I was burned in a fire. How do I know if I have a case against the landlord or the property owner?
Landlords, property owners, and others who are in control of property have a responsibility to maintain the premises in a safe condition. That means they may be responsible if you are injured by a dangerous condition or their failure to warn of a dangerous condition.
If you have been injured in a fire, you may have a claim against the property owner’s insurance policy for your medical bills, future medical bills, loss of income, loss of use, scarring, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Watch out for this:
A few months ago, a guy called about a fire in his rental house. He had been asking his landlord for months to check on the wiring. He had told his landlord there was a problem. The landlord sent a handy-man and never fixed the problem.
There was a fire. The guy was lucky to escape with his family and his life. But, he was injured.
I asked him to come in immediately for a consultation. He politely declined. He had a friend who is a lawyer. That lawyer had given him some “pointers”. He submitted a claim on his own.
He called back this week. This insurance company denied the claim. The lawyer did not know about fire cases. The fire report was wrong. No one had collected the evidence that was necessary to pursue the claim. The restoration company had started (and in this case had finished) the clean up.
I had to tell him it was too late. At this point, the mistakes could not be fixed. The insurance company has made a final determination and the evidence that might make them reconsider has been destroyed.
It is possible to hire an expert to review the report and recreate the investigation. However, the fact that the expert never saw the building after the fire will always be a basis for discounting his or her opinion.
The law can be tricky. The insurance adjuster will closely examine the fire report and other evidence in an effort to deny your claim. Evidence will be destroyed by the clean-up efforts. You should contact us immediately if you think you have a claim.