Fire Negligence

Insurance Defense Attorneys Serving Traverse City and Grand Rapids

A fire or gas explosion on the West Side of Michigan may result in catastrophic burn injuries and significant property damage. These fires and explosions may have many different causes. As an insurer providing coverage, it is critical to retain an experienced and qualified insurance defense attorney to determine whether fire negligence or arson may be at issue. Grand Rapids and Traverse City fire negligence lawyer Kelly Neumann is an award-winning trial attorney who can put her insights related to plaintiffs' claims to work for your insured.

Understanding When Fire Negligence May Arise

Fires and explosions may arise from house fires, propane grill explosions, natural or propane gas leaks, motor vehicle fires, defective appliance fires, furnace or boiler fires, gas tank explosions, carbon monoxide, or warehouse explosions involving toxic chemicals. As an insurer, you have an interest in making sure that these issues are properly investigated.

A plaintiff trying to obtain compensation for injuries or property damage arising out of your insured's conduct will most likely need to prove negligence by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that they will need to prove that it is more likely than not that your insured owed a duty to use reasonable care, breached that duty, and in breaching the duty caused a fire that resulted in actual damages. For example, if a plaintiff is a private school art student who was caught in a fire that was a result of an employee smoking near turpentine, the student would need to show that the employee owed the student a duty to use reasonable care, and the decision to smoke was a breach of that duty.

What needs to be proven shifts somewhat if the fire was a result of a defective property condition. For example, if the plaintiff is a tenant in a building that catches fire due to badly maintained wiring by your insured, the property owner, the plaintiff will need to establish that the insured knew or should have known about the faulty wiring.

The notice requirement may be a major stumbling block for plaintiffs hoping to show negligence in connection with property conditions in Grand Rapids or Traverse City. Our fire negligence attorneys may be able to file a motion for summary judgment to secure a disposition in the case without going to trial.

There are also other motions and tactics that we can potentially use to provide a strong defense to your insured. After investigating the cause of the fire, we may be able to argue that the plaintiff was comparatively negligent. For example, in a case involving faulty wiring, a plaintiff may have seen signs of faulty wiring but failed to provide notice to the insured. In Michigan, when economic damages are involved, an award will be reduced proportionately to a plaintiff's negligence, no matter how much at fault the plaintiff was. However, for noneconomic damages, a plaintiff's negligence that is determined to be more than 50% will completely bar their recovery.

Since we also represent plaintiffs, we can provide insights about whether it may be a good idea to settle a fire negligence claim. We understand the stumbling blocks that a plaintiff may experience, and we can recommend an amount that is enough to encourage settlement but not too much.

Consult a Fire Negligence Lawyer in Grand Rapids or Traverse City

Fires may be caused by either negligent or intentional conduct. In some cases, you will need to appoint independent counsel, while in others it may be enough to issue a reservation of rights letter. If you need a strong defense for your insured, our Traverse City and Grand Rapids fire negligence attorneys may be able to assist you. Our firm represents clients in Detroit, Lansing, Ann Arbor, Flint, Petoskey, Warren, Holland, Muskegon, Midland, Kalamazoo, Wyoming, and Saginaw, as well as throughout the Upper Peninsula. Contact the Neumann Law Group at 800-525-NEUMANN or via our online form to set up an appointment. Our principal, Kelly Neumann, is a knowledgeable injury attorney who understands the nuances of these claims.

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