Building Owners Are Liable for Fire Escapes That Cause Injury

As a property owner, there are dozens of codes, laws and regulations that must be met and maintained to ensure the safety of building occupants. This is particularly true for the mechanisms in place to assist people in the case of an emergency, such as a fire. While often overlooked, fire escapes are a top necessity for any building, and when they’re not properly looked after, it can lead to cases of building owner fire escape liability in San Francisco, CA.

Faulty fire escapes are expensive liabilities

It doesn’t take much digging to discover the enormous expenses of a lawsuit involving building owner fire escape liability in San Francisco, CA. For example, three years ago, the New York Supreme Court awarded a New York University student $29.3 million in damages after a serious fall she experienced when stepping onto a fire escape that was not up to code.

Stories like these are so common, particularly in large urban areas where there are thousands of fire escapes that are not regularly inspected and fixed when needed. Another story from New York shows that the rust-worn step of a fire escape caused the death of a man walking on the sidewalk below, while also injuring two other people.

Misconceptions about fire escape usefulness

These shocking news stories lead many to surmise that fire escapes do not provide the peace of mind that they did when first implemented in cities across the country during the 19th century. The truth is that fire escapes that are not inspected and serviced can create dangerous circumstances with fatal results. However, that does not negate the usefulness of well-built and thoroughly-maintained fire escapes.

There is also the issue of apartment tenants using fire escapes as additional square footage for their dwellings. When fire escapes are blocked by various impediments, it makes the challenge of inspecting and maintaining these structures nearly impossible. This leads many to think that these emergency exits aren’t as helpful as they would hope.

Avoiding cases of broken fire escape liability

It’s really quite simple—as a building owner, the onus is on you to keep fire escapes in top condition to protect people who live and/or work at the property. This also protects you from a devastating situation that results in injury, loss of life and financial ruin.

As a building owner, you can avoid fire escape liability cases by reminding tenants not to use their fire escapes for anything other than an emergency. It’s not a place to sit outside and watch the world go by or tend an herb garden. Those who choose to ignore these rules should receive warnings, fines and, if necessary, face eviction, as their actions not only endanger themselves but others as well.

To also avoid issues pertaining to building owner fire escape liability in San Francisco, CA, you want to have all of your building’s fire escapes professionally inspected and maintained. Great Escape Fire Escape Service was the first business of its kind in the Bay Area. For over two decades, we have prided ourselves on keeping your building compliant and your tenants safe. If you have questions about your building’s fire escapes, contact us today.

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