American emergency rooms see more than 480,000 burn injuries annually, according to the American Burn Association. Approximately 96 percent of burn victims survive, but most recoveries are lengthy and painful and burns typically result in severe scarring or life-altering disabilities.
Burn injuries can lead to a variety of significant medical complications, depending on the severity, location, and type of burn. Certain parts of the body experience more severe medical complications than others, based on the level of burn sustained.
What Are the Levels of Burn Injuries?
Car fires are common in many accidents resulting in burns categorized up to four different degrees of injury:
- First-degree burns: The least severe burn, first-degree injuries affect only the outer layer of skin and can be caused by severe rubbing against a surface, usually not involving fire.
- Second-degree burns: Burns that affect the outermost layer of skin and the dermis, the second layer of skin tissue, often resulting from coming into contact with hot metal. Second-degree burns result in scarred tissue, blisters, swelling, red or white skin blotches, severe pain, and typically require skin grafting with healthy tissue.
- Third-degree burns: Deep burns that penetrate the skin’s innermost layer and destroy the outermost and second layers of skin along with nerves and other tissues, hair follicles, and sweat glands are considered third-degree. This severe level of burn is extremely painful and almost always requires skin grafting or other reconstructive surgeries and leave significant scarring and disfigurement.
- Fourth-degree burns: The most severe type of burn injury, fourth-degree burns destroy all layers of skin, nerve tissues, muscle, and frequently deep enough to damage bones. The majority of fourth-degree burns result in fatality, and those who survive face extreme pain, multiple surgeries, loss of limbs or other body part, disfigurement, disabilities, and face significantly higher risk of infection.
What Are Common Burn-Related Medical Complications?
Numerous medical complications can result from serious burn injuries, the majority of which require ongoing and extensive medical treatment for extended periods of time. Common complications include:
- Scar tissues, disfigurement, deformities, and permanent disabilities.
- Extensive respiratory system damage to the lungs and esophagus from fire and smoke or chemical inhalation, leading to difficulty breathing and lifelong oxygen use.
- Extreme shock, leading to organ failure due to limited blood circulation to the heart, liver, lungs, or kidneys, and death in many cases.
- Repeated infections, particularly sepsis, which can result in tissue or organ damage with possible death.
- Death or surgical amputation resulting from infection.
- Eye damage, such as scarring, blurred vision, infections, and blindness due to burns to the cornea.
- Immune system damage causing extreme hypothermia or fever.
- Chronic and widespread pain.
- Severe inflammation.
Overcoming burns and resulting medical complications is challenging, and as burns can continue to cause damage long after contact, are also frequently life-threatening for an extended period of time. Burn treatments are lengthy and can be expensive, particularly for those experiencing high degree of burns and severe medical complications.
Am I Eligible for Compensation for My Burn Injuries?
Those sustaining burns due to a car accident may be eligible for economic and non-economic compensation if the other driver caused the accident. Economic compensation covers the easily measured monetary losses caused by the accident, such as medical bills, lost wages, car repairs or loss, and towing fees.
Non-economic compensation refers to accident-related damages that cannot be measured as a financial loss, such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, emotional distress, loss of employment ability, family death benefits, and onset of mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Those suffering the most severe burn injuries and resulting medical complications are usually eligible to receive non-economic damages.
The Springfield Car Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Represent Clients Suffering Accident-Related Burn Injuries
Burn injuries are traumatic, painful, and often require extensive and ongoing medical care, and severely limit a person’s ability to work. If you or a loved one were in a car accident, reach out to the experienced Springfield car accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law. Call us at 912-461-6309 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. From our office in Springfield, Georgia, we proudly serve residents in Springfield, Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.