Our lawyers represent fire victims and their families throughout the United States in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. For our cases, we work with highly experienced investigators and cause-and-origin specialists.
Recent $10 Million Lawsuit Settlement for Man Burned in a House Fire
Attorneys Fred Pritzker and Eric Hageman won the $10-million settlement for our client and his wife.
Our client suffered indescribably painful and disfiguring burn injuries, including third-degree burns over almost 60% of his total body surface. He had a total of eight operations to achieve wound closure through various skin grafting techniques. His total hospitalization was 55 days and was complicated by a graft infection. Due to the severe nature of his burns, he developed severe protein-calorie malnutrition and required nutrition via a feeding tube for 43 days. He was on a ventilator for four days. He developed acute stress reaction, which progressed to persistent symptoms consistent with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Investigation by Lawyer with Experience
The goal of the investigation is to find the cause and origin of the flames. The first thing we do is examine the scene with the experts that we hire:
Where is the area of the most severe damage?
Where is the lowest level of damage?
How did the smoke and flames ventilate?
What materials burned and what was the pattern of damage?
What was the arc damage?
We also interview eyewitnesses to find out where they first saw the flames, analyze the accelerants in the debris, look at all appliances to determine if one of them could have been the cause and analyze the pattern of damage. Each case is unique and should be treated as such.
“It’s crucial to do an independent investigation in any case involving third-degree burns or wrongful death, so we work closely with experienced investigators to determine the actual cause of an explosion,” said Eric Hageman, a lawyer who has won third-degree burn lawsuits. “In doing so, we have found liability for things such as failure to comply with safety regulations, product defects and, in a recent case, for failure to protect against a phenomenon known as odor fade.”
Our attorneys have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of house and residential fire victims in cases involving faulty wiring, upholstered furniture, gas explosions, flammable liquids and smoke detectors. In every case, we have to look at the facts, insurance and other corporate documents, real estate documents and other evidence to determine who can be sued by the victim or their family.
Possible “defendents” (parties sued) include the following:
the owner of the rental house;
the manufacturer of a defective appliance (heater, stove, drier, etc.);
the manufacturer of a defective alarm;
the manufacturer of flamable furniture;
the builder (contrator) of the house;
an electrician and his or her employer;
a propane company if the cause was a propane tank explosion; and/or
a gas company, if the cause was a gas explosion.
This is a complex issue and a critical one. One of our jobs is to find as many parties to sue as possible to make sure you and your family are fully and adequately compensated.
Home Fire Statistics
This house exploded, and the heat and flames burned one of our clients.
Here are some compelling facts from the United States Fire Administration:
Each year, burns and smoke inhalation kills more Americans than all natural disasters combined.
At least 80 percent of all of these deaths occur in houses.
23 percent of all fires are residential.
Cooking is the leading cause in the U.S. It is also the leading cause of injuries. Cooking flames often result from unattended cooking and human error, rather than mechanical failure of stoves or ovens.
Careless smoking is the leading cause of death. Smoke alarms and smolder-resistant bedding and upholstered furniture are significant deterrents.
Arson is the second leading cause of residential blazes. In commercial properties, arson is the major cause of deaths, injuries and dollar loss.
Heating is the third leading cause of residential fires. Heating equipment is a larger problem in single family homes than in apartments. Unlike apartments, the heating systems in single family homes are often not professionally maintained.
Senior citizens age 65 and over and children under the age of 5 have the greatest risk of death.
Children under the age of 10 accounted for an estimated 22.2 percent of deaths.
Men die or are injured almost twice as often as women.
African Americans and American Indians have significantly higher death rates per capita than the national average. Although African Americans comprise 13 percent of the population they account for 26 percent of deaths.
A working smoke alarm dramatically increases a person’s chance of survival.
Over 90 percent of U.S. homes have at least one smoke alarm. However, these alarms are not always properly maintained and as a result might not work in an emergency.
It is estimated that over 39 percent of residential fires and 52 percent of residential fatalities occur in homes with no smoke alarms.
Residential sprinklers have become more cost effective for homes. Currently, few homes are protected by them.