At the end of August 2019, a car accident in Hockessin, Delaware, became a scene straight out of a Hollywood blockbuster movie. According to news reports about the crash, an SUV forced a sedan off the roadway. The sedan then careened down a steep embankment and landed on its roof in a creek, all before bursting into flames.
In any car accident, you may expect to sustain a variety of injuries, including broken bones, whiplash, bruising and muscular pain. You may not realize, though, that car fires are not exactly rare in the United States. In fact, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, about 12% of all calls fire departments receive involve motor vehicle fires. Naturally, in any car fire, you may sustain a serious burn.
Gasoline and sparks
Most cars on the road today have internal combustion engines. To create the power that accelerates your vehicle, the engine burns a combination of fuel and air. To ensure that you can drive more than a few feet, your car also has a storage tank that may hold 15 or 16 gallons of fuel. If a spark encounters unburned fuel or fuel fumes in the tank, fuel lines or engine, a fire may be imminent.
When your low-fuel light illuminates, you likely drive to the nearest gas station ASAP. There, you expect a steady supply of fuel to move from the pump into your vehicle. Of course, suppliers must routinely replenish gasoline in underground tanks. Typically, trucks deliver new fuel supplies. If you are in a collision with a gasoline truck, spilled fuel may ignite. Because fuel burns fast and unpredictably, you may be unable to escape a fire.
It is not only gasoline trucks that haul potentially dangerous materials. Some trucks on U.S. highways carry explosives, gases, flammable liquids and combustible materials. If any of these items catch fire during an accident involving your vehicle, you may sustain a serious burn. Further, some chemicals may burn your skin, even if they do not ignite.
In car crashes, you can burn yourself in several ways. Unfortunately, recovering from a burn may require surgery, rehabilitation and therapy. As such, if you have sustained a serious burn in a wreck, you may need to pursue compensation from the negligent or reckless driver who caused it.