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Are Auto Defects the Cause of Car Fires?

Written by Ankin Law Office

A car fire involving the Tesla electric car is drawing renewed attention to the danger of potential car fires. There are approximately 194,000 car fires occur in the U.S. each year, resulting in approximately 300 deaths, 1,250 injuries and $1.1 billion in property loss, with the vast majority of car fires are in cars and trucks with gasoline or diesel engines. Although U.S regulators have decided not to open a formal investigation into the Tesla car fire, the situation has drawn attention to the need for appropriate vehicle safety standards and swift vehicle recalls.

Earlier this year, in May 2013, GM recalled nearly 38,000 of its cars – including Chevrolet Malibu Eco, Buick LaCrosse and Buick Regal sedans – due to a defective generator control module that could stall the engine or cause a fire. Pursuant to the recall, GM was to replace the modules in about 22,000 cars and test the remaining 21,000 cars. Then just a few months later, in July, NHTSA indicated that was questioning the effectiveness of GM’s screening test because a car fire occurred in a car that had already gone through the testing as part of a service procedure before the recall. In 2012, Chrysler recalled about 68,000 of its 2010 Jeep Wranglers due to a fire hazard associated with the vehicle.

Although determining the cause of a car fire can be difficult, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, equipment failures – including mechanical problems, faulty auto design, or an improperly installed device – are the cause of approximately 24 percent of vehicle fires. In another 24 percent of highway vehicle fires, the cause remains unknown, which means that auto defects could actually be responsible for a higher percentage of vehicle fires.

The U.S. Fire Administration also reports that mechanical failures or malfunctions – such as a leak or break in a component of the vehicle, automatic or manual control failures, or the improper type of type – are the leading contributing factor to the ignition of highway vehicle fires, with electrical failures such as a short circuit being a contributing factor in another 22 percent of highway vehicle fires.

Car fires aren’t the only auto defect problem, however. Other dangerous auto defects include:

  • Automobile rollovers/stability defects
  • Braking system defects
  • Unintended acceleration
  • Defective tires and blowouts
  • Roof collapse
  • Seat back defects
  • Glass breakage
  • Airbag defects
  • Seatbelt defects
  • Door latch defects
  • Steering problems
  • Electronic wiring malfunctions

If you have suffered injuries or damages as a result of a defective vehicle, you may wish to consult with an attorney.  The Chicago auto defect lawyers at Ankin Law Office, LLC are dedicated to protecting consumers from dangerous and defective products, including defective vehicles. Moreover, if you were in a car crash caused by an auto defect, we will fight to get you maximum financial recovery for your injuries and damages.

Contact one of our skilled Chicago auto accident attorneys at (312) 600-0000 if you would like more information on car fires and other auto defect accidents.

Categories: Auto Accidents