If you or your spouse, parent, or child was burned or killed in a fire, you can contact our lawyers for help. The Pritzker Hageman fire and explosion lawyers have won millions for clients:
- Over $20 million for a person who was severely burned
- $10 million for a man who was burned from an explosion fire.
Independent Investigation by Our Fire Lawsuit Lawyers
If you hire a lawyer at our law firm, our team will conduct an independent investigation, which will involve the following:
- Gathering and preserving evidence (should be done as soon as possible);
- Determining all liable parties, meaning all persons, corporations, and others who could be found at fault in a court of law and thus responsible to compensate the burned person;
- Hiring experts in the fields of engineering, accident reconstruction, and medicine to determine the cause of the fire, the severity of the pain and suffering (off the charts in severe burn cases), the estimated future medical expenses, the emotional pain suffered as a result of disfigurement, and other legal issues that will determine the amount of compensation obtained.
These are huge expenses, and you should know that our law firm pays these expenses during the litigation process, and our law firm is not paid unless our lawyers win your case.
It is also important to note the importance of hiring a law firm with the resources to win full and adequate compensation. Our law firm has the resources necessary to hire the best experts and dig until we find the evidence we need to win.
Finding the Source
To determine where the flames started, the specialists first look at the following:
- burn and char patterns, with deeply charred areas being closely examined;
- the degree of decomposition of materials in the path of the flames, for example, building materials and furniture.
Examining these patterns and the decomposition can lead to the “area of origin,” which is generally where there is deep charring and significant decomposition. Within this area is the “point of origin,” the exact area where the flames first started.
Our lawyers interview witnesses, who are often able to provide valuable information, including the materials that were present in the area of origin. Also of importance is determining whether any activity in or around the area of origin could have contributed to the ignition or spread of the blaze.
We then look at what could have generated enough heat to start the blaze, often an electrical or mechanical source.
Fire Lawsuit Compensation
If you or a loved one was burned, the company responsible should be held accountable by paying full compensation. For example, if a pipeline explodes, the gas company that is responsible should compensate everyone injured and the families of those killed.
For many of our clients, the losses are immeasurable and, as only those who have experienced it can know, the pain associated with third and fourth-degree burns is indescribably bad. The hardest part of being in a burn unit is hearing the children scream.
Settlement payouts should cover:
- hospital bills;
- past and future medical expenses;
- continuing care;
- wages and other income lost;
- compensation for pain and emotional suffering;
- changes in life because of disability;
- loss of quality of life.
Burns are classified according to severity, which is based on the amount of tissue damage.
- Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Degree Burns. These burns involve the epidermal, dermal, subcutaneous, and tissues under the subcutaneous layer (muscle, bone, etc). Skin is always lost. Muscle and/or bone is also either permanently damaged or lost. Surgery is always required and long-term therapy is needed.
- Third-Degree Burns. A third-degree burn involves the epidermal, dermal, and subcutaneous (under the skin) tissue. There is always skin loss. Third-degree burns can also involve muscle, tendon, and ligament tissue. Third-degree burns are characterized by charring and catastrophic damage to both skin and the subcutaneous tissue. In cases where subcutaneous tissue is completely burned, the burn victim can develop compartment syndrome, a life-threatening situation.
- Second-Degree Burns. Deep second-degree burns (burns that damage the dermis) can take weeks or months to heal. Because the dermis was damaged, new skin covering the wound is weak and prone to blistering and breakdown. Wound areas can undergo severe scarring.
Burns can be caused by radiant heat from the fire, the flames touching the body or setting clothes on fire, and smoke inhalation (breathing in hot, chemical-filled smoke). Our lawyers have won settlements involving all of these.
In addition to the direct injuries, complications from severe burns include infection, fluid loss (possibly leading to kidney failure), over-resuscitation (too much water, leading to edema, hypoxia or airway obstruction), and death. Most fire fatalities are from smoke inhalation, which can cause respiratory failure.
Our lawyers have helped families that lost loved ones in fires. In one case, a young son was playing with matches and started a fire on the living room sofa, which burst into flames and engulfed the home, killing the little one and his mother. Pritzker Hageman attorneys took the case and found evidence that the materials in the sofa were not as safe as recommended by industry standards. He filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the surviving members of the family and won millions from the manufacturer. This is the kind of attorney you need.
If your loved one was killed at work, it can take a significant amount of digging to find the evidence to sue for wrongful death. This is because a company that was not the deceased person’s employer has to be legally responsible (liable). In a case handled by attorney Eric Hageman, a man was at work when a boiler exploded. Eric and the other lawyers on the litigation team found evidence that the manufacturer of the boiler, not the man’s employer, was at fault. This allowed the family to file a wrongful death suit and win millions, thereby holding the responsible company accountable for the tragic death of a young husband and father.
The major cause of death after burns is respiratory tract injury or complications in the respiratory tract. These include:
- Inhalation injury;
- Aspiration in unconscious patients;
- Bacterial pneumonia;
- Pulmonary edema;
- Posttraumatic pulmonary insufficiency.
Most fire deaths are caused by the smoke, not the flames. When smoke is breathed in, the particulate matter and chemicals in the smoke can quickly cause respiratory failure and oxygen deprivation, which causes brain damage, cardiac dysfunction, and often death. Smoke inhalation can also result in burns to the throat, windpipe, and lungs.
If you live in an apartment building or other common-living environment, the owner of the building has a responsibility to make sure you are safe. If you are burned, were harmed by smoke inhalation, or were scalded, you may have a case against your landlord. If a defective product is involved, you may also have a case against the manufacturer, distributor, and retailer of the product.
Homeowner’s insurance covers house fires. In addition, if the house is being rented, the landlord may also be liable. If a defective product was involved (including a mattress), the manufacturer may be liable. If you hired someone to do maintenance or remodeling on your house, and something that person did cause the blaze, you will have a claim against that person, the company they work for, and others.
Burned While Working
Work-related burns are a leading cause of occupational injury in the United States. An estimated 20 to 30 percent of all hospitalizations due to burn injuries result from workplace exposures.
When someone is burned at work, the status of the person’s employment will determine who can be sued and for how much. If the victim is an employee and the employer is at fault, the employee is limited to workers’ compensation. If the victim is an employee and a company other than the employer is at fault, the employee may sue that company. This is called a third-party claim, and the employee can recover pain and suffering and other damages (even multi-million dollar amounts depending on the case). If the victim was a contract worker, the worker may sue whoever is at fault.
You can contact a fire investigation lawyer at 1-888-377-8900 and get your free consultation. Our attorneys have won millions for clients in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, including a $2.95 million fire settlement.