Alabama woman sues after fatal apartment fire

An Alabama woman recently filed a lawsuit against her apartment complex in addition to two smoke detector manufacturers alleging liability for her husband's death in a recent apartment fire. According to the lawsuit filed in a United States District Court in Birmingham, the apartment smoke detector failed to sound during a fire that killed her 59-year-old husband.

All of the defendants are being sued for the wrongful death of the woman's husband. The lawsuit claims that the apartment complex failed to properly maintain minimum safety standards and that the manufacturer produced a defectively designed or defectively manufactured product. The lawsuit also alleges that the smoke detector that failed was a replacement, installed sometime before the fire when apartment maintenance staff determined that the previous smoke detector was not functioning properly.

The complaint goes on to state claims against the corporations that own and maintain the apartment complex and the companies that manufactured the smoke detector, which was hard-wired into the apartment's electrical system. Alabama state fire investigators ruled the fire an accident and said it likely began in the kitchen. According to the lawsuit, the smoke detector was within earshot of the woman's husband, and eyewitnesses have reported the smoke detector did not sound. The woman's attorney stated that the evidence will demonstrate that the smoke detectors did not function properly during the fire and said the case is about determining how that could happen.

The lawsuit alleges that the companies also negligently or wantonly failed to warn of problems with the device and states claims for breach of warranty. Those who are injured or lost a loved one through the negligence of others, whether through a car accident or a comparatively unusual circumstance like this, may be entitled to compensation from single or multiple defendants. A personal injury attorney may help to evaluate and explain potential causes of action.

Source: AL.com, "Lawsuit: Shelby County woman blames husband's death on apartment and smoke detector companies", Kent Faulk, December 04, 2013

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