Unlike most injuries involved in vehicle collisions, suffering a burn in a car accident often has long-term effects, which can leave permanent scars all over the body. Burns from automobile fires are still a leading cause of severe burns in the U.S. and occur at increasing rates. In fact, the Chicago metropolitan area has had a major increase in the number of auto accident fires as the roads have become significantly more congested over the last few decades, as the population continues to grow.
Statistics by the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) indicate that there were nearly 220,000 vehicle fires in 2009, with more than 1600 reported serious injuries and 280 deaths. Many of the injuries and fatalities resulted in severe burns. The NFPA (National Fire Protection Agency) indicate that automobile fires occur more on highways than urban roads or city streets, due to congested traffic traveling at a higher speed.
Even though the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) adopted standards in the 1970s to maintain the integrity of the vehicle fuel system, busy highways and defects in automobile manufacturing still cause too many victims to suffer a burn in a car accident.
Causes of Automobile Fires & Resulting Burns
Driver error and car defects, as well as unexpected extenuating circumstances including road and weather conditions, cause most vehicle fires. Since car fires are one of the leading causes of burn injuries, Chicago area motorists must remain aware of how vehicle fires happen to avoid them from starting. There are various situational factors that can influence the potential of a vehicle fire. These include:
- Two Colliding Vehicles – When two vehicles collide with each other, one or both fuel tanks could rupture and produce a fuel-fed fire. These fires can instantly become extremely dangerous for all passengers involved in the collision, along with others nearby.
- Leaking Fuel Tank – In some situations, the fuel tank can spontaneously explode or leak, and create a dangerous situation involving hazardous projectiles on the interior of the vehicle. A leaking or exploding fuel tank can trap passengers and motorists inside the car. An exploding fuel tank can be catastrophic, or even fatal.
- Auto Part Defect – Other significant causes of a car fire can include an exhaust leaking fluid, faulty wiring, waste or trash igniting, an arcing short-circuit wire, seat heater malfunction, cigarette lighter accident, flammable liquid spill and electrical malfunction.
- Smoking - While many people would never consider smoking in their homes, some believe lighting up is okay when the vehicle is stuck in traffic. In a confined area with flammable auto interior materials, any hot ash from a cigarette or hot lighter can quickly start a fire which threatens all occupants.
Determining Responsibility For Burn Injuries Related To A Car Fire
It is often difficult to determine who is responsible for starting a car fire because an intense examination of the burned parts by a competent firs accident expert can be challenging. However, many of these experts can determine if the design and construction of a fuel system might be insufficient to withstand an impact of the car collision that causes it to lose its integrity in the crash.
In some incidences, a skilled personal injury attorney who specializes in Chicago car accidents can build a case for financial compensation on the improper design, construction or manufacturing of car components. This could include the exhaust systems, electrical wiring and other heat sources that might have possibly started the fire when the gas tank erupted during impact.
In the event that the vehicle manufacturer failed to meet their legal obligation to sell a safe product, the carmaker can be held accountable for their negligence. As a result, a car accident victim burned in the crash might be entitled to receive sufficient financial compensation. Monetary recompense might include funds to pay for all ongoing medical expenses, rehabilitation, future surgery, missed work, or other costs directly related to the injury.
If your attorney can prove that the auto manufacturer was egregious in their conduct in designing, manufacturing and selling a defective product, the victim might also obtain punitive damages. In addition, your attorney may add the other driver to the lawsuit as a defendant because they might also be at fault for the accident and should be held accountable for your damages.
Get Compensation For Burns Sustained in a Car Fire or Explosion in Chicago
The skilled Chicago car accident burn injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Lawyers can hire medical experts and accident reconstruction engineers to document exactly how the fiery crash occurred. The experts can detail the extent of the victim’s injuries to build a persuasive, solid case for financial compensation.
If you have suffered serious injuries caused by a burn in a car accident, you are likely eligible for compensation. The experienced automobile accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can provide assistance with your claim for recovery to help you obtain financial recompense to cover your expenses, suffering, pain and other damages. Call the law office at (888) 424-5757 or fill out our online contact form for an initial, free case consultation.