A vehicle fire can change your life in an instant. That’s why it’s important to know what to do if your car ignites after a collision and the steps you can take to avoid a crash in the first place.
If you are injured in a fire due to a car crash that wasn’t your fault, The Law Office of Black & DePaoli, PC, can help. Contact our office if you need help from an experienced car accident attorney in Folsom, CA.
What to Do If Your Car Catches Fire after a Crash
If your car begins to catch fire after a traffic collision, you should take the following steps as quickly as possible:
- If you can, maneuver your vehicle to the side or shoulder of the road.
- Turn off the engine and exit your vehicle as soon as possible.
- Do not waste precious time gathering personal items.
- Put at least 100 feet of distance between yourself and the car.
- Call 911 to report the accident and notify dispatchers that your vehicle has caught fire.
- Always stay out of the roadway, as other traffic may continue to proceed by you.
How Do Car Fires Start in Folsom, CA?
Some of the more common causes of accident-related vehicle fires include:
- Fuel or fluid leaks – These leaks may result from damage to tanks or lines, and according to National Fire Protection Association statistics, they are responsible for two-thirds of all vehicle fire deaths. Gasoline is flammable at -45 degrees, and all it takes is a single tiny spark to ignite.
- Frayed electrical lines or damage to the vehicle battery – Sparks from damaged electrical wiring could ignite gas or vapors. Battery system failures, manufacturing issues, or direct damage to a battery like punctures can also ignite a powerful fire. Electric and hybrid vehicles are especially prone to battery fires.
- Engine damage – If the accident caused engine damage, there is a risk that gas or oil could leak onto hot metal surfaces, triggering a fire.
- Detonation of airbags – Airbags use a small explosive charge to inflate. These charges may continue to smolder after a crash. Unless the airbag is defective, the smoke should clear without starting a fire.
Steps to Take to Help Prevent Car Fires
You can reduce the risk of a collision-related vehicle fire by:
- Properly maintaining your vehicle – Follow the car manufacturer’s recommendations, change the oil regularly, and have scheduled maintenance, inspections, and recall repair work done on time. Inadequate maintenance can increase the risk of mechanical failure, electrical failure, or engine overheating.
- Driving carefully – Observe all traffic laws and rules of the road to help reduce the risk of an accident.
- Staying off dry grass – If you are involved in a car accident, avoid pulling off the road into grassy areas. The hot surfaces of your vehicle’s drivetrain can cause dry grass to combust, especially if the car is leaking fuel or motor oil after the accident.
- Keeping a fire extinguisher handy – An extinguisher using powder or foam-based retardant can help you control small fires or smoking parts of your vehicle before the situation worsens.
What Kinds of Compensation Could You Recover for a Car Fire?
If you were injured in a vehicle fire due to someone else’s negligence, you might be entitled to compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Lost wages and future earning potential
- Physical pain and emotional distress
- Reduced quality of life
- Vehicle repair or replacement costs