Liability of Vehicle Manufacturers for Defects Causing Car Fires and Explosions


May 10, 2013

When you are involved in a collision that causes a vehicle fire, the risk of painful and devastating injuries is significant. Fires can cause disfigurement and necessitate painful surgery, not to mention doing permanent damage to the respiratory system. There are many parties that may be responsible for a vehicle fire, including but not limited to a texting or intoxicated driver who causes a collision, an automaker who designs or manufactures a vehicle so that it has an increased risk of igniting in a fire, and others.

When you are involved in a collision that results in a car fire, it is important to conduct prompt investigation and review of law enforcement reports so that the cause of the fire can be identified.

There are many factors that may play a role in a vehicle fire during the impact of a collision but gas tank defects and leaks are a common cause. Gas tank explosions and fires may be caused by any of the following:

  • Defective vehicle wiring
  • Unsafe location of the gas tank
  • Fuel systems and gas tanks that leak
  • Vehicle oil leaks
  • Failure to design the vehicle to protect the engine from impact

Although a vehicle fire does not have to be the result of negligence, vehicle manufacturers are aware of the risk of fire and explosion during motor vehicle collisions. Because it is foreseeable that motor vehicles will be involved in collisions, automakers have an affirmative duty to design and manufacture vehicles that are not prone to fire or explosion.

The most famous example of poor vehicle design resulting in an increased risk of explosion during a collision involved the Ford Pinto. Although Ford learned of the defect in the design of the vehicle, evidence came out during the litigation of the case that showed they did a cost benefit analysis: they calculated the cost to pay the estimated number of personal injury and wrongful death claims and determined it was cheaper to pay the claims than to recall the vehicles and fix the defect.

Vehicle manufacturers may be subject to significant liability when they have knowledge of a design or manufacturing defect that creates a risk of fire or explosion. However, it is important that a prompt investigation be conducted so that it can be determined whether a design or manufacturing defect contributed to a car fire or explosion.

Call Montlick & Associates For Your Free Consultation

If you or someone you love has been injured, our Georgia auto accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to victims of defective products throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you.

For over 30 years, the experienced personal injury attorneys from Montlick & Associates have been helping families in Georgia and throughout the Southeast get the compensation and benefits they deserve after an accident. Montlick & Associates concentrates its practice in personal injury law, providing caring and high quality legal representation.

Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.