Catastrophic Burn Injuries Suffered in Car Accidents

Many people would be shocked to learn just how common vehicle fires are. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, more than 200,000 vehicle fires occur in this country every year. Hundreds of victims die from these fires, thousands more are injured, and almost $2 billion in property damage occurs. The severity of the injuries suffered by survivors is often catastrophic, leaving permanent scarring, disfigurement, and lifelong pain. There is also the ongoing medical care and costs that victims must deal with.

Data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reveals that approximately 60 percent of all vehicle fires start in the gearbox or engine. More than 10 percent of vehicle fires begin in the passenger area. FEMA also found that less than 2 percent of all vehicle fires start in the vehicle’s gas tank or fuel lines. This is one reason many people do not realize the high risk of a vehicle fire in any type of crash, not just one where the back of the vehicle is hit.

Burn Injuries Caused by Car Crashes

Being involved in a car accident is often a frightening experience, but when there is an eruption of fire, it becomes even more terrifying. Given the mechanics and systems that make a vehicle run, a wide array of issues can cause a vehicle to burn in an accident.

One common scenario is when a vehicle catches fire or explodes upon impact. This exposes occupants to flames and extreme heat, leading to thermal burns. These burns can vary in severity depending on the duration of exposure and the intensity of the fire. A fire from a burning vehicle generates heat at approximately 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Victims may suffer from first-degree burns, which affect the outer layer of the skin, to third-degree burns, which penetrate deeper into tissues and can cause nerve damage and scarring.

Another type of burn injury in car accidents involves contact burns from hot surfaces or liquids. For example, during a collision, hot engine parts, fluids, or even steam from a ruptured radiator can cause significant burns upon contact with the skin. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, these burns can be localized or cover larger areas of the body.

Burns from a car accident can also have a chemical or electrical source. Chemical burns can occur if hazardous materials are spilled during the crash, especially in accidents involving commercial trucks transporting these substances. Electrical burns often occur because the victim comes in contact with an exposed or damaged electric component.

Aftermath of Burn Injuries

The treatment and recovery process for burn injuries can be extensive and challenging. Immediate medical attention is crucial to assess the extent of the burns and prevent complications such as infections and fluid loss. Victims often require specialized care in burn units, where they undergo wound debridement, skin grafts, and intensive rehabilitation.

Beyond the physical trauma, burn injuries can have profound psychological effects on survivors. The pain and disfigurement associated with burns can lead to emotional distress, anxiety, and depression. Long-term rehabilitation may be necessary to regain mobility and functionality, and many survivors face lifelong challenges related to scar management and physical limitations.

Financially, the cost of treating severe burn injuries can be staggering, including hospital bills, ongoing medical care, and loss of income due to temporary or permanent disability. Victims may also encounter challenges in accessing adequate insurance coverage or pursuing legal compensation for their injuries.

Call Our Personal Injury Law Firm Today

If you or a loved one has suffered burn injuries from a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, contact Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to discuss what legal options you may have against the at-fault party. Our legal team will work diligently, using all available resources, to get you the financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. We have successfully represented many burn victims and their families who have suffered horrific losses. Our firm’s dedication and commitment to advocating for our clients is evident in the more than $100 million in settlement and verdicts our attorneys have obtained for our clients.

Some of the damages you may be able to collect include medical expenses, loss of income and benefits, pain and suffering, emotional anguish, scarring, disfigurement, and more. Call our office today to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation and find out what legal recourse you may have for your losses. For your convenience, we have offices in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Hampton, and Portsmouth.