On April 24, two semi-trucks were involved in a serious crash on Highway 160, leading to a fire. The southbound truck appears to have crossed into the northbound lane on the highway, sideswiping the oncoming truck on the driver’s side. The southbound truck then went down an embankment on the side of the road and caught fire. Its truck driver may have been thrown from the vehicle and suffered serious burns. He was transported by helicopter to a Sacramento-area hospital. The northbound truck was also damaged by fire though its driver only suffered minor injuries. The crash led to a portion of the highway and Antioch Bridge being closed for a numerous hours.
Burn Injuries From Car Crashes
Vehicle accidents are one of the ways that individuals suffer burn injuries. When a single vehicle hits an object or two or more vehicles collide, a great deal of fuel, oil, and other liquids are at risk of being ignited. It only takes one small spark, possibly from a short circuit or overly hot equipment, to hit combustible gasoline or oil. This can lead to an explosion or a fire that can spread throughout the accident quickly. Fires within vehicles can move quickly due to the flammable upholstery, padding, and carpet. In 2014, there were 3,275 fire or smoke inhalation deaths in the U.S., which included 310 fatalities from vehicle crash fires. There were many more fire or smoke inhalation injuries due to vehicle crash fires.
Burn injuries can result from a number of issues within a vehicle crash. While a vehicle fire can cause burns, so can coming into contact with overly hot metal or chemicals. When accidents involve a trucks carrying hazardous materials, the risk of chemical burns increases significantly.
Causes of Vehicle Fires
In 2014, there were 193,500 vehicle fires. While the cause for a little more than 23% of these fires could not be precisely determined, 21% of vehicle fires were because of equipment failures. Ultimately, 37.4% were unintentional, including from collisions, while only 5% of vehicle fires were intentional.
What to do After an Accident
If you are in a collision and you believe there is a risk of a fire, turn off the engine and get out of your vehicle immediately. Signs of a current or impending fire include seeing or smelling smoke and smelling noxious fumes. Make your way to the side of the road or a good distance away. Once you and other individuals within the accident are out of the way and safe, call 911. Tell the dispatchers if you see that there is a fire, the vehicle is smoking, or you smell fumes.
Do not open the hood of your car yourself. If there is an engine fire already or struggling to start, opening up the hood of your car feeds it more oxygen.
Contact a San Francisco Personal Injury Lawyer for Help
If you were in a crash and suffered burn injuries, contact the experienced San Francisco personal injury lawyers from Brod Law Firm to learn more about your rights to recover compensation. Call us at (800) 427-7020.
(image courtesy of Yaoqi Lai)