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        An American-Made Cigarette Lighter Caught Fire in My Hand

        150 150 Clifford Horwitz

        Question:

        On the 31.05.01 I had a serious accident involving a cigarette lighter from an American manufacturer. After following careful refuelling instructions, the whole lighter burst into flames, severely catching my left hand on fire in the process.

        The injuries I received to my left hand were that severe that it required emergency medical attention for severe burns plus further treatments including physiotherapy.

        Still today, after a year of my accident I still have problems with two fingers on my left hand that were worst effected by this. I still have a small reacurring amount of pain, discomfort and stiffness from the joints of these two fingers. I also suffer from reacurring nightmares of my accident

        I have sought legal advice about my accident and have been told that I have a strong claim for compensation from this manufacturer, backed up with photographic evidence of my injuries sustained.

        The reason why I have contacted yourselves is to ask, if you think I have a strong enough claim for compensation? Also, being that I am from England, would yourselves consider handling my claim for compensation with me being an overseas client?

        I strongly believe that by using an American law firm to handle my claim, it would be handled with far greater efficiency than that of an English law firm. I would be extremely grateful to yourselves if you would consider handling my claim for compensation.

        –Aaron, England

        Answer:

        Your first step is to preserve the evidence. 1) Photograph the hand; 2) Save the lighter. Put it in a air-proof bag and save it and don’t let it get altered. Store it in a safe place. 3) Determine who the manufacturer of the lighter is; 4) Document the name and addressess of witnesses.

        Your question seeks an American attorney to represent a British citizen regarding an accident that happened in England. Hence the first question becomes, which law applies? If American law applies, which state’s law applies? Each of the states have different laws.

        The next question is, what effect does American treaty with England have on the rights of British citizens. These are all difficult questions to answer. Each requires research. One important factor is to determine which state the manufacturer of the cigarette lighter is from. If the manufacturer is from Illinois, it would seem to be a good place to file the lawsuit and to make an attempt to apply Illinois law. If the manufacturer is from California, that would also be a good place to prosecute the action and to get California law to apply. The same goes for N.Y. and most of the Northernwest and Eastern states in the nation.

        If the manufacturer is from George Bush country, which is Texas, then Texas law may apply. For your benefit, avoid that backward, embarrassing state.

        The manufacturer will attempt to avoid paying you any money. They will argue that less favorable British law applies. They will argue that you were careless and negligent and misused the lighter. This has to be analyzed and fought vigorously.

        You are welcome to send us photographs of your hand so we can evaluate the extent of the injury and to try to figure out if we can protect your rights. Can we? I don’t know. There is no charge for our analysis. The choice is yours.

        Clifford Horwitz
        AUTHOR

        Clifford Horwitz

        As Principal Partner and lead trial lawyer of Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, Cliff has devoted his entire career to achieving justice for those who have been victimized by corporate negligence. He has won numerous record-setting jury verdicts and settlements, as well as what was the largest personal injury verdict in Illinois for an individual.

        All stories by: Clifford Horwitz
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