Burn Injuries from Austin Car Accidents
Texas Burn Injury Attorneys
Burns are a real threat in Texas car accidents. Even a relatively minor collision may result in a fire or explosion if the right set of contributing factors is present. The risk of fire or explosion increases if a vehicle’s gas tank is punctured in the accident. When trucks hauling hazardous chemicals or explosive materials are involved, the risk of a burn injury also goes up dramatically.
The occupants of a vehicle can suffer chemical, electrical or heat burns in a motor vehicle collision. How a burn is treated and the long-term prognosis depends to a great extent on what type of burn the victim suffered.
Car accident burn injuries typically fall into three categories:
- Heat burns – Heat burns are the most common type of burn suffered by car accident victims. A heat burn can be caused by direct contact with an open flame, from heat radiating from a fire or from contact with hot surfaces, liquids or steam.
- Electrical burns – Electrical burns occur when electricity passes through the body. Vehicles contain extensive electrical systems, presenting many opportunities for victims to contact electricity in a car accident. Power lines and other external electrical equipment may also pose a threat.
- Chemical burns – If someone’s skin comes into contact with strong chemicals, a chemical burn may result. These types of burns occur most often when a truck carrying hazardous substances is involved in an accident. However, even household cleaners or other products being transported in a passenger vehicle can spill in a collision, causing a chemical burn.
How a burn is treated, whether permanent scarring will result and how much pain and suffering a victim is likely to endure depends to a large extent on the degree of burn suffered in the crash. Basic characteristics of first, second, third and fourth-degree burns are listed below.
- Includes only the epidermis, or outer layer, of the skin
- Skin is red and painful
- Heals in 3-5 days
- Example: a superficial sunburn with no blisters
- Involves all of the epidermis and most of the dermis
- Can be pink, red or white
- Can be wet or dry
- May have blisters
- May blanch when pressure is applied
- Sensation present but diminished
- Requires several weeks to heal completely
- Skin grafting may be necessary
- All layers of the skin are damaged
- Extends into the subcutaneous tissues
- Black or white
- Dry and leathery
- No blanching
- No pain because of the complete loss of sensation
- Takes months or longer to heal and often requires skin grafts
- Permanent scarring
- Not all classification systems include a fourth-degree burn
- Has all of the characteristics of a third-degree burn, only more severe
- Reaches the subcutaneous tissue
- Damages muscles, nerves and bones
Burn Injury Care and Treatment
The immediate focus when a victim has suffered a burn is to determine the type and extent of the injury. Some burns do not show external signs that point to the severity of the burn. Electrical burns, for instance, may show very little outward sign of injury, even though there may be life-threatening internal injuries.
Once the severity of the burn has been determined, the focus will shift to preventing infection and addressing the victim’s pain. While any injury can cause pain, heat and chemical burns can be excruciatingly painful for a victim. Because the outer layer of skin has often been compromised or burned away completely, infection is a major concern. When someone suffers a second-degree or more severe burn, hospitalization is likely to ensure that the victim receives enough fluids and to guard against infection.
Third- and fourth-degree burns usually require treatment in a specialized burn unit or treatment center. Surgery that includes grafting is likely. Grafting involves taking skin from one place on the body and using it to replace the skin destroyed by the burn.
The long-term prognosis for a burn victim depends predominantly on the degree of burn suffered, the type of burn and the victim’s age and overall health prior to the injury. Although a first-degree burn should heal in a relatively short period of time without any long-term complications or permanent scarring, victims of more serious burn injuries may suffer lifetime pain, as well as physical complications from the injury. Scarring — both physical and emotional — can be expected.
Third- and fourth-degree burns usually cause damage to underlying muscles, nerves and bones that can cause a lifetime of pain and deformity. If nerves were damaged, the victim may live with pain that can only be treated but for which no cure exists. If the victim suffered an electrical burn, various systems within the body can be impacted. At its worst, an electrical burn can cause permanent damage to the normal electrical conductivity through the victim’s internal organs, including the heart and brain.
Find Out How Our Texas Accident Lawyers Can Help You
For more than 30 years, The Bob Richardson Law Firm has used hard work and determination to help victims who have suffered serious burns in car accidents throughout Austin, Waco and surrounding Texas communities.
At The Bob Richardson Law Firm, each burn injury attorney conducts intense investigations after all car accident claims, use the latest technology and consult with a network of highly qualified medical, engineering and accident reconstruction experts to determine the cause of a crash and the extent of the damages. To learn how we can help you with your car accident case, and to receive a free case evaluation, call us today toll-free at 800-880-5100 or use our online form.