As one of the most experienced personal injury law firms in the Florida Panhandle, we have helped people facing a wide range of injuries. These injuries stem from a vast array of circumstances, but they involve the common element of negligent, reckless, or otherwise wrongful actions by another individual or organization. Having such wide-ranging experience is especially helpful when, as often occurs, an incident involves overlapping issues. For example, our experience in auto injuries and fire/burn cases means The Pittman Firm is well-prepared to help in the event of a vehicle fire.
Last Thursday, at approximately 1:45 P.M., a big rig carrying a load of pine logs caught fire on Highway 73. WJHG reports that the truck was en route to Marianna when it caught fire near the border of Jackson County and Calhoun County. The driver pulled off the road and attempted to disconnect the logs from the front section where the fire began. Thankfully the driver was not injured, but the fire destroyed the big rig. An investigation is on-going with investigators suspecting a mechanical cause.
In September 2012, the National Fire Protection Association ("NFPA") delivered a paper focused on automobile fires in the U.S. during the 2006-2010 time period. The 5-year span saw an annual average of 152,300 automobile fires that left 209 civilians dead and 764 civilians injured each year. Looking at all road fires, the average annual total for the 2006-2010 period was 223,300 fires, 329 civilian deaths, and 1,221 civilian injuries. In addition to automobile fires, this latter set of numbers includes fires on buses, motorcycles, freight road trucks and other vehicles.
Focusing again on automobiles, mechanical problems were cited as a factor in 45% of studied fires and 11% of fire deaths and electrical fires accounted for 24% of fires, but they were only linked to 1% of civilian fatalities. Notably, collisions and rollovers only accounted for 1% of auto fires in the NFPA report, but this 1% led to a shocking 60% of all automobile fire civilian deaths. 10% of automobile fires in the 2006 to 2010 period were deemed intentional.
Another interesting comes from the report on vehicle fires Federal Emergency Management Agency. This report focuses on a slightly narrower time frame, 2008-2010, and cites an average of 194,000 highway vehicle fires (a term that includes passenger, freight, and agricultural vehicles) annually with approximately 300 fatalities a year.
Notably, the highway vehicle blazes accounted for 14% of all fires that fire departments responded to during the time span. The FEMA report emphasizes the difficulty of pinpointing the cause of vehicle fires, suggesting 24% remain undetermined following investigation. Consistent with the NFPA report, mechanical issues were deemed the most common contributing factor (44% of fires involved mechanical failure or malfunction).
When a vehicle fire leads to an injury, medical care should always be the first priority. It is also important for victims to contact legal counsel as soon as possible. Do not rely on an insurance company to conduct an unbiased investigation. Engaging our firm early allows us to use our experience in both vehicle- and fire-related incidents to conduct our own investigation and gather the evidence necessary to build a case against those responsible.
If you or a loved one suffered injury in a vehicle fire and someone else was responsible, our Panama City vehicle fire attorney can help. We will work to get you money damages and you only pay legal fees if you recover compensation. Call for a consultation.