Padilla Law Group, LLP

Do you know what to do if your vehicle catches on fire?

Fires are dangerous under any condition. Even if you have a fire pit and are simply roasting marshmallows, the flames still present a hazard to you and others around you. Of course, in this type of scenario, you likely have safety measures on standby, such as fire extinguishers or buckets of water, in case the flames get out of hand. However, some fires may start without you having the ability to get them under control.

If you find yourself involved in a car accident, the possibility exists that your vehicle or another vehicle involved could catch fire. In this case, you and others around face a serious risk of suffering burns or other severe injuries as a result. Many people do not prepare for this situation, and you may not know what to do.

Tips for handling a vehicle fire

In the event that your vehicle does catch on fire, you may want to remember the following safety tips:

  • If your vehicle is still running after the crash but has caught fire, turn off the ignition.
  • Get yourself and any other vehicle occupants out of the car as quickly as possible.
  • Do not try to gather personal items, and do not go back or allow others to go back to the car to get those items.
  • Stay at least 100 feet away from the vehicle to distance yourself from the flames and possibly toxic fumes.
  • Alert emergency services to the situation.
  • Try to alert oncoming drivers, but do not put yourself in harm's way to do so.
  • Do not try to put out the fire on your own. Certain actions like opening the vehicle's hood may only make the fire worse.

Of course, these steps are only possible if the car accident does not result in you suffering serious injuries. If you are injured or become trapped inside the vehicle, you may not have the ability to escape the flaming car on your own. As a result, you may suffer serious burns and other severe injuries as you wait for help.

Seeking compensation

If another driver caused the accident that resulted in your injuries, you may have reason to file a personal injury claim against that person. Additionally, if a vehicle defect resulted in the fire or made it worse, the manufacturer may also hold partial liability. In order to understand your legal options and against whom you could seek compensation, you may want to discuss your situation with a California attorney.

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