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Car Fires and Negligence: Safety Tips

Fires present a significant danger to motorists trapped inside their vehicle or exposed to a sudden, unexpected fire. These fires may be caused by a variety of safety concerns, which are often preventable. If a vehicle manufacturer or other party fails to take the appropriate steps to avoid these dangerous mechanical errors, their negligence may make them responsible for whatever injuries victims sustain.

Protect yourself and others by following these safety tips, and if you or someone you care about has been hurt by a car fire due to negligence, give us a call.


While there are several reasons for a car catching on fire, if the fire reaches the fuel tank, the most flammable area of the vehicle, it is very likely to explode, causing a huge risk to those in or around the vehicle.

A 2018 car fire survey by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) pdf found:

  • Just over 2,000 people were injured in vehicle fires in 2018 alone, 560 of which resulted in death
  • The number of vehicle fire casualties is 4.5 times higher than deaths due to structure fires
  • Mechanical failure, electrical malfunctions, and collisions where the three largest causes of car fires
  • Vehicle fires accounted for 15% of all civilian deaths involving fire

The good news is that there are fewer vehicle fires than in the past, however, the 2018 statistics show the death rate from these fires was remarkably higher than it had been in more than a decade.


How Negligence May Cause Car Fires

Car fires are particularly dangerous because of the tight spaces inside a vehicle compartment, which can quickly fill with smoke or other toxic fumes, and the widespread presence of highly flammable solids and liquids inside the vehicle. These fires may be caused by the following safety failures:

  • Battery explosions causing flammable substance ignition
  • Catastrophic engine failures
  • Ignition of a car following a collision
  • Poor vehicle maintenance by a vehicle owner

Whether caused by a vehicle manufacturer or owner’s negligence, when other people are injured in a vehicular fire that was the result of someone else’s irresponsibility, the victim may be able to pursue financial compensation for their losses.



Preventing a car fire isn’t always possible, as most drivers don’t have control over accidents occurring or a manufacturer defect. However, a vehicle owner looking to reduce the chance of a fire, or claims of negligence against them due to a car fire should:


Perform Regular Vehicle Maintenance

Mechanical and electrical failures are two of the most common reasons for car fires. Regular maintenance is important for:

  • Preventing electrical wires from becoming damaged or overly worn
  • Leaks, especially flammable leaks, from faulty hoses or seals
  • Engine temperatures running higher than normal
  • Battery explosion risks such as corrosion and electrical arcing

Car owners can be considered negligent if they don’t maintain their vehicles. They put themselves and others at risk, not just for car fires, but other accidents related to vehicle failure, such as losing a tire, loss of vehicle control, or more.


Safety Awareness

Be aware of best safety practices for your vehicle that focus on fire prevention such as:

  • Never transport gas in the cab of the vehicle
  • Always use an approved container when transporting fuel
  • Avoid parking a vehicle with a hot exhaust system over dry grass or other flammable or ignitable condition


Check for Manufacturer Defect

While not common, manufacturing defects can pose fire hazards or other unsafe conditions. Visit to enter your vehicle identification number to discover any recalls for your specific vehicle.


If You Are at Risk for a Car Fire

If you experience a problem, such as overheating, mechanical issues or are involved in a vehicle accident, the first step is to ensure the safety of those involved. The second step is to get help to prevent additional damage to surrounding vehicles, structures, or property.

If you are at risk for a car fire:

  • Pull away from or out of traffic
  • Look for any leaking fluids
  • DO NOT open the hood of the vehicle if you suspect a fire
  • Remove yourself and any passengers from the vehicle to a safe place while you get help
  • Call 9-1-1 if your vehicle or a vehicle you have collided with has caught on fire

Whether caused by a vehicle manufacturer or owner’s negligence, when other people are injured in a vehicular fire that was the result of someone else’s irresponsibility, the victim may be able to pursue financial compensation for their losses.


Contact Us

If you’ve been injured in a car fire caused by someone else’s negligent conduct, you may be entitled to pursue a civil claim against the person or party responsible. For a free consultation and more information about how to prepare a claim and how a personal injury lawyer may be able to help you with this process, contact Hull & Zimmerman or call (303) 423-1770.


At Hull & Zimmerman, P.C., we are honored to help accident victims in their time of need, and take our responsibility as personal injury lawyers incredibly seriously. We know how important it is for victims to secure the full and fair compensation they need following a serious accident, and that is why we take a hands-on, personalized approach to every case we handle.

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