Fires are rare in most car accidents. However, when it does occur, the injuries sustained by those in the vehicle are often severe, and sometimes fatal.
If you have been involved in a car accident that resulted in a fire, you may have experienced significant injuries that result in extensive medical bills. At Nelson Personal Injury, LLC, we provide representation for burn victims and can help you recover the compensation you are entitled to.
The first step is to contact our office to schedule a free initial consultation. You can also learn more about car accident-caused burn injuries here.
Common Causes of Burn Injuries in Car Accidents
There are a few reasons a fire may occur after a car accident. Some of the most common causes include the following:
Modern motor vehicles include many mechanical components. Many of these can catch fire and cause serious injuries. If a vehicle has mechanical issue, such as an overheated engine, leaking seal, or broken part, and is involved in an accident, there is a possibility of a fire.
Some vehicles may also have manufacturing defects that can cause a fire. Examples include a poorly designed fuel tank, improper wiring, or a defective battery.
Most vehicles have intricate wiring systems. These can also ignite in an accident. One reason for this is that the wiring system in a vehicle runs throughout it, which means a fire can start almost anywhere after an accident.
The risk is particularly high in hybrid vehicles. That is because these vehicles have powerful batteries, and a small spark in an accident can result in the entire vehicle catching on fire.
If two vehicles collide, the impact can result in components exploding. The explosion occurs because of the Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion principle.
All vehicles contain many types of flammable liquids, including oil, fuel, and coolants (to name a few). This is a serious risk if the liquids are heated beyond their boiling point.
Types of Car Accident-Caused Burn Injuries
While fires may be rare during a car accident, they can happen. If you are involved in a car accident that results in a fire, you may sustain serious burns that leave you with life-changing injuries and disfigurement.
Some of the types of burn injuries you may experience include the following:
A first-degree burn is the least serious of burns. It only affects the outer layer of the skin.
When a car accident occurs, you may experience a first-degree burn when your exposed skin rubs against the seat belt or from an airbag. While the burn is painful, it usually only takes a few days to heal.
A second-degree burn is more severe than a first-degree burn. These impact the outer and second layers of the skin.
A common cause of second-degree burns after a car accident is if the skin contacts hot metal.
A second-degree burn can take several weeks to heal. In some cases, this injury may require skin grafting.
Third-degree burns are more severe than first- and second-degree burns. This type of burn injury destroys the outer and second layers of skin. The burn also penetrates the innermost layer of skin, which can damage nerve tissue.
In many situations, third-degree burn victims require extensive skin grafting surgery. The healing process may take many months or longer, and some victims must undergo therapy after being released from the hospital.
It is extremely serious and life-threatening if you sustain a fourth-degree burn. These affect all the layers of the skin and usually extend to the muscles and nerve tissue. Sometimes, fourth-degree burns can damage the bones.
Many cases of fourth-degree burns can be fatal, and if someone survives this type of burn, it will likely require extensive and ongoing treatment.
Electrical vs. Chemical Burns
Drivers and passengers may experience burn injuries even if no flames or explosions are involved. Chemical exposure can cause serious burns to the skin and internally if someone inhales the fumes.
Electrical burns can move through the body and cause serious damage to the internal organs.
Potential Side Effects of Car Accident-Caused Burn Injuries
The consequences of car accident-caused burn injuries can impact a victim for the rest of their lives. Some of the long-term results of burn injuries include the following:
- Chronic pain;
- Skin graft treatment;
- Physical limitations;
- Scarring and disfigurement;
- Emotional and psychological issues.
Just because a burn victim does not suffer what is considered a “severe” injury in a medical sense, it does not mean they will not be impacted significantly. For example, someone with burns to their face that result in disfigurement could be more emotionally impacted than someone with burns to the arms or legs.
You may also experience complications from a car accident-caused burn injury. Some of these complications include the following:
- Bacterial infections that lead to sepsis;
- Permanent scars;
- Reduced temperature;
- Respiratory problems;
- Amputation .
Potential Treatment for Car Accident-Caused Burn Injuries
If you experience a burn because of a car accident, it will likely require medical treatment. Some of the treatment that may be needed includes the following:
- Skin graft surgeries;
- Amputation surgeries;
- Pain medications;
- Plastic surgery;
- Debriding to remove dead tissue and skin.
Treatment for burn injuries may be provided in a local hospital; however, sometimes, more intensive treatment is necessary. You may be sent to a burn unit if this is the case. In some cases, you will also require ongoing outpatient treatment. It all depends on the severity of the burn injury you sustain.
Liability in Burn Injury Claims
In a car accident, there may be just one person at fault for the injuries you sustain. However, in other situations, multiple parties could be at fault. In these cases, liability refers to anyone who contributed to the accident. Each person or party who is liable is also responsible for paying for a portion of your financial losses.
The financial losses you experience are called damages, and you file a lawsuit to recover damages from the at-fault party or parties.
Examples of at fault drivers may include someone who was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or someone driving recklessly due to “road rage.” If there is a defective part on your vehicle, then the auto manufacturer may be held responsible for your injuries and damages.
If you were hit by a commercial truck, you could file a claim against the truck driver and the trucking company (in some cases). In these situations, you may also be able to file a claim against the person or entity in charge of truck maintenance or the person or company responsible for loading the truck.
Types of Damages You Can Recover if a Car Accident Results in Burn Injuries
If you are involved in a car accident that results in burn injuries, there are several types of damages you may be able to recover.
Some of the types of damages you may be entitled to include the following:
- Medical costs related to the accident;
- Lost income and loss of income potential;
- Pain and suffering;
- Other out-of-pocket costs.
When you hire an attorney, they will evaluate your accident and situation to determine what type of compensation you are entitled to.
Steps to Take if You Suffer Burn Injuries in a Car Accident
If you have experienced burns after a car accident, be sure to get medical treatment immediately. Burn injuries are not like others. Time is of the essence because burn injuries are often complex.
As experienced personal injury attorneys, we understand that the most important step after a burn injury is seeking a medical evaluation and treatment.
It is also important to contact our legal team as soon as you can. We have decades of experience representing burn injury clients and ensuring they get the legal representation they need. With our help, you can feel confident you have an experienced personal injury attorney advocating for you and working to ensure you receive the maximum compensation possible for your injuries.
Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation. During this meeting, we can discuss your case and walk you through the next steps in your claim.