Every three minutes and eight seconds, there is a vehicle fire in the United States. In 2014, approximately 167,500 vehicles caught fire, 310 people died, and 1,275 others were injured, according to the National Fire Protection Association. This is an increase of 2.1% over 2013 vehicle fires and it represents the most current data available as of January 2016.
Equipment failure or high speed crashes between vehicles with combustible engines, oil, and gasoline can create dangerous fires, particularly if a driver or passenger is trapped in a burning vehicle.
Types of Injuries You May Suffer in a Car Accident Fire
A car fire can result in significant burn injuries. Burn injuries are often classified according to degree and include:
- First degree burns. First degree burns only affect the outer layer of skin. Symptoms of a first degree burn include redness and pain. Treatment may require no more than typical first aid actions and usually does not require hospitalization. First degree burns may resolve within a few days or a week.
- Second degree burns. Second degree burns impact both the outer layer of skin and the layer of skin below it. Symptoms of these kinds of burns include redness or whiteness of the skin, swelling and pain. The skin may appear wet and blisters may develop. Scarring is possible and medical treatment may be necessary.
- Third degree burns. Third degree burns damage all layers of the skin and can harm the tissue and nerves underneath the skin. Symptoms of third degree burns include a black or white mark on the skin. Numbness may occur if the nerves are damaged. Skin graft operations, IV antibiotics, and IV fluids may be needed to treat third degree burns. Hospitalization is often required and scarring is possible.
- Fourth degree burns. Fourth degree burns are so severe that they are often not included when describing types of burns because they often result in death. Fourth degree burns occur when all layers of the skin, underlying tissue, bones and muscles have been impacted. Hospitalization is required and scarring, amputation, or permanent disability may result.
Other serious injuries such as smoke inhalation injuries may occur because of car accident fires, and many car fires result in fatalities.
Recovering From Car Accident Burn Injuries
Burn injuries are hard to recover from. Medical treatment may be long and the pain from the injury may be intense. Medical treatment alone may include:
- Long hospital stays
- Multiple surgeries
- Extensive pain management
- Steps to prevent or treat dangerous infections
While you are undergoing this medical treatment and even after it is finished you may be unable to work. You may be unable to earn an income, and you may experience significant out-of-pocket expenses. Even given these costly damages, your physical pain and emotional suffering may be the most substantial damages that you suffer because of a car accident fire.
If you have been hurt in a car fire, it is important to know what caused the fire. If the fire was caused by defective equipment in your vehicle or another driver’s negligence, you may have the right to recover damages for your injuries. Your legal damages may include all costs that you have already incurred, the costs that you are currently incurring, or the costs that you are likely to incur in the future as a result of your injuries. This could include, for example:
- Medical costs
- Lost income
- Out of pocket costs
- Pain and suffering
- Any other damages caused by the accident
In order to get the recovery you deserve, you will need to convince an insurance company, a product manufacturer, or a jury of what caused your accident and of the value of your damages. This can be confusing, time-consuming, and stressful, but you don’t have to do it alone. You have the right to work with an attorney who can represent your interests and fight for your fair and just recovery. To learn more and to schedule your own free, no obligation consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer, please call us anytime—24/7—at 706-863-6600.