Gas Tank Defects

New Jersey Gas Tank Defect Attorneys

Representing clients who suffered catastrophic injuries related to defective gas tanks

Car explosions are only supposed to happen on police drama TV shows and in the movies. The fact is, auto manufacturers are required by law to ensure that drivers and passengers are protected from fire and possible gas tank explosions and fuel line fires in a crash. If a car explodes or bursts into flames on impact, there likely is a design or manufacturing defect that is at fault. The auto manufacturer, parts installer or mechanic who repaired the car all may share liability for your injuries or the death of a family member.

If you were injured in a car fire or gas tank explosion in New Jersey, talk to an experienced member of the auto defect litigation team at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP. We have more than a decade of experience aggressively protecting the rights of people who have been injured or suffered the death of a loved one because of negligence on the part of manufacturers. We are proud of our record of holding auto manufacturers accountable for producing cars and component parts to the highest safety standards.

Our New Jersey personal injury lawyers have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements and jury verdicts on behalf of individuals and families who face a lifetime of medical costs and financial damages because of unsafe products.

What’s the story with Ford Pintos and fuel tank fires?

When we think of gas tank explosions, most of our thoughts immediately go to the infamous Pinto debacle of the 1970s. The Ford Pinto featured a poorly-designed fuel tank in the rear of the vehicle, which made it vulnerable to catching fire in rear-end crashes. Twenty-seven people died as a result of Pinto gas tank fires, with dozens of others suffering injury. It was later revealed the Ford Company could have fixed this design defect for very little money, but chose not to.

The case Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Company set a legal precedent that allows injured consumers to take action against vehicle manufacturers for defective auto parts, including gas tanks. Under product liability law, auto manufacturers have a duty to the public to provide and sell products that are safe and free of defects. However, even with these laws in place, some manufacturers still release dangerous products onto the market.

What are some types of gas and fuel tank defects?

Typically, when a gas tank is improperly positioned or defective, it can be exposed to elements that put it at risk for puncture, explosions, and fire. There are three common fuel tank defects that can lead to serious injury:

  • Gas tank placement. Gas tanks installed in the rear of a vehicle (like the Pinto), or near parts that protrude or are sharp, can cause an explosion or fuel leakage in the event of an accident.
  • Fuel tank cracks. If a tank develops cracks, it will begin to leak. Gas tanks should never crack, and usually do so as a result of a defect. Fuel spillage can be extremely dangerous in an accident.
  • Fuel line leaks/separation. If the fuel line sprouts any leaks or separates, it only takes a spark for a fire or explosion to happen.

Some of the reasons these defects occur include the lack of a cutoff device to stop the flow of gas during a collision or poor welding or repair work that causes a tank or line to rupture. The team at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP works with accident reconstructionists to determine the exact reason you sustained your injuries.

What are the signs of a fuel or gas tank problem?

The best way to avoid injuries from an accident is to avoid the accident altogether. Although you can do everything right and still suffer injury due to no fault of your own, knowing how to spot a dangerous problem can help you avoid serious injury.

Your vehicle may be having issues with the fuel tank or lines if:

  • The engine is stalling or sputtering, especially at high temps and speeds
  • You hear a whining noise coming from the gas tank
  • You lose power while accelerating or towing heavy loads
  • You notice leaks on the ground near the tank or fuel line
  • You smell gasoline around the vehicle
  • Your vehicle is getting low gas mileage

If your car, truck, or SUV is exhibiting any of these, it may be a good idea to have a trusted and certified mechanic check it out. These types of issues may be symptoms of a defective gas tank or fuel line and could lead to a tragic accident. The NJ attorneys at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP can provide guidance.

What types of injuries do defective gas tanks cause?

Because faulty gas and fuel tanks typically cause fires and explosions, injuries stemming from these types of accidents tend to be catastrophic and life-changing. These injuries can include:

Even those that survive a vehicle fire may be left with significant psychological trauma, permanent scarring, and lifelong disability.

Who is liable for my injuries from a defective fuel tank?

Any manufacturer that provides products to consumers has a responsibility to ensure their product is safe for use. This includes auto and vehicle manufacturers. If a defective gas tank or fuel line led to your or your loved one’s injuries, they may be liable and responsible. Our New Jersey attorneys can help you take legal action to seek full compensation for your injuries and losses.

These damages can include:

  • Medical expenses, past and future
  • Future physical therapy, surgeries, etc.
  • Lost wages and future earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Decreased quality of life

In the event your loved one lost their life, our NJ wrongful death lawyers will also seek funeral and burial expenses, among other damages.

Accelerator Defects

There have been several stories in the news over the past few years regarding Toyota vehicles that experience sudden acceleration caused by a faulty accelerator system. Toyota has generated the most negative news, but other car brands and models also experience the problem, putting drivers and passengers at risk. In some cases, improper installation or repair by a licensed mechanic may also result in a stuck or improperly functioning accelerator. If you have questions about your Toyota vehicle, you can find out information on the Toyota recall site.

How our New Jersey product liability attorneys can help

If you suffered an injury or death of a family member in a motor vehicle accident resulting from any type of defective auto component or system, schedule a no-cost case evaluation with us today. We will provide an honest evaluation of your case and help you determine your best options for seeking money damages. If you have a solid case for damages, and you hire us as your legal counsel, you will have an effective, successful team of trial professionals on your side, fighting for the maximum money damages you are entitled to for your case. We are proud of the many significant recoveries we have won on behalf of victims of negligence.

Fierce advocacy for gas tank and fuel line defect injury victims

From offices in Edison, Red Bank and Toms River, the NJ product liability lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP advise and represent clients in personal injury and wrongful death litigation matters throughout New Jersey. Call our office at 732-777-0100 or contact us online to request a free consultation.