General Motors is still feeling the consequences of its Chevy Bolt battery recall last year. The car manufacturer is still discovering ways to recover from the recall of its Chevy Bolt model after a battery defect was discovered. However, bouncing back from the recall is easier said than done after several class action lawsuits have been filed against the company.
One of the most recent class actions involves a Canadian Bolt owner who wants to hold the company liable for knowing about the battery defects within the Chevy Bolt model. According to the owner, the company should be held liable for false advertising and putting consumers in the position of operating dangerous vehicles.
Are car fires really a problem?
The primary reason for the Chevy Bolt recall was because the battery defect found within the vehicle can potentially set the vehicle on fire. Even though car fires are one of the rare car accidents, they can cause severe injury to drivers and passengers. According to the U.S. Vehicle Fire Problem report, passenger vehicles had the most car fires between 2006 and 2010. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that car fires frequently occur on the highway between the hours of 3 pm and 6 pm, when traffic is unfortunately the highest.
What causes car fires?
One of the common causes of car fires involves defects within the car’s electrical system. According to the United States Fire Administration (USFA), there are more than 60 percent of car fires that begin from the car’s engine, running gear, or wheel area. Fires can ignite from a car’s electrical system from several scenarios, from exposed or faulty wiring to the charging cycles in the car’s battery. Even batteries that are not properly stored within the engine compartment can lead to a fire hazard.
In the Chevy Bolt, the fires were directly related to the battery. As AutoWeek explains, GM “recalled all 141,000 Chevy Bolts, later confirming that 16 cars had caught fire. GM pointed to battery manufacturing flaws as the culprit—specifically a ‘torn anode tab and a folded separator’ in a few individual cells.” However, Louis Hruska – a former technical advisor for Duracell – believes that this simplifies the issue.
He told AutoWeek that “imperfections and variations—sometimes measuring fractions of a millimeter—are relatively common” in most designs, and that “the design of the battery system also must be resilient enough to accommodate some imperfections without catastrophic failure.” In regard to the Chevy Bolt, it appears that this was not the case.
Other causes of car fires can include:
- Impact from a car accident. The force and impact from a car accident can also lead to a car fire. When two vehicles are traveling at a speed that is fast enough, it can lead to issues like fluid leaks, heat, and smoke. Depending on the point of impact, the combination of these issues and the damage sustained by the engine can lead to an explosion. Car fires that are ignited from car accidents are often the most fatal.
- Leaking fluids. Another common cause of car fires are when highly flammable fluids leak out of the vehicle. When a car is running, there are many flammable liquids that circulate throughout the car, from oil and fuel to brake fluid and transmission fluid. If these fluids leak on their own, they are not capable of igniting a fire. However, if they combine with other elements, like a spark from a faulty electrical system, a car fire is in danger of igniting. Typically, car fires that stem from leaky fluids are often classified as engine fires because they begin in the engine compartment.
- Overheating engines. Car fires are in danger of being ignited from overheating engines. One of the main reasons why an engine can overheat is from issues with the cooling system. Heat can be prevented from escaping the engine from issues such as a coolant leak or a faulty water pump. When the temperatures in the engine rise, the fluids within the engine are in danger of leaking and coming into contact with other hot surfaces.
Liability options for car fire victims in Fort Lauderdale
A car fire can lead to serious, life-threatening injuries, such as burns, toxic inhalation injuries, and permanent scarring and disfigurement. It also produces significant property damage for you or your loved one. When a car fire happens, you have multiple options for compensation. One of the options you have is seeking compensation through your auto insurance policy. There are different forms of coverage that can cover the damage caused by a car fire:
- Comprehensive coverage. This coverage pays for the repairs of damages that are caused by events outside of an accident, such as engine fires and garage fires.
- Collision coverage. This coverage pays for the repairs of damages caused by a car accident.
- PIP. If you sustained injuries as a result of a car fire, you can use your Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, to cover your immediate medical expenses.
Filing a car fire insurance claim
When filing your insurance claim, it is important to provide as much information as possible that will add credibility to your car fire. Copies of a police report are great examples of evidence that will strengthen your claim. Still, insurance companies will try to deny your claim even with the information that you have presented. When insurance companies delay your insurance claim for your car fire, you need an experienced Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney in your corner. An experienced car accident attorney knows how to strategically override the tactics that insurance companies will use to deny your claim.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a car fire as the result of another party’s negligence, the attorneys of Yeboah Law Group are more than qualified to help you fight for your compensation. Our attorneys have the skills, resources, and expertise necessary to help you seek the justice that you deserve. To schedule a no-cost case review, call us today at 1.800.TELL.SAM or complete our contact form. We serve clients throughout South Florida, including those in Miami-Dade.