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Fire And Burns Injury Claims – Choosing The Right Expert Is Essential

Price Slater Gawne share our recent experience of thorough forensic fire expert evidence.

calendar_month 3 Jan 23

schedule 2 min read

I am so pleased for my client. After three years of investigation, negotiation and persuasion my client’s serious injury claim finally settled. This is a case that emphasises the need to instruct the right liability expert.

This was an extremely difficult case where my client sustained 3rd degree burns over 60% of his body when he was in prison. His injuries are life changing and he will never recover fully from them.

My client had lost consciousness during the incident and his memory of events was very limited, however the only evidence we had was the Fire Investigation Report (which was carried out by the local Fire Service after the incident), photographs of the cell after the fire had been extinguished, the statements of the prison officers present and the written procedures and systems that the prison staff were supposed to follow.

As a result of our detailed analysis of the defendant’s evidence and our work with an expert on fire investigations, we managed to establish that although my client had inadvertently started the fire, crucially,  the defendants had been responsible for a catalogue of failings in that they had:

  • Failed to provide the correct smoke alarms
  • Failed to provide adequate staff training
  • Failed to provide functioning fire equipment
  • Failed to remove flammable substances from the cell
  • Failed to remove my client from his cell in an acceptable time period.

The expert brought invaluable and extensive experience of fire disasters to the case, which helped us to piece together what was likely to have happened and how the Defendant’s breaches contributed to the outcome.

In particular the expert* picked up the fact that my clients clothes were highly flammable, the hand/body lotion he was using had alcohol in it, which would have increased the spread and intensity of the fire and also that there were defects in the cell’s smoke/fire detectors.

We presented the expert’s report to the Defendants together with medical evidence about our client’s injuries and what we estimated the compensation levels should be. The claim settled soon afterwards.

Burns Injuries at Price Slater Gawne

Burns injuries caused by fire are some of the most horrific. They can take many years to improve. The physical and psychological damage can be permanent. Whether the fire starts at home, at work or a public place, the impact on the people involved will often be life changing. You can read more about our specific Fire and Burn Injury Claims service.

Where can you bring a claim for burns injuries and what circumstances warrant a claim?

It is possible to bring a claim in the civil courts if you are caught up in a fire and there has been negligence on the part of another or a malfunction of a machine or appliance. Also, if the fire was started deliberately by someone you can make a claim for your injuries and losses through the Criminal Injuries claims route, however, there are very strict deadlines that apply to every compensation case,  so if you feel you have a similar case, contact us for a confidential discussion about your circumstances.

* Anthony Murray – Strange, Strange and Gardner

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