May is Electrical Safety Month. Our Rockford based personal injury lawyers would like to use this opportunity to discuss some of the hazards of electricity.

Each year more than 14,000 Americans are injured in electrical fires; about 438 die. You might think that there’s nothing you can do about electrical fires, but many of these injuries and deaths can be prevented.

About half (49 percent) of all Illinois electrical fires involve the home’s electrical wiring or light fixtures. You may not be an electrician, but there are some signs that can tell you that something is wrong with your home’s wiring. If you have any of these problems, have your wiring checked by a licensed electrician.

  • You have frequent power outages or blown fuses.
  • Your lights dim or flicker.
  • You see sparks coming out of outlets.
  • You hear sizzling sounds in your outlets or walls.
  • Plugs, cords, or switches feel warm or hot to the touch.
  • You smell something burning or a rubbery smell.
  • You feel a mild shock or tingle when plugging in an appliance.

Who is liable when home wiring causes an electrical fire in Illinois?

It depends. In some cases, the fire is truly an accident. There are no warning signs. But, in many cases, electrical fires are the result of negligence. Here are two examples:

You are renting your home. You noticed some of the warning signs listed above and you asked your landlord to send an electrician to look at the wiring. Your landlord ignored your request and your home caught on fire. Your landlord could be held responsible for your injuries, your property damage and any Illinois wrongful death claims resulting from the fire.

Here’s another scenario:

You recently had an addition put on your home. The contactor put in the wiring. If the wiring catches on fire, the contractor can be held liable. Other liable parties could include the public utility company and the wiring inspector.

Determining who is liable for an injury or death caused by an Illinois electrical fire can be difficult. You need an experienced Rockford personal injury attorney on your side. To discuss your fire injury claim in Illinois, please call Hupy and Abraham at 800-390-6350.

Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.