, flames, and chemicals. Depending on the extent of the fire, you might also suffer from sprains, cuts, or lacerations.
If you receive any injuries from a fire, it is important that you seek medical attention immediately. If you want to get compensation later for your medical bills, loss of income, or emotional distress brought about by your fire injuries, you will need to prove that you were injured and that those injuries came from the fire. Having notes from a doctor and copies of all medical records immediately following the fire provide the evidence that you need for a claim.
Who is Liable for Fire Injuries?
Under New Jersey premises liability law, property owners are responsible for maintaining compliance with all New Jersey state and city regulations and keeping their properties safe from potential hazards that may endanger those who legally enter or occupy the space. This includes installing fireproof doors, having regularly serviced fire extinguishers available, installing smoke alarms, and ensuring that any electrical wiring is not only installed safely but in good condition. If a property owner knows that there are problems with the safety of their electrical wires and they choose not to rectify the situation, this could be grounds for negligence in the event of a fire caused by the faulty wiring.
What Happens When a Fire is the Result of Negligence?
In situations where negligence occurred, you might qualify to pursue compensation. However, the fact that a fire took place and you experienced injuries is not sufficient legal grounds for negligence or compensation. You must legally prove that the fire which took place was a direct result of negligence.
Negligence means that the person responsible failed to uphold something that was expected of them, like the apartment’s property owner failing to maintain safe electrical wiring. You must not only prove that they knew about the issue, but they deliberately chose not to fix it, and as a direct result of that, a fire took place, and that fire caused your injuries.
Even the event of a small fire is not grounds in and of itself to seek compensation unless you were specifically injured because of that fire, which was a direct result of negligence.
For example: You are attending a Christmas party at a friend’s house. They forget to turn off the oven and neglect to clean up the spilled oil on the kitchen floor even though they have been told multiple times that it is a problem. Eventually, there is a fire in the kitchen. No one is injured, but dinner is ruined. You cannot seek compensation even though the fire was the result of negligence because you did not suffer resulting injuries. What is more likely to happen in this situation is your friend’s insurance will not cover the cost of redoing their kitchen.
How can a New Jersey Fire Accident Lawyer Help Me?
A skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer at Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson can help you in the event that you have suffered fire injuries, assessing your justification to obtain compensation and handling every aspect of your case from beginning to end. From the start, our team of personal injury attorneys will thoroughly investigate what happened in your case to identify if the property owner’s negligence contributed to the fire and, thus, is subject to liability.
If your fire injuries were caused by negligence, we can help you assemble the most comprehensive proof of what happened and fastidiously seek compensation on your behalf, whether it be negotiating a settlement with the property owners’ insurance provider or fighting for maximum damages in a lawsuit in court.
Contact our NJ Fire Injury Attorneys at our Trenton Office to Explore Your Options to Seek Compensation
With the help of the New Jersey fire injury attorneys at our firm, Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson, you can ensure all documents are filed within the mandatory deadlines, that you begin collecting evidence to substantiate your claim immediately, and that our experience successfully advocating for clients in premises liability claims offers you the best chance of recovering financial resources for your medical needs, past, present, and future, along with the psychological and personal costs of your fire injuries. Don’t delay in getting answers in a free consultation.
If you have questions about fire accident related injuries in Princeton, Hamilton, Trenton, or towns in Mercer County, Middlesex County, Somerset County, and throughout New Jersey, contact us at 609-528-2596 today to schedule a consultation and talk about your case. We are here to discuss your potential grounds for a lawsuit and consultations are always provided free of charge.