Should I Get a Lawyer After a House Fire?

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If you or your loved ones suffered injuries from a house fire, the answer is yes, you should get a lawyer. House fires can become valid personal injury cases when negligence or wrongful actions lead to injuries or fatalities. The Chicago house fire lawyers at The Kryder Law Group, LLC Accident and Injury Lawyers are dedicated to helping victims of personal injuries, including those suffered in house fires.

The personal injury attorneys in our firm assess liability for fire loss and develop a legal strategy to seek compensation for medical bills, property damage, pain and suffering, and more. With years of experience, they guide clients through the legal process to ensure they receive the compensation they deserve in the aftermath of a house fire.

What Is the Illinois Fire Investigation Act?

The Illinois Fire Investigation Act (425 ILCS 25/6) requires rigorous inquiry into fires causing loss of life or substantial property damage. Local fire department authorities must promptly notify the State Fire Marshal’s Office of any suspicious origin. This act is critical in establishing liability in house fire cases, especially when negligence or wrongful actions may have contributed to the fire.

When Should I Hire a Lawyer After a House Fire?

  • Consider hiring a personal injury lawyer after a house fire under the following circumstances:
  • The fire was due to someone else’s negligence, such as a landlord’s failure to meet fire safety standards or a fire caused by a faulty product.
  • The insurance company is not offering adequate compensation for your pain and suffering.
  • You face medical bills from injuries sustained in the fire.
  • The fire led to a fatality.

What Are the Most Common House Fire Injuries?

What Are the Most Common House Fire Injuries in Illinois?

Some of the most common house fire injuries include:

  1. Severe Burns: Prolonged exposure to flames causing skin damage.
  2. Smoke Inhalation: Breathing in harmful smoke that damages the lungs..
  3. Injury from Debris: Falling or flying objects causing injury.
  4. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Invisible gas inhalation leading to unconsciousness.
  5. Psychological Trauma: Mental distress after experiencing the fire.

What Compensation Might I Receive?

Compensation for house fires falls into several categories:

  • Personal injuries may be compensated for physical pain, medical expenses, and lost wages resulting from extended recovery times.
  • Property damage compensation covers the cost of repairing or replacing your home and valuable possessions due to fire damage or smoke damage.
  • If a loved one’s life is tragically lost, you may be eligible for wrongful death compensation. This can include compensation for funeral expenses, loss of companionship, and anticipated earnings they would have provided.

Always consult with an experienced lawyer to understand the full scope of compensation available in your specific case.

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim Versus a Survival Action Claim in Illinois?

In Illinois, according to Statute 740 ILCS 180/1, wrongful death claims and survival action claims are related to the same incident, but they cover different damages and are filed by different parties.

Wrongful Death Claims

A wrongful death claim is filed by the personal representative of the deceased to seek compensation for their emotional suffering and financial loss.

Under the Wrongful Death Act, it is possible to be compensated for damages including:

  • Burial and funeral expenses.
  • Loss of society can mean love, support, and affection.
  • Grief, sorrow, and mental suffering.
  • Direct economic losses in the past and for the future.

Survival Action Claims

A survival action claim is filed on behalf of the deceased’s estate, to recover damages the deceased could have claimed had they survived, including pain and suffering experienced before death.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death and Survival Action Claims?

In Illinois, the statute of limitations for wrongful death and survival action claims is generally two years from the date of death.

In the case of a death from a fire, the statute of limitations clock starts running on the date of death for the wrongful death claim.

On the survival action claim, the statute of limitations would start on the date the deceased was injured. In house fires these claims may have two different dates.

Will My Homeowners’ Insurance Fully Cover My Losses in a House Fire?

While homeowner’s insurance aims to protect financially after a house fire, it may not fully cover losses due to policy exclusions or coverage limits. Certain valuables might not be covered, and total replacement costs may surpass the policy limits.

The claim process can be complex, with insurers possibly delaying or underestimating payouts. A lawyer can help understand your policy, negotiate with insurers, and strive for maximum compensation.

