Your legal options after a second or third-degree burn injury in a car crash
Car accidents can result in various traumas to the body, including fractured bones, organs and muscle damage. Severe burn injuries are also possible in a car crash, resulting in permanent scarring, disfigurement and/or intense pain.
According to the American Burn Association (ABA), 486,000 Americans require urgent medical treatment as a result of burn injuries.
Our skin is an organ, and it plays a vital role in keeping our vulnerable parts covered. When hot flammable liquids, such as car oil and fuel, come in contact with the skin, they can lead to severe burns. When one’s skin is engulfed in a fire during a motorbike or car accident, the epidermis (outer layer of skin) is burned. The fire then spreads into the middle layer, the dermis, and then to the inner layer of skin before finally exposing our inner flesh. The effects can be lethal, causing life-threatening injury and scars.
Here at Murphy Law Firm, we know the implications of a burn injury and its damage to both the victim and their loved ones. This is why our team works around the clock to ensure that all burn victims and their families in Montana receive adequate compensation for their medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.
Common causes of crash-related burn injuries
Car, truck and motorcycle accidents are often the result of negligence by not adhering to safety guidelines when driving, distractions or mechanical technicalities. Here are the common causes of car accidents in Montana:
1. Drunk driving
Driving under the influence of alcohol can severely impair a motorist’s judgment on the road. According to statistics by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), roughly 30 people in the United States lose their lives daily due to drunk driving, while the survivors usually cope with injury. If you or your loved one has suffered from a car accident injury at the hands of a drunk driver, consider taking legal action by consulting our experienced Montana DUI car accident lawyers.
2. Distracted driving
A majority of car accident injuries in Montana result from not paying attention to the road. Distracted driving behaviors like replying to a text or answering a call when driving has resulted in the loss of 2,841 lives in the United States in 2018 alone.
Speed limits are around for a good reason. Pushing your vehicle above the legal speed limit endangers your life, those of your passengers and the nearby pedestrians and motorists.
Types of severe burn injuries
Whether caused by a car accident or from touching something hot on the stove, burn injuries can be classified into 4 distinct categories.
1. First-degree burns
These burns affect the outermost layer of the skin, causing symptoms such as aches, redness, sensitivity and charred marks, typically requiring 2 weeks for a full recovery.
2. Second-degree burns
Motorists or pedestrians who suffer from second-degree burns experience blisters and swelling on the second layer of the skin, causing a blotched reddish appearance.
3. Third-degree burns
Third-degree burns affect the inner layer of skin, causing severe burn damage and the skin to appear charred in color. This can result in permanent scars or deformity, depending on how extensive the burn is.
4. Fourth-degree burns
These are extensive burns that cause severe damage to muscles, tendons, bones, nerves and blood vessels in the areas affected as the fire permeated through all layers of skin.
Treatment for serious burn injuries
Treating a burn-related injury varies on the degree of the burn. Medics can operate on the area, discarding all charred cells. Then, they’ll thoroughly sterilize the area affected to ward off infections before applying special ointment to aid your recovery.
Severe burns, on the other hand, require intensive treatment and several operations. Standard treatment options include:
- IV drips
- Facial or plastic reconstruction surgery
- Skin grafting
- Physical therapy
At first, your medical practitioner will hook you up to an IV drip to sustain your body fluid levels and to prevent dehydration before dosing you with local anesthesia or medication pre-surgery. An operation can last for more than 4 hours before requiring an extended recovery period.
If the burn injury sustained covers more than 10 percent of the burn site, a plastic surgeon may be needed to graft the skin and cover up any exposed flesh, especially in areas such as the face, genitals, hands and feet. A substitute skin graft can cost $2,100 per operation, depending on the severity of the burn.
People suffering from extensive third and fourth-degree burns may be hospitalized in a professional burn center for complex treatment. This treatment option in itself incurs substantial medical expenses within a ballpark figure of $5-10 million for successful reconstruction of nerves, blood vessels, skin, bone, internal organs, eyes, lips and ligaments. Not to mention the additional costs of 2 to 5 months of physical therapy before you can partially recover any lost mobility.
Patients suffering from any degree of burns may never be the same again. Dealing with horrific memories of the accident scene can leave psychological trauma leading to PTSD and other mental disorders. Furthermore, there is a chance they will never regain sensation to the site of injury.
When to contact our Montana car accident lawyers
Burn victims in Montana who qualify for compensation will be reimbursed for expenses spent on treatment expenses, medications and other expenses. They can also obtain additional compensation for their pain and suffering and lost wages during their absence at work.
If you or your loved one is a car accident burn victim in Montana, you don’t have to suffer the grievances of coping with an injury by yourself. Our team of specialized car accident lawyers at Murphy Law Firm is here because we care. We help handle all legalities and carry out thorough investigations to help justify your claims. We guarantee to secure the compensation that best benefits you and the justice that you deserve.