Premises Liability

Building Collapses

No amount of skill or caution on the part of a firefighter can guarantee his or her safety in the event of a building collapse. Injuries sustained by a firefighter as a result of a building collapse are typically very serious, if not fatal. Property owners are responsible for ensuring that their buildings are constructed and maintained in accordance with applicable building codes and regulations so that firefighters are not unnecessarily put in harms way when performing their duties.

Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo has an experienced team of lawyers with a long track record of winning cases for injured firefighters, and families of fallen firefighters, against property owners. SPBMC understands how a defectively constructed or poorly maintained building can contribute to its collapse during a fire, or how a violation of a building code or regulation may have caused a fire or for it to spread, leading to the building’s collapse. Put our experience to work for you.

Building Violations

Building violations can cause fires and endanger firefighters in the line of duty. Building violations often directly or indirectly result in firefighters sustaining serious injuries. Unfortunately, citations for code violations are not always issued to the buildings where fires erupt. Identifying the codes that were violated takes expertise and knowledge of the law — both of which you will find with the attorneys at Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo (SPBMC).

SPBMC has countless years of experience litigating complex cases where building violations were directly or indirectly responsible for fires and firefighter injuries. If you have suffered an injury while fighting a fire, it is important that you contact SPBMC immediately, so that the matter can be investigated as efficiently and promptly as possible.

Illegal Tenancy

Illegal tenancy can make fighting a fire far more difficult – and dangerous. Illegal tenancy is often the result of subdivisions within a property that are not up to code. Where properties are illegally subdivided, the routes to escape a fire are often compromised or no longer exist. This can endanger firefighters attempting to exit or enter a specific portion of the property. It also can then take more time to extinguish the fire, permitting it to burn hotter and more aggressively. Unfortunately, we have seen the tragic and deadly result of this kind of risk in the Black Sunday Fire.

A building owner can be held responsible for the violations such as illegal tenancy. Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo (SPBMC) has experienced attorneys who have recovered millions for firefighters injured as a result of someone else’s negligence. If you were hurt while fighting a fire, contact the attorneys at SPBMC immediately, so that the matter can be investigated as quickly as possible.

Lack of Proper Safety Equipment

For the last 40 years, Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo (SPBMC) has been at the forefront of the fight to ensure that firefighters have the most effective and useful equipment possible. We understand that firefighters have one of the most physically demanding and dangerous jobs in the world. It is imperative that they are protected.

As general counsel to the Uniformed Firefighters Association, SPBMC has espoused the need for proper equipment and has fought for firefighters’ needs in a series of personal injury cases. Back in 1996, in Lyall v. The City of New York, Robert Sullivan, the firm’s senior member, won the first litigation centered on the need for proper bunker gear. After this landmark victory, the City of New York began to issue each firefighter with bunker gear.

Similarly, we have challenged the treatment of firefighters at The Rock when they were unnecessarily injured and burned. And most recently, in the Black Sunday Fire, a jury found that the city was liable for taking safety ropes away from firefighters. The ropes have since been reissued.

If you are a firefighter who believes that you were not provided with sufficient safety equipment or that your equipment failed and you were injured as a result, you should call SPBMC as soon as possible. Remember: timing is crucial. In a case involving safety equipment, we may be required to file a Notice of Claim in the first 90 days after the accident to preserve your rights.

Lack of Sprinklers

Too often firefighters are injured in a blaze that spread as a result of someone’s negligence or because there was a violation of an applicable code. For instance, a working sprinkler system is required in certain buildings in New York City, yet many landlords do not comply. As a result, firefighters can be exposed to serious, sometimes deadly, situations where fires grow out of control.

Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo has proudly represented injured firefighters for decades, including those hurt as a result of a lack of sprinklers in buildings. Please contact us to speak with an attorney if you have been in injured in the line of duty.

Lack of Self Closing Doors

The New York City Administrative Code requires that certain doors be “self-closing” and to be of a certain fireproof construction. These requirements are in place to help contain building fires and to slow their spread. Unfortunately, not all buildings in New York City have doors that meet these standards, and thus fires in these buildings are able to grow in size and intensity. This creates an excessively dangerous situation for firefighters.

Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo represents firefighters who are injured in the line of duty, including in building fires that were allowed to spread because doors did not meet the applicable code. If you think that you may have such a claim, please contact usimmediately to speak with an experienced attorney.

Structural Fires

Structural fires are among the most daunting challenges a New York City firefighter can face, and a very common cause of firefighter injury. Structural fires can burn hotter and faster than other blazes, making them difficult to extinguish. The challenges associated with battling them, coupled with the search for those who may be trapped inside a building, make structural fires a highly difficult and dangerous task.

Injuries in structural fires are often directly or indirectly caused because of violations of city rules or the negligence of the owners or tenants. But the devastation that results from a structural fire can often complicate the determination as to who is at fault. The attorneys at Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo (SPBMC) know where to look and which questions to ask to determine responsibility.

SPBMC has successfully litigated countless personal injury cases on behalf of firefighters who have been hurt as a result of structural fires. Our firm has the experience and talent to get the results you and your family deserve.