Burns, most commonly from fires, can also be a result of having direct contact from extreme heat, steam, electricity and chemicals. It can range from being just a minor injury up to a serious medical emergency depending on the area and depth of the affected skin. Burns caused by motor vehicle accidents account for the 10% of all burn admissions. The most frequent MVA burn injuries are from car radiators and carburetors.4
Burns often result in permanent scarring that require ongoing care. If you have suffered a burn scar as the result of the negligence of someone else, you are entitled to reimbursement for future scar revision surgeries to repair that scarring.
HOW IT IS SUSTAINED
When skin tissues are burned, fluid will leak into them from the blood vessels resulting in inflammation and swelling. Moreover, damaged skin and nearby tissues are prone to infection because they can no longer perform as a barrier against disease-causing microorganisms or pathogens. Burns are categorized according to the extent of damage to the skin and nearby tissues.1
Frequent symptoms of burns due to road injuries vary from2:
- Red, swollen skin on minor burns
- Pain on the affected area. The deeper the burn, the less painful it is since the nerves that usually sense or detect pain are also damaged.
- Moist-looking skin
- Blisters on the area directly affected
- White to tan skin, waxy or leathery in texture
- Charred or blackened skin, in severe cases
Burns doesn’t evenly affect the skin, so a single direct contact to sources of burns can reach varying depths. Determining a superficial burn from a life-threatening burn involves determining the degree of injury to the skin and nearby tissues. There are officially 4 classifications of burns2:
- First-degree burn. A superficial burn that damages only the outmost layer of the skin or the epidermis. Redness and pain over the affected area can be felt and this burn usually heals with first-aid within only a few days or weeks.
- Second-degree burn. This type of burn affects both the outermost and the second layer of skin or the dermis. Redness and pain are evident accompanied with blisters or swelling. It often appears moist and in time, this burn can cause a scar.
- Third-degree burn. This type of burn affects the epidermis, dermis and the underlying subcutaneous tissue. The skin may look taut and different from a normal skin tissue. Third-degree burns often involve nerve destruction, and therefore numbness and lesser pain compared to first-degree and second-degree burns.
- Fourth-degree burn. It is deepest type of burn reaching into the deeper nerves, muscle and bones. The skin then looks blackened or charred. In this type of burn, pain is usually not felt due to total destruction of underlying nerves.
Superficial (1st-2nd degree) burns less than 3 inches can be treated with first aid measures. Soaking the burned skin area with cool water for 5-15 minutes will reduce the heat caused by the inflammation of the damaged tissue. Wrapping with a loose gauze will also prevent the burn from air and infection. The dressing must be replaced whenever dirty or at least once a day. Over-the-counter pain relievers can also soothe the pain and antibiotic ointment can also prevent infection.
In case of third to fourth-degree burns and if the person is unconscious or the affected area is large or on the sensitive areas, immediate medical assistance is advised. Burns due to electricity also require emergency care. Never remove any piece of clothing that gets stuck in the burned skin.
Burned skin is itchy when healing and sensitive to light. During the healing period, applying sunscreen on the burned skin can lessen the discomfort.1
Never smoke or use electronic devices while driving or near gasoline stations. Furthermore, stay away from the area near vehicle collisions or road accidents as much as possible.4,5
If you are burnt and receive a scar as the result of a motor vehicle collision, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. If the negligence of another has caused your burn, you are entitled to reimbursement for your injury. In addition, if your burn results in scarring, you are entitled to the cost of the revision surgery necessary to repair the appearance of the burn. For more information on seeking reimbursement for burn and scar injuries, contact a Missouri personal injury lawyer today. Call injury lawyer Christopher Dixon at 314.409.7060 immediately.
1 Morgan ED, Barker J. Ambulatory Management of Burns. American Family Physician. MAJ. MC. USA. SC Bledsoe, CPT, MC, USA Last accessed November 2011. http://www.aafp.org/afp/20001101/2015.html
2 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). Burns. Last accessed November 2011. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/burns/DS01176/METHOD=print
3 MedLine Plus. Burns. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. U.S. National Library of Medicine 8600 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD. Last accessed November 2011. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/burns.html
4 O’Mara MS, Greenhalgh DG, Palmieri TL. Burn injury caused by motor vehicle use and repair. J Burn Care Res. 2006 Nov-Dec;27(6):901-4.
5 Torpy JM, Lymn C, Glass RM. Burn Injuries. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). October 28, 2009—Vol 302, No. 16 http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/302/16/1828.full.pdf
6 World Health Organization. Road traffic injuries publications and resources. Geneva. 2004. Last accessed November 2011. http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/publications/road_traffic/en/index.html