Burns From Car Accident: What You Need To Know

Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran

Burns from car accidents can be a devastating and painful experience for victims and their families. This type of injury requires immediate medical attention and has long-lasting physical and emotional effects.

Michigan’s legal system provides several options for victims of car accidents to recover damages for their injuries, including compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

The car accident attorneys at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. have experience litigating car accident cases, including those resulting in severe burn injuries. Our team understands the lengthy treatment process and costly recovery for burns and will work to get you maximum compensation for burns from a car accident.

Types of Burns from a Car Accident

Michigan car accident burn injuries can vary in severity, ranging from first to fourth-degree burns. Understanding the differences between them is crucial for recovery. It can also help you and your attorney estimate damages for treatment and rehabilitation costs.

First-Degree Burns

First-degree burns are the mildest form of burns. They only affect the outermost layer of skin, known as the epidermis. These burns typically cause mild swelling, redness, and pain. First-degree burns usually heal within a week and often do not require medical attention beyond basic first aid.

However, if a large area of skin is affected or the burn is on a sensitive region such as the face or genitals, they may require additional treatment.

Second-Degree Burns

Second-degree burns are more severe than first-degree burns because they affect the epidermis and the layer beneath it, called the dermis. These burns can cause blisters, severe pain, and swelling. The skin may also appear red or white, and the burned area may be moist.

Second-degree burns require prompt medical attention to prevent infection and minimize scarring. Recovery time varies depending on the severity of the burn but usually takes several weeks.

Third-Degree Burns

Third-degree burns are severe burns, extending through all layers of the skin and potentially damaging underlying subcutaneous tissue. These burns can cause charring and a leathery appearance on the skin.

Due to extensive damage, third-degree burns are often painless, as nerve endings in the affected area may be destroyed. Immediate medical intervention is crucial for third-degree burns, which can lead to life-threatening complications and require specialized care. Skin grafting or other surgical procedures are often necessary for treatment and recovery.

Small third-degree burns can take about three weeks to heal. More extensive third-degree burns can take years for a full recovery.

Fourth-Degree Burns

As the most severe burn injury, fourth-degree burns are caused by prolonged exposure to extreme heat, chemicals, or electrical sources. These burns penetrate each layer of skin, including muscle and bone, resulting in nerve damage, tissue death, and scarring.

The healing process for fourth-degree burns can take several months or years. Treatment may involve multiple surgeries, skin grafting, and wound care management. Patients may also require long-term rehabilitation and therapy to improve mobility and function.

Causes of Burns from Car Accidents

Burns from car accidents can occur due to multiple situations, including explosions, contact with hot engine parts, and even road rash. Understanding how these burns happen can help you take the right steps to receive proper treatment and adequate compensation for your injuries.

Fire from Car Explosions

One of the most severe causes of burns in car accidents is a vehicle explosion resulting from a fuel leak, electrical malfunction, or impact with another vehicle. These explosions often lead to intense fires, causing severe burns to any occupants in the vehicle or nearby.

Contact with Hot Engine Parts

During a car accident, vehicle components can become dislodged or exposed, posing a burn risk. Individuals involved in the accident may come into contact with hot engine parts, such as the radiator or exhaust system, resulting in severe burns.

Contact with Hot Liquids

In car accidents, hot liquids like engine coolant or transmission fluid can spill and cause burns. When a vehicle sustains damage, these liquids can leak or spray, posing a risk to anyone in the immediate vicinity.

Road Rash

Road rash is a friction burn that occurs when an individual is dragged or slides across the pavement during a car accident. This type of injury can result in painful abrasions, cuts, and even deep lacerations, requiring medical attention and potentially leading to scarring or disfigurement.

Friction Burns

Similar to road rash, friction burns can occur when an individual’s skin rubs against surfaces during a car accident, such as a seatbelt or the vehicle’s interior. These burns can range in severity from mild redness and pain to more severe injuries, depending on the force and duration of the contact.

Recovery and Aftercare for Burns in a Car Accident

Recovering from burns sustained in a car accident can be a long and difficult journey, physically and emotionally. Appropriate aftercare is necessary to ensure proper healing and reduce scarring; however, it can be costly and interfere with your ability to work and earn your normal wages.

Filing a compensation claim can help you pay for the following treatments and cover lost wages so you can focus on your recovery:

Wound Care

Proper wound care is crucial for preventing infection and promoting the healing of burn injuries. This process may involve regular cleaning and dressing of the wound, application of topical ointments or creams, and monitoring for signs of infection. Medical professionals may sometimes recommend specialized wound care techniques like hydrotherapy or negative pressure wound therapy.

