San Jose Fuel Fire Accident Lawyers
Car accidents are sudden and traumatic events. When a fire erupts upon impact, the terror and risk for serious injury or death quickly escalate. Fortunately, many car accidents that result in a fire are often avoidable with the proper safeguards in place. Without these important safeguards, however, accidents like those involving side-impact collisions have devastating results. San Jose auto accident attorneys Bohn & Fletcher have more than 40 years of experience representing fuel fire survivors. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in an auto accident involving a fuel fire, contact Bohn & Fletcher to discuss your case as soon as possible.
Fuel Fire Statistics
According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), approximately one in eight fires responded to by fire departments throughout the nation is a vehicle fire. The administration is the lead federal agency for fire data collection, research, training, and public education. Additional data regarding vehicle fires includes the following:
- 83 percent of highway vehicle fires during a two-year period occurred in passenger vehicles.
- 62 percent of highway vehicle fires and thirty-six percent of fatal highway vehicle fires originated in the engine running gear or wheel area of the vehicle.
- 60 percent of fatal vehicle fires occurred as the result of a collision.
According to the same report, the most common items first ignited in highway vehicle fires were:
- Insulation around electrical wiring (29 percent)
- Flammable liquids in the engine area (18 percent)
The USFA bases its finding upon information from the National Fire Incident Reporting System. Highway vehicles used in the data includes passenger vehicles (i.e. cars and motorcycles), freight road transport vehicles (i.e. dump trucks), and agriculture or construction vehicles.
Determining the cause of a vehicle fire is often difficult. The administration includes some data under the category “unintentional.” Careless behavior or accidental actions may contribute to these types of vehicle fires. No matter how the unintentional vehicle fire started, this category represents 38 percent of highway vehicle fires.
Common Causes of Fuel Fires in Car Accidents
No two car accidents are alike. Fuel-fed fires often occur directly after an accident due to a gas leak or upon impact with a poorly placed fuel tank. Accidents involving fuel fires may involve one or more of the following factors:
- Fuel tank placement – The placement of the gas tank in the design of a car is critical in a side-impact collision. For example, when the gas tank is near the engine, the engine can easily puncture the tank during impact, resulting in a fuel fire.
- No anti-siphoning device – Some car manufacturers include anti-siphoning devices in their newer model vehicles. Designed to prevent spilled gas from escaping, these devices are helpful in the event of a collision. A car or other type of vehicle without this device is at greater risk for experiencing a fire in a collision.
- Fuel system structural issues – Undiagnosed problems, such as weak sealants that cause leakage, are hard to detect and incredibly dangerous in a crash. Leakage of flammable liquid in the engine area is among the most ignitable causes in a vehicle fire, as noted in the USFA data.
- Poor protection – Fuel tanks that lack proper protection from punctures are more likely to ignite upon impact. Not only is the fuel tank placement important, but the protection around it is imperative as well.
When a car accident results in fire, a cause of death is often difficult to determine. According to the USFA, a fire fatality in a vehicle crash occurs when the person dies as a result of being trapped by the fire. If you have lost a loved one under such tragic circumstances, contact Bohn & Fletcher to discuss your eligibility to file a wrongful death claim.
Types of Injuries Caused by Fuel Fires
Experiencing serious injuries due to the negligence of another driver is traumatic enough, but the addition of burns from a resulting vehicle fire makes the situation even worse. Depending upon the severity of your injuries and your burns, you may face a long road to recovery.
The primary goals of treating serious burns are to prevent infection, control pain, reduce scarring, and regain function. A specialized burn center is often necessary for patients who have sustained severe burns.
Treatment methods include medications, wound dressings, therapy, and surgeries. In extreme cases, a patient may need breathing assistance, a feeding tube, or plastic surgery. Physical therapy and occupational therapy are both useful tools for patients to regain basic skills.
In addition to burns, patients may experience smoke inhalation from the fire and broken bones from the initial crash. Other types of serious injuries include traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and neck and back injuries.
While these injuries sound dire and depressing, they are a grim reality of what happens when a reckless driver collides with another car. Whether you are behind the wheel or a passenger, surviving the crash is your first step toward recovery and justice.
Acute burn centers, surgeries, medications, medical equipment, and future care are all expensive. At Bohn & Fletcher, we fight for our clients, and we don’t settle until we receive fair compensation. Depending upon the circumstances of your case, you may be entitled to medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering costs. In the event of the death of a loved one, a court may award you compensation under California’s wrongful death laws.
Don’t Fight Your Burn Injury Case Alone
Your vehicle fire may also result from faulty parts or poor design related to the manufacturer. When a side-impact collision occurs and triggers a faulty device, for example, several parties may face litigation.
California has the most licensed drivers of any state in the nation, with an estimated 26 million drivers. Factor in millions of visitors each year and the number of drivers on California roads climbs even higher. No matter how defensively you drive, all it takes is one distracted or drunk driver to change your life forever.
You shouldn’t try to handle a personal injury case alone; your case belongs in the hands of a highly skilled personal injury attorney. Healing from a traumatic event, especially one that involves fire, requires rest and focus. Aggressive insurance agents will attempt to settle quickly and out-of-court. Their method is usually to offer you a sum of money that may appear like a lot to you, but don’t fall for their tactics. Their number one interest is not you but rather the insurance company that they represent.
It is important to notify your insurance company of the accident, even when it wasn’t your fault. However, it is equally important that you do not speak with the other driver’s insurance company prior to obtaining legal representation. Anything you say might get taken out of context or misunderstood as admitting fault, limiting your chances of securing fair compensation later in the process.
Why You Want to Contact Bohn & Fletcher
At Bohn & Fletcher, we have more than 40 years of experience, making our skills handling California personal injury cases invaluable. We are aware of tactics that not only insurers use but also auto manufacturers trying to get out of paying for their liability damages in a car accident case.
A car accident is a traumatic event, with or without a fire. In cases involving fire, your challenges only compound into additional costs and longer time lost from work. Dealing with paperwork, insurance companies, and growing medical bills is stress that you don’t need during your recovery.
The legal team of Bohn & Fletcher believes in treating all clients with the respect that they deserve. Under most circumstances, our clients have been dealt a serious blow to their health and livelihood due to the reckless behavior of another individual. We take our cases and our clients very seriously, and we always pursue fair compensation on their behalf.
No one knows for sure what the future holds when someone sustains serious injuries, including burns, from an auto accident. Burns require special attention due to the risk of infection and other challenges that delay healing. Personal injury cases that involve patients with severe burns must focus on not only the patient’s current care needs but also on his or her future needs.
When another driver behaves in a reckless or negligent manner while driving on California roads, they must be held accountable. If physically possible, provide a statement to law enforcement regarding the accident and, of course, immediately seek medical attention. After this, your next step should be to contact Bohn & Fletcher by calling (408) 279-4222 or by contacting us online.
Our legal team will review your case for free. Should we decide to proceed with representation, we won’t collect any fees until we secure compensation for you. Our extensive experience with personal injury cases provides us with resources throughout California to support your case. These resources provide a wealth of additional knowledge to our highly-skilled team of experts.
We believe in keeping open communication throughout the legal process so that you know where your case stands at all times. Our hope is that by knowing your case is in good hands provides you with peace-of-mind to focus on your health and recovery.
If you’ve been seriously injured in an auto vehicle fire due to a collision caused by a reckless driver, contact us. The sooner we review your case, the sooner we can decide upon the best options for you. Trust Bohn & Fletcher with your California personal injury case by reaching out today.