There are many different types of injuries that can occur in a car accident, but one that is easily overlooked is burn injuries. Luckily, fires don’t occur often during car accidents but burns can also be caused by coming in contact with hot fluids or metal during the crash. No matter how these burns are obtained, they can cause very serious injuries.
Types of Burns
There are four different levels of burns a car accident victim can receive.
- First Degree Burn: A first degree burn is the mildest type of burn since it only affects the outermost layer of the skin. These burns are still painful but usually heal between 3 to 5 days.
- Second Degree Burn: A second degree burn affects both the top layer of skin and the second layer of skin. These burns can still vary in their severity but they typically heal within 10 to 20 days but may require some skin grafting.
- Third Degree Burn: Third degree burns are very serious. These burns cause damage to both layers of the skin and can even cause damage to the tissue below. These burns often cause nerve damage and can require extensive treatment to heal. Interestingly, according to Healthline, these types of burns sometime don't hurt because of the severity of the nerve damage.
- Fourth Degree Burn: Fourth degree burns damage all three layers of the skin and extends to the tissue, muscle, and even bone. Unfortunately, these types of burns are sometimes fatal, but if the victim does survive, they will require very extensive treatment.
This article from Healthline gives some tips for healing burns. For first-degree burns, they suggest soaking the affected area in cool water for at least five minutes. You can also rub lidocaine (an anesthetic) with aloe vera gel or cream onto the skin. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen can help with pain relief. Additionally, antibiotic ointment and some loose gauze can be used to protect the wound.
Some home remedies they advise against and do not recommend are ice (makes the damage worse), cotton balls, butter, and eggs. Do NOT try these.
Even though first degree burns are the least severe, you should still see a doctor if they are on your face, a joint, or a large patch of skin. Also, always go to the hospital E.R. for third- and fourth-degree burns.
Common Causes of Car Fires
The most common cause of fires during a car accident is a poorly designed fuel system. In the 1970s the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration created standards for these fuel systems to lower the likelihood of car fires during accidents. Fuel systems should be designed to withstand most collisions and use flame-resistant materials.
Burns can also be caused by coming in contact with hot materials caused by the crash like hot metals, or hot steam from a damaged radiator. There are also standards in place for other components that could potentially cause burns or fires like the radiator and electrical wiring.
If a car fire does occur in an accident, it should be investigated. If these fuel systems or other components fail, the vehicle’s manufacturer may be held liable. If you’ve obtained burns form an auto accident, please give our office a call 24/7.
Our car accident attorneys have years of experience fighting for the rights of clients just like you. Your initial consultation is always free, so you have nothing to lose.