Chicago Fires Attorneys

Fire is an exceptionally dangerous force. Once started, it is difficult to control, growing more deadly as it swells beyond property borders. A tiny, lit cigarette left on a balcony can start a huge blaze that destroys an entire building. Fire also poses many different hazards for bystanders: the smoke, the heat of the flames, and the structural instability caused by fire can each be deadly. The National Fire Protection Association reports that fires caused 3,280 civilian deaths and 15,700 civilian injuries in 2015 alone. For those who do not die at the scene, the consequences are profound and often permanently disabling. Victims are often left not only with the physical injuries and disfigurement, but are also encumbered with enormous and ongoing medical, surgical, and hospital expenses, loss of career and wages, and medical disability. Additional pain and suffering can be significant.

Illinois law has strict requirements in place for fire prevention and containment. Legally, property owners are obligated to minimize the risk of dangerous fires on their premises. They are also expected to have methods for handling fires once they start and for warning visitors about the danger. Responsible property owners respect the dangers of fires and purchase extinguishers and loud, clear alarms to keep their visitors or clients safe. However, when property owners ignore potential dangers, fires can start, spread, and injure people on their premises. No amount of money can compensate for the pain, fear, and loss that fire victims suffer, but negligent property owners are legally required to pay for some or all of the costs associated with the injury.

If fire injuries are due to the negligence of business, landlord, or other property owner, you may be able to bring what is known as a premises liability claim. If the owner was negligent in creating a fire hazard, you could be able to recover some or all of your present and future financial losses. The Chicago fire lawyers at Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC are ready to help you pursue compensation and justice after a fire caused by someone else’s negligence. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 312-346-8620.

Common Causes of Fires

The attorneys at Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC believe that property owners should do what it takes to minimize the risk of dangerous fires on their premises. Owners have a solemn moral and legal obligation to visitors on their physical estates. This obligation is not especially difficult to fulfill. Several commonsense actions and cost-effective measures can significantly decrease the threat of an uncontrollable fire.

Many common causes of fires are the result of negligence or oversight. A few examples include:

  • Frayed or otherwise faulty electrical wiring
  • Poorly-supervised cooking equipment
  • Old or incorrectly installed gas stoves, heaters, etc.
  • Flammable materials left near heating or cooking implements
  • Matches or cigarettes not being properly extinguished
  • Campfires incorrectly set up or left unattended

Property owners have a serious responsibility to make sure their property is safe from the threat of fire. For example, restaurants have to routinely clean and check their industrial-sized ovens. Apartment complex owners should regularly maintain their units’ smoke alarms and fire extinguishers. The smallest oversight can lead to the biggest consequences.

Fire-Related Injuries

The total devastation of burn trauma often goes underappreciated. The types of injuries that commonly occur are complex and involve a complex array of medical and psychosocial issues. Some of the injuries you may be experiencing that we can help you recover compensation for include:

Moderate to Severe Burn Injury

Burns are classified according to depth and percent of the body’s surface area that is involved. Depending upon the severity, the pain may be long-lasting. Burn pain is usually intractable and perhaps the most difficult to treat. It is not uncommon for pain to last more than six months or even become chronic. Most often, burn patients will also suffer cosmetic and functional impairment. Depending upon the total body surface area and depth affected, the consequences of burns are profound and can result in complex metabolic derangements which can adversely affect every organ system. In addition, there will always be enormous psychologic and social consequences of the injury. Unfortunately, the outcomes for burns which encompass more than 20 percent of the total body surface area, particularly in children and older individuals, are poor.

Lung Injury

When victims are caught in a fire, burns are not the only injury to occur. Airway injury can occur not only due to smoke inhalation but also due to inhalation exposure to poisons, toxins, and small particles. Smoke inhalation is the leading cause of death due to fires. Toxic inhalants include soot, carbon monoxide, and cyanide. Other chemicals may be caught in the fire that burn and produce noxious gases.


Various levels of trauma usually occur in tandem with burns. Typically a fire will compromise the structure of the building, leading to structural collapse that may cause injury. You can be struck by debris and falling objects or airborne fragments from explosions. Injuries may occur if you fall while escaping. A burn patient is most likely to be a combined burn/trauma patient. According to Case Western Reserve University, the most common injuries associated with burns and the frequency in which they occur include:

  • Fractures: 50 percent
  • Complex soft tissue injuries: 42 percent
  • Traumatic brain injury: 22 percent
  • Chest and abdominal injuries: 14 percent.

Post-Fire Recovery

With advancements in overall burn care, survival is no longer the exception but the expected outcome. At Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC, we understand this all too well. The location of major injuries (hands, face) determines one’s ability to adapt. We understand that with appropriate psychosocial support, patients are better able to adapt in society with physical disabilities. Intensive psychosocial support is necessary for managing re-immersion into society and adjusting to scarring and disfigurement. In addition to on-going medical, surgical, and rehabilitative costs, you may require treatment for depression, continued anxiety, and PTSD. These are exemplary of the hidden expenses with which we are intimately familiar. It is also why you should hire an experienced legal team who is capable of parsing out the many hidden costs that you will face in your recovery.

Contact Us

The premises liability attorneys at Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC deeply sympathize with victims whose lives have been devastated by fire. We believe that if a property owner’s mistake caused or contributed to the fire that injured you, you definitely deserve financial compensation. Call us at 312-346-8620 to speak to an experienced legal professional. We are ready to fight to help you recover the costs of your medical bills, pain, and lost workdays.

Written by Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC Last Updated : December 5, 2023