Why do cars catch on fire? Here, we discuss common causes of auto fires that result in victims suffering devastating burns or death.

Major Causes of Motor Vehicle Fires

A vehicle fire can be terrifying and result in victims suffering catastrophic burn injuries or death. According to the National Fire Protection Association, 174,000 motor vehicle fires on highways in 2015 resulted in 445 deaths and 1,550 injuries. When another party’s negligence is the cause of the fire, the victim may be entitled to compensation for his medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional trauma.

What Are the Main Causes of Motor Vehicle Fires?

Cars catch on fire for a variety of reasons—not always due to a car accident. Determining the reason for the fire is critical to identify liable parties that could be responsible for compensating victims. Common causes of car fires include:

  • Car accidents. If a fuel tank ruptures in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, it can cause one or both of the vehicles to ignite, endangering those in the vehicles involved in the crash and nearby individuals.
  • Defective vehicle design. In some cases, a vehicle or component can be designed or manufactured improperly, resulting in a car fire. A car accident may be a contributing factor in causing the fire to ignite. In this situation, a victim could have a products liability claim as well as a claim against a negligent driver.
  • Improper maintenance. Some fires are caused when the owner fails to perform regular maintenance and repair of his vehicle. Broken vehicle parts, faulty wiring, and worn seals can be conducive to the vehicle catching on fire. If improper repairs resulted in the car igniting, the auto mechanic could face responsibility to victims.
  • Electrical system problems. When electrical systems, such as the battery, starters, and sound systems are not installed properly or wires are left loose, this can cause the vehicle to catch on fire. Improper repairs by a mechanic or lack of maintenance in general could be the underlying cause of these fires.
  • Fuel leaks. If there is any leak of the fuel near hot engine parts, a dangerous fire can be the result. A leak in the fuel tank can cause a more catastrophic fire if it causes the fuel tank to explode.

What Treatments Could a Victim of a Car Fire Need?

Victims of a car fire can suffer devastating burns over large parts of their bodies that can cause permanent disfigurement and scarring. The emotional trauma from the terror of the fire and coping with the permanent changes to the victim’s appearance can cause depression, anxiety, and other psychological conditions. Some of the expensive medical treatments that a victim could need include:

  • Medications to prevent infection, treat burns, and reduce anxiety and pain
  • Burn ointments and creams
  • Emergency breathing assistance and tube feeding
  • Skin grafts
  • Plastic surgery
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Psychological counseling

Let Our Experienced Car Accident Attorneys Help You Obtain the Compensation You Deserve for Your Injuries

If you or a loved one suffered burns in a car fire, you need the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney to determine the cause of the fire and the liable parties. Because your injuries may be catastrophic, the insurance companies for the negligent parties could fight longer and harder to deny your claim for compensation. Our experienced legal team understands the importance of a thorough investigation in these cases and is not afraid to take your case to trial if this is necessary to obtain the compensation you deserve. To learn more about how we can assist you, call our office and schedule a free consultation.