Of all the ways you can be injured in a catastrophic vehicle accident, third- and fourth-degree burns are some of the most difficult injuries to treat—and pose challenges to recovery. Permanent tissue damage and scarring can impact an individual for life.
Car accident victims who sustain serious burns often also have other serious injuries, further complicating their recovery.
When you work with our experienced personal injury lawyers to fight for the compensation you deserve, you can be sure that we'll consider the long-term effects of your burn injuries when we negotiate for a fair settlement. Learn about how burn injuries can affect your future, and then call us for a free consultation.
How Vehicle Crashes Cause Burns
After house fires, car crashes are the leading cause of burn injuries each year in the United States. Cars, trucks, and motorcycles are full of flammable materials and dangerous chemicals that release in a collision and cause severe injuries.
Vehicle crashes can cause:
- Thermal burns. Burns caused by contact with a heat source are known as thermal burns, often caused by fire, hot metal, and scalding liquids in a vehicle crash. Gasoline might ignite, and metal surfaces absorb intense heat in a collision.
- Chemical burns. Battery acid and hazardous chemicals hauled by semi-trucks frequently spill in a collision. If a victim comes in contact with these chemicals or breathes in their vapors, they can suffer external burns as well as internal burns to the throat, trachea, and lungs.
- Electrical burns. If power lines are brought down in a car accident, and live wires surround or fall on a vehicle, a crash victim can sustain an electrical burn or even electrocution.
These kinds of burns happen quickly in a catastrophic collision. Individuals often also sustain other injuries at the same time, including broken bones, head injuries, and spinal cord damage. The burn injury may be overlooked as the more obviously threatening conditions are treated, but depending on the level of the burn, it may become a more severe medical emergency.
Degrees of Burn Injuries and What They Mean
When a burn injury victim is seen by a doctor, the extent of damage is assessed. Doctors look at how many of the three layers of skin are affected—the epidermis, the dermis, and subcutaneous fat. The burn degree assigned depends on how deep the damage goes, as follows:
- First degree. Most of us have touched a hot stove or iron and experienced a first-degree burn. Only affecting the top layer of skin, these burns can be treated with basic first aid. However, even a first-degree burn can become infected if it's not treated with antibiotics when necessary.
- Second degree. With a second-degree burn, the first and second layers of skin, sweat glands, and hair follicles may be damaged. These burns usually require medical treatment and will result in scarring, even with treatment.
- Third degree. At this level, burns become serious. A third-degree burn impacts all three layers of skin and might also damage nerve endings. There's extensive scarring, and an injured individual could require hospitalization and surgeries to graft new skin over the burned areas. They may also suffer permanent disfigurement and disability.
- Fourth degree. When skin and muscle are burned down to the bone, it's life-threatening. The patient requires extensive medical treatment and may not survive.
In order to demand the kind of compensation you or a loved one might need to recover from serious burn injuries, your attorney must understand how the severity of your condition and its required medical treatment impacts your future.
Call Mahaney & Pappas, LLP to Discuss Your Burn Injuries
At Mahaney & Pappas, LLP, we help vehicle accident victims who suffered a range of serious injuries, including debilitating burns. If you're struggling to get an insurance company to assess your condition fairly, contact our legal team for help. We'll build a strong case to secure the settlement you need now and in the future.