A few weeks ago, veteran actor Dick Van Dyke was pulled from his Jaguar as the vehicle was engulfed by flames on a Los Angeles highway. Pictures of the burned wreck are an example of how quickly a fire can destroy a car. According to The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) an average of 33 highway vehicle fires occur every hour in the U.S. And besides significant property damage, these fires can inflict serious injuries and even death.
Nearly half of highway vehicle fires that occur on U.S. highways are attributed to mechanical failure or malfunction resulting in gas line leaks, ruptured fuel tanks, or broken parts throwing sparks as they drag along the roadway. Mechanical failure alone causes 11% of the deaths attributed to these fires. Of the NFPA-reported electrical issues, 23% contributed to highway vehicle fires. Older vehicles were more prone to these issues than late-model vehicles.
According to statistics compiled by the National Fire Incident Reporting System, recently licensed male drivers are most likely to be involved in car fires. However, no age group or gender is exempt from this potential catastrophe.
Standard auto insurance does not generally cover highway vehicle fires. If your car catches fire while parked in your garage or anywhere on your property, it may be covered by your homeowners insurance. Or you can purchase a more expensive auto policy that provides “comprehensive” coverage. Only safe driving and preventive maintenance can reduce the risk of mechanical and electrical failures that can result in car fires.
The National Safety Council recommends these simple steps to lower your risk:
Even if your auto insurance covers a car fire, your insurance carrier may deny your claim if the cause of the fire can be attributed to negligence. Keep records and receipts for all mechanical and electrical repairs made on your car.
Although rare, a car fire may be due to the failure of your car’s manufacturer to recall and repair defective equipment or address a design flaw. Documented highway vehicle fires and resulting lawsuits have exposed design flaws in models from every major automaker—both domestic and foreign.
In some cases, the car that caught fire was owned by a company that provides vehicles to employees for business purposes. If a company car catches fire and causes injury to the employee, the company may be liable if it was not properly maintained.
Vehicle fires can be terrifying. Regardless of the cause or circumstance, the survivors of highway vehicle fires can be left with serious injuries, long-term disabilities, and medical bills they have no way to cover. To make matters worse:
That is when we go to work for you. When you have been the victim of a vehicle fire, we work hard to get you the compensation you need and deserve.