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House fires are probably a lot more common than you realize. In 2018, the last year for which data is available, fire departments in this country responded to roughly 363,000 fires in houses or apartments. Such fires are responsible for roughly 11,200 injuries every year and about $8 billion in property damage.

If you or your loved ones are injured in a home fire, is there anything you can do? Quite possibly. While many people automatically assume that home fires are the result of candles carelessly left burning or a lit cigarette that was dropped into some trash, there are plenty of other reasons that home fires start. They include:

  • Faulty cooking appliances or devices: For example, electric crock pots can short out and pressure cookers can explode, and fire can easily spread from the kitchen to the rest of the home.
  • Badly made electronics: The lithium batteries in many electronic devices are prone to overheating, especially when those devices are poorly designed or made. Items from tablets to hoverboards have been known to cause house fires.
  • Faulty wiring: There are all kinds of things that can go wrong with the wiring in a home or apartment. Sometimes, the wiring is badly installed by the electrician or poorly maintained by the landlord.
  • Intentional acts: Arson does happen, especially when a landlord has fallen behind on their bills.

After a home fire, it’s important to talk with an attorney who understands what questions need to be asked and where to look for evidence that a fire was caused by either negligence or someone’s deliberate actions. Even in cases where a fire was accidental, it’s important to consider whether or not the property’s owner kept the place up to code and provided the right fire alarms. Never assume that you’re unable to collect fair compensation for your losses until you’ve spoken with an experienced attorney about your claim.