Los Angeles Product Liability Lawyers Handling Defective Fire Extinguisher Claims
Comprehensive counsel for injury victims throughout California
When you purchase a product, you expect it to work as described. When you purchase a fire extinguisher, it has to work in the moment you need it the most. The risks to you, your family and your home are too great. At McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP, our Los Angeles product liability lawyers are prepared to fight for your future if you were seriously injured because of a defective fire extinguisher or fire suppression system. Contact us today to discuss your case.
How do you know if a fire extinguisher is “good”?
Fire extinguishers frequently do not come with expiration dates, and their range of usability is wide – between 5 and 15 years. If you do not know how old your extinguisher is, check for:
- The inspection sticker on the side of the bottle
- The needle on the pressure gauge (if applicable) to ensure it is still pointing to the green section
- Obvious signs of wear and tear, including corrosion and rust
You can also call the manufacturer, which will be able to tell by the serial number just how old your extinguisher is. If you are unsure whether or not your fire extinguisher is still in working order, your best option is to replace it entirely. If you are a renter, your landlord should cover the cost of the new fire extinguisher.
The 2017 Kidde fire extinguisher recall
In 2017, Kidde recalled almost 38 million fire extinguishers in the U.S., because they could “become clogged or require excessive force to discharge and [could] fail to activate during a fire emergency. In addition, the nozzle [could] detach with enough force to pose an impact hazard.” At the time, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported almost 400 reports of “failed or limited activation or nozzle detachment,” which were associated with at least 16 injuries and potentially one death. There were also 91 reports of property damage.
How common are house fires?
The National Fire Protection Association reports that a fire department responds to a call every 24 seconds in this country. Between 2013 and 2017:
(National Fire Protection Association News & Reports)
California fares slightly better than the national average when it comes to residential structure fires. On average, there are 4 deaths and 16.2 injuries for every 1,000 residential structure fires in California; the national average is 6.1 and 24.5, respectively. In 2018, California had 108 home fire fatalities in total.
Injuries caused by defective fire extinguishers
The most serious risk posed by a defective fire extinguisher is a burn injury, but it is not the only risk. A defective fire extinguisher can lead to:
- Smoke, ash and soot inhalation
- Frostbite from the release of carbon dioxide
- Toxic inhalation of chemicals
- Hypoxia (deprived of adequate oxygen supply) from inhalation of chemicals
- Eye injuries from fire extinguisher powder
Liability in Los Angeles defective fire extinguisher claims
If your fire extinguisher is defective and fails you when you attempt to use it, the manufacturer of that extinguisher may be liable for your injuries. If you rent and your landlord was aware that there was a problem with your fire extinguisher – it was part of a recalled lot, it had been used before, it was expired, etc. – then he or she may also bear some portion of liability.
If you are at a venue where the fire suppression system fails, the owner or operator of that property may be liable. If that property is owned by a city, county or other public entity, you only have a limited time to make your claim. Generally speaking, you have two years to file a personal injury claim in California, but you only have six months to file notice with a government entity.
Why you should work with a Los Angeles product liability lawyer
For more than 30 years, the Los Angeles product liability lawyers of McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP have fought for justice for injury victims. You want to have an experienced attorney on your side, because defective product claims are incredibly complex.
- You must have a specific basis for your claim: a design defect, a manufacturing defect and/or a failure to warn about the potential risks. If you can prove this under California law, the other party may be held strictly liable even if they were not “negligent” in their actions.
- If you are seeking damages for your injuries, you must be able to prove that you used the extinguisher in a “reasonably foreseeable way.”
- You must prove that you are not in any way at fault for your own injuries, or your award could be reduced by the percentage of your fault. In other words, if you were found to be 25% at fault for your injuries, and you were awarded $20,000 in damages, that final award may be reduced to $15,000.
McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP will investigate your claim and review your medical records. We may partner with outside experts, such as mechanical engineers, to assess the true value of your property loss and other damages.
Remember that manufacturers often have powerful legal teams working for them, whose sole mission is to avoid having to pay out on a claim. By working with an attorney, you show the negligent parties that you are serious about your claim, and are holding them responsible for your injuries. McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP has taken on powerful manufacturing companies and national insurance giants and won.
How much is my Los Angeles defective product claim worth?
There is no way to determine the exact worth of any injury claim, because every case is different. Some personal injury cases take longer to assess because the true nature and extent of your injuries may not be immediately apparent. However, you can commonly make a claim for the following damages:
- Medical expenses
- Wage losses
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Other related losses
Contact our experienced Los Angeles defective fire extinguisher injury lawyers today
McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP has represented injury victims throughout Southern California since 1993. If you sustained injuries or losses because of a defective fire extinguisher, our Los Angeles product liability lawyers may be able to help. To schedule a free consultation with a member of our team, please call 310.474.1582 or complete our contact form today. Let our family help yours.