Burn Injury Attorney

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Burn Injury Cases

Brien Roche

Brien Roche is an experienced burn injury lawyer serving all of Northern Virginia, including Fairfax, McLean, Vienna, Burke, Annandale, Falls Church Reston, Centreville, Manassas, Alexandria, Herndon, Arlington, and Loudoun County. Call, or contact us for a free consultation.

There are a number of common household products that can be the source of serious burn injuries.  These items include:

  • Cigarette lighters
  • Stoves
  • Electric or electronic toys
  • household furniture
  • mattresses or mattress pads
  • lighters

In looking at burn injury cases there are several things to be considered:

  • There are several governmental and non-governmental agencies that may be the source of certain standards such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology which is a governmental agency, the U. S. Fire Administration which is another governmental agency and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, another governmental agency.  The National Fire Protection Association and the National Association of State Fire Marshalls are both private agencies but they have conducted extensive testing relating to fires.
  • Evidence of a recall notice for the object causing or contributing to the fire is compelling evidence and may be admissible at trial on the theory that it shows that a defect existed when the product was in the manufacturer’s hands.
  • The manufacturer may contend that it should not be held liable on the grounds that the plaintiff is an unintended user.  In general, the intended use of a product includes any use that is reasonably foreseeable to the seller.  A particular use may be considered foreseeable even if the precise manner in which the injury occurred was not.
  • The burning characteristics of the product should be fully developed by showing the rate of heat release, temperatures at various locations in the product, the way in which smoke, carbon monoxide and other by-products are generated and the rate at which oxygen is consumed.

Many household items are cushioned with polyurethane foam.  This is a petroleum product that has a high degree of flammability.  In addition this type of product consumes a great deal of oxygen as it burns and thereby endangers anyone who is in the room where such a fire is occurring.

It is possible to make furniture that does not have this type of explosive characteristic   In addition there is material that is designed to act as a barrier between the highly flammable foam and the fabric that may surround it.  In addition there are a variety of different types of retardants that can reduce the likelihood of burn injury.
Fire barrier materials that are designed to go between the fabric and the highly flammable foam have been produced for decades. 

It is well known that furniture may be exposed to small ignition sources around the house.  In light of that manufacturers have a duty to design their products without defects in contemplation of those foreseeable uses and misuses.

Manufacturers are certainly on notice that there are a number of different ignition sources or ignition prods that exist around the house.  Manufacturers who are making these household items should design their products with these foreseeable uses in mind.

Regulations and Standards May Apply to Burn Injury Cases

There are a number of federal regulations that apply to household products such as mattresses, mattress pads, electronic toys and lighters.

Other products such as mattresses and mattress pads, electronic toys, and lighters are all subject to federal regulations.  Those regulations may be the source of certain standards to establish liability.

Product Liability Claims-Smoke Detectors

Smoke detector defects can lead to the death or injury of all of the occupants of a residence. This is the type of product liability claim that should never arise. Smoke detectors fall into categories of either ionization or photoelectric smoke detectors.  The vast majority are ionization detectors.  The ionization detectors emit a beam of  ions in a chamber and when the smoke enters the chamber the smoke particles obstruct the flow of ions thereby causing a reduction of current flow and thereby activating the alarm. 

Photoelectric detectors emit a beam of light into a chamber and when the smoke particles enter the chamber and interfere with the beam the alarm is activated.

Typically, ionization detectors respond more quickly to the presence of numerous small particles of smoke such as those produced by by a flaming or fast fire.  Photoelectric detectors, on the other hand, usually respond more quickly to larger particles such as those produced by a smoldering or a slower spreading fire.

The time frame between the activation of a photoelectric detector and the activation of an ionization detector can be considerable.  Typically, the photoelectric detectors tend to give an earlier warning.

In any fire case involving a potentially faulty smoke detector it is critical that the detector itself be obtained or that at least its security be maintained.  It is also important of course to know who else is conducting any inspections of the smoke detector. 

The thrust of any such case involving a smoke detector is that a timely warning from a  properly designed and functioning detector would have prevented injury or at least limited the injury to something minor. 

Contact an Injury Attorney

For more case results that Brien Roche has handled, see our Verdicts and Settlements and Reported Cases. All case results are specific to the facts of that case and no conclusion can be drawn as to how your case may turn out based upon the results of another case. Not sure if you have a case? Contact Brien Roche today for a free consultation.

For more information see the burn injury pages on Wikipedia.

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Burn Injury Attorney

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

Contact Us For A Free Consultation