It could be a cigarette, candle, lighter, match or even a moment’s contact with a space heater. Any small, open flame ignition source can ignite upholstered furniture, especially furniture made with synthetic material and polyurethane foam.
The problem is compounded by the speed of the resulting fires. In just a few minutes, flames, intense heat and toxic smoke reach lethal levels.
In fact, fires involving upholstered furniture that are the first item ignited or the primary source of the fire account for nearly a quarter of all deaths in home fires. In the last year for which data is available, 480 people died, 840 were injured and almost a half a billion dollars in property damage resulted from fires involving upholstered furniture.
What’s even more shocking is that there is no federal law or regulation applicable to upholstered furniture flammability. In other words, there is no national standard requiring furniture manufacturers to safeguard their products.
The fire safety lawyers at Pritzker Hageman have decades of experience representing people burned and the families of individuals killed in home fires involving dangerous flammable furniture.
As firm president, Fred Pritzker, explains:
“The first flammable furniture case we handled was over twenty years ago. A newly purchased sofa with polyurethane cushions caught fire and in less than three minutes the two bedroom apartment filled with lethal amounts of toxic smoke and gas. A young mother who would have survived her relatively minor burns, died from smoke inhalation. Her two young children were also overcome by smoke. One recovered relatively well; the little girl suffered irreversible brain damage and is unable to live independently.”
The sum of the settlement payments received by the family is guaranteed to exceed $10,000,000, but as Pritzker noted:
“The cost of making that furniture safer was incredibly small, probably well under $50, but people simply don’t know how dangerous modern synthetic furniture is and manufacturers are not required to make it safer. And no matter how much money is recovered for our clients, their lives are shattered.”
“More people should be outraged. What you’re sitting on can literally kill you. Manufacturers must be held accountable for the harms and losses resulting from upholstered furniture fires.”
Since that first flammable furniture case, Pritzker Hageman lawyers have become leaders in representing people harmed by these dangerous products. Call us toll-free at 1-888-377-8900 or email us for a free consultation about your case.