When you think of being hurt in a car accident, the first injuries that come to mind may be broken bones, head and brain trauma, whiplash, and other types of bodily harm. Burns may not top the list, but they are quite common; unfortunately, they can be among the most painful, traumatic, and life-changing as well. Plus, the scarring and disfigurement may be long-term or permanent, leading victims to experience increased levels of emotional distress. If you or a loved one sustained burns in a Baltimore County, MD auto accident, here are some of the basics you need to know about these injuries.
Classification of Burn Injuries
Car crash victims may experience burns that range from minor to life-threatening, or even fatal. The University of Maryland Medical Center provides an overview of the classifications.
First degree burns are the mildest, affecting only the outer layer of skin. The epidermis is dry, red, and sensitive to the touch; some victims describe the pain as similar to a severe sunburn. The injury heals in around three to five days, but medical attention is usually required for purposes of pain management.
Second degree burns may be partial or full thickness, depending on how deep the injury penetrates the skin. The epidermis and layer of skin underneath, the dermis, are affected by a partial thickness burn. There may blisters that appear deep pink or red, but the skin turns pale when pressure is applied. These partial burns may take up to 21 days to heal, but grafting is not usually necessary and the scarring is minimal.
A full thickness burn will penetrate the entire first layer of skin and most of the dermis. Because the nerves may be damaged, the pain is actually decreased. However, grafting is necessary and recovery is extensive.
A third degree burn is extremely severe, requiring a long time to heal and extensive medical care. All layers of skin are destroyed and there’s limited pain because of the nerve damage. The skin appears leathery, and the color may range from ashy grey to white.
Fourth Degree Burns are often fatal, as the injury penetrates muscle and bone under the skin. If a victim survives, he or she will still suffer significant scarring and disfigurement.
Sources of Burn Injuries in Car Accidents
In a collision, the sources of burns typically fall into three categories:
- Heat burns, such as from direct contact with a flame or hot surface;
- Electrical burns, which occur when electrical current passes through the body; and,
- Chemical burns, often from an accident with a truck carrying hazardous substances.
Under Maryland law, you do have rights if you suffer burn injuries in an auto accident that was not your fault. It is possible to recover compensation from the driver responsible for the incident, and you increase your chances of success with your claim by retaining an experienced car collision attorney. For more information, please contact attorney Michael A. Freedman to schedule a consultation. Our legal team has represented the interests of many car crash victims, both in settlement discussions and in court. We serve clients throughout Baltimore County and the surrounding area from our office in Owings Mills, MD.
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