Every year, an average of 1.2 million burn victims are admitted to hospital emergency rooms for treatment of severe burns. These victims have no choice but to endure extreme, prolonged physical pain and discomfort, as well as an uncertain recovery.
How long do burn injuries take to fully heal?
Most traffic accidents are traumatic for those involved. The power of the impact often results in injuries such as broken bones and lacerations, not to mention damage to the vehicles. Modern vehicles, however, are designed to deter ignition, making burn injuries a somewhat uncommon car accident injury. Sadly, victims who do sustain serious burns usually face physical and emotional life-changing consequences
If you or a loved one sustained a serious burn injury during a car accident, contact the Virginia Beach burn injury attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp for a free case evaluation and find out if you are entitled to seek financial compensation.
What Causes Car Accident Burns?
The obvious and immediate answer is, of course, fire. However, in a car accident, other circumstances can arise that lead to burn injuries, such as:
- Exposure to chemicals: A chemical burn can be the result of exposure to gasoline, ammonia, battery acid, and other dangerous chemicals.
- Electricity: Electricity may cause serious burns and even death when it travels through your body. Crash victims can sustain burn injuries as well as other injuries caused by electricity, such as internal cardiac irregularities and organ damage.
- Heat: Thermal damage can lead to permanent scarring, tissue necrosis, and charring, even with prompt and adequate medical treatment.
Burn Injury Classifications
A burn is categorized by degree based on how far beneath the surface of the skin it has penetrated. It is not always possible to categorize a burn injury right when it happens because many of them continue to progress over the days following the injury.
All burn injuries fall under one of four classifications:
First-degree burns are superficial. They affect only the epidermis, which is the very first layer of skin. First-degree burns typically show no symptoms other than redness around the injury, mild pain, and swelling. A car crash victim might sustain a first-degree burn if the accident produced a large amount of heat.
A second-degree burn extends down into the first two layers of skin: the epidermis and the dermis. Second-degree burns can result in discoloration and swelling. Blisters may form around the injury and they can be quite painful. If the burn extends deep into the second layer of skin, the victim’s scarring could be permanent.
A third-degree burn is a severe injury that can scorch the top two layers of skin, along with subcutaneous fat. The burned skin may turn black or brown and begin to resemble leather in its appearance. Due to the fact that a third-degree burn is capable of destroying nerves, victims might experience numbness.
A fourth-degree burn is the most profound type of burn injury and could potentially be life-threatening. With a fourth-degree burn, every layer of the victim’s skin is damaged and in many cases, their bones are damaged as well. Recovering from a burn injury this serious will demand intensive, extended medical treatment.
Are There Any Long-Term Consequences to a Serious Burn Injury?
The long-term or permanent effects of a serious burn include physical handicaps, scarring or disfigurement, and psychological trauma, such as:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Negative self-image
- Low self-esteem
- Reduced quality of life
- Eating and sleep disorders
- Drug abuse
In addition to the long-term physical effects, like scar tissue, contractures, or heightened risk of infection, some victims never completely recover from the debilitating psychological impacts of a serious burn injury.
Many victims experience heat sensitivity, pain, and itching. There might endure weakness caused by muscle damage along with permanent nerve damage. Different kinds of burn injuries can also lead to very specific long-term impacts, like the increased risk of skin cancer in radiation burn victims, and heart arrhythmia in the victims of electrical burns.
Talk to a Virginia Burn Injury Attorney
By enlisting the help of other professionals, your attorney can calculate a fair and equitable value for your burn injury claim. At Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp, we want to make sure you are fully compensated for your current medical bills and suffering as well as any medical bills and suffering you might encounter in the years to come due to your severe burn injury.
Schedule a free case evaluation with our Virginia Beach burn injury attorneys by calling (833) 997-1774.
An experienced personal injury attorney with dual licensure in Virginia and North Carolina, Eric Washburn received a B.B.A. in Finance from James Madison University—initially worked in the information technology field before obtaining his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan. Once an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in Danville, Va., Eric has been recognized by Super Lawyers Magazine as a “Rising Star” Super Lawyer in Virginia since 2014.