Why Cars Catch Fire After Accidents

If you have a horrible car accident, you may become trapped in the vehicle. On top of the injuries caused by an accident, you may experience burns from a fire or a fatality from an explosion if you cannot get out of the car before it catches fire.

A car may catch fire after an accident if fuel leaks from the gas tank. The accident may damage the gas tank causing the fuel to leak. Moreover, the impact may break fuel lines, causing gasoline to leak.

What causes gasoline to ignite?

Gasoline that leaks unto the hot engine may ignite from the heat. Electrical short circuits that cause sparks near the leaking gasoline may also cause it to ignite. If the fuel leaks onto the road before the vehicle stops, the vehicle undercarriage may cause sparks to ignite the gasoline as the metal parts scrap along the roadway.

What causes gasoline to explode?

For an explosion to occur, the gasoline vapor must mix with air to make an explosive mixture. Sometimes, the gasoline vapors fill up the vehicle’s interior, and that contained area creates an explosive combination of air and fuel vapors.

Injuries from Car Fires

The severity of burns from a fire has a degree ranking scale.

Here is the scale of burns:


First-degree burns, also called superficial burns, only impact the outer layer of your skin. This skin level is the epidermis. Sunburn is an example of a first-degree burn. The skin is red, hot to the touch, and painful but has not formed blisters. Long-lasting damage is not common and usually is only evident as a change in skin color to a lighter or darker tone.


Second-degree burns are also called partial-thickness burns. These burns involve both the surface layer epidermis and the underlying dermis. The burn site is red, swollen, blistered, and extremely painful. Scarring is likely.


Third-degree burns are also called full-thickness burns. This burn destroys the top two layers of skin, the epidermis, and dermis. The burn may also involve the subcutaneous (below the skin) tissue. The burn site is dead skin that may be white or charred black. Scarring is extensive. If repairs are possible, a lot of skin graft surgery may be needed.


Fourth-degree burns destroy all the skin and the underlying tissue and go further into the deeper tissues, including perhaps burning muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones. There is no feeling in the area because all the nerve endings are destroyed. Permanent scars and disfigurement are likely, and perhaps dysfunction of the affected body parts.

Fifth-Degree or Higher

Anything above a fourth-degree burn is most likely fatal. These higher degrees describe the destruction of the dead body and are quite gruesome.

Burns may start at one-degree and progress to a deeper degree over time as the skin layers are impacted by continuing damage and the inability to heal properly.

Get the Help You Need

If you or a loved one suffers from burn injuries or is killed in a car fire caused by an accident, you need the help of an attorney who specializes in this type of case. Call (281) 475-4535 for a free consultation.