Burn Injuries from Car Accidents in Maryland
Each year, thousands of car accident victims suffer burn injuries. Unlike some other types of car accident injuries, a burn may never completely heal. A victim may live with physical scars and pain, as well as psychological trauma, for the rest of his or her life. The type of burn and the extent of the injury determine a victim’s chances of recovering completely from the personal injury.
A car accident victim may suffer from three different types of burns:
- Heat burns – When the skin is exposed to open flame, hot objects, steam or other heat sources, there is the risk of a serious heat burn. If a vehicle catches on fire as a result of a collision, the victim may come into contact with flames, causing a heat burn.
- Chemical burns – Chemical burns occur when the skin comes in contact with strong caustic chemicals or bases. This type of burn can occur if one of the vehicles involved was carrying hazardous materials.
- Electrical burns – These burns happen when an electrical current passes through the body. Because there are a variety of electrical wires and components in vehicles, there are opportunities for an electrical burn to occur in a car accident.
Burns are also classified by degree, with a first-degree burn being the least serious and a third-degree burn being the most serious. Signs and symptoms of the three degrees of burn injuries are as follows:
- Includes only the epidermis, or outer layer of skin.
- Skin is red and painful.
- The burned area is dry.
- Heal in 3-5 days.
- Examples include a sunburn with no blisters or a minor burn caused by exposure to steam.
- Involves all of the epidermis and most of the dermis.
- May have blisters.
- Can be pink, red or white.
- Can be wet or dry.
- The burned area is painful.
- May blanch when pressure is applied.
- Sensation is present but diminished.
- Takes several weeks to heal.
- May require skin grafts.
- All layers of skin are affected.
- Extends into the subcutaneous tissues.
- Black or white.
- Dry and leathery.
- No blanching.
- No pain due to complete loss of sensation.
- Takes months to heal and usually requires grafts.
- Permanent scarring.
Some classification systems also include a fourth-degree burn, which is essentially a third-degree burn that has reached the subcutaneous tissue below the skin and has damaged the muscles, nerves, and/or bones under the skin.
Treatment for Burns after Car Accidents
Treatment for a burn injury depends on the type and extent of the injury. Of immediate concern is infection and pain. Typically, with second- and third-degree burns, a victim will need to be hospitalized to prevent infection and to ensure that enough fluids are absorbed. Serious burn injuries require an extended stay in a specialized burn unit.
A car accident burn injury victim may live with permanent scars – both physical and emotional. While first-degree burns can be expected to heal without scarring or permanent damage, second-, third- and fourth-degree burn victims are not as lucky. A burn victim will likely have permanent physical scars both from the burn itself and from the area where skin was removed for a graft. Third- and fourth-degree burns may cause the affected area to appear deformed because of the damage to the underlying bones and muscles.
If the underlying nerves were affected, that damage may not be repairable. Nerve damage often causes a victim to live with constant pain. While pain medications may help ease the pain, nerve damage cannot be repaired in most cases.
Talk to Our Washington DC Car Accident Lawyers Today
It is important to take prompt action to fully protect your legal rights if you have suffered serious burn injuries in car accident in the Washington DC metro area. Contact The Abelson Personal Injury Law Firm, an experienced Washington DC car accident attorney, today online to schedule a free consultation.