Being involved in an auto accident is a frightening experience. Being involved in a fiery crash is even more so. Unfortunately, burns are some of the most catastrophic injuries you could receive in a motor vehicle accident. Unlike broken bones that often completely mend in a matter of weeks, burns, especially severe ones, require a lengthy hospital stay and numerous surgeries to minimize the disfiguring scars they leave.
Even if you drive a larger model car, its interior still remains a small enclosed space. Combine this with the numerous interior surfaces that can catch fire or become hot enough to burn you, plus the wires and fluids that can do likewise, these factors can combine into the perfect injurious storm that could result in long-lasting aftereffects and possibly lifetime disfiguration.
Types of Burns
According to the American Burn Association, you stand a good chance of receiving the following four distinct types of burns in an auto accident:
- Thermal burn caused by the flames themselves or by your skin contacting one of your car’s extremely hot interior surfaces
- Scald burns caused by your skin contacting one of your car’s hot liquids such as gasoline, or even such ordinarily innocuous liquids as excessively hot coffee
- Chemical burns caused by your skin contacting one of your car’s caustic fluids such as oil, transmission fluid, steering fluid, antifreeze, etc.
- Electrical burns caused by your skin contacting one of your car’s electrical wires or a downed power line if you strike an electrical pole
Degrees of Burns
Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital System reports that physicians separate burns into four categories depending on their severity. You seldom suffer a first- or second-degree burn in a fiery car crash. Instead you likely have experienced them when you expose your body to too much sun during the summer months. These least serious burns may cause your skin to redden or even blister and peel, but they usually heal within days and leave no lasting skin damage.
Third-degree burns are far more serious. Here not only does the burn invade and damage your skin, it also damages your underlying nerves, tendons and other tissues. Such burns require immediate medical intervention and treatment since they could become life-threatening. You may not realize, however, the extent of your injuries, but the reason for this is quite sinister. Your burns may have damaged your nerves to the extent that you no longer have the ability to feel pain in the affected areas. A fourth-degree burn is the most serious of all and definitely life-threatening. These deepest of burns extend all the way down to your bones.
Depending on the full extent of your burn injuries resulting from your car crash, their aftereffects can linger for months, years or even the rest of your life. At the very least, you face the following:
- Weeks or months in the burn unit
- Daily wound debridement
- Infection treatment, control and prevention
- Multiple skin grafts
- Multiple surgeries
- Considerable pain and suffering
- Physical and/or occupational therapy
- Rehabilitation therapies
- Possible extensive in-home or assisted-living care
- Possible lifetime disfiguring scars
Your medical and other costs can quickly skyrocket, becoming almost as catastrophic as your burns themselves. Your medical bills easily could exceed $500,000 in the first year alone. Therefore, your only reasonable option is filing a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver who caused your accident. While no amount of money can compensate you for the brutal aftereffects of your burns, prevailing in such a suit can minimize your financial losses and also provide you with a sense of justice.
If you or one of your loved one suffers burns in an auto accident, please call Richard A. Dubi toll-free at 833-FOR-DUBI (833-367-3824).