Many car accident victims suffer burns caused by events that happen during a crash. These burns could be minor or cover a large part of the victim’s body. The wounds can range from mild burns due to seatbelt movement to severe, life-threatening burns that require emergency medical treatment.
The following are common causes of burns after a car accident and the different degrees of burn severity.
Examples of burn injuries
Car accident victims can suffer serious personal injury after contact with hot liquids or items, such as:
- A hot engine, manifold, catalytic converter or exhaust system
- Coolant or engine oil that sprays
- Gasoline that spills and ignites
- Electrical wires
- Chemical burns following the release of aerosol during airbag deployment
A first-degree burn is the least serious and only affects the skin’s top layer. The affected area may be reddened and sensitive. Treatment usually involves basic first aid unless the burns cover a large amount of the body or sensitive areas.
Second-degree or partial-thickness burns involve the first two layers of skin, along with hair follicles and sweat glands. Affected skin may look red and wet and have blisters.
These burns have a higher risk of infection and complications. They also involve more pain and a higher scarring risk. Some second-degree burns require medical attention.
Third-degree, or full-thickness burns, involve the skin’s top three layers and could affect nerve endings. Wounds may look charred or dry and swollen, and third-degree burns usually require medical treatment, hospitalization and surgery. These burns often cause extensive bodily scarring and affect physical mobility.
More serious burns
Car crash victims can suffer fourth, fifth, or sixth-degree burns. Each degree is more severe and can involve deeply burned tissue that affects bones and ligaments. Fourth-degree and worse burns are medical emergencies and are often fatal.
Car accident victims can sustain a variety of injuries, including severe burns. Even somewhat minor burns can become infected and cause scarring and other medical issues. Severe burns can impact the victim’s mobility and quality of life permanently.