On-Duty Firefighters Injuries
Personal Injury Attorneys Foxboro, MA
Our goal is to collect as much money as possible for fire fighters injured while on duty and minimize the financial impact on their families. We also make it a point to ease tensions between the client and the department, and to help the employee return to full duty as quickly as possible.
Some firefighters are of the opinion that they can't make a claim against a responsible third party which causes their injury. In Massachusetts, this is not the case. It is the right of every individual, no matter what his or her occupation, to be compensated for an injury. We believe this should and must apply to public safety employees hurt on duty. And this is exactly what Massachusetts law provides for.
Case Summaries - On Duty Firefighters Injuries
Firefighter Wins Compensation For Career Ending Injury Fighting Attic Fire Caused By Insulation Contractor
The Smiths had enough of high heating bills. They call for a free energy audit from a free energy audit program funded by local utility companies. The energy specialist recommends installing blown-in cellulose insulation in the attic floor to limit heat loss from the living space below. The job is assigned to a subcontractor to perform the physical installation. Three weeks after the job was completed, the Smiths are home eating dinner. There is a knock at their door. Mr. Smith opens the door. Someone passing by informs him that flames are shooting out of his roof.
Responding firefighters attack the seat of the fire from inside the attic. The firefighters exit the attic to refill their oxygen tanks. Our Firefighter client is the last one out of the attic. He is wearing over 100 pounds of gear. The metal treads of the pull-down attic stairs are wet and slippery from water used to fight the fire and from wet insulation. He slips on a metal tread and falls backwards. Reflexively, he reaches up with his left hand, catching himself on to the attic floor but severely injures his shoulder in the process. Over the next several years, he has four surgeries on his left shoulder in hopes of repairing torn internal structures and to stabilize his shoulder. The internal structures are too damaged to keep the head of his left upper arm from slipping out of the shoulder joint. Our client was only thirty-five years old when he is retired from the fire department due to this disability. Frustrated by his inability to finish his career in public service, which he sought after serving with the Marines, he has concerns for how he will support his wife and two young children. His frustration grows when he learns this attic fire was no accident. Fire investigators determine the fire started because of a recessed light fixture in the attic, which was covered by a thick layer of cellulose insulation during the recent installation. This is a well known fire hazard. Investigators find the classic "V" shaped burn pattern on the joist where the insulation contractor covered the recessed light fixture with cellulose insulation.
I uncovered a lot of disturbing information about the energy audit company and the insulation contractor. Most disturbing was in the three months before the Smith's attic job was completed the audit company inspected forty-nine attic insulation jobs completed by the contractor. The insulation contractor failed 49% of the completed jobs, many of which left fire hazards behind similar to the one left in the Smith's home. Regardless the insulation contractor was allowed to keep working and receive new jobs. After numerous depositions, both companies agreed to settle all claims made against them by our Firefighter client. Although he will never be able to resume his career as a firefighter, he now has the ability to financially support his family. Some fires are just plain accidents. This one was not. It never had to happen.
Firefighter Gets Compensated For Slipping On Ice While Responding To House Fire
It is a snowy, Sunday night and a 17-year-old is home alone with nothing to do. So, he heads down to the basement with a handful of road flares. He sets his iPhone up and records himself so he can show his friends later. He lights one of the flares and aims it at some cardboard boxes he piled up under the stairs. The boxes ignite easily and he quickly loses control of the fire which spreads to two other adjoining townhouses. The snow conditions are so challenging that eight fire departments respond to fight the fire. The firefighters struggle to keep their balance on the snow and ice. Some slip and fall on the street and driveway. It takes nearly three hours to put out the fire. By that time, all adjoining housing units had suffered damage. One of the firefighters that fell on the way up to the house suffered a torn ligament in her knee, which required surgery.
We filed a lawsuit against the teenager on behalf of the injured firefighter. We argued he was liable for the firefighter's injury under what is known as the "rescue doctrine". Under this doctrine, someone who negligently creates an emergency that requires a rescue effort, is liable for the rescuer's injuries if the rescuer is hurt in the process. Rescuers like firefighters and police officers are not precluded from recovery simply because of the dangers inherent in their job. Here, the teenager's negligent choice to violate the fire safety rules in his home caused the emergency response, which needlessly resulted in the firefighter's injury. We were able to settle this case with mother's homeowners insurance company after depositions were done.