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Burn Injuries Resulting from Car Accidents


Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Feb 09, 2018 in Car Accidents

car fire on highwayAccording to the U.S. Fire Administration, about 14 percent of all fires that fire departments respond to are vehicle fires. Approximately 174,000 vehicle fires occurred on American highways in 2015, resulting in 445 fatalities and 1,550 injuries.

Car accident burn injuries range in severity and are more likely to occur when certain factors are involved in a collision, as we explain in detail below. If you sustained burns from a car accident, our South Bend car accident attorneys will work to help you recover the compensation you deserve.

Call (844) 678-1800 now to schedule a free consultation with a car accident lawyer in South Bend.

Types of Car Accident Burn Injuries

Vehicle fires can cause burns that range in severity based on the following classifications:

  • First-degree burns impact the skin’s outer layer, causing redness, dryness and pain. No blistering occurs.
  • Second-degree burns affect the skin’s outer layer as well as portions of the layer below the surface. Second-degree burns result in redness and blistering, with possible swelling and pain.
  • Third-degree burns impact all layers of skin, and may affect underlying muscles, tendons and bones. Third-degree burns destroy the skin and its hair follicles, preventing regrowth. Skin graft surgery and reconstructive procedures are common treatments for third-degree burn.

Treatment depends on the degree of burn sustained. Even with medical care, severe burns are difficult to treat. Third-degree burns that cover large areas of the body often heal poorly and slowly. Treatment for car accident burns can be intensive and lengthy, resulting in expensive medical costs and time off work for recovery.

Causes of Automobile Fires

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has implemented rules requiring that burn-resistant materials be used in passenger cars, trucks, multipurpose passenger vehicles and buses weighing less than 10,000 pounds. Thanks to these measures and other efforts, deaths due to fires have decreased significantly, but vehicle fires do still occur.

About 32 percent of vehicle fires are caused by careless driving behaviors and accidents. Vehicle fires commonly result from:

  • Two-vehicle collisions – Collisions cause 57 percent of fatal vehicle fires. If two vehicles hit each other, one or both of their fuel tanks could rupture, creating a fire fueled by gasoline.
  • Fuel tank leaks – Fires can result if a vehicle’s fuel tank leaks or explodes. In an explosion, projectiles may be propelled inside and outside the vehicle and injure occupants and others. Fuel tank leaks can also expose motorists within the vehicle to carbon monoxide, which is deadly.
  • Mechanical defects and failures – Mechanical failures are the main factor in 44 percent of highway vehicle fires. Sixty-one percent of vehicle fires on highways (37 percent of which are fatal) start in the vehicle’s engine, wheel area or running gear. Fires can spark from fluid leaks, damaged wiring, heater malfunctions and electrical defects.
  • Smoking – Hot ashes, cigarette butts, matches and lighters that come into contact with the vehicle’s interiors or personal items inside the passenger compartment may ignite, causing a vehicle fire.

Contact Our South Bend Car Accident Attorneys for Help

If you suffered burn injuries resulting from a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak’s South Bend personal injury attorneys fight for our clients and have assisted many car accident victims in recovering the compensation they need.

Request a free, no obligation consultation and learn the legal options available in your case. No upfront fees are required when working with our firm, and we only accept payment if we recover compensation for you.

Call (844) 678-1800 or fill out our Free Case Review form today.