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Establishing Accountability for UAE Building Fire/Collapse: Legal Options and Recourse

Victims and families may seek compensation through legal avenues such as filing civil lawsuit or negotiating settlements for damages incurred

Owner's Profile

Pavitra Shetty

Published on April 15, 2024, 18:09:24

625

uae, building fire, insurance

In the wake of a devastating fire that swept through a high-rise building in Al Nahda, UAE, claiming the lives of five individuals and leaving 44 injured, with 17 in critical condition, urgent questions arise about accountability and legal liability.

The fire erupted on Thursday, April 4, at 9:30 pm, shrouding the community in tragedy. Emergency responders swiftly evacuated 156 residents, including 18 children, to safety. However, the grim toll of casualties and injuries underscores the gravity of the situation and the pressing need for accountability for the building fire.

Who Bears the Responsibility?

In the UAE, negligent property owners of industrial and commercial buildings face the legal burden of firefighting costs in the event of a fire. This stringent measure is designed to discourage owners from disregarding fire safety standards and ensure compliance with the latest building regulations in the UAE.

Owners found to be non-compliant with fire safety standards are held accountable for all expenses associated with extinguishing the blaze, encompassing firefighting efforts and fines for regulatory violations.

Determining accountability in such tragedies involves a thorough investigation into the cause of the fire and whether any negligence or violations of safety regulations contributed to its escalation. Building owners, property managers, maintenance personnel and relevant authorities may be held legally accountable if lapses in fire safety protocols are identified.

What are the Legal Issues Involved?

Legal issues arising from a building fire may encompass violations of building codes, safety regulations and duty of care obligations towards residents. Civil lawsuits for wrongful death, personal injury and property damage could be pursued against liable parties found negligent in ensuring adequate fire prevention and emergency response measures.

How can Victims of Building Fire Get Compensation?

Victims of building fire and their families may seek compensation through legal avenues such as filing civil lawsuits against responsible parties or negotiating settlements for damages incurred. Additionally, insurance claims for medical expenses, loss of income, and property damage may be pursued to alleviate financial burdens resulting from the tragedy.

What can Tenants Do?

Tenants are encouraged to report any violations observed on the building premises to Civil Defence for appropriate action against the owner.

What is the Role of Insurance Companies?

Insurance companies are prohibited from processing fire insurance claims for establishments that do not meet safety regulations without Civil Defence approval. Any violation of these rules by insurance companies renders them liable in case of fire-related accidents.

Stricter fire prevention measures are being adopted in the UAE to prioritise the safety of individuals and maintain a peaceful environment in commercial and industrial buildings. With stringent measures in place to hold negligent property owners accountable for firefighting costs and promote adherence to fire safety norms, the UAE is steadfast in its commitment to safeguarding the lives and properties of its residents.

(The writer is a legal associate at NYK Law Firm, one of the top legal consultants in Dubai)

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004. Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

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