The holidays are supposed to be happy times, full of families, food and fun. It can be especially devastating when these good times are interrupted by tragedy, such as a house fire. Though it may come as a surprise, a sizable share of fires occur during the holiday season thanks to the abundance of candles and lights. To find out more about the dangers of holiday house fires and how resulting products liability cases are handled, keep reading.
You may be surprised to learn that between 2007 and 2011, the National Fire Protection Association says that more than 10,000 fires were started thanks to candles. The fires resulted in 115 deaths, 903 injuries and hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. Given this, it is perhaps not surprising that the three leading days for candle fires are Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s. Fires caused by holiday lights or Christmas trees are similarly destructive, with estimates indicating 160 fires are caused each year due to decorative lighting.
If something terrible should happen and you or a loved one becomes a victim of a holiday house fire, the first thing that will need to occur is an investigation and analysis of the fire and its likely cause. The fire marshal will usually commence a search for potential sources of the fire and, once those sources are identified, attempt to understand what may have actually sparked the blaze. If the results indicate that a defective product is to blame, at that point, a products liability case is likely to commence.
Plaintiffs should understand that a defendant, often the alleged defective manufacturer, will do what it can to muddy the waters. This process starts with the manufacturer hiring an investigator of their own whose job it is to come up with alternate theories on how and why the fire occurred. The manufacturer will do what it can to place the blame elsewhere, potentially on other products or on you, the plaintiff.
Plaintiffs need to be prepared for the sometimes hard road that can come with proving a fire was sparked by a defective product. It’s often the case that in a house fire the defective product was destroyed, making it difficult to pinpoint the exact flaw that led to the trouble. In these cases, plaintiffs will need to hire experts to explain why the defective product is likely to blame, relying on other cases and circumstantial evidence to make a compelling enough claim to convince a jury.
In the end, these kinds of products liability cases can be difficult to prove and time-consuming, something plaintiffs should understand from the start. However, the horrible and expensive damage that can result from these fires and the desire to hold those who manufacture these dangerous products responsible is often incentive enough to endure the difficulty.
If you have been injured and think you may have a personal injury claim, please contact the Madison / Jackson personal injury attorneys at Kilpatrick & Philley at (601) 856-7800.
Source: “Products Liability Cases Arising From Holiday Fires,” published at TheLegalIntelligencer.com.