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Burn Injuries Caused by Car Accidents

If you were burned in an accident, it’s important to protect your legal rights

Burn injuries caused by car accidents are devastating and can have long-lasting effects on victims' lives. Every year, tens of thousands of people suffer from burn injuries, with hundreds experiencing fatal or life-altering consequences.

At Smith & Hassler, we have witnessed firsthand the challenges these individuals face. That’s why we’re committed to holding negligent parties accountable and seeking justice for crash victims and their families in the greater Houston area and throughout Texas.

What types of burn injuries happen in car accidents?

Burn injuries in car accidents can range from minor to severe. Depending on the nature of a crash, they may include:

  • First-degree burns: First-degree burns affect only the outer layer of the skin, known as the epidermis. Symptoms include redness, mild swelling, and pain. The skin may appear dry without blisters.
  • Second-degree burns: Second-degree burns extend beyond the epidermis to the second layer of skin, the dermis. Symptoms include red, blistered skin, severe pain, and possible swelling. The area may appear wet or moist due to fluid leakage.
  • Third-degree burns: Third-degree burns affect all layers of the skin and may extend into underlying tissues. Symptoms include white or charred skin that may be numb due to nerve damage. These burns can cause significant scarring and require extensive medical treatment.
  • Fourth-degree burns: Fourth-degree burns are the most severe, extending through the skin and subcutaneous tissues into muscle and bone. Symptoms include a charred appearance, potential exposure of bone or muscle, and complete loss of sensation in the affected area. These burns are life-threatening and require immediate medical intervention.

What causes burn injuries in car accidents?

Burn injuries in car accidents can result from several causes, including:

  • Fuel-related fires: Car accidents can cause fuel lines to rupture, leading to gasoline or diesel spills. If a spark occurs, it can ignite the fuel, resulting in a fire.
  • Electrical fires: Modern vehicles have complex electrical systems that can be compromised during collisions. Damaged wiring, batteries, or other electrical components can short-circuit and start a fire.
  • Contact with hot surfaces: During and after a crash, various parts of the vehicle can become extremely hot, such as the engine, exhaust system, or other metal components. If occupants come into contact with these hot surfaces, they can suffer burns.
  • Airbag deployment: While airbags are designed to save lives and prevent injuries, the chemicals used in the deployment process and the friction generated can cause thermal burns to the face, hands, and other exposed skin areas.
  • Explosions: There is a risk of explosions in severe accidents, especially those involving high speeds or multiple vehicles. Explosions can occur due to the impact on the fuel tank, gas cylinders, or other volatile components.

What impact do burn injuries have on car accident victims?

Burn injuries are among the most expensive types of injuries to treat. The average hospital stay for a serious burn is significantly longer than for other injuries, largely due to the intensive care required.

Many crash victims face years of rehabilitation, multiple surgeries, and continuous care. Additionally, burn victims often need round-the-clock attention from specialized burn treatment centers, which drives up medical costs.

Beyond the physical impact, experiencing a serious burn injury in a car accident can be a traumatic event. Victims often experience flashbacks, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other mental health challenges. Plus, scarring and disfigurement can significantly affect a person’s self-esteem and body image.

Additionally, severe burns can prevent victims from returning to work, which leads to a loss of income. In some cases, victims are never able to perform their previous job duties again, resulting in reduced earning capacity.

What are my legal rights if I suffered burn injuries from a car accident?

If you’re dealing with a burn injury from a car accident, you have the right to seek compensation for the fullest extent of your losses. However, liability must be established to have a viable case since Texas is strictly an at-fault insurance state.

Liability can fall on various parties, including other drivers, vehicle manufacturers, or entities responsible for road maintenance. Negligence, reckless driving, and product defects may count as liability. Establishing fault requires thorough investigation, evidence collection, and often the help of a crash reconstruction expert.

An experienced car accident lawyer at Smith & Hassler can gather the facts to build your case and prove who was at fault.

Additionally, our attorneys can determine the true value of your claim and factor in medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation, pain and suffering, and scarring and disfigurement.

How much is a burn injury claim worth?

Determining the value of a burn injury claim can be complex, as it depends on several factors unique to each case. Here are the key elements that influence the worth of a burn injury claim:

Severity of Injuries

The extent and degree of the burns play a significant role in the claim's value. Severe burns, such as third-degree or fourth-degree burns, typically result in higher compensation due to the intense pain, extensive treatment, and long recovery periods involved.

Medical Expenses

This includes all costs related to the treatment of burn injuries, such as emergency care, hospital stays, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, and ongoing medical care. The more extensive the medical treatment required, the higher the claim value.

Lost Wages

If your burn injuries prevent you from working, you can claim compensation for lost wages. This covers not only the time you have already missed but also any future income lost due to long-term or permanent disability.

Pain and Suffering

Burn injuries can cause significant physical pain and emotional distress. Compensation for pain and suffering accounts for the physical and mental anguish endured by the victim.

Scarring and Disfigurement

Burns often leave permanent scars and disfigurement, impacting a victim's appearance and self-esteem. Compensation can include amounts for the psychological impact and any cosmetic procedures required.

Impact on Quality of Life

Severe burn injuries can affect your ability to enjoy daily activities, hobbies, and overall quality of life. This loss is considered when determining the claim's value.

Legal Costs

If your case goes to court, the costs associated with legal representation and court fees can also be included in the claim.

Again, each burn injury case is unique, and calculating the exact value requires a thorough evaluation by an experienced attorney.

Houston attorneys committed to seeking justice for crash victims

A burn injury can turn your life upside down in an instant. You or a loved one may sustain severe, painful burns that affect every aspect of your life, from your ability to work to your daily activities.

At Smith & Hassler, we understand the devastating impact of burn injuries and are here to help you seek justice and accountability. Our Houston burn injury attorneys are dedicated to accurately assessing your claim and fighting for the maximum compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss the specifics of your burn injury case.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this article, “Burn Injuries Caused by Car Accidents.”

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