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:
- Thermal burns wherever your body contacts the flames of the fire or your steering wheel, dashboard or other hot surface
- 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
- Scald burns wherever your body contacts any heated liquids your vehicle contains, such as gasoline
- 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:
- First-degree burns: Singe only the top layer(s) of your skin; generally heal on their own without medical intervention
- 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
- 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
- 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.