Post-collision engine fires are thankfully rare: the NHTSA reports that for every 1,000 cars involved in crashes, about 3 involve fires. However, that number rises to 26 out of every 1,000 when all fatal crashes are considered. This shows you how serious engine fires can be.
They might be rare, but when they do occur, they are devastating. Three elements need to be present for a normal crash to turn into a fire: fuel, oxygen, and a spark. Upon impact a car’s fuel source will not be able to withstand the impact of the crash, and both fuel and oxygen will join sparks and hot surfaces to create an atmosphere perfect for a fire.
What are the factors contribute to these serious accidents? Firstly, it seems to be the age rather than the size of the car. Older cars are more likely to have undergone general degradation, such as hardening and cracking of hoses that should be flexible, corrosion, and weakening of structures. Put in a high-impact crash, older cars simply can not protect their passengers.
Post-collision fires are also more likely to occur at excessive speeds, and more likely to occur when a car collides with a fixed object rather than other cars.
However, fires can occur in any car accident, with any type of car. There might be a defect in the gas tank, the fuel line, the fuel pump, or in the siphoning device. In post-collision fires specifically, it is extremely important that you contact an attorney immediately. The car itself is crucial evidence to the investigation that will follow the accident, and after a fire the car will continue to degrade quickly. In order for us to represent your rights to the best of our ability, we will need to be able to consider every aspect of the accident scene.
Of course you and the others involved should receive immediate medical attention, but if possible you should obtain the contact information of any witnesses that might be able to speak to the exact nature of the accident and the fire.
The attorneys at Kirkendall Dwyer LLP have the resources to resolve your post-collision fire case. From the investigation to hospital bills, we can help you through this difficult time.