If you have been injured in an accident involving a fire escape, you might be wondering what legal action you can take to seek compensation for your injuries. There are some circumstances in which liability could be an issue for fire escape-related injuries.
Here’s an overview of what you should know about fire escape injury liability in San Francisco, CA and who is responsible for injuries sustained in a building fire.
Landlords may be liable for fire escape injuries
If a landlord is aware of a danger, or should reasonably have known a danger existed with a fire escape, that landlord could be considered liable if a person is injured on it due to a failure to warn of the dangerous condition or a failure to get it repaired.
These types of injuries are more likely to occur when landlords allow their tenants to use fire escapes as a sort of extension of their indoor living spaces. Some landlords may allow people to place plants on the fire escape, or set ashtrays outside to use the fire escape as a smoking area.
If the landlord is going to allow for this use of the fire escape, then it becomes even more important that they stay up to date with inspections of the safety of all fire escapes on their properties. In many cases, though, landlords will forbid fire escape use for anything but emergency scenarios. Even if the landlord does allow for alternative fire escape usage, the ways in which that fire escape can be used may be severely limited.
If a person suffers an injury on a fire escape because of improper use of the fire escape and not due to any issues with the quality or safety of the fire escape, they will not be able to hold the landlord liable, because the injury would not have happened had it not been for the injured party’s own negligence.
But again, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to make sure the fire escape is reasonably safe for use. This means they must be aware of the most common problems likely to occur in these fire escapes and do everything they can to prevent them. Some of these common problems include:
- Holes in flooring, which can result in trips or falls
- Broken or loose bolts, which must be replaced as soon as possible
- Loose anchorages, which could allow the fire escape to pull away from the structure
- Missing slats on the fire escape, which could make a trip or fall likely
- Loose railings, which should be tightened to ensure stability and safety for users
- Rusty or otherwise deteriorating beams, which should be addressed to avoid structural weakness
- Collapse of the fire escape, which may occur as a result of the above issues or due to improper usage by residents
Fire escape injuries can be very serious, especially if people fall from very high elevations. For more information about the legal steps you can take to determine who was responsible for your injury in a building fire in San Francisco, CA, contact Great Escape Fire Escape Service today.