Could My Neighbor Or Landlord Be Responsible For Damages From An Apartment Fire?
Residential fires are dangerous, frightening, and often cause significant damages. Fortunately for tenants and renters in the Los Angeles area, you aren’t alone in facing the aftermath of a fire in your home.
The Brinton Firm helps business and residential tenants in the Southern California area who have been impacted by a fire in their rented property. Let us help you recover damages, replace lost property, pay medical bills, and hold landlords accountable. Our tenant attorneys can expertly navigate the legal system on behalf of fire victims to protect your rights to a safe, healthy, habitable home.
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How Can A Lawyer Help After A Fire?
When an apartment or other residence catches on fire, you may find yourself talking to many different professionals – firefighters, police, EMTs, doctors, insurance agents, landlords, neighbors – but you may not realize how helpful an experienced attorney can be.
Scroll down the page to learn how a lawyer can help you in this situation.
Documenting and recovering damages
Damages after a fire can include lost property and medical costs. Often, the only way to recover these damages is through the legal system. Navigating the courts to get the compensation you deserve isn’t easy when you’re on your own. A lawyer at the Brinton Firm can help you at every step of the way.
Identifying and documenting liability
In legal terms, liability refers to who is responsible for a fire. If your damages occurred as a result of a fire on someone else’s property, and that person’s actions or negligence contributed to the fire, you can recover damages from that person.
It’s not always easy to figure out whether you can bring a claim against your landlord, or someone else, after a fire in your home. It can also be difficult to prove whether a landlord’s actions contributed to a fire. That’s what landlord tenant lawyers are here for! Let a Brinton Firm attorney help today.
Repairs and habitability
Fires cause significant damage to any affected structure which can impact habitability – the legal term for whether a place is healthy and safe to live in. After a fire, your home may be no longer habitable due to structural damage to walls or ceilings, toxic materials, or appliances that no longer function.
A landlord must maintain habitable conditions in all of their properties, meaning that you may be entitled to appropriate, speedy repairs to render your home habitable again. Unfortunately, pushing a landlord to make these repairs sometimes requires the help of a lawyer. At the Brinton Firm, we’ll make sure you have a safe, habitable place to live even if you’ve been the victim of a fire.
What Is Landlord Negligence?
Landlord negligence refers to anything your landlord does, or doesn’t do, that contributes to a dangerous condition in your home. In the case of fires and fire damage, landlord negligence might look like:
Faulty wiring – if electrical wires or other electrical equipment is poorly installed or allowed to fall into disrepair, this creates a fire hazard in the entire building. Worn out or exposed wires, loose outlets, and shoddy electrical work are all potential suspects in a fire, and they are all related to potential landlord negligence.
Overcrowding – occupancy limits for buildings in Los Angeles exist for a reason! If a landlord illegally rents to too many tenants or allows a residence to become overcrowded, fire danger increases. Overcrowding can make it difficult for tenants to escape a fire, and makes fires more likely by putting strain on the electrical system and creating a higher density of flammable materials within the building.
Building code violations – local and state law includes a number of codes designed to ensure that all buildings are safe and not at risk of fire damage. If a landlord or property owner does not follow these codes, or allows contractors or tenants to violate them, it puts everyone at risk of a fire or other accident.
Missing or damaged smoke detectors, fire alarms, or fire extinguishers – safety equipment designed to protect tenants from fires are a critical part of any residence. If a landlord neglects to provide adequate, working safety devices such as fire alarms, this can make them liable for any fire damage. It’s not enough to install them once! Landlords must make sure all these items are in proper working order and inspect or replace them at appropriate intervals.
Dangerous heating equipment – any appliance used to heat a renter’s home must be safe and in proper working order. Radiators, furnaces, hot water heaters, and fireplaces should be frequently inspected and well maintained. Allowing or encouraging the use of unsafe home heating practices, such as ovens, gas stoves, or heaters not intended for indoor use, can also signal landlord negligence.
Blocked fire exits – Fire exits must be accessible at all times. If a landlord allows a fire exit to become blocked, either through debris, furniture or appliances, construction, or anything else, this negligence can contribute to fire danger within the building.
Pest infestations – In addition to being health hazards, pest infestations can also be fire hazards. If rodents chew on electrical wiring, they put a building at risk of a fire. Pests also create dense pockets of flammable material when they nest, raising the danger even higher.
What If I Can’t Afford An Attorney After A Fire?
Dealing with the aftermath of a fire can be expensive and exhausting. You may be dealing with medical bills, hotel or motel costs, missed time at work, and the expense of replacing lost items. After all this, you may be concerned that lawyer’s fees are something you can’t afford.
At the Brinton Firm, we know that fires and their aftermath are stressful and scary. And we believe that everyone facing fire damage in their home deserves strong legal representation, no matter how much money they have or what kinds of costs they’re facing.
That’s why we operate on a NO WIN, NO FEE system. We work for you, for free, and only receive compensation if you win. Since we share your win, we’re highly incentivized to get you the biggest settlement possible. Stop worrying about costs and let an experienced Brinton Firm lawyer start fighting for you today!
Contact us for a FREE consultation about your fire damage case.