Burn Injuries In Car Crashes Can Be Extremely Serious
Car crashes can sometimes lead to the car catching on fire. Seeking compensation could help you recover some of these lost wages. Contact a Kansas City car accident attorney at Townsend Law LLC today.
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What to Know About Burns from Car Accidents

Jul 17, 2017 Townsend Law LLC Car Accident

Car crashes can sometimes lead to a vehicle fire. Burn injuries are among the most common car accident injuries. When this occurs, there is a chance that people in the area, including the car’s occupants, can suffer from burn injuries. Common causes of burns from a car accident are excess fuel or gas that has been exposed to open flames from the crash.

While first-degree burns are superficial yet painful, minor burns typically heal quickly and without intervention. More serious thermal burns (some first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree burns) and any serious chemical burns will require immediate medical attention. These can result in serious personal injury, including amputation, blindness, or other life-altering injuries. Some of these injuries will also require ongoing medical treatment, which can have massive medical bills as well as pain and suffering for the accident victim.

Burns are divided into four degrees, or levels, with each degree being worse than the previous. Understanding how burns are classified and other information about them can help as you, or a loved one tries to heal from these horrible injuries after a car crash.

The 4 Degrees Of Burns

Not all burn injuries are life-threatening or considered serious burns. Some will require very little medical care, while others will require a medical professional with specialized training. However, burns from car accidents can often be more serious. How many and what layers of skin were affected, such as the epidermis, or if there is nerve damage or other systems affected by burn injuries, will determine what degree the burn falls under:

  • A first-degree burn impacts the outer layer of the skin. The affected area will turn red, but it doesn’t blister. Most sunburns are first-degree burns.
  • A second-degree burn goes a little deeper into the second layer of tissues. The skin will thicken, and blistering may form in the affected area. Hair follicles may sing, but the burn is contained to just the outer layer of skin. These burns are painful.
  • A third-degree burn is much more serious. Because of the depth of the burn, nerve endings are destroyed, causing nerve damage. This means that the burn victim might not feel pain in the area of the burn. The area will appear discolored, dry, and leathery and might be swollen. These burns won’t heal properly without immediate medical attention and medical care. This can happen from scalding hot oil or chemical burns that are subjected to the accident victim‘s skin.
  • A fourth-degree burn is deeper and penetrates more layers of skin than a third-degree burn. Tendons and bones might be affected. Extensive nerve damage occurs with this type of burn. This is the most serious burn and can be absolutely life-threatening. Extensive medical care by a specialized medical professional is required, and many burn victims can never fully recover.

Treating Burns

Immediate medical attention is required for severe burn victims. This is especially true if the burn covers a larger area of the body and causes massive blistering. When the type of burn is third- and fourth-degree, treatment at a burn center may be necessary. Bandaging the wound, having skin grafts, and getting antibiotic therapy to stave off infections could be required. Some patients may need nutritional support, pain medication, and other therapies.

It will be up to your medical professional as to what medical care or ongoing medical treatment may be required for your serious burn injury.

Disfigurement Is Possible

Severe burns are sometimes associated with disfigurement. This can be life-changing, especially if the burns occur on the face. It is sometimes possible for plastic surgeons to reduce the disfigurement, but preventing it usually isn’t possible.

Right after an auto accident, leaking gas from the motor vehicle’s fuel system may come into contact with hot metal, let alone open flames, and cause a vehicle fire to ensue. If the gasoline splashes directly onto the auto accident victim‘s skin and it is set ablaze, disfigurement can be highly likely.

A person who must go to a burn center or be hospitalized will likely have to take time off of work. If a child is injured, a parent will likely have to take time off of work to care for the child. As you can imagine, the loss of income can be financially devastating. Seeking compensation could help you recover some of these lost wages.

Third-Degree Burns – Difficult Injury to Heal From

This injury is called a full-thickness burn because it destroys the top layer of the skin and the layer beneath it. The heat from car fires during vehicle accidents can get so high; with long exposure to this heat, severe burn injuries are often the result. If the gas tank punctures during a car wreck or the vehicle is overturned. Fuel leaks from the gas tank, or in a motorcycle accident where the gas tank is torn apart and gas is spilled onto the rider, there are many situations where these types of burn injuries leave permanent scarring of the dermis, lost income, and huge medical expenses.

Signs And Symptoms Of A Full Thickness Burn

A full-thickness burn has a leathery appearance. The skin will appear yellow, white, brown, or black. The area will be swollen and dry. You might not even realize that there is a problem because the nerve endings have been destroyed. There isn’t going to be any skin or hair in the area. Hair follicles and the epidermis are completely destroyed when a third-degree burn occurs.

Medical Care For Third-Degree Burns

You need immediate medical care for a third-degree burn. The damage’s extent means no new skin or hair will grow. An evaluation must be done immediately to determine what type of treatment protocol is necessary. Typically, you will get intravenous fluids that contain electrolytes. Some doctors will also give you antibiotics because the infection is a serious risk when you have a burn of this magnitude.

Often, patients with a third-degree burn that encompasses a large area of the body will be transferred to a specialized burn center for treatment. This presents them with a medical team familiar with the treatment of severe burns and the equipment necessary to provide optimal treatment.

A Lengthy Recovery

The road to recovery after a third-degree burn is a long one. The area might need to be debrided, which means that the dead tissue is removed to improve healing. This is a painful procedure that is done in a special tub or in the operating room, depending on the circumstances.

Since there isn’t any chance that skin will regrow in the area, a skin graft might be necessary. This means that skin is taken from a donor site on your body and transplanted to the burned area, called the graft site.

A special diet high in protein is usually ordered during the recovery process to help give the body the fuel it needs to aid healing. Other treatments may also be necessary.

Overall, this is a horrible injury to recover from, but don’t lose faith, as people can and do go on to live fulfilling and happy lives, despite such a traumatic experience and injury. The time you need to take off of work and the cost of care will need to be addressed, and thankfully, there are legal channels available, such as the car accident attorneys at Townsend Law, LLC.

If you or a loved one have suffered a serious burn injury, reach out to Townsend Law, LLC law firm, and schedule a free consultation with a car accident lawyer today. The personal injury lawyers at our law firm have years of experience in helping burn accident victims deal with insurance companies and medical bills. At the same time, they recover from their serious injuries. We strive for a strong attorney-client relationship, providing legal advice and explaining your legal rights under the law.


Call our personal injury attorneys now for a free case evaluation, and we can see your claim.

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