Portable heating appliances, particularly space heaters, are the leading cause of residential fires in the United States. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), local fire departments responded to about 48,530 fires involving heating equipment each year between 2014 and 2018. A vast majority of home heating fire deaths — about 81% — were caused by stationary or portable space heaters and nearly half (48%) of all home heating fires occurred in the months of December, January and February.
Space Heater Sparked Deadly Bronx Fire
Investigators are still looking into what caused an electric space heater to malfunction and spark the deadliest fire in more than three decades in a Bronx apartment building Jan. 9, killing 17 people and critically injuring 15 others. The use of space heaters is extremely common especially in the winter months in apartment buildings where there is inadequate heat or no heat at all.
Many residents of apartment buildings, particularly in low-income neighborhoods (such as the Bronx building where the deadly fire occurred), use space heaters to heat their homes or supplement the poor heating they receive in their homes.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Space Heater Fire?
There are a number of parties who can be held potentially liable for space heater fires including:
Manufacturer of the space heater: If the product had a design or manufacturing error that led to the malfunction and the fire, the manufacturer of the space heater may be held liable. The manufacturer may also be held liable if they did not give consumers clear instructions about how to properly use the space heater or if they failed to warn consumers about what precautions they should take. For example, space heaters should be kept at least 3 feet away from anything that is combustible.
Parts manufacturer: If an inherently faulty or defective part in the space heater sparked the fire, then the manufacturer of those defective parts can also be held liable for the injuries, damages and losses caused.
Seller of the product: In addition to the products’ manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers who sell these faulty products can also be held liable.
Compensation for Injured Victims
A fire that involves a malfunctioning space heater or appliance can result in catastrophic injuries or even deaths. And as we saw in the Jan. 9 Bronx fire, they may affect not just the people in the household where the faulty space heater was located, but also neighbors and others in the building. Fires sparked by defective heaters can result in burn injuries as well as smoke inhalation injuries, which can be lethal.
Victims injured by a space heater fire can seek compensation from the at-fault parties for damages such as medical expenses, lost income and benefits, cost of hospitalization, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering etc. Families that have lost loved ones can file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation as well.
Here are the elements that must be proven in a product liability case:
• Plaintiffs (injured party) must prove that the product caused their injuries and losses.
• The product that injured you was defective. You must be able to prove that the product that caused your injuries was defective because of a manufacturing or design defect.
• The product defect caused your injuries and losses.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in a fire or explosion, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys with the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you. For 50 years, our skilled attorneys have established a proven track record of assisting injured victims. One of our clients — a hot water burn victim — secured $750,000 in damages from the property owner and manager.
Our firm also obtained a $985,000 settlement out of a $1 million policy for two people who suffered smoke inhalation injuries because the homeowner did not have smoke detectors installed and the $15,000 that was left on the insurance policy was for a person that we did not represent. Another client recovered $2,500,000 due to a faulty space heater. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and/or medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
Other TOLL FREE phone numbers for us are:
1-800-RADIO-LAW, 1-888-WYPADEK, OR 1-800-LAS-LEYES
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