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The majority of people haven’t experienced a car fire. However, when one does occur, survivors will tell you; it’s nothing like in the movies. There is no slow-motion walk away from the vehicle as your toss your jacket over your shoulder. In fact, you rarely walk away from the blaze unharmed.

In reality, occupants inside a burning vehicle are vulnerable to serious car fire burn injuries, and possibly death.

The good news is: car fires are preventable. The bad news is: The majority of auto manufacturers refuse to dedicate more time, money and attention to creating and testing safer vehicle parts, which would significantly decrease the number of injuries that occur.

Why do car fires happen?

The unfortunate truth is that automakers fail their customers because the majority of car fires are preventable with a few simple modifications. Fuel tank defects and fuel pump defects are some of the most common examples of vehicle manufacturer negligence.

Fuel tank defects

When there is a defect in the design of the fuel tank or in the placement of the fuel tank, the tank itself may rupture and leak during a crash. Many vehicles have fuel tanks mounted behind the rear axle, making them vulnerable during rear-end collisions. Also, some pickup trucks have fuel tanks that are mounted outside the frame known as sidesaddle tanks. Pickup trucks with this design are vulnerable to car fires in side impacts. Vehicles that are designed with safe fuel tank placement in mind minimize the risk of fuel fed fires by providing enough protection to the fuel tank and the fuel system.

Fuel pump defects

A fire following a collision may also be the result of a defect in the fuel line or fuel pump. Fuel travels through fuel lines with significant pressure. If the fuel pump does not shut off properly after the impact of a crash, gasoline may continue to circulate through the fuel lines and fuel system. Consequently, a fuel line rupture can result in significant leakage of fuel. Incorrect placement of routing or poor materials may cause fuel lines to rupture.

Other factors that may be the causes of car fires include:

  • Tanks placed between a car’s bumper and it’s axle
  • Improperly-designed emergency shut-off values
  • Lack of maintenance
  • Electrical faults
  • Battery packs

Car fire burn injuries

Burn injuries are among the worst a person can face. Not only do burns cause excruciating pain, but they may also change the victim’s life long-term. Burn injury victims often endure painful and prolonged treatment. Some victims have to battle infections and repeated surgeries to minimize scarring. Car fire burn injuries may either be first, second, third or fourth-degree burns, depending on the severity of the fire.

First-degree burns only involve the outer layer of skin. The patient may feel pain at the burn site and notice the skin is red and dry.

Second-degree burns affect the outer layer of skin and part of the underlying layer of skin. The burn site may be swollen and painful and appear red and blistered.

Third-degree burns, also known as thickness burns, can burn through all three layers of the epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous tissue and cause permanent scarring. These burns can appear dry, leathery and sometimes waxy.  Third-degree burns may also lead to amputation.

Fourth-degree burns include similar severe damage to the dermis, the underlying layer of skin. The damage in a fourth-degree burn can extend into the muscle, fat, tendons and the bone. This type of burn produces charred skin that requires grafting and results in severe scarring. Fourth-degree burns are so severe that they can result in amputation or worse, death.

Can I file a car fire lawsuit?

You have the right to file a lawsuit if a negligent party’s actions led to a crash that caused your car fire burn injuries. Know that after such a terrifying experience, there may be resources available to you. However, it is important to understand that large corporate manufacturers will have their legal team shifting the blame. This makes it critical that you contact a qualified Auto Product Defect Attorney. Your attorney should have experience with handling car fire cases that were the result of an auto product defect. Having such knowledge will be vital in identifying the parties whose negligence led to the resulting injuries.

Car fire lawsuits are complex. To be successful in proving fault, your attorney would need to establish that a reasonable and safer alternative design exists that the automaker did not utilize. For example, if an auto company’s carelessness or unreasonable cost-saving decisions were the cause of the car fire, victims have the right to hold that company legally liable. The victim may pursue compensation for their injuries and financial losses associated with the accident.

How The Carlson Law Firm can help

If you sustained car fire burn injuries, let us evaluate your claim.  We can help you explore your options for seeking maximum compensation. Here at The Carlson Law Firm, we have devoted decades to protecting the rights and futures of injured victims and families. We understand that car fires often pose severe injuries that can limit the victim’s movement. For that reason, we offer home and hospital visits for your convenience. Contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation. We care, we can help.

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