Car Accident Resulting In A Fire Miami Car Accident Lawyer, Sean M. Cleary
How Can We Help After a Car Accident That Resulted in a Fire?
We investigate if a component in the car has started the fire or worsened the situation causing additional unnecessary injuries in the passengers.
Sean M. Cleary
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), over a period of ten years, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 2 million vehicle fires in Florida. These fires resulted in 400K deaths, 130K injured passengers, and over $10 billion in property damage. 93% of reported vehicle fires and deaths involved cars, trucks, buses, recreational vehicles, and motorcycles. On average, 31 Florida highway vehicle fires were reported each hour, with at least one person killed per day. Data from the U.S. Fire Administration shows that 93% of highway vehicle fires originate within the vehicle itself: 61% of the fires originate specifically in the engine, running gear, or wheel areas of the vehicle and 15% originate in the passenger area of the vehicle.
Car accidents in Miami resulting in a fire: Who is responsible?
In car accidents resulting in a fire, smoke inhalation and burns are a major cause of death. Unfortunately, when the fire results from a car accident, the consequences can be devastating. If the fuel tank of a vehicle leaks, it only takes a few seconds before the flames completely cover the car. Any passengers trapped inside, who are either unconscious or severely injured are likely to suffer fatal burns. Third and fourth-degree burns may require tissue removal and amputation and can be fatal.
The party responsible for compensating the victim or family members in a car accident that resulted in a fire could be the car manufacturer for unsafe design or unsafe components that started the fire or initiated an explosion, respectively the insurance companies that the third parties have. Liability often becomes clear through a detailed investigation and analysis of the car accident.
Car manufacturers are more concerned about financial benefits than the safety of the passengers and adopt cost-cutting measures. For example, although they are well aware that plastic melts instantly during a fire, many fuel tanks are still made of cheaper plastic instead of metal. Often, manufacturers fail to provide fire shields around fuel tanks to prevent fires. Manufacturers can be held liable in any of the following cases:
The location or design of the fuel tank is defective
The materials used for the fuel line are inadequate
The fuel line has no safety valves
The fuel filler neck is defective
The fuel tank is exposed to objects that could easily puncture it following a crash
You or family members may be entitled to monetary compensation after being involved in a car accident that resulted in a fire with serious burns or even death. Our car accident attorney, based in Miami, Florida, will make sure you get compensated for past and future medical costs or for the death of a loved one due to the fire caused by a defective auto part. Burn injuries in car accidents can be debilitating, passengers that suffered severe burn injuries may be unable to work or to have what’s considered a normal life.
Car accidents resulting in a fire: Why do they happen?
There is a combination of events that start a fire in a car accident; the fire may be caused by human, mechanical, and chemical errors. Many fires caused by car accidents could have been prevented if the manufacturers spent more time, money, and attention into testing the components. A safe automobile design minimizes the risk of fuel fed fires by providing adequate protection to both the fuel tank and the fuel system. Car accidents result in a fire due to:
Defective design. One of the most common causes of car accidents is the actual design of the vehicle itself. In most situations, manufacturers discover defective designs early on.
Fuel system leakage. Fuel system leaks are the single most common reason that cars catch fire. Regular and careful maintenance of your car or truck is the best way to make sure that you and your family are safe. If you smell gas around your vehicle or while you are driving, it is crucial that you get the leak fixed right away.
Improperly maintained vehicles. Identifying problems with wiring or leaky seals could stop a fire from happening. Be familiar with what is underneath your hood and make sure to check up on your vehicle regularly.
Batteries. Most car batteries are safe, as long as they are used and maintained properly. Some of the most common causes of a car battery starting a fire are lack of maintenance, leakage, and the batteries' hold down not being tight. While very environmentally-friendly, unfortunately, the batteries in hybrid and electric cars have been linked to disastrous vehicle fires. These safety concerns are still present. If you drive hybrid or electric vehicles such as a Tesla Model S or a Chevy Volt, be aware of the risks involved.
Overheating engines. Several factors can cause an engine to overheat. If you notice that your vehicle tends to overheat, then you should take it in to a mechanic, before the problem gets worse.
Leaking fluids. Many fluids necessary to make your car run are also highly flammable. Always be on the lookout for leaks or other warning signs, especially in your car or truck's engine bay.
Failing electric systems. Electrical failures are the second most common cause of car fires. Regular maintenance is crucial to identify frayed, worn, or split wires before they cause a fire.
The latest car models recalled due to the risk of fire include, but are not limited to:
General Motors recalled 489K model year 2014 Chevrolet Silverado Light Duty Regular Cab, Crew Cab 1500, and Double Cab series and model year 2015 Suburban and Tahoe; GMC model year 2014 Sierra Regular Cab, Crew Cab 1500, and Double Cab Series and model year 2015 Yukon and Yukon XL vehicles equipped with a 6-Speed Automatic Transmission.
Car accidents resulting in an explosion: Why do they happen?
