There is rarely a single cause for any given car fire, even if an investigator can trace all the way back to the incident that sparked the blaze. It is more likely that there was a combination of causes: human causes, mechanical causes, and chemical causes, and they all worked together to create an incredibly dangerous situation. Defects in a car’s fuel-delivery system or gas tank placement can cause the vehicle to burst into flames following an accident. Post-collision fires can often be traced to ruptures in the car’s fuel lines or gas tank due to faulty design or improper maintenance.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says that vehicle fires account for about 20 percent of all reported fires.
The majority of auto fires begin in the engine compartment – where most of the working parts of the car are. Although there is a firewall between the engine and the passengers in the car, this protective barrier only allows the vehicle’s occupants a little time to escape to safety. The firewall does not stop noxious fumes from injuring those in the car or a subsequent explosion. The heat of the engine fire itself can spread the fire to the main body of the car.
Post-collision fuel fed fires can cause horrible injuries and incredible suffering. Many of these fires are needless and can be prevented. A safe automobile design minimizes the risk of fuel fed fires by providing adequate protection to both the fuel tank and the fuel system.
Fuel tank design defects and defects in placement of fuel tanks can cause a tank to rupture and leak during a collision. The safest location for a fuel tank is between the two axles. Vehicles with fuel tanks mounted behind the rear axle are more vulnerable in rear impacts.
Other than fuel tank location, design defects in trucks or automobiles may include tank design, including materials, inadequate fuel line materials, fuel lines without safety valves, and defective fuel filler necks. In addition, manufacturers must ensure a “safe environment” for fuel tanks. In other words, there should not be exposed bolts, screws or objects that can easily puncture a gas tank following a collision or accident.
Post collision fires can also occur because of defects in the fuel lines or fuel pumps. Now that most cars have fuel injected engines, fuel travels through fuel lines at significant pressure. A fuel line rupture can result in a significant leakage of fuel. Lines can rupture because of poor placement or routing as well as poor material composition.
Defective fuel systems in cars and large trucks can lead to deadly fires and explosions in an accident. If you or a loved one has been injured in a post-collision fuel-fed fire, the experienced California auto fire lawyers at the Liljegren Law Group are here to help you explore your legal options.
Nationally, car fires have annually decreased since peaking in 1988 with 459,000 vehicle fires. That is until 2014 when car fires saw their first spike in over a decade, increasing by 3,500 fires from 2013. Last year continued the new upward trend by 6,500. On the contrary, injuries and fatalities remained rather consistent over the years. For example, 1999 recorded 345,000 car fires resulting in 450 deaths and 1,600 injuries while 2015 recorded just 174,000 fires with 445 deaths and 1,550 injuries.
Many fuel-fed fires result in fatal injuries. Those that survive must contend with months, years, possibly a lifetime of burn injury treatments, including painful skin grafts, infection treatments and reconstructive surgeries. Our attorneys understand the hardships faced by burn victims and their families. We will carefully review the circumstances of your accident and the current and future medical treatment your injuries will require.
Personal injury litigation is complex, especially when a dangerous or defective automobile is involved. It is critical to talk with an experienced California auto fire attorney at the Liljegren Law Group, before trying to handle the matter yourself. Contact a California car fire injury attorney today at 866.613.9906 for a free initial consultation. We handle cases throughout the state of California.
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