Seattle Fire Injury Attorneys
Fire accidents can happen anywhere and at any time - home, work, or even in the car. The resulting burns, smoke inhalation injuries, and property damage can be devastating. Fire accidents can be caused by fireplaces, stoves, electrical appliances, cigarettes, heaters, candles, faulty vehicle parts, and defective products. Fire Departments often do not preserve evidence during their investigation. Involving a fire accident attorney quickly may help preserve key evidence in the fire injury case.
Regardless of the cause, if you've suffered injuries, damages, or losses because of someone else's negligence, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries.
The experienced Seattle burn injury lawyers at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. represent the rights of fire accident victims and their families. We understand the heartbreaking consequences that can leave victims with permanent scars, disabilities, and disfigurement. We move quickly to investigate the cause-and-origin of the fire and preserve evidence for the development of a winning settlement or court case.
If you or a loved one has suffered burn injuries, contact us to find out how we can help protect your legal rights and best interests. You can reach us at (888) 228-3860.
Victims of burn and smoke inhalation injuries need immediate medical attention. Typically, burn injuries are classified into the following categories:
- First Degree Burns: These injuries affect the first layer of the skin. These minor burn injuries can be treated without emergency medical attention.
- Second Degree Burns: These are burns that go deeper into the skin. They often require emergency care.
- Third Degree Burns: These are also known as "full thickness" burns, and result in damage through all the layers of skin. These are serious burn injuries that may require skin graft surgery to fix.
- Fourth Degree Burns: This may involve damage to nerves, tissues, tendons, and internal organs. These injuries can be fatal.
The seriousness of burn injuries depends on the level of skin damage and the body areas that have been affected. Patients may also suffer infections and other complications as the result of burn injuries. Smoke inhalation injuries are often just as serious as burn injuries.
In the most serious cases, fires can cause death, either during the fire or afterwards, even while the individual is receiving treatment for injuries they suffered.
While many people believe that burn injuries are actually the most serious - and therefore, most likely to cause death in the event of a fire - smoke inhalation actually causes more deaths every year than burn injuries do. In addition to inhaling smoke, the inhalation of other products such as carbon monoxide, cyanide, and other toxic chemicals can also cause death during a fire.
Still, about 10 percent of fire-related deaths happen after the fire has burnt out. These deaths can be caused by:
- Fluid loss, electrolyte imbalance, and shock due to burns
- Infection of the burned skin
- Adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)
- Renal failure
- Abnormal clotting
When a person has passed away due to a fire-related injury, and that fire was due to the negligence of someone else like a landlord or employer, surviving loved ones may be able to file a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims can provide compensation for things like final expenses, medical expenses the deceased incurred, and a loss of income the deceased’s dependents were relying on.
Burn injury patients often need emergency surgery, reconstructive surgery, hospitalization, and other expensive medical treatments. For those unable to return to work right away, the financial burden that results from fire-related injuries can feel impossible to deal with.
This is why victims of fire accidents need to speak with an experienced attorney. Depending on the cause of their injuries, they may be able to seek financial compensation for their medical bills, time away from work, loss of earning potential, physical pain, mental anguish, and other related damages.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Fire Accidents?
In certain cases when someone’s negligence has caused a fire resulting in injuries or death, injured parties may be able to seek compensation from that person. Just as many people can be held responsible for another’s personal injury, the same is true for fire accidents. Those who may be liable are:
- Property owners, such as landlords, that did not properly equip a home with smoke detectors and alarms
- Construction companies that built, or performed renovations, on a house
- Product manufacturers that created a product which was a fire hazard
- Equipment manufacturers that manufactured unsafe equipment
What Are the Most Common Fire and Burn Injuries on Construction Sites?
Of all the fire and burn injuries seen in Washington every year, those on construction sites are the most common. Construction workers are especially at risk for injuries from electrical burns, chemical burns, steam burns, explosions, and fire.
These injuries are most often caused by negligence on the part of someone else, like improper training (especially in welding practices), live electrical wires left in the open, and defective fuel lines or tanks.
Under the Worker’s Compensation program in Washington, employees are not able to sue their employer directly for work-related injuries. However, the employee may be able to sue third parties, such as a general contractor or another subcontractor who created an unsafe work environment.
What’s the Statute of Limitations for Burns and Fire-Related Injuries?
Most burn injury and fire-related cases will fall under the personal injury area of law. In Washington, injured individuals have three years from the date of injury, or the date they should have been aware of their injury, to begin their personal injury claim.
In instances in which someone has passed away due to a fire, a wrongful death claim will need to be filed. These cases can be filed by immediate family members and the statute of limitations is three years from the date of death.
If you have more questions about fire-related injuries and death, call our Washington fire injury attorneys at (888) 228-3860 for a free case evaluation.
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