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What are the most common causes of car fires?

Car fires

There are many causes of car fires, but those that happen due to negligence are the direct result of human error. A car fire can be a life-changing event. You may have suffered severe burns, disfigurement, scarring, and other complications as a result. Even worse, you may have lost a loved one due to a car fire. The attorneys at Coplan + Crane discuss the three primary causes of car fires linked to negligence and the steps you can take to protect yourself.

Crash-related car fires

Car fires can easily be caused by collisions, depending on the site of impact. A crash with enough impact can cause gasoline and other flammable liquids to leak. It only takes one small spark or heat source to cause a car to go up in flames. Crumple zones help protect vital car components, such as the engine and gas tank, by absorbing some of the force from a collision.

The crumple zone may not provide full protection during a high-speed frontal collision, rear-end collision or head-on collision. For example, the gas tank of a car can be hit during a rear-end collision and cause a vehicle to combust. Car fires are also common in head-on collisions, collisions with roadside objects and rollovers.

It's critical that car occupants make a quick exit at the first signs of a car fire. This can include smoke, spilled fluids, or a small fire. After exiting a car that is at risk of catching fire, be sure to get as far away as possible and dial 911 to report the incident. In some cases, car occupants get trapped inside and sustain serious or fatal burns.

Car fires caused by defective car parts

Some car parts manufacturers put defective products on the market that can increase the risk of a car fire. Many vehicles and car parts catch the attention of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) after a car fire occurs. Most recently, the NHTSA opened an investigation into the Toyota RAV4 due to complaints of fires in the engine compartment. Investigations like this often result in recalls.

In January 2021, several Hyundai and Kia cars were recalled due to fire risks. Owners of these vehicles were also urged not to park in garages or near structures that could catch fire until repairs are made.

You can check the NHTSA website to see if your car has an open recall. All you need to do is enter your vehicle identification number (VIN), which can be found where your driver's side dashboard meets the windshield. If there is an open recall on your car, it's critical that you get the defect fixed as soon as possible.

Poor vehicle maintenance

We place a lot of trust in mechanics when getting our cars repaired, but sometimes they make dangerous errors. After getting your car repaired, you may learn that there are:

  • Fluids leaking in the engine due to loose caps or broken seals
  • Frayed wires in the electric compartments
  • Wrong parts installed in your car or parts not installed correctly

How our Chicago attorneys will get to the bottom of your car fire

Were you or a loved one injured in a car fire? You can trust the Chicago attorneys at Coplan + Crane to conduct a thorough investigation and get to the bottom of what happened. Whether your car fire was caused by a crash, faulty car part, or poor service from a mechanic, we'll fight to hold the negligent party accountable and help you recover damages. This includes current and future medical costs, lost wages, your pain and suffering, and other damages you accrue as a result of your car fire.

Our law offices are based in Oak Park and Rockford, Illinois. Contact us online or call us to get started on your claim. We offer free and confidential case evaluations.

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