Car Accident Burn Injuries

Car accident burn injuries can have devastating effects on victims. Learn about the causes, types, and treatment options for car accident-related burns to protect yourself and your loved ones.

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Although fires are relatively rare in car accidents, when they do happen, they can cause significant injury to the victim. In some cases, car accident burns result in death. Automobiles are supposed to be designed to prevent fires, but poor design can sometimes allow them to occur. Have you or a loved one been injured by car crash burns? If so, it’s time to explore your legal right to compensation. Count on David R. Price, Jr., P.A. to stand up for you and the justice you deserve.

How Do Burns Happen in Car Accidents?

The three most common categories of car accident burns are thermal, electrical, and chemical.

Some examples of each are:


A thermal burn is the result of touching an external source of heat such as fire, steam, hot metals, and hot liquids. In an extreme example, a car could catch fire, or a component like the gas tank can explode. This may cause direct exposure to flames or indirectly through heated metals and other means. In other words, a victim does not need to come in direct contact with the fire or explosion to suffer a thermal burn.


Fires and explosions can also release toxic substances into the victim’s vicinity. Breathing in these chemicals, or coming into contact with them, may cause burns. Airbag deployment is another common source of chemical burns due to the various chemicals that are released when the airbag is activated. As with other chemicals, these too can be inhaled and cause injury.


One way in which electrical burns may happen is due to damaged wiring in the vehicle resulting from the crash. Another source is external, for example, because of contact with downed power lines. No matter how they happen, electrical burns can result in major injuries and pose severe threats to the victim’s life.

What Are the Degrees of Burn Injuries?

Burn injuries are categorized from first- to fourth-degree. If you or someone you know has suffered a car accident burn, you should understand what these degrees mean:


These burns damage the outer layer of the skin, so they are considered superficial. The site of the burn may become reddened and the skin will dry and peel during healing. Seven to ten days of recovery is required in most cases, which usually happens without the need for anything more than first aid. However, a victim should see a doctor for any burns that affect more than three inches of skin or a major joint like the elbow or knee.


The next degree of burns goes deeper than the top layer of skin. Second-degree burns usually cause blistering and can leave the affected area sore. Serious second-degree burns will require more time to heal. First aid is at least necessary, but more will probably be needed. Skin grafts, for instance, may be required.


A third-degree burn will penetrate all layers of skin. The burned area becomes charred and leathery. Though it may seem odd, these burns might not be as painful as other types. That’s because third-degree burns often damage the nerves that would otherwise sense pain. Immediate medical attention is required to prevent infection and other complications.


Not everyone realizes that fourth-degree, not third-degree, is the most serious type of burn. A fourth-degree burn goes through the skin and the underlying tissue as well. It can even affect the muscle and bone beneath the tissue. A victim will lose feeling in the area because the nerve endings will be destroyed. These burns are considered a medical emergency and require urgent care.

What Does the Treatment and Rehabilitation Process Look Like?

It should go without saying that the more severe the burn, the more serious the treatments and intensive the rehabilitation will need to be. Victims should always see a doctor after being in any type of accident, and this is no less true for car crash burns.

One of the first steps your doctor will need to take is to clean the burned area and keep it sanitized. This will require bandages, dressing, and antibiotics, depending on the burn degree.

This must be done to prevent infection and ensure proper healing. Your doctor may prescribe medications to deal with the pain and any infection.

As mentioned above, skin grafts may be needed for second-degree burns and will almost certainly be required for higher degrees. The victim could require fluids (usually given intravenously, using an IV) to maintain steady blood pressure and prevent shock and dehydration. Continued use of bandages and ointments is virtually a given. There are also numerous potential complications that your doctor will need to monitor during recovery.

Rehabilitation may be lengthy and painful. Burns can prevent easy movement due to scarring and tightening of the skin, so a victim could require physical therapy. This will increase the victim’s range of mobility and strength as he or she heals. Exercise can help with joint problems, which are common in serious burns.

Occupational therapy might be needed to help the victim adjust to the daily tasks of life, including self-care. Because car accident burns are typically associated with catastrophic accidents, the victim might also need emotional and mental health support in the form of counseling and therapy.

What Are the Steps to Get Compensated and What Forms Could Be Available?

If you’ve been in a car accident that caused burn injuries, you should retain legal counsel at your earliest convenience. Your attorney will need to investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident to acquire evidence related to the fault. The other driver may be responsible, but so too could the vehicle manufacturer. Other parties who played a role in the wreck will also need to be identified.

Once the evidence is gathered, your attorney will work with the at-fault parties’ insurance company to seek a settlement. While every car crash burn case is different, most victims can seek compensation for:

  • Medical bills
  • Rehabilitation
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional distress
  • Disfigurement

If the insurance companies and lawyers representing the negligent parties refuse to negotiate in good faith, your attorney will be prepared to take your case to court.

Contact Our Firm to Discuss Your Car Accident Burn Case

David R. Price, Jr., P.A. is experienced with all types of car crash lawsuits, including those that result in burns to victims. We understand the uncertainty you are facing as you grapple with medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Let us work with you to hold the responsible parties liable and seek a fair amount of compensation. Give us a call today.


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