Burns are among the most serious and painful injuries caused by vehicle collisions. A burn occurs when the tissues of the body are damaged by heat from one of a number of sources. Car accident burn injuries are caused by:
- Fuel. A gas tank can explode and catch fire upon impact, or fuel leaking from a ruptured tank can be ignited by heat or sparks.
- Electrical problems. Conventional auto batteries might spill fluid or shoot sparks onto a hot engine, and the car’s wiring can spread the flame to the interior of the vehicle. Batteries in electric or hybrid cars can also catch fire on impact.
- Chemicals. The skin can be burned by acid or caustic substances that might leak from a tanker truck after a crash. Simply inhaling dangerous chemicals can also cause internal burns.
- Mechanical defects. Fluids leaking from gaskets and seals can ignite under the hood and set a car on fire. Other potential causes of fire are:
- Old or frayed wires
- Overheated engine
- Defective catalytic converter
- Worn spark plugs
Types of Burn Injuries
Burns are categorized according to their degrees of severity:
- First-degree burns. These burns damage only the epidermis (outer layer of skin), causing redness and moderate pain but no blistering. They can be treated at home, generally heal quickly, and don’t leave scars.
- Second-degree burns. A second-degree burn will penetrate the epidermis and affect the underlying dermis, damaging sweat glands, hair follicles, and connective tissue. These burns can cause blisters and leave scars.
- Third-degree burns. Reaching all the way to the hypodermis, which is the subcutaneous, fatty layer of skin beneath the epidermis and dermis, burns like this can cause severe pain, nerve damage, and scarring serious enough to hinder the use of affected body parts. Skin in the burned area may look whitened and/or charred.
- Fourth-degree burns. These burns are the most serious of all, reaching through all the layers of skin to damage nerves, tendons, muscles, and bones.
Even if you don’t feel your burn injuries are severe after a car crash, it’s important to see a doctor right away. A prompt diagnosis and treatment leads to a shorter healing time and quicker relief from pain. A doctor’s exam also documents the injuries you’ve suffered in the wreck, and strong documentation is important to the claim you’ll file with your insurance company.
Results of Car Accident Burn Injuries
The severity and physical location of the burns you suffer in a car crash determine the type of medical care you require as well as the compensation you can receive for your medical expenses and pain and suffering. Vehicle accident burns can result in:
- Severe and chronic pain
- Skin grafts
- Physical limitations
- Emotional/psychological trauma
The Need for a Car Accident Lawyer
Because serious burn injuries can lead to multiple skin grafts, reconstructive plastic surgery, much time off work, and extreme pain and suffering, your claim against the insurance company could be an expensive one. Although you’ll file a claim with your own insurer because Minnesota is a no-fault state, the company might try to dispute or devalue your claim to save money and stay profitable. In such a case, it’s very important to retain the services of a burn injury car accident attorney who can:
- Organize and present your medical evidence
- Work with your doctors to estimate your recovery time and your long-term medical expenses
- Put a dollar value on your pain and suffering to evaluate your claim
- Demand a reasonable settlement from your insurance company
- Find other sources of compensation if your medical bills exceed your coverage limits
- Fight for you in court if your case should go to trial
Have You Suffered Burn Injuries in a Twin Cities Car Accident?
While our car accident doctor can administer some treatment to relieve pain from burns, our free referral service will find you the right local physician to treat any injuries that fall outside our scope, as well as an experienced, local car accident lawyer to help you recover fair compensation for your damages. Contact us online or call 763-251-PAIN for a free consultation. Just one call puts you two steps closer to justice.