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The victim of a car accident should not have the additional burden of having to survive a car fire. Nevertheless, car fire injuries as a result of defective automobiles are more common than you think. Fires in cars and SUVs are generally caused by electrical failures, faulty fuel lines, or faulty fuel tanks. Burn injuries are some of the most painful and debilitating injuries one can have.
Car fires can generally be avoided if the automobile manufacturers were more cautious in designing and manufacturing automobiles. However at times, management puts profits before safety and chose to make poor decisions that lead to needless injuries and deaths.
In some cases, the manufacturers know a particular design or manufacturing process increases the risk of car fire injuries and car explosions, but chose to manufacturer them anyway. One of the more notorious offenders was the Ford Pinto of the 1970s. Through civil litigation, documents revealed that that Ford knew that placing the gas tank behind the rear axial increased the risk of car fire injuries and deaths. More offensive is the fact that Ford had the opportunity to change the location of the fuel tank, reducing the risk of car fire deaths by as much as 180 people, however, Ford decided to forgo the design change, which would have cost $11 per vehicle, or $137 million, and decided instead to keep the defective gas tank design and pay $48 million in settlements for victims who suffered from burn injuries or who were killed as a result of exploding gas tanks and car fires.
One would hope that car companies have come a long way since the Pinto, but car fires are still a serious risk. Just recently, Mazda recalled more than 52,000 Tribute SUVs over fire risk. Mazda’s recall came only weeks after Ford Motor Co. recalled nearly 275,000 2001-2002 Ford Escapes for the same fire risks. Both vehicles were manufactured at the same plant. To date there have been 86 reported Ford Escape fires due to a product defect. Specifically, Ford alleges the vehicle fires associated with the Ford Escape are caused from corrosion in the ABS module electrical connector as a result of the brake fluid reservoir cap leaking brake fluid into the electoral connector leading to Ford Escape fires.
In November 2011, Ford recalled certain replacement fuel tanks that could be installed into model year 2004 through 2008 E-150, E-250, and E-350 vans and wagons due to their defective design and risk of catching fire. This recall, like the ones discussed above, are common and create unknown risks to consumers all over the Nation’s highways.
Ford and Mazda are not the only car manufacturers that have issued car recalls because of increased risk of car fire injuries or car fire deaths. If your vehicle caught on fire after a collision or seemingly without reason, call a car defect attorney at Kirkendall Dwyer LLP to see if you qualify for financial compensation. We don’t see a dime until we recover compensation for you. You have nothing to lose, contact us today to learn more about your legal rights.