Any type of motor vehicle accident can result in severe burns to the victims. Whether you're involved in a car, truck, or motorcycle crash, there's the potential to suffer a variety of burn and smoke inhalation injuries causing pain, disfigurement, and psychological trauma. Burn injuries can require intensive medical care, costly plastic surgery, and a lengthy recovery period.
When you or a loved one suffers burn injuries in a motor vehicle accident that was the fault of another driver, you may be entitled to a significant settlement to cover the costs of treatment. Understanding how these injuries occur and the types of burns
that can result are the first steps in the recovery process.
How Crashes Result in Burns
In many ways, almost every vehicle on the road is a fire waiting to happen. Operating on highly flammable gasoline and generating heat and sparks that can easily ignite, any vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine has the potential to erupt in flames. Adding to the danger are tanker trucks that carry dangerous chemicals, and motorists are clearly at risk of burn injuries. The risk of burn injuries differs depending on the type of vehicles involved in the crash.
Some common scenarios include:
- Car crashes. In a collision, a car or light truck’s fuel tank can rupture and, when exposed to heat or sparks, erupt in flames. Even when the car itself doesn’t ignite, leaking fuel could start a fire outside the vehicle. Victims of the crash could be burned by the flames, injured by the extreme heat, or suffer lung damage from smoke inhalation.
- Motorcycle crashes. Bikers are at an increased risk of all types of crash injuries due to the lack of protection offered by the motorcycle, but they're particularly at risk for burn injuries. If there's a fuel leak and fire caused by a collision, a biker won't have the protection of a car’s frame, so he's more likely to come in direct contact with the flames. When a biker is knocked off his motorcycle by a careless driver, he's also in danger of burning himself on a hot component of his bike, such as the tailpipe or muffler. He may also suffer road rash burn by hitting the pavement.
- Truck crashes. Semi-trucks have bigger fuel tanks than cars, so they create much bigger fires. Obviously, these fires threaten anyone near the collision. Tanker trucks carrying hazardous materials can leak chemicals following a crash, and occupants of other vehicles or bystanders can suffer chemical burns from exposure.
Watching a vehicle, motorcycle, or tanker erupt into flames is a terrifying experience, especially if one of them is yours. If you've suffered other injuries in the crash, you may not be able to escape the flames and may suffer life-threatening burn injuries. Even a minor burn can cause serious damage.
Types and Degrees of Burns
Most motor vehicle accidents result in thermal burns, which are burns resulting from exposure to heat and flames. Crash victims may also suffer chemical burns if they are exposed to a leaked substance. Treatment plans, recovery times, and the chance of permanent scarring depend on the severity of the burn.
Burns are classified by degrees as follows:
- First-degree burns. The least serious burn, a first-degree burn only affects the outer layers of skin and heals in a few days. Hospitalization is usually not required.
- Second-degree burns. These burns affect the outer layers of skin as well as the next layer, the dermis. They can be extremely painful and result in scarring. Depending on how large the burn is, hospitalization may be required.
- Third-degree burns. These burns penetrate all layers of skin and can damage nerves so that numbness results. Third-degree burns require extensive treatment and can take months to heal. Without plastic surgery, the victim may suffer permanent disfigurement.
You Need a Car Accident Attorney With Burn Injury Experience
When a car accident victim experiences catastrophic injuries, such as severe or widespread burns, he or she needs an attorney with the experience to fight for a settlement that covers long-term care. This includes cosmetic surgeries and trauma counseling, as well as your pain and suffering. The attorneys at Kansas City Accident Injury understand what burn victims need to recover and will put in the work needed to secure the best possible settlement.