What would you do if your car suddenly burst into flames? For one Georgetown family, this isn’t a hypothetical situation.

Shortly before Christmas, a Nissan Murano parked in the driveway of a family’s home started smoking. Luckily, some people working on the yard next door spotted the smoke in time to alert the family, KVUE reported, and they were able to call the fire department.

The family was also lucky because the incident happen while the car was parked in the driveway, with no people in harm’s way. Since the yard workers noticed it in time, the fire department was able to put out the fire before it damaged any other property, though the car was destroyed.

The incident is an important reminder that cars can be dangerous even without a reckless driver – or anyone, for that matter – behind the wheel.

And while many car accident settlements involve just two drivers (one or both of whom may be help responsible for resulting injuries and damages) this incident is an example of a case where a car manufacturer, not a driver, could be the responsible party.

While it’s not yet clear whether Nissan will be held responsible in this case, in some cases, vehicle manufacturers may be held liable for dangerous defects that caused or contributed to injuries. 

According to the KVUE story, Nissan had issued a recall on the model that burst into flames. It’s certainly important for car owners to pay attention to recall notices. But some problems go undetected until, well, they become a problem.

Consulting an attorney is a good idea after any serious accident, but it can be especially helpful when the causes of the accident are more complicated, potentially involving not just drivers but also vehicle manufacturers. 

One other lesson from this incident? If you see a car smoking in your neighbor’s driveway, don’t wait before calling the fire department.