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Richmond Personal Injury Lawyer / Blog / Burn Injury / Burn Injuries in Car Accidents: What to Know

Burn Injuries in Car Accidents: What to Know


Car crashes and other types of motor vehicle collisions in Richmond can result in devastating and often catastrophic injuries. Indeed, traffic accidents can result in traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), broken bones or fractures, spinal cord injuries (SCIs), and traumatic amputations. Collisions can also result in severe and disfiguring burn injuries. While many people assume burn injuries result from accidental contact with heat sources like ovens or barbecues, or with hazardous substances that can cause chemical burns, motor vehicle crashes can also lead to devastating thermal burn injuries. What do you need to know about burn injuries in car accidents? Consider the following information from our Richmond car accident lawyers.

Car Accident Burns Are Usually Thermal Burns 

When car crashes result in burn injuries, the type of burn is usually a thermal burn injury. As Stanford Medicine explains, thermal burns are burns caused by “external heat sources which raise the temperature of skin and tissues and cause tissue cell death or charring.” Scalding or boiling liquids, open flames, steam, and even extremely hot metal can all cause thermal burns. When motor vehicle crashes happen, vehicle fires can cause severe thermal burns, as can contact with engine parts or pieces of the motor vehicle that have been exposed to open flames. In some cases, car crashes can also result in other types of burns.

Burns Are Classified By Degree (According to Severity) 

Burn injuries in car crashes and everywhere else are classified according to severity, with higher-degree burns being more serious. Classifications for burns include the following, according to the Mayo Clinic:

  • 1st-degree burns, which affect only the epidermis but still cause pain and redness;
  • 2nd-degree burns, which damage the second layer of skin, typically cause blistering and severe pain, and can result in scarring; and
  • 3rd-degree burns, which damage the fat below the layers of skin and typically result in nerve damage, numbness, and disfigurement.

Scalding and Contact Burns Are Relatively Common 

According to the American Burn Association, while thermal burns occur most commonly in house fires, they also have a range of other causes, including motor vehicle crashes. When patients are admitted to burn centers, about 34 of those admissions result from scald burns and 9 percent from contact with hot metals and related objects. The American Burn Association estimates that about 5 percent of all severe burns (where a person is admitted to a burn center) occur on streets or highways in motor vehicle crashes.

Burn Injury Claims Have a Limited Time Window 

If you sustained a severe burn injury in a car crash, you should remember that you will only have a limited amount of time to file a car accident claim. Under Virginia law, most burn injury claims arising out of car crashes must be filed within two years from the date the burn injury occurred.

Contact a Richmond Car Accident Lawyer 

If you sustained serious burns or other injuries in a motor vehicle collision, you should get in touch with an experienced Richmond burn injury attorney at Latham & Martin, P.C. to find out more about filing a claim for compensation. Contact us today for assistance with your case.






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