However, typically, a personal injury lawyer gets involved only if there were injuries from the fire due to someone else’s negligence or intentional acts.

What If My House Fire Happened in a Rental Property?

In the unfortunate event of a house fire, if you, as a tenant, sustain injuries due to negligence or intentional acts, it’s important to consult a personal injury lawyer.

Such instances may include a landlord’s failure to comply with fire safety standards or a faulty product that caused the fire. A lawyer can guide you in claiming compensation for medical expenses, loss of earnings due to recovery time, as well as pain and suffering you incurred.

What Expenses Should a Landlord Expect?

As a landlord, you can anticipate the following expenses in case of a rental property fire:

  • Property Restoration Costs: Repairing structural damage.
  • Temporary Accommodation Provision: Housing for displaced tenants.
  • Lost Rent Compensation: Payments during the restoration period.
  • Insurance Premium Increases: Higher rates post-claims.
  • Legal Fees: Costs from potential litigation.
  • Replacement of Damaged Assets: Furniture, appliances, etc.
  • Increased Maintenance Costs: Post-fire upkeep requirements.

What are the Leading Causes of House Fires?

Some of the leading causes of house fires include:

  1. Cooking Fires: Food, cooking unattended on a stove, can easily lead to overheating and fires.
  2. Heating: Space heaters can start fires if heat sources are too close to flammable materials.
  3. Smoking in bedrooms: Smoking indoors, especially in bedrooms, is a fire hazard.
  4. Electrical Equipment: Faulty electrical equipment poses a dangerous fire risk.
  5. Candles: Unattended lit candles are a fire hazard.
  6. Oxygen Therapy: Oxygen is highly flammable and if not handled properly and placed near a heat source, can pose a fire risk.

What Should I Do to Prevent a House Fire?

Many residential fires are not necessarily random and there are fire safety measures to put in place to minimize the chances of a house fire:

  • Install smoke alarms on every level.
  • Check smoke alarm batteries monthly.
  • Store lighters and matches safely.
  • Avoid smoking in bed or on a couch.
  • Never leave cigarettes and candles unattended.
  • Regularly check home wiring conditions.
  • Ensure safe operation of the furnace or heating units.

Create an escape plan with your family to include:

  • Identify all possible emergency exits
  • Assign responsibilities to each person according to their ability and teach children their role.
  • Plan two ways out of each room.
  • Choose a safe meeting point outside away from danger

Who Is Most At Risk of Injury in a House Fire?

Tragically, children seem to be the most at risk for injury or death in a residential fire. According to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign and the United States Fire Administration:

  • The majority of residential fires kill or injure children.
  • The majority of children ages 4 and younger who have to be hospitalized for burn-related injuries suffer scald burns or contact burns.
  • Each year fires kill about 500 children ages 14 and under.
  • The leading cause of residential fire death and injury for children ages 9 and under is carelessness, eg., not monitoring cooking.
  • About half of children ages 5 and under who die from home fires are asleep at the time of the fire.
  • Residential fires and related deaths occur more often during the cold-weather months due to using portable heating equipment.

How Can The Kryder Law Group, LLC Accident and Injury Lawyers Help?

The house fire attorneys at the law firm of The Kryder Law Group, LLC Accident and Injury Lawyers offer legal guidance and support to those injured in house fires resulting from other people’s negligence.

They examine the case, help you understand your legal rights, and offer advice on the most effective way forward if there’s a legitimate damage claim. They negotiate with the insurance company and work toward maximum compensation to help you recover financially and emotionally.

Call Us for a Free Case Evaluation

During our free initial consultation, we will listen to the details of your case, answer any questions you may have, and help determine if you have a valid claim.

We offer our services on a contingency basis—we do not get paid unless we win your case. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Should I Get a Lawyer After a House Fire?
The Chicago house fire lawyers at The Kryder Law Group, LLC are dedicated to helping victims who suffered injuries in a house fire.

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The Kryder Law Group, LLC Accident and Injury Lawyers, 134 North LaSalle St. Suite 1515 Chicago, IL 60602
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    Chicago, IL 60602 Get Directions

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