emt wrapping up arm of burn victim | Burn Injuries From Car Accidents

According to the American Burn Association, every year approximately 1.1 million burn injuries require medical attention in the United States. These burn injuries result in thousands of deaths and tens of thousands of hospitalizations. While it is unclear how many of these injuries are the result of car accidents, a significant number of crashes each year involve fires, leading to serious burn injuries.

Types of Burn Injuries

Some car accident victims may escape their vehicle with only minor burn injuries. These may be very painful, but do not require surgery or lengthy hospital stays. However, it is also common for victims to sustain severe burn injuries requiring surgical excision and skin grafting. Burn injuries are typically classified by severity according to the following criteria:

  • First Degree– In a first-degree burn, only the outermost layer of skin is damaged. The epidermis will be red and dry. It will be painful, but should heal in about a week.
  • Second-degree Superficial– In this type of injury, the first and second layers are damaged. The damage to the second layer (dermis) is not deep. The skin will look moist, and be red with clear blisters. It will take several weeks to heal.
  • Second-degree Deep- With this type of injury, the damage to the dermis is more significant. The skin will appear red and white with bloody blisters, and may necessitate replacement of the damaged area with skin grafts.
  • Third Degree– The entire dermis is damaged with this injury. The skin will be white or brown and seem stiff, dry and leathery. Excision will be necessary, however, some very severe third degree burns result in amputation.
  • Fourth Degree– This type of burn damages even the deepest layer of skin, called the subcutaneous, as well as the muscle and bone underneath. The skin will be charred and dry, resulting in significant loss of function.

Compensation for Burn Injuries

Financial compensation may be available for your car accident burn injuries. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney can assist you with determining fault and liability, as well as securing compensation to pay for medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalizations, surgeries, rehabilitation, pain and suffering, and other appropriate damages.

When you are involved in a car accident, the safety features in your vehicle should function properly and protect you from any major injuries. Sometimes, however, the logistics of certain accidents result in one or more of the vehicles catching fire. It only takes one loose wire or one rogue spark to ignite the gasoline in your vehicle, putting everyone involved at great risk of suffering a burn injury.