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What motorists should know if they are burned in a car crash

Louisiana motorists who suffer burns in a car crash can face a long, difficult and painful recovery. Other motorists can succumb to their burn injuries and die at the hospital. The American Burn Association reports that vehicle fire fatalities are relatively rare occurrences. In fact, of the 3,275 Americans who died from fire or smoke inhalation in 2016, only 310 of them died as the result of a vehicle fire. By far the largest number of burn fatalities, 2,745, resulted from home fires.

Columbia St. Mary's Regional Burn Center explains that burns fall into the following four categories

  1. A driver or passenger suffers a thermal burn if (s)he comes into contact with the fire itself or an excessively hot object in the car.
  2. (S)he suffers a scald burn if (s)he comes into contact with a hot liquid such as gasoline or even a hot drink.
  3. (S)he suffers an electrical burn if the car hits a power pole, bringing the line down on top of the car.
  4. (S)he suffers a chemical burn if (s)he comes into contact with a caustic substance such as one of the car’s fluids.

Burn degrees

In addition to different types of burns, there also are different degrees of burns ranging from first degree, the least serious, to fourth degree, which is life-threatening. Sadly, car accident victims almost always receive either third- or fourth-degree burns.

When they receive a third-degree burn, it goes through the skin and burns their underlying tissues and organs. Often a third-degree burn victim will not realize how seriously hurt (s)he is because (s)he does not feel excessive pain. The reason, however, is sinister. The burn could be deep enough to cause nerve damage. Fourth-degree burns are even more catastrophic. Here the burn damages the victim’s bones and tendons.

Any person who receives a burn in a car crash should receive immediate medical attention at the nearest trauma center. Most seriously burned patients must undergo surgery and/or skin grafts not only to survive their injuries, but also to minimize scarring that could produce lifelong disfigurement.

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Gretna, LA 70053

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