Despite how Hollywood loves to portray motor vehicle crashes as inevitably involving either a fire or explosion, the average collision doesn’t involve any kind of fire. Most people can quickly and safely exit a vehicle even if a fire does occur.
Still, vehicles contain explosive fuel and moving, heated parts. The potential does exist for a collision to result in either a fire or an explosion. Certain kinds of vehicles, such as those with large battery banks, may be at increased risk for chemical fires, while other vehicles, such as those with deteriorating systems, may be more likely to leak fuel and cause a fire.
Just because burns are a somewhat common injury that people can get anywhere doesn’t detract from the potential severity of burns related to car crashes. Those who suffer burns after a collision may require expensive and extensive medical care.
Extensive second-degree burns or any third-degree burns require care
Medical professionals group burns on their severity to provide the best care possible. If you have ever been out in the sun too long, you may have experienced a first-degree burn from solar radiation on the outer layer of your skin. While painful and inflamed, these burns will usually resolve themselves, even if they are over much of your body.
Second-degree burns affect not just the outer layer of skin, but the deeper layers of skin as well. Second-degree burns may result in blistering and high levels of pain. The larger the portion of your body they cover, the greater the risk for infection and serious medical consequences.
Third-degree burns completely penetrate the skin and can burn the muscle, fat and bone underneath. They can pose a serious risk for permanent nerve damage, as well as severe, potentially fatal infections. Immediate medical care is often required, and, in many cases, the care will be expensive and necessary for many months or even years.
Severe burns may require pain management, surgery and skin grafts
Severe burns often damage the nerves around the affected tissue, which can either lead to a total loss of sensation or extreme, persistent pain even after the wound heals. Large open areas caused by burns can leave people vulnerable to topical infections that may become systemic and even life-threatening. The immediate pain of the injury from the burn can also put someone into shock, a condition that may prove fatal without immediate medical attention.
Those recovering from second- and third-degree burns typically require careful pain management during the healing process. Intravenous administration of pain medication may be the only thing sufficient to control the agony associated with extensive burns. The long-term prognosis for those with burns can be positive with adequate care.
Patients may require surgery to excise damaged tissue as well as skin grafts. Skin grafts are not always a one-time procedure. Young people whose bodies are still growing may require multiple skin grafts as their bodies continue to change in shape and structure. Both the initial procedure and the medication and treatment that follow can be cost-prohibitive for those with no insurance or mediocre coverage.
You may require tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical care and support after severe burns related to a car crash. You may need to file an insurance claim or potentially take civil action against the other driver to get the compensation you need during your recovery.