You might not have heard of post-collision fuel-fed fires (PCFFF) but they’re well known among firefighters and personal injury attorneys. A PCFFF bursts out with powerful force during a car crash due to the combustibility of fuel and other substances in a fire.
Within moments, a person can suffer life-threatening burns and inhalation injuries from PCFFF. These catastrophic events are some of the top contributors to severe injuries and death from car crashes.
A PCFFF Increases the Odds of Severe Injury and Death
Most car accidents aren’t fatal. Of all road crashes, only about .4% involve fatalities. However, when PCFFFs are involved, the odds of death increase significantly due to burns and inhalation asphyxiation.
A U.S. Fire Administration study found that while mechanical failure is the primary cause of vehicle fires, car collisions are the cause of 60% of all fatal road fires. The top 4 causes of vehicle fires are:
- Mechanical malfunctions
- Spilled fluids
- Electrical failures
- Crashes and rollovers
Collisions with fires put people at risk of overwhelming bodily injuries. When people who were burned in a car accident manage to survive these fiery crashes, they are left with severe burns that require emergency burn care. A burn victim may have lifelong scars and mobility issues that call for months or years of therapy.
Common Burn and Inhalation Injuries From Vehicle Fires
Burns arise not only from vehicle fires but also from chemical and heat damage to the skin and soft tissues within the body. These burn injuries are categorized in order of severity.
First degree burns affect only the outermost layer of the skin and don’t penetrate deeper within the body. Despite being in the lowest category of wounds, first-degree burns can still be quite painful. They’re usually red, blistered, and in need of over-the-counter wound treatment in order to heal completely.
Second-degree burns are also known as partial-thickness burns. They affect both the outer skin (epidermis) and the next-deeper layer of the skin (dermis). Pain is extreme and the skin takes on a splotchy, uneven, red-and-white appearance that is unlikely to ever look normal again without some level of specialty burn care.
Third-degree burns, or full-thickness burns, go deeper than the epidermis and dermis. They reach the innermost layer of skin that protects the body’s systems and organs. This is a very severe type of burn that puts someone at risk of life-threatening injury. The skin will likely be blackened in appearance and can easily result in permanent scarring.
Fourth-degree burns are the most severe. Every layer of skin is affected, plus the underlying bones, muscles, or even organs. These burns come with extreme nerve damage, which paradoxically means pain may be less intense even as the body suffers more intense and life-threatening injuries. Fourth-degree burns require extensive medical treatment including emergency burn care, plastic surgery, skin grafts, and scar management. Lifetime mobility issues are also a concern.
In addition to the horrific bodily damage from burn wounds, a victim is also vulnerable to significant financial damage from the accident. In addition to expensive medical bills, the average vehicle road fire causes $7,290 in financial loss due to vehicle and property damage.
How to Seek Compensation for a PCFFF Car Accident
If you were injured in a car accident that involved fire-related injuries, you can seek compensation from the at-fault party through an accident claim. You may be able to recover a high level of compensation from their car insurance policy to cover your medical bills, pain and suffering, and other costs.
In some cases, you can request compensation from an organization that contributed to a hazard. For example, if a chemical spill caused your car to ignite during a crash, a road construction company or highway administration may have some culpability. Or if a spark from a power line caused the fire, the electric company may be responsible.
Even the vehicle’s manufacturer may hold some share of the blame. In one California lawsuit, a teenage driver’s father is suing Tesla over the company’s role in manufacturing an unsafe vehicle. He claims a faulty Tesla battery caused the fire that killed his son, rather than the car accident itself.
At Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we understand that a fiery car crash is a traumatizing situation that’s extremely challenging to handle by yourself. Our law firm is here to help you seek the compensation you need during this difficult time so you can keep the focus where it belongs – on your health and healing completely from your burn injuries.
“Everyone was very helpful. Rebecca handled my claim and did an excellent job from start to finish. Her advice was useful. She also took the time to listen to my thoughts on every aspect of the case. We had a successful settlement as a result. I would recommend the firm and Rebecca without hesitation.” – Anthony S.
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