The New York City personal injury lawyers of Jaroslawicz & Jaros, PLLC have been representing persons and their families that have suffered injuries as a result of fires and burns for many years. Jaroslawicz & Jaros successfully wrote the brief and argued before the highest court in the State of New York, the New York Court of Appeals, in the case of Taieb v. Hilton Hotels Corp., Appellate Division, First Department, 131 A.D.2d 257; 520 N.Y.S.2d 776; November 17, 1987, Court of Appeals of New York, 60 N.Y.2d 725; 456 N.E.2d 1197; 469 N.Y.S.2d 74; September 12, 1983, Argued, October 18, 1983, Decided. In this case a lady was injured when she smelled smoke and heard sirens while staying in a high rise hotel and walked down many flights of stairs resulting in a clot in her leg. The court found that dismissal of hotel guests’ negligence action against the hotel as a matter of law was improper where evidence received at trial raised questions of fact as to the hotel’s liability. Fire and burn injuries can often be severe and life altering. Whether you will receive adequate compensation for your injuries depends on many factors that only an experienced attorney can help you with. Questions such as; who was responsible for the burn injury?; what caused the fire or injury?; should or could the fire and injury have been prevented?; did the negligence of your landlord, other tenant or someone else contribute to the cause of the fire or the severity of the injuries?; were all the safety devices in proper working order?; what does the Fire Department’s investigation reveal?; all of these question and more need to be investigated and looked into by an experienced attorney or legal team. Some of the various factors that need to be looked into when determining if anyone was negligent in causing or contributing to your burn injuries are: whether there were smoke detectors that worked properly; was there a working carbon monoxide alarm; were there a proper number of exits that were properly visible, accessible and not blocked or locked; were there any fire violations; did the fire spread because the self-closing door devices to any exits or apartments were not working properly? Smoke detectors: New York City requires that a Landlord must provide approved operational smoke detectors in each dwelling unit but it is the duty of the tenant to keep and maintain such device in good repair. Exits: All residences in New York City are required to have two means of egress, or exit. In the event of fire or other emergency, Tenants must have access to another means of leaving the building, should the primary exit become blocked. The Landlord is required to provide you with two means of exit from every apartment in the building. Carbon monoxide alarm: If you are a Tenant residing within a multiple dwelling building or within a one-and two family home, it is the responsibility of your Landlord to provide and install an approved carbon monoxide alarm. Self-closing door devices: Each apartment is required by New York law to have a properly functioning self-closing door on a properly rated fire proof door. This means that an apartment door is required to close on its own as a result of the self-closing door device. When tenants first smell smoke their natural reaction is to open their windows for fresh air and then their apartment door to look into the hall. What then happens is they may be overcome by the fire or smoke and the fire is then caused to spread even faster and further as a result of the open door and windows. Or they may simply rush out of their apartment to escape the fire leaving the door open which also causes the fire to spread. It is for these reasons that apartment doors are required to have properly functioning self closing door devices so that the doors will close on their own and prevent the fire from spreading even more rapidly and will contain the fire inside the apartment. It is the Landlord’s obligation and responsibility to install, inspect and maintain these self-closing door devices to both apartment doors and the building exits. Landlords and building owners are liable for burn injuries and deaths that occur due to locked fire exits or building code violations involved in a fire, sprinkler systems that don’t work, lack of working smoke detectors, an absence of clearly marked fire exits, or a failure to provide properly working self-closing door devices. Some of the various fire and burn cases Jaroslawicz & Jaros has handled in the past include:
- A fire caused by a tenant in an apartment building due to improperly placed candle caused property and fire damage to our client’s building.
- Tenants who suffered personal injuries or death due to improperly working self-closing door devices and open exit doors.
- A tenant who was injured and suffered serious burns when she slipped as a result of a leak in her kitchen and a pot of hot water fell on her.
- A child that was injured and suffered serious burns when a pot of boiling hot water fell on her when the stove tipped over as a result of a heavy pot being placed on the open oven door. Jaroslawicz & Jaros successfully brought a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the stove for not having the stove properly balanced and secured from tipping over.
- A young girl who suffered burns to her chest when she came too close to a stove and her blouse went up in flames. Jaroslawicz & Jaros successfully brought a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the blouse for using a fabric that was too flammable.
- A young man on a date who suffered burns to his back when his shirt caught fire as a result of coming too close to a candle left on a shelf in a hotel bar area.
- A young model that was burned when a stereo at a barbeque exploded causing burns to her chest area.
- A young man that was injured at a party when the fire in a “fire table" on a terrace flashed back and he was burned on his legs.
Unfortunately, there are many different ways to suffer injuries from fires and burns and because this type of litigation often requires that multiple experts be retained to properly support the case, including experts to prove liability, who would be persons with expertise in fire prevention and investigation, as well as doctors, rehabilitation experts who can explain the extent and severity of the injury to the court and a jury, it is important to retain a law firm that has the experience in the field as well as the financial ability to retain the proper experts to both consult with and to testify on your behalf should your case proceed to trial.