An uncontrolled fire can pose a significant amount of danger to anyone. However, elderly residents could be even more at risk of incurring injuries in a fire, even in a well-contained fire. Many residents of long-term care facilities suffer from mobility limitations and may be unable to escape from a burning room or building without proper assistance.
Due to the severe nature of fire injuries in St. Louis nursing homes, injured individuals and their loved ones should consult with an attorney about their legal options. A qualified nursing home abuse lawyer could help an injured resident and their family fight for fair compensation and treatment.
The Duty of a Nursing Home
Nursing homes are supposed to be places in which the elderly are provided with safe and comfortable living environments as well as the physical care they need. When nursing homes are understaffed, equipment fails to work, or the proper laws and codes are ignored, dangerous situations may occur.
By breaching their duty to provide a safe environment, the negligence of the nursing home may lead to severe injuries and fatalities. If a fire-related injury can be connected to a St. Louis nursing home’s negligence, you may be able to file suit against that facility for damages.
If there is a fire in a nursing home that is the result of negligent conduct, one of the big legal questions is who is at fault? The answer may not be as simple as the nursing home company. There are often multiple companies involved in making nursing homes safe (or unsafe). The actual nursing home is responsible for providing a safe environment for the residents and meeting each of their individualized needs. But the nursing homeowners also have a responsibility to ensure that the facility building is maintained safely. The owner of the building may be a different company so that could be another defendant in the event there is negligence as the cause of the nursing home fire.
Recoverable Damages for Fire Injuries in Nursing Homes
If a nursing home resident is injured by a fire, they can claim compensation for a combination of the following damages:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of personal property
- Medical expenses
Residents may suffer burns that leave serious scars which can also create a much greater chance of infection. If a resident receives medical care as a result of a burn, there may be medical expenses that are incurred as well.
The worst case scenario in a nursing home fire results in the death of one or more residents. In the event of a death, specific family members are permitted to file a wrongful death lawsuit against those whose negligence is responsible for the fire that caused the death.
When to Contact an Attorney
Following a fire-related injury, it is important to contact a lawyer in a timely manner. An attorney could conduct a thorough and efficient independent investigation into how the fire started and how the victim suffered an injury. The sooner this investigation can be started, the more evidence may be preserved and used in the investigation and proceeding legal trial.
The State of Missouri generally sets the deadline to file a civil lawsuit—also commonly referred to as the statute of limitations—at two years from the date of the injury, according to MO Rev. Stat. §516.140. While there is no legally identified time to contact an attorney, potential plaintiffs should be aware that there is a deadline for filing. If a resident dies, family members have three years to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
If the filing deadline passes in cases such as these, there generally are no extensions or exemptions. Although there is nothing to stop a plaintiff from filing their suit after this date, the defendant typically will ask the judge to dismiss the case. If you believe you have a lawsuit, do not delay; talk with a lawyer.
Speak to an Attorney Today About St. Louis Nursing Homes Fire Injuries
An attorney who focuses on fire injuries in St. Louis nursing homes may be able to help you recover the compensation you deserve based on the damages you may have suffered. They may also be able to take steps to help you relieve your current financial stress and to help you earn for the future. Call today to start exploring your options.