Different states in the United States Fireman’s Rule

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The Fireman's Rule and its Interpretation

The Fireman's Rule is interpreted differently in each jurisdiction in the United States. The regulation specifically forbids career firemen from receiving compensation for harms brought on by the negligence of property owners, plumbers, and the water heater manufacturer. However, some states do not adhere to the Fireman's Rule and instead permit the involved parties to be sued by the firemen in the same manner as any other citizen would. (Bennett, 2008).

Section 1714.9 of the California Civil Code

Section 1714.9 of the California Civil Code is an example of the Fireman's Rule. The firefighters and their families are barred from starting lawsuits against the home owners and other stakeholders in cases when they do not intentionally start a fire. Unlike other states such as Oregon, New Jersey, Florida, and Minnesota which have overturned the rule, the state of California maintains some of the requirements of the Fireman’s Rule. Notably, there is no statute or a court decision that shifts the liability associated with the injuries and harm during a firefighting operation to the home owner or the plumber. In fact, one of the most prominent cases, Lipson vs. Superior Court of California, indicates that the injuries are not within the ambit of the rule even in event of the high quality relating to the tortuous act (Dobbs, 2001). However, the victim in the case under discussion may receive compensation under the tort system due to the influence of the public policy (Dobbs, 2001).

Opinion on the Fireman's Rule

In my opinion, the land owner, the plumber, and the company that sold the water heater are not liable under the current law in the state of California. However, under the public policy in California, the family of the victim can sue the land owner if the structure is not built to the required standard. In addition, he/she cannot escape civil liability if he misrepresents information concerning the building or the general cause of the fire. To a large extent, I believe the Fireman’s Rule is unfair and unreasonable because the land owner should offer a duty of care to the firefighter in a similar fashion to another non-trespassing individual.


Bennett, L. T. (2008). Fire service law. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall

Dobbs, D. B. (2001). The law of torts (Vol. 2). West Group.

July 15, 2023

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