It’s not uncommon to suffer a serious burn during a car accident, especially if you’re exposed to heat, toxic chemicals, or electricity during the crash. While some burns heal quickly, others require intensive, ongoing medical care and can cause permanent disfigurement. Learn more about these complicated injuries and your legal rights below.
How Do Burns Occur During Car Crashes?
Your skin is made of multiple layers of tissue. When heat, electricity, or chemicals damage these layers, you get a burn. Medical professionals categorize burns based on their depth:
- First-degree burns only damage the top layer of your skin.
- Second-degree burns reach the second layer of your skin and involve blistering and more intense pain.
- Third-degree burns involve all the layers of your skin and permanently damage tissue, blood vessels, and nerves.
Many people don’t realize that burns can sometimes take time to fully develop. What might seem like a minor first-degree burn at the scene of a vehicle crash might become a more serious injury as tissue dies and blisters form.
“Many people don’t realize that burns can sometimes take time to fully develop. What might seem like a minor first-degree burn at the scene of a vehicle crash might become a more serious injury as tissue dies and blisters form.”
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During a crash, there are many ways someone can suffer a burn injury:
- Airbag deployment
- Contact with dangerous chemicals
- Car fires and explosions
- Electrocution or contact with a live current
- Exposure to hot metal, steam, or other debris
Each type of burn causes different injuries and requires different kinds of treatment.
What Should I Do if Someone Suffers a Severe Burn?
Someone who suffers from a burn injury needs assistance immediately.
A burn can happen in a matter of seconds, and the effects can last a lifetime. At Crosley Law, we know burn injury survivors that could have experienced improved recoveries if their injuries were attended to more quickly and more effectively.
A severe burn is an emergency with serious risk of death, so the initial reaction should be for bystanders to call 911.
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There are things you can do to further assist the victim while waiting for the medical team to get there. Make sure that all the flames are properly extinguished. Smother the remaining flames and/or assist the victim by having them roll on the ground. Note that it is also important to avoid treating the victim yourself as this can often make the injury worse if you are not a trained, experienced medical professional.
Do not run ice water on the injury. Do not apply ointments or lotions. Do not use sprays. Do not try other home remedies. And if the victim’s clothes are stuck to their skin, do not remove them.
Depending on the severity of the injury, the burn victim could also go into shock. Look out for the following symptoms:
- A faint pulse
- Shallow, fast breaths
- Nausea and vomiting
- Varying levels of consciousness
- Trouble standing due to weakness
- Loss of alertness
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
If the victim is showing any of these symptoms, they will benefit from small sips of water, resting in one location, and limiting their movement. Once the emergency medical team arrives, allow them to take over, and stay out of the way.
When the victim’s condition stabilizes, they should call an experienced Texas personal injury lawyer at Crosley Law for a no-risk consultation. A lawyer can help them understand their legal rights and what types of compensation they could be entitled to.
Burn Victims Face a Long and Difficult Recovery
Burn injuries can be life-threatening and are often life-altering. While burns have a very high rate of survival, complications are common, and burn injuries can often interfere with an individual’s ability to return to work and their pre-injury lifestyle.
Depending on the severity of your burns, you might require skin grafts and other surgeries. Infections and other complications can slow your recovery. Many survivors also struggle to cope with the physical and emotional trauma of burns and require intensive therapy. If you’re unable to work and you have medical bills stacking up, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and anxious.
“Many survivors also struggle to cope with the physical and emotional trauma of burns and require intensive therapy.”
After a serious burn, your pain and suffering should be undeniable. But insurance companies often don’t factor them into the settlement offers they extend. They are trying to save money and increase profits by offering you the lowest amount possible after you’ve been hurt. Before you accept an insurance settlement, make sure you consult with an experienced injury lawyer at Crosley Law. We can help you understand the value of your burn claim.
Who Is Responsible for Crash-Related Burns?
Every burn injury is different. At Crosley Law, we carefully investigate burn injuries, looking for their root causes. Sometimes, the forces of a collision cause fire, steam, or hot debris. A lit cigarette can ignite spilled gasoline or chemicals. A defective car or truck part might explode or cause a fire. When we take on a case, we assess all these possibilities.
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We also look at all the insurance coverage involved in the crash. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your injuries, you might have claims against negligent drivers, trucking companies, manufacturers, distributors, or other parties.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help Burn Victims?
Because of the challenges that a burn injury survivor faces, the survivor or their family members should contact Crosley Law as soon as they are able after a burn injury.
Contacting the knowledgeable and experienced Texas personal injury attorneys at Crosley Law can help you focus on your recovery while we do the work of investigating the crash, documenting your injuries, filing necessary paperwork, negotiating with insurance companies, and much more. You can request a free consultation by completing our online form or calling Crosley Law at 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000.
American Burn Association. (n.d.). Burn incidence and treatment in the United States: 2016. Retrieved from http://ameriburn.org/who-we-are/media/burn-incidence-fact-sheet/
NHTSA. (2018, May). Traffic safety facts 2016. Retrieved from https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812554
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.