A crash, even a minor one, is a traumatic experience for everyone involved. If a crash also causes a car to catch fire, the situation can rapidly turn life-threatening. In some cases, victims may suffer burn and smoke-inhalation injuries in addition to injuries sustained from the impact of the crash.
Below, our legal team goes more in-depth about car fires after an accident, including why they may happen, who may be liable for damages, and what to do if your car catches on fire. Victims of crashes who hire a lawyer often recover more in compensation than those who do not.
If you need legal help, we are available to take your call anytime, day or night. The initial consultation comes with no cost and no risk or obligation to you. We charge zero upfront fees to retain our services.
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Will My Auto Insurance Policy Cover a Car Fire?
A car fire may be covered by your auto insurance policy depending on the type of coverage you have and the circumstances of the fire. The Ontario Automobile Policy (OAP 1) outlines the rights and responsibilities of policyholders and their insurance companies, including what is and is not covered.
If your car catches fire because of a crash, your damages may generally be covered under your Direct Compensation Property Damage (DCPD) coverage. All Ontario drivers are required to carry this coverage. Your insurance company may compensate you directly for the damage done to your vehicle and any belongings in your car as long as the accident was not your fault.
However, if the car fire happened for reasons unrelated to the crash, your damages may not be covered by your auto insurance policy. The car fire must have been sudden and accidental and not the result of a mechanical or electrical issue. Otherwise, you or someone else may be responsible for damages.
Who May Be Liable for Car Fires After a Crash?
Determining liability for a car fire after a crash can be difficult and require a thorough investigation into what happened. There are many reasons why a car may catch fire after hitting another car or object.
If someone else’s negligence caused the accident, he or she may be liable for your medical bills and other related expenses. However, more than one party may be responsible for damages, such as:
- Vehicle owners may share liability if the car fire was due to poor maintenance
- Car manufacturers if the car fire was the result of a faulty or defective part
- Service providers, such as a repair shop, if mechanic work was not well done
Why Cars May Catch Fire Following an Accident
Some of the reasons a car may catch fire following an accident include:
- Fluid leaks – Cars have highly flammable and combustible fluids, such as engine oil and gasoline. These fluids can leak due to a crash and easily catch fire from exposure to heated car parts.
- Electrical failures – Faulty batteries and worn or damaged electrical wires can create a fire risk. The impact of an accident may tear electrical cables under the hood and cause a short circuit.
- Overheating – The engine can overheat and can cause a car to catch on fire if the heat encountered flammable materials. A car’s exhaust system can also overheat and trigger a fire.
- Debris or spills – A dirty car has a greater chance of catching on fire. Spilled oil or fuel can cause a car fire after a crash. Debris near the engine or exhaust system may also create a fire risk.
- Faulty fuel pumps – If a fuel pump fails to turn off after the engine is shut off, the car may continue to pump gas through the fuel system and cause a fire to break out.
What Should I Do If My Car Catches Fire?
A car fire can spread quickly. If your vehicle catches fire after a crash or at any other point in time, it is important to know what to do to protect yourself from harm. Important steps to follow include:
- Pulling over and coming to a safe and complete stop
- Turning off your car to stop the flow of gasoline to the engine
- Getting yourself and anyone else out of the car immediately
- Moving at least 100 feet away from the burning car
- Not returning to get any personal items from the car
- Not opening the hood or truck as it may make the fire stronger
- Calling 9-1-1 and waiting for emergency personnel to arrive
Injured in a Crash? Reach Out to Our Firm Today
An experienced vehicle accident lawyer in Windsor is ready to help. You can learn more about your rights and available legal options during a risk-free, zero-obligation consultation. Our firm has helped many crash victims and their families obtain the maximum compensation possible for their damages.
We work on a contingency-fee basis, which means there no upfront fees to have us represent you. We only get paid If we help you recover compensation through a settlement or verdict.
Get Started Today by Calling (866) 320-4770.