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How Burn Injuries Can Result from a Car Accident

Feb 11, 2020

Many different kinds of injuries can affect victims in a vehicle wreck. Some of these can be spotted easily at the scene of the accident, but others, such as burns and head injuries, may require diagnosis at a medical facility after the fact.

Burns have to be treated carefully in order to give the victim the best possible chance for a full recovery and minimal scarring. In some situations, however, the cost for treating burn injuries can be overwhelming and add to the stress for a person already attempting to recover from a serious car accident. In the most severe burn cases, for example, a skin graft might be required or the victim might be scarred forever as a lifetime reminder of the accident.

What Kinds of Burn Injuries Can Affect an Accident Victim?

When burn injuries are part of a car accident, most people automatically think of a fire or an engine in flames. Though fires are quite rare in vehicle accidents, burn injuries do happen and their impact is typically severe. Burn injuries are most likely to occur due to exposure to external heat sources like hot metals, scalding oil or other liquids, or steam.

Causes of Burn Injuries in the Car

A car accident is an overwhelming and scary experience for anyone. The body can go into shock obscuring what could be some of the victim’s most serious injuries. The risk for burn injuries is high in a vehicle accident because the burns can be caused by so many different sources. For example, burns can happen as a result of:

  • The deployment of an airbag
  • Explosions within the car or nearby vehicles
  • Coming into contact with dangerous chemicals leaked during the accident
  • Contact with a live current
  • Exposure to debris

Defective car or truck parts, associated with the fuel system, are a common cause of fires and the resulting burn injuries. Affected parts could also include the gas tank, the fuel filtration system, and the fuel pump. These defects can be extremely dangerous, but may also occur as a result of the vehicle crash itself.

Types of Burn Injuries

Burn injuries from car accidents and other sources are classified based on their severity. Burns can be first, second, or third degree. Second- and third-degree burns are more serious and the victim should get immediate medical attention. These burn injuries can be so catastrophic that a victim may not be able to work again.

Here’s how to get a good sense of what type of burn injury you have:

  • First degree burns only affect the top skin layer.
  • Second degree burns cause more intense pain and blistering because they reach to the second layer of the skin.
  • Third degree burns can permanently damage blood vessels, tissue, and nerves.

Not all burns will develop fully at the scene of the accident. A burn injury or contact with fire is a shock to the system and how a patient’s body responds can vary. What seems like a minor burn at the site of the accident might go much deeper as blisters develop. Getting a medical professional to analyze the burn is important, so do not refuse medical assistance lightly.

Go to the hospital and have yourself checked thoroughly for injury. The sooner a burn injury is identified, the easier it will be for the victim to get proper care and treatment.

If you come upon someone who was hurt in an accident and is struggling to speak for themselves, be aware of the symptoms of shock. If you find a person in this condition, try to keep them in one place until help arrives.

For the most severe burn injuries, a bystander or other passenger’s willingness to get help could make a big difference for the recovery of the victim. The burn risk might still be present when you show up on the scene. To fully protect yourself from burns or explosive material, avoid touching metal or reaching into the car.

The medical team coming to the site of the accident will do everything possible to minimize the victim’s injuries. Even when medical help arrives at the scene quickly, the burn victim’s life might already be changed forever.

What Complications are Associated with Car Burn Injuries?

Depending on the classification of the burn injury, the victim might be able to recover and live their life normally again. However, in addition to the underlying risk of burn injuries, there are also dangers presented by possible complications that may include:

Infection: The skin is an important protective layer against infection. When it’s damaged or destroyed, the body becomes more susceptible to infections and burn injuries.

Septic shock: A critical medical condition that can happen if the infection spreads into the bloodstream.

Other problems: These may include fluid loss, pulmonary embolism, and deep vein thrombosis. Burn injuries can also carry a mental and physical toll for the victim struggling with the grafts, scarring and other long-term effects of the injury.

A burn injury can change your life. If you’ve suffered a burn injury from a car crash, you might need help with compensation to pay for your medical bills. Understand how burn injuries can happen and what you should do if you sustain one.

Getting Help After a Burn Accident

Most burn victims have a long road to recovery. Even though most people who sustain burns in a crash typically have a high survival rate, long and painful procedures might lie on the road ahead of them. Skin grafts and other surgeries might be required for a burn victim.

Along with any other injuries, the toll and long-term impact, such as inability to work or function in their previous capacity, can become the foundation for a personal injury claim against the responsible party. At Dunnion Law, we explore every option to help burn victims who have suffered life-changing injuries.

From getting medical attention and attending follow-up appointments to working with the insurance company, there’s much for a burn victim to consider in the wake of any vehicle accident. Dunnion Law can provide you peace of mind that someone is fighting hard on your behalf to obtain the compensation to which you’re entitled. 

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