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How house fires commonly start – and what victims can do about it

On Behalf of | Mar 31, 2022 | Products Liability

There are few things as tragic and traumatic as losing one’s home to an out-of-control fire. This situation is especially sad when the cause of the fire was not the homeowner’s fault – such as when equipment malfunctions or had a faulty design that resulted in the blaze. Here are some statistics on why people’s homes catch fire, and what their options are in the aftermath.

Common causes of house fires

According to statistics from the United States Fire Administration, slightly more than half of all residential building fires in 2019 resulted from cooking. Fires start when cooking oil catches fire and ignites nearby clothing, plastic, or wood. They also start when someone forgets about food on the stove, and it burns severely.

The next highest cause of residential fires involves heating. This includes things such as malfunctioning or poorly designed space heaters or other heating elements.

Occasionally, defective smoke alarms or faulty sprinkler systems will compound the damage by failing to warn residents of fires or contain the blaze as they were designed to do. These deaths and injuries are especially tragic, since they are often completely avoidable. Had the equipment functioned as intended, the damage may have been far less.

How product liability comes into the picture

There are three types of product liability causes of action that allow consumers to sue manufacturers for a defective product:

  • A design defect, in which the product worked as intended and caused the harm because the design was not well thought-out
  • A manufacturing defect, in which something in the manufacturing process deviated from the intended design in a dangerous way
  • A warning defect, in which the manufacturer fails to include adequate warnings on the labels or packaging of the product against foreseeable harm

When a product that is supposed to heat your home, cook your food or perform some other useful function instead causes a blaze that destroys your home and endangers your family, you deserve justice. A product liability suit gives you the opportunity to hold the manufacturer liable for the damage that your home suffered, and allows you to seek some measure of compensation for the terrible loss that you have undergone.