California Fire Injury Lawyer

Hakim Injury Law: fire_injury

Experienced California Fire And Burn Injury Lawyers

Sometimes, wildfires just happen. For example, a single lightning strike could set an entire forest ablaze. Usually, however, individual or corporate negligence causes these fires. The heat and flames are just the beginning. Even in an open area, the smoke usually causes more personal injuries, and more severe personal injuries, than the flames and heat.

Individuals and companies have a duty of care to avoid careless or reckless conduct that could start a fire, especially if a burn ban or other public health warning is in effect. Individuals and companies that own residential or commercial buildings have a similar duty of care. California law recently changed significantly on this point. Therefore, many fire injury victims may be unaware of their legal rights.

Due to the aforementioned legal changes, these claims are unusually complex. Additionally, despite what commercials imply, insurance companies do not gladly write checks and make things right. Only a diligent CA CA Smoke Inhalation Injury Attorney like the ones at the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim, navigate through these legal complexities, take on big insurance companies, and obtain maximum compensation for your serious injuries.

Understanding Complexities of Fire-Related Injuries in California: A Closer Look

Contact burns might be the most well-known fire-related injuries, and for good reason. Flames usually cause third or fourth-degree burns. These burns affect not only the surface skin but also the subsurface skin, and often bones or internal organs as well.>

These wounds are difficult to treat. Victims must receive long-term treatment at specialty burn centers. This treatment almost always includes costly and painful skin grafts. Even after doctors perform these procedures, the physical and emotional scars remain. Physical therapy can help these patients recover lost muscle function, but it cannot erase these scars.

Other injuries, mostly respiratory injuries, may not be as well-known, but they are often more serious. These lung injuries include:

  • Oxygen-Depleted Air.A burning fire consumes oxygen from the air. The remaining mix of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide cannot keep a person alive. Carbon monoxide is toxic and bonds more closely than oxygen to the hemoglobin in the blood, making it difficult to revive a patient with oxygen therapy alone. Prolonged exposure to oxygen-depleted air causes confusion, drowsiness, and death.
  • Inhaled Hot Gasses: Inhaling superheated combustion products can scorch and scar nasal passages and lung tissue. The resulting scar tissue leads to permanent and disabling lung problems.
  • Smoke Inhalation: Wildfire and other smoke consist of carbon particles, ash, volatile organic compounds, and a variety of toxic gasses, including hydrogen sulfide. These substances permanently damage the respiratory system, mostly by congesting or obstructing breathing. These toxic particles can also cause seizures and commas.

A California burn accident lawyer connects fire injury victims with top-notch doctors who usually charge nothing upfront for their professional services. This arrangement eases the financial pressure in these cases, so victims can simply focus on getting better.

New medical evidence linking smoke with serious illness is published almost every day. As a result, it’s easier for firefighters and other injured workers to obtain workers’ compensation benefits for such injuries. More on that below

Building A Burn And Fire Related Injury Case in California

Most fire injuries are not work-related. Documenting the aforementioned injuries, and proving that another person’s negligence caused them, is the basis for a fire injury claim.

But first, we should address the law in California in this area. As mentioned, a duty of care protects victims in these situations. In the Golden State, the precise duty of care depends on a number of factors, such as:

  • Property location,
  • The probability that someone would be on the property,
  • Likelihood of harm,
  • Likelihood of serious harm,
  • Owner’s knowledge of the hazard,
  • The burden of protecting against harm, and
  • Defendant’s degree of control.

If the fire injury occurred in the common area of an apartment building, most of these factors point toward liability. If the fire injury occurred in a mixed ownership open field well outside town, most of these factors point the other direction.

As for proving injury, medical bills and diagnostic test results are a good start. But these documents are only a good start. These documents often don’t indicate anything about the victim’s pain level. Therefore, they do not make a good case for noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering. Furthermore, the bill itself does not prove the procedure was reasonably necessary.

A Los Angeles fire injury lawyer often partners with an independent doctor to fill in these blanks and solidify the medical evidence. Additionally, a victim/plaintiff must prove cause by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). If the investigation concludes that something other than a natural occurrence, like a lightning strike, caused the fire, it’s more likely than not that the person who started the fire was negligent.

Environmental conditions, like hot weather and high winds, often contribute to fire injuries. But this contribution does not change the fact that negligence caused the fire.

What Are Your Best Legal Options After A Burn Injury in California?

In some cases, victims need not prove duty or cause. If the victim is an injured worker, the victim must only prove the injury was work-related.

This element is easy to prove in contact burn cases. Although they cannot contest liability, insurance companies can and do contest the amount of damages in these cases. Slow-developing smoke inhalation cases are a different matter. Another recent legal change creates a presumption that, if the victim is a first responder, the smoke inhalation injury was work related.

Non-work injury victims have a right to file damage claims in civil courts. Eventually, most of these cases settle out of court. But “eventually” might be a very long time.

Meaningful settlement negotiations cannot begin until medical treatment is at least substantially complete. If the case settles too early, and the settlement does not account for all future medical expenses, the victim could be financially responsible for them.

Most civil claims settle during mediation. A third-party mediator, who is usually an unaffiliated Los Angeles fire injury lawyer, supervises negotiations and ensures that both pirates negotiate in good faith. Largely because of this legal responsibility, civil mediation is about 90 percent successful in California.

Out-of-control fires cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with one of our experienced California burn injury attorneys, contact the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim. The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner we start fighting for you.

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