Smoke/fire detectors are the most effective tools to save your life in the event of a fire. It's estimated that two-thirds of fatalities caused by fires in homes took place on properties lacking proper fire alarm systems. At the same time, three out of five deaths caused by a house fire happened because the alarm system failed to go off.
Due to the dangers of a fire, building owners are required by law to install fire alarms and perform periodic inspections to assess the device's operating conditions. Failure to do so may render them liable for any accident caused by a fire on the premises. However, landlords and other building owners may fail to realize the importance of such a basic and cheap safety measure.
Moreover, some alarm systems come out of the production line and arrive at the consumer with dangerous design or manufacturing defects that make them unreliable and ineffective. In such cases, the manufacturer could be held liable for the product malfunction, and it may be possible for you to file a claim against them for your injuries.
Smoke detector failure facts:
- Approximately 20% of fire deaths occur when smoke detectors fail to function.
- Missing or non-functional batteries account for around 3/4 of smoke detector failures.
- Painting over smoke detectors can be a contributing malfunctioning factor.
- Improper placement, defective devices, or lack of maintenance represent about 10% of smoke detector failures.
The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary can be of great assistance in such tragic circumstances for helping you understand your rights, as well as for legal representation in the case of a lawsuit against those at fault for your losses. We are an experienced law firm specializing in personal injury law, and we've dealt with countless cases involving premises liability and product liability law.
Common Types of Fire Alarms
There are two technologies widely used by smoke alarms:
- Ionization: The majority of smoke alarms use ionization technology which, does not detect smoke. Instead, these alarms detect heat, and when they do it (if they do it at all), the sleeping occupants may have already inhaled large quantities of toxic fumes and may be already dead, or at this point, escape is impossible. If you have been injured due to an ionized fire detector failure to alert, you need to talk to a specialized personal injury lawyer.
- Photoelectric: The other technology used in smoke detectors is called photoelectric, and these types of alarms do indeed detect smoke. They are considered to be more efficient because they can "see" the smoke and sometimes go off an hour earlier than ionized smoke alarms. However, they are still prone to malfunction due to manufacturing defects, incorrect install, or improper maintenance, and they still cause countless casualties each year.
How to Establish Liability
Injuries caused by fire are usually complicated in nature. Establishing liability is a lengthy and challenging process, but we have many years of experience in dealing with cases like these. We can walk you through it step by step, and make sure those responsible are held accountable. Usually, the following parties can be held liable in the event of a fire-related injury:
- The landlord or other types of property owners
- The company that installed the devices
- The company that manufactured the devices
Contact The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary for a Free Case Evaluation
If you have suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a fire that could have been prevented through a properly working fire alarm system, it is crucial to contact a product liability or premises liability attorney as soon as you are physically able to; these cases are usually very time-sensitive.
If you were a victim of a fire alarm malfunction or lost one of your loved ones in such tragic circumstances, do not hesitate to contact The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary for legal guidance and help in understanding your rights. We're prepared to fight for justice on your behalf and recover compensation for your sustained damages.