- October 29, 2021
- Attorney Matt Stoddard
- Catastrophic Injury
Every year, more than a hundred people die of injuries sustained in fires in Georgia. Our fire death rate is about 30% higher than the national average, and people living in rural areas and portable housing units face even higher risks.
While residential fires are often divided into intentional and unintentional categories, it’s important to recognize that even unintentional fires are often the result of negligence, and valid grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit.
Seeking justice for a loved one’s fire death after the fact may feel pointless or even greedy at first, especially while you and your family are in the middle of a painful grieving process. In truth, however, wrongful death suits are one of the best ways to combat the irresponsible greed that exposes so many Georgia residents to accidents like these in the first place.
By getting to the bottom of what happened to your loved one and pursuing your case, you can send a message to negligent companies that fire safety is a non-negotiable priority to invest in. At the same time, you can protect your surviving family from the heavy financial toll a death can take.
One Richmond County Woman Was Killed in a Camper Fire Last Month
On September 26th, a 79-year-old woman named Dorothy Wall was severely burned when the camper she was living in caught fire. She died of her injuries over a week later in a local burn unit. The camper was parked behind a house in Augusta at the time of the fire.
Wall was a retired senior loan officer who left behind a daughter and grandchildren. An investigation is still ongoing into what exactly happened to her, but statistically speaking, most home fires are ignited by cooking equipment, heating equipment, electrical problems, candles, or cigarettes.
Portable units, including campers, tend to be particularly vulnerable to cooking and heating fires, especially if they connect to external fuel sources. These connections can fail to form a perfect seal, allowing the living space to fill with flammable fumes.
Any time a fire starts in a camper or mobile home, it’s worth asking whether these common fire safety issues with these types of residences played a role.
There Are Many Possible Negligent Parties in Cases Like These
Who is responsible for a home fire depends on the exact nature of the fire, but in portable units, the problem often comes down to product defects or design flaws in the units themselves. For example, faulty wiring, fuel systems, and built-in heating systems are the responsibility of the home’s manufacturer.
Sometimes, a portable home’s default equipment may be perfectly fine, but a gas installer or repair service may have used or modified it incorrectly, introducing a hazard that wasn’t there before. In that case, the third-party company that created the problem bears the liability for a resulting fire. The same principle applies to third-party vendors of defective standalone products, like hotplates and space heaters, that can be added to these homes.
Landowners also have certain duties to those living on their properties. In the case of Wall’s death, it’s not clear whether the land her camper was parked on belonged to family, or whether it was resident-owned at all. If she had a landlord who provided her with a faulty fuel connection, or even allowed flammable debris to build up around her camper, that landlord might share responsibility for her death.
Because there are so many possible explanations for any fatal home fire, and so many of them involve negligence, it’s always a good idea for surviving family members to reach out to legal counsel for help protecting their rights and ensuring a thorough investigation.
If you are the daughter of Dorothy Wall, or if you have lost a loved one to a home fire in Georgia, reach out to The Stoddard Firm to discuss your situation with a lawyer today.