Contrary to what you may have seen in movies or on TV, most cars don't erupt into fiery explosions when they so much as bump into another vehicle. However, don't let this media mischaracterization trick you into thinking that car fires aren't a legitimate concern after a crash. These types of accidents happen far more often than people realize—and they can have catastrophic or deadly results for drivers and occupants of the vehicles involved.
In fact, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) refers to motor vehicle fires as "a seldom-recognized part of America's fire problem." According to estimates from its Fire Administration division, there are more than 171,000 highway vehicle fires in the United States each year, resulting in hundreds of deaths, upwards of a thousand injuries, and more than $1 million in property damages.
If you were hurt—or lost a loved one—in a California car fire, the knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorneys with the Inland Empire Law Group can help you understand your rights and explore your options. In cases where defective vehicle components or another party's negligence caused the crash and subsequent fire, you may be entitled to compensation.
Car Crash Fires Can Turn Vehicles Into Death Traps
Being in an accident is frightening, but when one of the involved vehicles catches fires, things can go from bad to worse in an instant. The flames from a car fire can reach temperatures higher than 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit and shoot out more than 10 feet from the vehicle, and when exposed to high heat, some components may burst into pieces of what's essentially shrapnel. There's more: Not only are vehicles made of a number of flammable synthetic materials that can produce toxic gasses when burned, but the average gas tank size for passenger vehicles ranges from 12 to 20 gallons—and each gallon of gas packs the explosive force of several sticks of dynamite. All things considered, it isn't difficult to see why car accident fires can have such devastating consequences. Victims who may have lived through the initial crash may perish in the resulting fire (or, more rarely, explosion), and survivors may deal with disfiguring burns or disabling injuries for the rest of their lives.
Common Causes of Vehicle Fires
The car fire in your case may have been caused by a collision, shoddy repairs, or defects such as:
- Electrical system failure
- Defectively-designed batteries
- Short circuits
- Fuel or flammable fluid leaks or spills
- Overheating catalytic converters
- Gas tanks positions outside the protective frame or in the "crush zone"
- Inadequate exhaust airflow and cooling
- And others
Do you know what caused your—or your loved one's—vehicle fire? Let us investigate the source of the fire and your options for compensation. We'll also identify the appropriate defendant or defendants in your case, whether it's a negligent driver, a negligent auto repair professional, or the manufacturer of a defective or faulty vehicle component.
Potential Damages After a Car Fire
Our adept personal injury attorneys and paralegals can help you file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit to seek the appropriate recovery for your losses. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be entitled to damages for:
- Related medical costs (including reasonable future expenses)
- Vehicle repair or replacement
- Lost wages
- Loss of future income
- Physical pain and suffering
- Psychological trauma
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Permanent disability
- And more
Contact Our Southern California Car Accident Attorneys Today
Our skilled legal team helps accident victims like you recover the compensation they need and deserve to cope with the aftermath of devastating crashes. We'll guide you through each and every step of the personal injury recovery system and strive to make the process as painless as possible. Want to find out what we can do for your case? Contact us today at (888) 694-3529 or (909) 481-0100 to schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation.