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Tragic Apartment Fire Leads to Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Tragic Apartment Fire Leads to Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Tragic Apartment Fire Leads to Wrongful Death Lawsuit 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston


The laws of negligence assign liability to anyone who acts unreasonably and carelessly, causing injury and harm to another person. In most cases, there is no need for the responsible party to have acted intentionally, so long as their actions represent a deviation from reasonably “prudent” (i.e., careful) conduct. In some cases, negligent conduct results in the death of the victim from the injuries sustained in the accident. Under the laws of wrongful death in Texas, lawmakers and courts set out to ensure that no responsible party would be alleviated of financial responsibility simply because the victim is deceased – and created a system whereby surviving loved ones could recover compensation on behalf of their beloved family member.

Under this system, a representative for the deceased must still prove that negligence occurred and must present a case to the judge and jury that meets the four elements of negligence: duty, breach, causation, and damages.

In one recent case, which actually occurred in nearby Magnolia, Arkansas, a Texas woman is suing an apartment complex on behalf of her deceased brother, who tragically perished in a fire at the complex in August 2015. Named in the lawsuit are five individuals who run a “joint partnership” as owners of the buildings. Specifically, the surviving family member asserts that the defendants failed to keep the building in a safe condition, and did not regularly inspect the building to ensure it was safe for not only the occupants, but those living adjacent.

According to the allegations, none of the smoke alarms were operational in the building, so the victim was never alerted that a fire was underway. For this reason, the plaintiff alleges, the building owners should be held responsible for the death of the victim, citing the non-operational smoke detectors and the actual and proximate causes of his death. In a case such as this, the plaintiff would undoubtedly need the assistance of a forensic fire expert to determine whether the lack of operational smoke alarms would have made the difference between the victim surviving or not – which would ultimately be the pivotal issue for the jury to decide following the wrongful death trial.


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To learn more about negligence, personal injury, and wrongful death in Texas, please contact Chandler Mathis & Zivley today: 877-739-7744.