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Fire Premises Liability

Discussion in 'Accidents, Injuries, Negligence' started by Michael68, Jun 29, 2020.

  1. Michael68

    Michael68 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
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    I was driving and came upon a house on fire I stopped and banged on door a doorbell to try and get someone while getting a water hose I woke the person there in doing all this I hurt my back and inhaled some bad smoke can I use?
     
  2. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Are you asking if you can sue because of the risk that you willfully assumed when you decided to do these things?
     
  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    You can "use" whatever you want that makes you feel better.

    But if you are asking about winning money in a lawsuit, that's not going to happen. It's not the home owner's fault that you got injured.

    Try Go Fund Me. Your injury during your heroism might get you some money that way.
     
  4. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    You may indeed have a good claim against the person(s) responsible for the fire. I suggest you see a personal injury lawyer for assistance. Maybe several to get a good feel for how good a case you have and to find an attorney you are comfortable with. Most personal injury lawyers will give free initial consultations. So you've nothing to lose by talking to a personal injury lawyer.

    Not correct. While in general a voluntary assumption of risk by the plaintiff will defeat the plaintiff's claim, there is an exception known as the rescue doctrine that Texas and a number of other states apply in the situation where a good Samaritan comes along, sees an imminent danger to life or property, and is injured while trying to save the persons/property that are in danger. In that circumstance, the rescuer may indeed have a claim against the negligent person that created the danger in the first place even though the rescuer knows that doing so is a risk. Holding otherwise would discourage people from trying to rescue others and thus would not be consistent with public policy. As the Texas Court of Civil Appeals explained in 1965 (and that is still good case law today):

    Under the ‘rescue doctrine,’ one who attempts to rescue another placed in imminent peril by the negligence of the defendant is not to be found guilty of contributory negligence as a matter of law, nor does he assume the risk incident thereto unless he acts in a rash, imprudent or negligent manner. Sinclair Ref. Co. v. Winder, Tex.Civ.App., 340 S.W.2d 503, wr. ref.; Keystone-Fleming Transport, Inc. v. City of Tahoka, Tex.Civ.App., 315 S.W.2d 656, wr. ref., n. r. e.; Reddick v. Longacre, Tex.Civ.App., 228 S.W.2d 264, wr. ref., n. r. e. The basis of this rule is that the defendant negligently created a situation that provoked the rescue effort and the rescuer's resulting injury was something that could reasonably have been foreseen by the negligent defendant and was a natural and probable result of such negligence. Longacre v. Reddick, Tex.Civ.App., 215 S.W.2d 404, mandamus overruled; Shultz v. Dallas Power & Light Co., Tex.Civ.App., 147 S.W.2d 914, wr. dism. judgm. correct; 40 Tex.Jur.2d, Negligence, s 117; Restatement of Torts, s 893.

    Kelley v. Alexander, 392 S.W.2d 790, 792 (Tex. Civ. App. 1965), writ refused NRE (Oct. 20, 1965).


    So the OP may well have a good claim here under that doctrine.
     
  5. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Bad smoke should never be inhaled.

    Heck, inhaling any kind of smoke can be hazardous to one's health.

    What made you desire to inhale the smoke, especially "bad smoke"?

    That said, are you feeling better today?

    At any rate, you're a hero or heroine, depending upon your "preferred" pronoun.

    You'll get a certificate from the mayor, maybe the governor for life saving actions.

    The newspaper will honor you with a story, because you saved lives.

    May much good and blessings befall you for the rest of your life.
     
  6. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Texas, as do most other jurisdictions, vary from the accepted standard(s) from time to time.

    There have been exceptions, however, I humbly suggest our OP to discuss what legal remedies might be available by meeting with three or four personal injury attorneys.

    Texas' “rescue doctrine” creates an additional duty for a defendant who creates a dangerous situation.

    It says that the defendant is legally responsible to anyone who gets injured while trying to rescue the defendant, or another person, from the dangerous situation which the defendant created.

    Based upon what the OP has revealed about the night under discussion, I don't know enough to presume that the fire was caused by the homeowner/occupant.

    The OP has revealed that a fire was observed by the OP, the OP began to rouse the occupant(s),
    and tried to fight the fire.

    There is a 1948 Texas case Longacre v. Reddick, in which a truck driver’s negligence caused a truck filled with gas to crash from which a fire ensued.

    When the plaintiff tried to rescue the driver from the burning truck, he was injured when the truck exploded.

    The court decided the explosion was a foreseeable result of the defendant’s actions.

    Yes, a rescuer can bring an action should she/he be injured while attempting to rescue others, but "forseeability", along with "assumption of risk" could come into play.

    Texas' "rescue doctrine" only applies to situations where the defendant created the danger.

    Should the intrepid rescuer sustain an injury while saving (attempting to save) the defendant from a house fire, the defendant only owes a duty under the rescue doctrine if the defendant started the fire.

