Earlier this month, an apartment building near Covington caught fire. While attempting an escape, a female tenant sustained an injury jumping from a second-story window. Who is now liable for her injuries and the fire damage?

In the wake of the incident, an investigation will seek to determine liability. Authorities and insurance adjusters will investigate the cause of the fire, the protective measures in place and assess all damages. Then the insurance companies and lawyers will evaluate the myriad insurance claims and determine liability.

Liability in an apartment fire

In an apartment fire, both the landlord and tenant are responsible for providing insurance coverage. Damages to fixtures like refrigerators, cabinets, or plumbing fall under the landlord’s coverage. A tenant’s renter’s insurance will cover their belongings including furniture, clothing and equipment.

Establishing legal liability for the cause of the fire is the next step. If the involved parties dispute the cause, the case may end up in court and require a judge’s ruling. However, these cases often end with settlements. Settling allows both parties to move on from the incident quickly and focus on recovery. Settling also allows whichever party found liable to save face and keep details confidential.

A landlord proved at fault pays for a tenant’s damaged personal possessions, lost wages, costs of renting elsewhere, medical coverage, and any additional convenience expenses. Liability may also fall to a renter proved at fault. In situations with muddled liability, resolutions will generally follow whichever course of action makes as many victims whole as possible.

After a fire

To protect oneself and establish proper liability, evidence is critical. Tenants impacted by an apartment fire should document the impact, taking both photos and videos of the damage. An insurance adjuster may request this evidence in their investigation. Tenants should also notify their insurance carrier and provide a detailed description of the event from their perspective. Many tenants impact by fire damage or injury have found success securing the services of a local lawyer familiar with personal injury cases.