Whenever one thinks about auto accidents, various types of injuries come into mind, such as traumatic brain injury, broken bones, muscle tears, lacerations, and sprains. One type of injury that no one gives enough thought to burn injury that might occur as a result of vehicle collisions. Burn injuries after a car accident may range from very serious to minor, but sometimes they can also be life-threatening. In cases where the victim’s skin comes in contact with hot liquid such as oil or gas during an accident, they may suffer from severe burns.
More often than not, vehicles can catch on fire due to an accident leading to anyone trapped inside or nearby experience tragic burns. While any part of the human body can be harmed by fire or the hot chemicals at the collision scene, the skin typically suffers permanent damage or disfiguration.
Skin: The Largest Organ Of Our Bodies
Our skin plays a crucial role in our bodies. It has several critical functions, such as preventing dehydration, regulating body temperature, and preventing the body from trauma, germs, or injury. It enables our body to feel various sensations such as heat, cold, itching, pressure, and pain.
As the largest organ, our skin comprises three highly susceptible layers to get damaged by burns. The epidermis, the outermost layer, constantly gets renewed and varies in thickness in different body parts. Dermis – the middle layer of the skin, contains connective tissue, blood vessels, hair follicles, and nerve fibers. Our skin’s subcutaneous tissue or deepest layer is made of fat mostly and serves to regulate our body temperature while protecting it from potential harm.
In case your skin suffers burn injuries in an unfortunate auto accident, you should rush to a healthcare practitioner for an examination to determine the severity of the burns. Burn injuries are typically classified based on the deepness and the size of the area burnt. Here are a few types of burn injuries.
Burn Injuries: Four Main Types
First Degree Burns
These include damage suffered at the outer layer of the skin and often cause pain and redness, but they usually heal on their own.
Second Degree Burns
These include damage suffered by both the dermis and the epidermis and typically leads to blisters, swelling, and pain. It results in the skin appearing moist with splotches of white and red.
Third Degree Burns
These include damage suffered by the innermost layer of the skin, the subcutaneous tissue. They can cause the skin to appear blackened or charred because such burns are usually very severe.
Fourth Degree Burns
These include damage suffered by all layers of the skin, but the injuries can branch out to cause damage to the bone or muscle.
Treatment Of Burn Injuries: Crucial Takeaways
Treatment typically depends on the burns’ severity. The medical healthcare practitioner may start by covering the affected area using topical ointments and creams or sterile bandages to ward off chances of infection while preparing the wound to close.
Most of the minor burns can be handled at home conveniently with a healing time of two weeks, but severe burns are more serious and may require pain medications, IV fluids, and potentially, surgeries. Medical healthcare practitioners may also prescribe medications to fight unwanted infections and fluids to prevent dehydration.
When a victim has more severe burns that cover over 10% of body parts or those involving feet, hands, major joints, or genitalia, the medical healthcare practitioner may recommend getting admitted to the burn center to receive specialized care.
From several months of physical therapy to skin grafts that cover extensive burns, many things are involved in the rehabilitation of burn victims. Severe burn injuries can lead to some of the following complications if not treated promptly and adequately.
Complications That May Arise With Burn Injuries
- Lower than usual body temperature
- Dehydration and fluid loss
- Bacterial infections throughout the body potentially leading to sepsis
- Damaged nasal passages, respiratory complications, or breathing problems resulting from smoke inhalation
- Permanent scars
Burn Injuries And Their Impact On Emotional Health
When burn injuries are severe, they alter a person’s appearance, which may remain changed throughout their lives. Even with plastic surgery and skin grafts, a significant number of people never go back to looking the way they did before the accident.
Besides causing excruciating physical pain at the time of the accident and throughout the healing process, the traumatic burn injuries also significantly impact the victim’s emotional health. Some victims showcase feelings of psychological distress immediately after the occurrence of the accident, whereas others show signs of PTSD months or weeks later. Some emotions experienced by victims include:
- Feeling afraid to be near the scene where the accident took place
- Developing phobia or fear of riding in auto vehicles
- Remaining anxious about the future
- Feeling an uncontrollable rage
- Being unable to sleep or experiencing nightmares
- Losing self-confidence or feeling self-conscious about their appearance
- Feeling hopeless or depressed about the injuries
Ways Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help
#1 Professional Legal Advice
If you’ve been part of an auto accident that has caused you severe burn injuries due to negligence on someone else’s part, you should know your legal rights to make informed decisions. Experts personal injury attorneys at Hare | Wynn, Newell & Newton suggest that victims should never jump into accepting the very first settlement amount offered to them. Getting legal advice for severe injuries is recommended to ensure you obtain fair and suitable compensation for the grave losses.
#2 Provision Of The Evidence Of Fault
If you’ve suffered due to an auto accident caused by the negligence of another party, you should always begin by trying to gather as much evidence as you can to prove that the injuries were suffered when the defendant caused the accident.
Collect images of the damage, skid marks on both the vehicles and the surroundings where the accident was caused if you’re physically able to. Ensure you also get the contact information of witnesses if there were any present when the accident occurred.
Experts suggest writing down as much information as you remember, such as the weather, conditions of the roads, or other factors that may have contributed to the accident, as soon as you can, preferably right after the accident. You should also maintain a file with the police report, medical records, and other evidence.
#3 Determining A Fair Compensation
Not only do burn injuries cause severe emotional repercussions, but they also have significant financial impacts on the victim’s life. They may be unable to work for some time while medical bills for skin grafts, surgeries, and physical therapy pile up, among other essential utility bills or rent.
If it gets proven that the defendant’s negligence caused the burn injuries, your chances of receiving fair compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and other expenses significantly increase. These sometimes include the cost of traveling to see specialists at a burn unit. Whether you’ve completely lost the ability to earn a living or have experienced disfigurement due to burn injuries after a car accident, you deserve to be compensated for all your suffering and pain accordingly.