What types of burns can you receive in a car crash?

On Behalf of | Nov 1, 2021 | Personal Injury

Unfortunately, a fiery car crash can cause serious, even life-threatening burns that could leave disfiguring scars.

Stanford Health Care explains that you can receive the following three kinds of burns in a car crash:

  1. Thermal burns are caused by your body coming into contact with an external heat source, such as a hot surface, scalding liquid or the flames themselves
  2. Chemical burns are caused by your body coming into contact with a caustic liquid, such as antifreeze, gasoline, steering fluid, brake fluid, etc.
  3. Electrical burns are caused by your body coming into contact with an electrical current carried by such things as your vehicle’s hot wires or a downed power line.

Burn classifications

Medical professionals classify a burn’s seriousness as follows:

  • First-degree burns, such as sunburns, affect only your skin’s outer layer, i.e., the epidermis, and consequently are superficial in nature; they usually heal on their own without medical treatment.
  • Second-degree burns affect not only your epidermis but also your dermis, the second layer of your skin; these burns can cause pain, swelling and blistering.
  • Third-degree burns destroy both your epidermis and dermis and damage your underlying muscles, tendons, bones and nerves; oftentimes you feel no pain because your nerves that allow you to feel it become damaged or destroyed.

Any burn that affects 15% or more of your body is a catastrophic injury that requires immediate medical intervention. In all likelihood, you face an extensive stay in the burn unit, as well as extensive rehabilitation afterward, all of which entails a great deal of pain and expense. Even then, you likely will have disfiguring scars for the rest of your life.