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Is a Car Manufacturer Liable for Burns if Your Car Catches on Fire?

Posted on December 19, 2022 in

Car fires are extremely dangerous events that can result in expensive property damage, severe burn injuries and deaths. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there were an estimated 212,500 vehicle fires in 2018 (the most recent year data is available), resulting in 1,500 civilian injuries, 560 deaths and $1.9 billion in direct property damage. Find out who may be held liable, or financially responsible, for your burn injuries if your car caught on fire in Arizona.

What Causes Most Car Fires?

Car fires are preventable disasters. Collecting financial compensation for a car fire and related damages – including severe burn injuries – requires first identifying the cause of the fire. According to the NFPA, the leading causes of vehicle fires in 2018 were mechanical and electrical failures and malfunctions. Most of these issues (75 percent) occurred with older vehicles. The leading cause of deadly car fires was motor vehicle collisions.

Car Manufacturer Liability 

You may be able to hold a vehicle manufacturer responsible for a car fire if the disaster is traced back to a mechanical or electrical malfunction due to a part defect. This may be the case if a vehicle spontaneously combusts, for example. A defective car part may contain a design, manufacturing or marketing error that makes it unreasonably dangerous for consumers. Many different defective auto parts could cause car fires and burn injuries, including the fuel system and electrical system. You can check the list of vehicle recalls to see if your vehicle is part of an investigation or recall for a defect that comes with a risk of combustion. A car accident lawyer in Scottsdale can assist if you believe a defect played a role in your vehicle fire.

Motor Vehicle Driver Liability 

If your car fire occurred as part of a motor vehicle collision, you may be able to hold the auto manufacturer and the other driver liable together. The other driver could be at fault for causing the collision, while the automaker may share liability for designing a vehicle that was at a higher risk of combustion in an accident than others. An example is a vehicle with dangerous fuel tank placement in the rear of the car that leads to a fire or explosion in a rear-end collision.

Auto Mechanic Liability

Another possibility is holding an auto mechanic liable for a car fire and your related burn injuries due to faulty or negligent vehicle repairs. If an auto mechanic made a mistake when installing your fuel system, for example, the fuel tank or line could have a leak or another issue that causes the vehicle to burst into flames. Proving auto mechanic negligence requires establishing that a prudent and responsible mechanic would have done something differently to prevent the vehicle fire in the same or similar circumstances.

How to File a Claim for a Car Fire in Arizona

If you or a loved one suffered burn injuries in a car fire in Arizona, you may be able to hold one or multiple parties liable. The car manufacturer is just one of several possible defendants. To pursue financial compensation for a harmful car fire in Arizona, take the following steps: 

  • If a car accident occurred, report it to the local police.
  • Document the incident by taking photos of the car and the scene.
  • Get professional medical care for your burn injuries right away.
  • Keep copies of your medical bills and accident reports.
  • Notify your car insurance company of the incident. 
  • Let the vehicle manufacturer know about the fire or spontaneous combustion.
  • Contact an attorney for a full investigation of the car fire.

Work with a personal injury attorney in Scottsdale throughout the insurance claims process to pursue fair and full financial compensation. A law firm can conduct a thorough investigation of the incident to determine the cause of the car fire. From there, your lawyer can go up against a vehicle manufacturer or other parties to seek maximum financial compensation on your behalf. For more information about this type of claim, contact Stone Rose Law.