House Fire

Causes Death of Two Children​

Don Corson represented the family of two young children who were killed in a fire at a rental home on the Oregon coast. The house had inadequate fire protection systems, and highly flammable interior wall coverings.

Death cases involving children are particularly painful, and have unique legal challenges. With almost every death of a child, the parents feel guilty, no matter how free of fault they were. Insurance defense lawyers are skilled in exploiting that sense of guilt. The death of a child is such a terrible event that most of us have a difficult time thinking about it with any detail or for any length of time; it is so unbearably painful that we want to put it out of our minds. When it happens to someone else, we want to think that we would have (somehow) been able to do something to prevent the death; otherwise, the world seems too unjust. Some jurors don’t feel comfortable with the very idea of a lawsuit for the death of a child, thinking that parents should not “profit” from such a loss. Yet it is a serious loss; in this era of mostly smaller families, the loss of one child not only leaves a hole in the family’s heart, it also leaves a hole in the parents’ future care and assistance.

In this case, the landlord had rented to a family with young children a house that was a tinderbox, and which in fact did go up in flames so quickly that the children could not be rescued. The case settled for an amount that is kept confidential for the privacy of the family.

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