Burns happen in all sorts of ways. There may be accidents in the home, the workplace, or burns such as sunburn, can sneak up on a person. The American Burn Association estimates that 486,000 people in the United States will receive medical treatment for burn injuries in 2015. To prevent burns, people should keep matches out of reach and away from flammable objects. They should also slather on sunscreen when headed outside. Unfortunately, if you are involved in a car accident there is often very little that can be done to stop severe burn injuries from happening.
Burns are categorized in relation to their severity. Most of the time, it is first, second, and third degree burns that are described. In rare cases, some people can suffer even more severe fourth degree burns. These burns go beyond burning skin and underlying tissue. They can damage muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, bones, and blood vessels, and need to be treated with skilled medical professionals in order to minimize how severe their impact will be on the rest of their lives.
Other burns are also harmful, and with the various flammable liquids, acids, electrical currents, and the road itself, car accident burns are always a possibility whenever a crash occurs. Motorcycle drivers are more likely to experience car accident burns, since they are more exposed than drivers of other motor vehicles. Road burns caused by friction can be serious, especially if a motorcyclist is dragged on the road at high speeds. These burns are sometimes called road rash, but they are often much worse. It is common for these to be open wounds and may even display a pus. Careful cleaning of these wounds is important in order to prevent infection. Frequently, these burns produce scars and pigmentation loss. Being out in the open also makes motorcyclists vulnerable to scalding liquids, or fire from explosions. Of course, vehicles are no guarantee of protection from burns. A car accident burn injury can happen to anyone, and no matter what the severity, burns need to be treated in order to heal as much as possible.
How Much Medical Attention is Needed
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First Degree Burns
First degree burns are the easiest to deal with since they affect only the first layer of skin. For the most part, those who have basic first aid knowledge will be able to help treat these burns. If possible, the burn area should be run under cool, but not cold running water, or be treated with a cool wet compress. The water should not be too cold. The burn should be covered with a sterile bandage without the use of ointments that may cause infection. Over-the-counter medications will usually take care of any resulting pain. Things can go wrong even with minor burns such as swelling, fever, or increased pain, may indicate an infection. See a doctor if this occurs.
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Second Degree Burns
Second degree burns affect the top two layers of skin. They need to be immersed for 10 to 15 minutes, preferably in running water. Ice should not be used because it may lower body temperature and cause additional problems. Blisters are often present and care should be taken not to break them if possible, as it increases the chance of infection. These too should be protected with a clean bandage, however, there is an additional risk of the burned person going into shock. Elevating the burn twelve inches, preferably above the heart, may prevent this, and they should be kept warm with a coat or blanket. It is a good idea for a medical professional to examine these burns to see that they are healing properly and prescribe antibiotics if necessary.
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Third Degree Burns
Third degree burns are the most common severe burns, and they need immediate attention by professionals. Calling 911 should be the first course of action, and treatment of the actual burns by any witnesses should be reserved to covering the burn lightly with a material that does not produce lint, such as a sheet.
Shock is a much bigger concern in the moment. The person should lay flat with their feet raised twelve inches above their head, and the burn area should be positioned above the heart, if possible. If the burn is on their face, they should sit up. Oxygen and fluids may be needed to treat the burn, but professionals will take care of this when they arrive.
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After the Immediate Threat Passes
After a car accident burn injury, the medical need is always the most important thing to deal with. But, if the burns do require professional attention, or if any other injuries are present along with the burns, it is important to contact a burn injury lawyer in Columbus, Ohio, as soon as possible.
At Bressman Law, our lawyers have dealt with many clients who experienced injuries from car accident burns. Scarring, as well as muscle and nerve damage, can cause long term problems for those with severe burn injuries, and even those who experience complications from lesser burns, deserve to be properly represented in order to get the compensation they deserve. If you’ve experienced a car accident burn injury, contact us for a consultation.