While our readers already know much about the dangers of truck crashes and the threats they pose due to their size and weight, truck accidents can be even more dangerous when the vehicles involved catch fire. While collisions along can lead to a variety of injuries ranging from broken bones, loss of limbs, and nerve damage, fire victims can suffer life-altering burn injuries that can take a very significant amount of time to heal, and often leave permanent disabilities and disfigurement to the body of the crash victim. In some cases they can also be fatal.
Such was the case according to a report by the WCF Courier, detailing the tragic death of a Waterloo man in a semi-truck crash on U.S. Highway 20. The truck driver was carrying tractor tires and traveling west when his vehicle left the road and struck a tree. Although it was a single-vehicle accident, the crash was of such significance that witnesses reported being able to hear it in their homes and feeling their homes shake from the nearby collision. Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the crash. One witness reported having seen the semi drift to the right side of the road, hit a mail box, overcorrect to the left, and then hit a tree, which it pushed for about 40 feet before coming to a stop.
Fires from motor vehicle accidents are a major concern, both in Illinois and across the country. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, a report on highway vehicle fires provided an insight into these accidents. According to the report, about one in seven fires responded to by fire departments is a highway vehicle fire. The leading cause of highway vehicle fires was unintentional action, which accounted for 32% of vehicle fires. The majority of highway vehicle fires occur in passenger vehicles, which is 86%.
Furthermore, while it is clear that vehicle fires pose a great danger statistically speaking; many people are unaware of how they occur mechanically. According to the same report, it is 61% of highway vehicle fires and 35% of fatal fires that originated in the engine, wheel area, or running gear. The leading factor of ignition of these fires was mechanical failure of vehicles. This occurs 44% of the time. Lastly, the most common parts of the vehicle to ignite first in a fire are the insulation around the electrical wiring (28%) and the flammable fuels and liquids in the engine (18%).
Learning about mechanical failures raises concerns about defective vehicles being on our roadways. As you know, trucking companies must provide drivers with safe and defect-free vehicles that have been thoroughly inspected and are regularly maintained. Where the cause of an accident may be due to a defective vehicle, the employer of the commercial truck driver may be found liable for negligence. When this happens, injured parties should seek the help of a legal professional to hold wrongdoers liable. Our attorneys have represented injured individuals in truck accident lawsuits, including cases involving burn injuries, since 1992. If you or a loved one has suffered from a vehicle fire or another type of motor vehicle accident, our attorneys would be happy to discuss your legal options with you. Call us today for a free consultation.