There are few injuries that hurt as much as a burn. Even touching a hot stove can leave a mark on your finger for a few days, so a really severe burn – such as the one you might get in a car fire – can leave you with life-altering injuries.
Luckily, car fire-related injuries are relatively rare, even if car fires are more common. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there were 174,000 highway vehicle fires in 2015. Out of all of those fires, 1,550 people were injured, and 445 died. The U.S. Fire Administration reports a total of 204,500 vehicle fires in 2015. By their research, almost 21% were related to equipment failure.
Vehicle are recalled all the time because of potential fire risks. In 2018 alone, Hyundai, Audi, BMW, and Toyota have all recalled cars because of some defect that could lead to a car fire. (BMW in particular has a problem with car fires; their vehicles can spontaneously combust, it seems.) Some of the risks include:
- Faulty or defective fuel injectors
- Problems with the electrical wiring
- Defective or malfunctioning heat shields for exhaust systems
- Water pump failures
- Overheating climate control systems
Of course, colliding with another car can also lead to a fire, even if neither car has a defect.
If your car does catch fire, get out of the vehicle and walk far away before calling 9-1-1.
Burn injuries that can occur in car crashes
Thermal burns from direct contact with fire, or scalding from contact with hot or burning liquids, can cause devastating injuries in a car crash. Vehicle occupants can also suffer injuries to their respiratory system from inhaling smoke, ash or embers before they are rescued from the burning vehicle. Burns are divided into three categories, which denote the varying severity of the injury:
- First degree burns injure the outer layer of skin. These minor burns can be treated with first aid.
- Second-degree burns injure the surface layer of skin and the underlying layer as well
- Third-degree burns are the most severe and they can damage skin, muscle, cartilage and down to the bone.
Burn injuries are susceptible to blistering and infection. Severe, widespread burns can cause permanent scarring. As a serious burn heals, the scar tissue that develops can hinder movement and range of motion; this is called contracture. When the physical injuries heal as much as they are going to heal, the person who is suffering from severe burn injuries often has additional, psychological damage, both from the traumatic memories of the fire, and from the sight of the permanent scarring on his or her body.
If you or someone you care about has suffered burn injuries in a car crash, an experienced North Dakota burn injury lawyer can help investigate the cause, determine fault and pursue compensation on your behalf. At Larson Law Firm P.C., we are here to protect your right to recover compensation when you have suffered burn injuries as the result of another person’s negligence. Please complete our contact form or call us at 701-484-4878 to schedule a free initial consultation today at our office in Minot.
Mark Larson is a Certified Civil Trial Specialist and Certified Civil Pre-Trial Specialist focusing on personal injury, motor vehicle, wrongful death, and oil field claims. Since 1979, Larson Law Firm has served the injured throughout North Dakota. Read more about Mark V. Larson