When an auto accident results in severe burns

| Jun 18, 2020 | Personal injury

While an auto accident can result in a multitude of injuries, severe burns pose some of the most painful, extensive and long-lasting injuries you can receive. In addition, once they finally heal, you are likely to still bear disfiguring scars. 

The most dangerous factor of a fiery car crash is that even if you drive an SUV or van, your vehicle’s interior has only a limited amount of room. Consequently, your body has nowhere to go to escape the fire and the devastation it causes. 

4 types of burns 

You may sustain the following four types of burns in a fiery car crash: 

  1. Thermal burns wherever your body contacts the flames of the fire or your steering wheel, dashboard or other hot surface 
  2. Electrical burns wherever your body contacts one of your vehicle’s electrical wires or, worse yet, a live power line that dangles through your broken window or windshield 
  3. Scald burns wherever your body contacts any heated liquids your vehicle contains, such as gasoline 
  4. Chemical burns wherever your body contacts one of your vehicle’s caustic liquids, such as steering fluid, antifreeze, brake fluid, etc. 

4 degrees of burns 

Medical professionals rank the four types of burns you can sustain in a fiery car crash according to their seriousness. The four burn categories are: 

  1. First-degree burns: Singe only the top layer(s) of your skin; generally heal on their own without medical intervention 
  2. Second-degree burns: Burn through all your skin layers, but go no deeper; generally heal with the application of topical ointments, but likely will peel before doing so 
  3. Third-degree burns: Scorch the tissues under your skin; very serious because they damage not only your skin, but also the muscles, tendons, nerves, etc. beneath it 
  4. Fourth-degree burns: Go deep enough to damage your bones; represent a life-threatening situation 

Third- and fourth-degree burns will require a long stay in a hospital’s burn unit, during which you unfortunately have to undergo debridement and other treatments that may cause you as much pain as the burns themselves.