How Car Accidents Cause Devastating Burn Injuries

burn_injuryIn a car accident, victims can suffer many serious injuries. Burns are some of the most catastrophic injuries a person can incur in a collision.

They often result in long-term injuries and pain, permanent scarring and disfigurement, and psychological trauma not only from the terror of the crash, but also coping with the burn injuries.


However, if you or someone you love suffered critical burn injuries, you may be entitled to compensation from the at-fault driver and other negligent parties for expensive medical treatments, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Common Causes of Fires in Car Accidents

There are a number of reasons why people can be burned in a car accident. Part of the accident investigation process is to determine the underlying cause, which helps identify who's liable for compensating the victim.

Here are some common causes of burns:

  • Vehicle collisions and overturns. The force of impact can cause one or many vehicles to burst into flames in a fuel-fed fire. Although statistics indicate that overturns and collisions are less than 10 percent of vehicle highway fires, they account for more than 50 percent of the related deaths.
  • Fuel leaks. An explosion due to a faulty tank can be spontaneous or be caused by the force of the crash. Depending why the fuel tank leaked or exploded, parties other than a negligent driver may also face liability.
  • Overheating. Fuel, oil, and coolant are important fluids for vehicle operation. But if they leak onto hot car surfaces due to maintenance issues or a collision, the fire spreads quickly.
  • Electrical malfunction. Modern cars have complex electrical systems, and most hybrid cars have extensive batteries. If errant sparks come in contact with flammable fluids, the resulting fire could be a disaster. 
  • Defective auto parts. A defective exhaust system, seat heater malfunction, or faulty seals and gaskets are a few of the defects that lead to someone suffering burns in a car crash.

Degrees of Burns That Car Accident Victims Suffer

Car accident victims can suffer flame, chemical, and electrical burns. Here's how burns are classified by severity:

  • First-degree burns. These are the least serious type of burns that only affect the epidermis, which is the outer layer of skin. Symptoms can include swelling and redness. These burns often heal with the use of first-aid measures.
  • Second-degree burns. These cause injury to the outer and second layers of the skin. Signs of a second-degree burn include blisters, swelling, redness, and red, white, or splotchy skin. Victims with these burns may have permanent scarring.
  • Third-degree burns. These cause damage to the fat below the skin and to nerves. Skin can be charred black or white, and appear leathery or waxy. A person can also suffer other complications, such as difficulty breathing, smoke inhalation, and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Did you or a loved one suffer burns in a car accident? Because of the larger value of your claim, the insurance company for the negligent party may fight longer and harder to deny or reduce your financial recovery. We're here to aggressively pursue your rights to compensation. To learn about your legal options, start an online chat to schedule your free case evaluation.