How Car Explosions & Fires Impact Personal Injury Claims in Florida

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When evaluating a personal injury or wrongful death claim following a collision that produced a car fire or explosion, several important factors must be determined. This includes the type of accident, how it occured, the possible causes and what happened after it occurred. 

After a traumatic event like this, a really clear picture must be generated before a personal injury lawyer can move on to other details that may impact your claim. This takes precedence over the presence of a new potential defendant (OTHER THAN THE DRIVER) who has insurance that may assist the injured or families of the deceased.

The Cliff Notes: Key Takeaways From This Post

We look into the factors that must be determined for car explosions; however, here are the key bullet points if you are in a rush:

  • Car explosions are extremely rare, as numerous factors need to align for an explosion to occur.
  • Fuel vapors cannot cause an explosion in a car unless they are trapped in an enclosed space and introduced to a flame.
  • BLEVE (Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion) is one cause of automobile explosions.
  • Car fires, though less catastrophic than explosions, are far more common and lead to injury and death on a daily basis.
  • An attorney with knowledge of safety standards should be consulted if someone is injured or loses a loved one due to a car fire.

Car Explosions Are Really Rare

It is important to recognize that car explosions are very rare. You are far more likely to see a car explode on the big screen than you are to see something like that on the side of the road.  Simply put, an explosion is only going to occur if several specific things go wrong (all at the same time). Those odds are very rare. 

Car explodes on side of the highway in Pinellas

While fuel vapors can combust to create an explosion in a car, this requires flammable vapors trapped in an enclosed space to be introduced to a flame. The gas tank may seem like the obvious danger in this situation, but liquid gasoline will not explode.  Vapors can ignite, but will not make the tank explode unless there is a hole large enough for flames to enter but small enough to maintain the necessary pressure. 


A Common acronym used by safety experts and personal injury lawyers to explain one common cause of automobile explosions is B.L.E.V.E.. It stands for Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion. It is when a vessel that contains pressurized liquid raises above its boiling point and puts enormous amounts of pressure on its container. When that container is also exposed to fire, you get those truly catastrophic explosions, such as when a propane tank or tractor trailer detonates. 

Car Explosions Are Rare, But Car Fires Are Not

While explosions are rare, car fires are not. According to federal statistics, thirty or more car fires are reported every hour on average. The combination of frequency and immediate danger makes them very deadly too. Car fires claim the life of one motorist every day in Florida  

Though fires are still rare when compared to the total number of car accidents that happen daily, it is worth calling attention to the approximately seventeen hundred people injured in car fires each year, and the nearly four hundred that lose their lives.

While explosions are very rare, Florida car accidents often result in excessive heat, punctures, holes, leaks, and sparks.  A small fuel leak ignited by an even smaller spark can quickly ignite the dry, flammable materials within a car.  

Some will argue that the advancements in car design have made cabins more flame retardant.  This is true, but that does not mean that those materials will not burn, just that they are less likely to catch when compared to other fabrics and plastic.  A car fire can quickly heat up to extremely high temperatures that catch even the most resistant objects.

Why Should Your Personal Injury Attorney Understand Exactly What Caused A Fire? 

The majority of car, truck and semi, tractor-trailer fires that occur are caused by mechanical failures.  When explosions and fires follow car, truck or semi tractor trailer accidents, they tend to be more deadly in nature. Often, the occupants of a burning vehicle are hurt, unable to move, unconscious or just trapped. The reason your personal injury attorney should be knowledgeable on this is that your claims may not just be against the person who caused the crash. 

Client review from past personal injury case in Florida

When a fire occurs after a crash, the design, maintenance and sometimes even the repairs of the car or truck come into play. Those companies are responsible for doing their jobs safely. 

  • Did the manufacturer of the car or truck that caught fire fail to design it in a safe manner? 
  • Did the maintenance or repair who last repaired the automobile fail to do something which led to a failure? 

Putting the pieces together after a car fire is a tedious task requiring significant levels of expertise. A safety expert will be responsible for identifying all the people and companies involved in this type of car accident. Your personal injury or wrongful death attorney will receive this information from that expert and then they can go to work recovering the funds you need.

Schedule a Free Consultation With Clifford Wells 

Attorney Clifford Wells, B.C.S. Esq is a Board Certified personal injury attorney who also has a Bachelors of Science in Occupational Safety and Health. This training has proven invaluable in spotting safety standards violations. 

If you are injured, involved in a car fire, or have lost a loved one, call a board-certified personal injury attorney to discuss the possibility of collecting financial compensation for your losses. Clifford Wells offers free legal consultations, so you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain by contacting Herman & Wells.