house on fire

What Legal Rights Do Fire Victims Have In New York?

Any time there’s a major fire and victims lose their lives or end up severely injured, serious questions arise. In virtually all cases, the fire was preventable and only occurred due to some form of negligence. Victims and their families often wonder just whose negligence is to blame for causing the disaster, and how those negligent parties can be held accountable for the devastation they’ve caused. While there may be nothing that we can do to reverse the damage, it’s still important to demand accountability from the people whose carelessness has resulted in severe disfigurement, death, and other injuries suffered in a preventable fire.

Victims Of Bronx Fire Plan To Sue NYC For $110 Million

In a recent example of a tragic preventable fire, 13 people lost their lives in the Bronx after a massive blaze tore through an apartment building in the borough. 11 of these victims recently filed a notice of claim, which announced their intention to sue the city of New York for a combined $110 million. The victims claim that the city failed to be aware of several preventable issues which lead to this tragedy. Their notice of claim names the FDNY, the Housing Preservation and Development department, and the Administration for Child Services.

The fire occurred on December 28 on Prospect Ave. in the Belmont section of the Bronx and was started by a 3-year-old child playing with a stove burner. According to the plaintiffs, the mother of this child was known to the Administration for Child Services Department to be inattentive and for a failure to adequately take care of her child.

The plaintiffs argue that the Child Services Department should have taken this child away from her negligent mother and that if they had, the blaze could have been prevented. They also claim that the FDNY failed to ensure that fire hydrants near the building were in working order, as they were frozen when the blaze happened. One of the building’s smoke detectors wasn’t working, and the property also had faulty fire escapes, according to the plaintiffs’ lawyer.

When Do Fire Victims Have Grounds For A Lawsuit?

Like other types of personal injury cases, such as car accidents and slip and falls, victims of fires have legal options when the fire could have been prevented if it weren’t for the negligence of one or multiple parties. In the Bronx fire discussed above, the allegations made by the plaintiffs claim negligence in several forms:

  • The Administration for Child Safety was allegedly negligent for failure to remove the child from their inattentive mother.
  • The FDNY was allegedly negligent for failing to make sure the nearby fire hydrants were in working order.
  • The Housing Preservation and Development department was allegedly negligent for failure to make sure building smoke alarms and fire escapes were working properly.

Fires don’t simply materialize out of thin air. In nearly every case, the fire only occurred because one or more individuals or organizations acted negligently.

Do Fire Victims Need Lawyers?

If you or someone you love recently became the victim of a preventable fire, it’s only natural to be curious about your legal options. In order to determine your next steps, it’s best to seek legal advice from an experienced personal injury firm. Our New York City personal injury lawyers can work to determine how the fire occurred, who may have been responsible, and how they can be held accountable for the harm they’ve caused you and your family. To learn more about your family’s rights as fire victims, get in touch with us when you’re ready for a free consultation.