    (Note: Different rules apply IF the rescuer is a trained firefighter.)
     
  7. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Well-Known Member

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    Does the fire have to be a direct result of the defendant's action? Examples.
    1. The defendant's house had old wiring that hadn't been repaired.
    2. The defendant fell asleep with a lit cigarette.
    3. The defendant poured gasoline all over the house and lit it.

    Clearly #3 would make leave the defendant liable under the law. What about 1&2.
     
  8. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Yes, because if the fire resulted because the defendant started the fire, that fact affects the "rescue doctrine" being applied.


    There you go again, thinking, mate. ;) :)

    Numbers one, two, and three involve causation.
    Numbers one and two imply negligence.
    Number three implies an action the defendant committed, which could place fault on him/her.

    All would be resolved at trial by the trier of fact, usually the impaneled jury of citizens.
     
  9. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    Right, as is the case in other states with the rescue doctrine. So part of the what the OP needs to do (which his lawyer would do for him, if he retains one) is determine who the negligent person was that was responsible for the fire, if anyone was negligent. Which is why I didn't say that the OP did have a good cause of action against anyone here, but that he may have a good claim against whomever was negligent (assuming that someone was) in causing the fire.
     
  10. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Negligence MIGHT have been related to the proximate cause.

    It could have been intentional, as in arson, for example.

    If arson is involved, the arsonist might never be known.

    However, a fire inspector (trained in forensics and detection) will likely be able to state what triggered the conflagration's start.

    Causation of the event must be investigated, and the result made known, if possible.
     
  11. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    The defendant has to be negligent in creating the conditions that necessitates the rescue. In #1 the defendant would be liable if it was proven that the defendant homeowner knew or should have known the wiring was bad, that it might cause a fire, and did nothing to correct the faulty wiring. The second one is easy — defendant falls asleep with a lit cigarette and the cigarette is the cause of the fire that's a pretty clear case for negligence. So this isn't terribly different from any other negligent case. The OP has to determine whose negligence (if there was any negligence) was the cause of the fire. Once he has that, he knows whom to sue. And he can invoke the rescue doctrine to overcome the defendant's efforts to use assumption of the risk to defeat liability. As Army Judge says, it then is up to the jury whether to determine if the doctrine applies and what to award the OP, if anything, following the instructions the judge provides.
     
  12. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    True, but if it was intentional arson that should make the case for the OP even stronger. Juries aren't known to be very sympathetic to arsonists, at least in my state, and I wouldn't think Texas juries would much like them either. :D
     
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  13. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    I agree, but IF the arsonist wasn't the homeowner (or her tenant), liability couldn't be resolved.

    If the arsonist was an unknown firebug, for instance, the homeowner would also be a victim.

    The fire wouldn't have been caused by the homeowner, thus the rescue doctrine wouldn't apply for the good Samaritan.

    Bottom line, there is a great deal one would need to know before offering the OP any useful answers.
     
  14. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    Liability would rest with the arsonist. The challenge would then be to identity the arsonist. You are correct that if the arsonist cannot be identified then no recovery may be had.

    Not against the homeowner (if he's not the arsonist), but just so the OP is clear, the arsonist, if found, would be potentially liable under the rescue doctrine.

    Exactly why I recommended he see a personal injury lawyer. My point in raising the rescue doctrine was not to say (nor did I ever say) that he had a good claim he could bring, only that he might have such a claim. It was a rebuttal to Jack's statement flatly saying that the OP had no chance. We simply don't know what chance the OP has on the facts given us.
     
  15. Michael68

    Michael68 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Well didn't intend to but someone told the
     
  16. Michael68

    Michael68 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Open the front door which caused the fire to kick into overdrive and the fire was an exhaust fanw made the fiberglass or God knows what blast that smoke and fire into my lungs and fall.Thanks for the kind words.
     
  17. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Well-Known Member

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    Michael68, you might want to take another run at your last two posts. They didn't make a lot of sense.
     
  18. Michael68

    Michael68 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jack thank you for your wisdom that helped alot you know the kicker is I do handyman work and after they got the fire under control a the chief asked thew fella if there had been any issues and he said the dryer was acting up and exhaust may been clogged when I got home I posted on nextdoor for everyoné to have there vents cleaned and a few asked what I would charge never landed any jobs, that guys sister got on the thread called me a scamner that the fire was caused by exhaust vent not dryer vent.I had a couple of text back and forth I asked her what she had a problem is with someone trying to get a couple jobs and feeding his kids couldn't believe her thinking on this finally I said look lady I didn't even get a glass of water and didn't know if she even cared for her brother and deleted my post and left it at that.Forgive my writing skills .
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2020
  19. Michael68

    Michael68 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Your insight is very helpful.Thank you.
     
  20. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    I suggest that you always go back and re-read what you have written as if it was something you'd never seen before. If it doesn't make sense to you at that point, then it won't make sense to others. Do that with the above post and you'll see what I mean.
     
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