Vehicle explosions do not occur as frequently as some other types of accidents, but when an explosion does occur, it can lead to serious, painful injuries, partial or permanent disability, or even death. The causes are many, but faulty parts often trigger them.
Car explosion cases are complex and typically include faulty design and defective manufacturing of:
Electrical systems. Electric cars can explode. The battery of an electric car can explode as many electrical components do if they are short-circuited. If the car crashes, circuits could touch themselves and create short-circuits.
Fuel lines. Risk can come from the fuel lines linking the gas tank to the engine. In particular, fuel-injected engines require fuel to travel through fuel lines at high pressure, and even a small defect in the line can result in a significant amount of fuel escaping. In addition, the lines within the car carrying fuel should be designed in a manner that seals off in an accident. If the fuel lines do not seal off, gasoline in the fuel tank may leak down the line and “feed” the fire causing it to become much more dangerous and even fatal.
Fuel pumps. Most fuel-injected engines have electric fuel pumps, and it is critical that they shut off in the event of a collision. Otherwise, the pump will continue to circulate fuel through the system, feeding any resulting explosion.
Gas tanks. Even a properly-constructed fuel tank can pose a safety hazard. For example, if brackets and metal rods are positioned near or around the fuel tank, these sharp objects can pierce and ignite the fuel tank during a collision. The most widely known defects were the General Motors and the Ford Pinto saddlebag fuel tank pick-up truck cases in which the fuel tanks were placed outside the frame rail. This flaw in design led to the vehicles exploding during a collision. Fuel tank defects may consist of flaws in:
The location of the tank on the car
The material from which the tank is constructed
Improper welds in the construction of the tank
The failure to adequately shield the tank to ensure it is not crushed in an accident
Those who survive a vehicle explosion and fire almost always suffer from severe or fatal injuries. Liability arises against the manufacturer or retailer of products which are defective. However, large manufacturers often have well-funded legal teams. To fight back, you need representation that pairs a true understanding of the law with dedication. Retain a legal team with proven experience: contact The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary.
Car accidents resulting in fire and explosion: Injuries and long-term outcomes
Suffering burns is among the worst injuries possible in any accident. Motor vehicle-related burns fall into one of four categories, with first-degree burns being the least serious and fourth-degree burns being potentially life-threatening.
First-degree burns are minor and cause damage to the outer layer of skin. The skin appears red, slightly swollen and may be painful. First-degree burns are likely to heal within a few days.
Second-degree burns are moderate to severe burns, causing damage to both layers of skin. Second-degree burns cause the skin to appear swollen and red and also cause blistering of the affected area. Scarring is also possible once a second-degree burn has healed which may take 2-3 weeks or longer.
Third-degree burns (full thickness burns) happen when the burn goes through the layers of the skin and causes scarring. The burn affects the layer of fat underneath the dermis, can damage nerve endings, causing numbness, and the skin may appear leathery and white. Third-degree burns require proper cleansing, administration of IV fluids, antibiotics, and possible skin grafts or artificial skin. The time it takes a third-degree burn to heal depends on the severity of the burn.
Fourth-degree burns are of grave prognosis. They extend completely through both layers of skin and the adipose tissue to underlying bones and muscles. A fourth-degree burn can require tissue removal and amputation. It also can lead to death.
Many burn victims have skin damage that requires extensive surgeries, lengthy hospital stays and painful rehabilitation and may leave life-long damage. Severe burn injuries may change the quality of life, the mobility, or the way a victim is able to complete tasks. Victims may be unable to have what’s considered a normal life or to be employed. Instead, they may spend much of their life dealing with the high costs of medical treatments.
Experts such as neurologists, surgeons, economists, life-care planners, vocational rehab and physical therapists, are necessary in cases where you or a loved one has been severely injured. It is important that you choose an attorney who works with expert witnesses to hold the negligent parties responsible for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering.
How can we help you after a car accident that resulted in a fire and caused severe burns?
Sean M. Cleary, Miami based car accident lawyer, will evaluate your case free of charge and provide legal advice and options. When contacting The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary, our staff will gather the necessary evidence and documents to file a successful claim. We negotiate with liable parties and their insurance companies and make sure you get nothing less than what you deserve. Be aware of the 4-year statute of limitations for car accident cases in Florida and do not sign any agreements with any insurance company, before you get legal advice from a lawyer.
At The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary, we have extensive experience in handling product liability claims, including claims for defective motor vehicles and their components. We believe victims of auto fires who require years of or lifetime treatments, including skin grafts and reconstructive surgery, should be fully compensated for their suffering and expenses.
When a vehicle catches fire after an accident the situation can rapidly turn life-threatening. The most common car defects associated with fires are fuel system or electrical system defects. Both electrical and fuel-fed fires are often caused by manufacturing or design defects.
If you were injured in a car fire that was the result of another party's negligence, including a manufacturing company, you can recover damages that include property damage, medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering compensation. In order to maximize the compensation received, you should hire an experienced personal injury attorney.