As an Illinois driver, you likely face the hazards of our roads and highways on a daily basis. You also likely seldom think about the dangers you face, including the possibility of suffering catastrophic burns in a car wreck. Nevertheless, such accidents happen all too frequently. In 2016 alone, 3,275 Americans died in fiery crashes.
Unfortunately, your car contains many things that can catch fire and many surfaces that can become hot enough to cause you to sustain severe burns during a crash. In fact, you can suffer the following four different kinds of burns:
- Thermal burns resulting from the fire’s flames or a hot surface inside your car
- Scald burns resulting from gasoline or another of your car’s hot liquids
- Chemical burns resulting from one of your car’s caustic fluids such as oil, antifreeze, or transmission or steering fluid
- Electrical burns resulting from one of your car’s electrical wires or a power line from a utility pole knocked down in the accident
Physicians classify your burns according to their severity. Unfortunately, car crash victims seldom suffer the two least serious kinds: first- and second-degree burns. Generally, sunburns cause these relatively minor burns. In a car crash, you are far more likely to suffer a third-degree burn that not only destroys your skin, but also damages its underlying tissues and organs. If you suffer a fourth-degree burn, this is a truly life-threatening situation because such burns go all the way down to your bones and tendons.
Usually, a burn is one of the most painful injuries you can receive. In extreme situations, however, you will not feel excessive pain because the burn damaged your nerves that allow you to feel pain. This is another characteristic of a fourth-degree burn, and if you sustain one, you need immediate medical treatment to save your life.
Extraordinary medical costs
It goes without saying that your medical costs quickly skyrocket if you receive and survive a third- or fourth-degree burn in an auto accident. Not only do you face an extensive period of time in the burn unit, you also face multiple surgeries, skin grafts, wound debridements and other treatments and procedures designed to minimize the disfiguring scarring that such burns produce. In addition, you could require many months of occupational and physical therapy, as well as rehabilitation services. Few insurance policies cover such extraordinary medical costs, and your best strategy may well be filing a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver who caused your car crash.