Burn Injuries That Car Accident Victims Can Experience

David W. Hodges
David Hodges is a founding partner of Kennedy Hodges. He focuses his practice on personal injury claims.

When many people think about car accident injuries, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and lacerations come to mind. One of the most common, A Nurse Treating a Patient's Burnand overlooked, injury is actually one of the most dangerous. Burns from auto accidents occur more often than people usually think, and can even occur in the most common car accident scenarios. Unfortunately, these serious injuries are quite devastating.

Burn injuries can occur when a car catches on fire and a person is inside, or from hot liquids, such as gas and oil, coming in contact with the body during a collision. Along with the pain and suffering the burns cause, they can also create psychological trauma if the accident victim experiences scarring and disfigurement from his injuries. The burns can occur just about anywhere on the body, and can require extensive and expensive treatment.

Types of Burns Experienced in Car Accidents

Whether a person is trapped in a car that is on fire, or has hot liquid splashed on him from the car, he can become injured and scarred for life from burns. Car accident victims can experience a few different types of burns from car crashes, and each requires treatment from a medical professional. The following is a brief overview:

  • First-degree burns. Although considered the mildest of all the burns, first-degree burns are still painful and can take a long time to heal. First-degree burns only affect the outer layer of skin, called the epidermis. The skin is typically dry, red, and painful, and is about the equivalent of a sunburn without the blisters. Healing occurs in around 3 to 5 days when the injured skin peels away from the healthy skin. Medical treatment for the burn is needed, and sometimes hospitalization is required for pain management and possible fluid imbalance.

  • Second-degree burns. These burns are classified into two categories: partial thickness and full thickness. When the burn is classified as partial thickness, the top layer of skin and the layer underneath, called the dermis, are affected. Blisters may appear and the wound will look wet and pink or red. The wound will blanch, or appear pale, when pressure is applied, and will typically heal in 10 to 21 days depending on the severity of the burn. Fortunately, grafting is usually not needed and scarring is minimal. Full thickness burns affect the entire epidermis and most of the dermis. The burn will appear red or white, and will look dry. The victim may still experience some sensation when touched, but it will be decreased. Additionally, blanching is sluggish or absent, and the burn will require excision and skin grafting to heal.

  • Third-degree burns. These burns are extremely serious and require extensive treatment. All the layers of the skin are destroyed and the burns can extend into the subcutaneous tissue. The victim won’t feel any pain because of the nerve damage that occurs, and the burns will appear leathery in texture. The wound will not blanch at all when pressure is applied, and the areas can appear black or white and will be dry.

  • Fourth-degree burns. Fourth-degree burns extend beyond the skin and into the muscle and bone underneath, destroying tissue and nerves in their path. These burns are often fatal, and if the victim does survive the burns, skin grafting is necessary.

Car Accident Burn Victims Have Rights

Involvement in a car accident is bad enough, but when you experience burns, it can seem even worse. Burns are painful and often leave victims disfigured and emotionally and physically scarred. Not only can the treatment be painful, it is also costly. When you factor in the amount of time you will miss from work from the injuries, the fees can become staggering. Fortunately, you may not be held responsible for these costs when you have the help of a DC car crash attorney on your side.

The attorneys at Kennedy Hodges, LLP can help you learn more about your rights and may be able to help you receive the compensation you deserve. Schedule your free consultation by calling 855.947.0707 to learn more about how we can help you.