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Who is Liable for Dryer and Washing Fires in Florida Homes?

washing machineWashing machines and dryers are a routine part of life in Florida and the United States. However, fires originating from these appliances are more common than you may think. If you or someone close to you was injured in a dryer or washing machine fire, it is important to reach out to a skilled Miami personal injury attorney. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, we have successfully represented countless South Florida victims of fires, and can help you as well. We will examine the facts of your case and determine the viability of your claim.

The United States Fire Administration estimates that there are 2900 home clothes dryer fires every year that results in 5 deaths, 100 injuries and $35 million in property loss. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there were 16,800 reported U.S. home structure fires involving clothes dryers and washing machines in 2010. In the vast majority of cases, the clothes dryer is responsible for the fire. The NFPA found that the leading cause of dryer fires between 2006 and 2010 was the failure to clean the dust, fiber or lint in the machine.

Under Florida law, a landlord may be liable for any injuries and property damage resulting from a washing machine or dryer fire. Since the landlord leased the dryer to the tenants, that landlord may be liable if it can be established that he maintained control over the appliance. Typically, this can be proven by showing that the landlord leased the appliance, asked to be informed upon discovery of any defect, and took on the responsibility of fixing the dryer. It is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of a washing machine or dryer fire when the fire has seriously damaged the machine. As such, Florida law allows an inference to be made that a defect existed if the dryer was operating normally and then caught on fire and destroyed itself.

The manufacturer of a washing machine or dryer may also be liable for a fire if the machine was defectively designed or manufactured. Design defects refer to defects that are inherent in the design of the product. Put another way, design defects are defects in the blueprints of the design. For example, a dryer that allows lint to accumulate too close to the electric heating coils in a place where users could not see or clean it may be considered defectively designed if a safer alternative could have been designed. A manufacturing defect, on the other hand, occurs when the washing machine or dryer is manufactured improperly. In other words, the way the machine was made was a departure from the way it was designed. In some cases, a manufacturer may be liable for failing to warn users of hidden dangers or risks associated with using a product.

If you have been injured by a washing machine or dryer fire, you should reach out to a Miami injury attorney who can assess the merits of your case. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, we are committed to getting you the compensation you deserve for your harm. We proudly take on clients from across South Florida. To discuss your case in more detail, please do not hesitate to call us at 1-877-499-HURT (4878) or reach out to us online today.

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