Skin Grafts

For more severe burns, particularly third and fourth-degree burns, skin grafting may be necessary to replace damaged tissue and promote healing. This surgical procedure involves taking healthy skin from another area of the body or synthetic skin substitutes and attaching it to the burned area. Skin grafts reduce scarring, improve function and appearance, and facilitate healing.

Psychological Support

Burn injuries can have a significant emotional and psychological impact on victims and their families. Seeking emotional support through therapy, support groups, or counseling can help individuals cope with the trauma of a car accident and the challenges of recovering from burn injuries. It is essential to address the emotional aspects of recovery to facilitate healing and improve overall well-being.

Who is Liable for a Burn Injury Resulting from a Vehicle Collision?

If you suffer burn injuries in a car accident, you can work with the attorneys at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. to seek compensation from the liable party. Based on the circumstances of the collision, you may be able to pursue a settlement from the following parties:

Another Driver

If another driver’s negligence or recklessness caused a car accident leading to burn injuries, they can be held liable for your damages. For instance, if a driver runs a red light and hits your car, causing burn injuries, you may be able to file a claim against their liability insurance.

A Driver’s Employer

If an employee causes a car accident while driving a company-owned vehicle, their employer may be held responsible for any resulting burn injuries. For example, if a delivery truck driver causes an accident resulting in burns, the driver’s employer can be liable for the injuries.

This liability stems from the legal principle of respondeat superior, or vicarious liability, which holds an employer accountable for the actions of their employees while performing work-related duties. The employer’s insurance policy may cover the burn injury claim.

Vehicle Manufacturer

If a defect in your vehicle causes an accident resulting in burn injuries, the manufacturer may be liable for your damages. For instance, if a car’s fuel tank design causes a fire after a rear-end collision and you suffer serious burns, your attorney can hold the manufacturer responsible in a product liability claim. This lets you seek compensation for damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Government Agency

If a dangerous road condition caused the accident that led to your burn injuries, the city, county, or state entity responsible for maintaining the road may be liable. For example, if a pothole caused your car to crash and catch fire, your lawyer may be able to file a claim against the government agency. These cases are complex and have strict time requirements for filing a Notice of Claim, typically within six months of the incident.

Seeking the help of an experienced attorney from Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. can ensure you file the appropriate paperwork on time to receive the compensation you deserve.

Liable for a Burn Injury

Your Options for Compensation After Suffering a Burn in a Car Crash

After suffering burns in a car accident, you have multiple options for compensation in Michigan. At Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C., our attorneys will ensure you receive all settlement funds you’re entitled to, including PIP benefits, uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, and third-party claim funds.

PIP Benefits

Since Michigan is a no-fault state, we will help you receive full benefits under your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. The state minimum for PIP is $50,000, but your coverage depends on your specific policy. We will help you review your benefits, such as medical treatments, attendant care, and lost wages, and file your claim for the maximum amount possible.

Third-Party Claim

If you suffer severe burn injuries that leave you seriously impaired or permanently disfigured, we can help you file a third-party claim for compensation. Senior partner and nurse attorney Eileen Kroll can use her medical knowledge to accurately assess your burn injuries based on hospital records and treatment plans to determine their severity.

Eileen can work with a network of burn injury specialists to understand how your injury has affected your life and a fair settlement from the responsible party’s insurer.

Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage

If the party responsible for your burn injuries does not have enough insurance to cover your claim, we will help you receive benefits under any underinsured or uninsured motorists’ coverage on your policy. Michigan doesn’t require these coverages, but most insurance policies offer them at $20,000 per injured person and $40,000 per accident. If you selected this coverage on your insurance, we will help you file a claim to receive damages.

Contact a Car Accident Burn Injury Lawyer at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C.

Partnering with a knowledgeable law firm like Cochran, Kroll, and Associates, P.C., ensures your rights are protected when filing a compensation claim. Our experienced attorneys will use their knowledge and expertise in burn injuries and Michigan car accident law to help you get the settlement you need to support your recovery.

Our dedicated attorneys will work tirelessly on your behalf, providing guidance and representation throughout every stage of the legal process when you suffer burns from a car accident.

Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 1-866-MICH-LAW  and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.

Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.

Murray McPhee is an accomplished legal blogger who is on a mission to help everyday people understand their options when suffering a personal injury.



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