Can a Car Accident Cause Chemical Burn Injuries?

When a person gets into a car accident, they have immediate concerns about their health and well-being. Even in minor car accidents, people can suffer life-altering personal injury. Adding to the injuries caused by the impact of the crash, chemical burn injuries can also be present. There are many reasons chemical burns can happen, leaking fluids and safety devices being just two.

Victims of a car accident know just the type of frustration it causes, on top of all the physical pain. Many injuries can heal, even if they take a long time. Chemical burns, however, may last forever, leaving victims with a constant reminder of that tragic day. Because the wounds take longer to heal and may stay with the person forever, that may require expensive medical care that they have to deal with for the rest of their life. But that is not a burden the victim should bear. A victim’s only focus should be on their physical and mental recovery.

Chemical Burns

Chemical burns in car accidents are not as common as other injuries such as broken bones and concussions. But that does not mean chemical burns are any less severe. In fact, some chemical burns can be life threatening and may leave scars that forever remind the victim of their car accident.

How Chemical Burns Happen

Many people think of car accidents and picture cars on fire and people getting burned. But what most people do not think of is burns that happen from a safety device in the car that is meant to protect passengers: airbags.

The intention of an airbag is to prevent more serious injuries of drivers and passengers of vehicles when they are involved in an accident. To do that, however, the airbags have to deploy at extremely fast speeds. The vehicle has to detect an accident has happened and deploy the airbag in time to stop someone from hitting the steering wheel or dashboard.

To deploy this fast, airbags use chemicals to help them inflate quickly enough to prevent serious injury to the driver or passenger. When a person’s skin comes into contact with these chemicals, it can cause serious injuries.

Airbags are not the only cause of chemical burns in a car accident, as there are various fluids used in vehicles that can become exposed in an accident. These include:

  • Gasoline
  • Battery acid
  • Coolant
  • Oil

These fluids are made of different chemicals that can cause harm to a human body. In some cases, the chemicals can burn the skin, leaving additional injuries to the victim.

Degrees of Burns

Burns are labeled using a three-degree category system. The more serious the burn, the more severe and long-lasting the injuries.

First-degree burns. The lowest level of burn, first-degree burns harm only the outermost layer of skin, the epidermis. A victim will notice red and painful skin that will heal within a few days.

Second-degree burns. These burns are more serious and may completely damage the epidermis and part of the next layer of skin, the dermis. Victims will notice blisters and pain at the burn site. Second-degree burns may require a skin graft and will require medical care to recover.

Third-degree burns. The most serious burns, third-degree burns, affect all layers of the skin and can be deadly. Victims will not experience pain for third-degree burns because the burn has so badly damaged their nerves, the victim simply feels nothing.

Signs of a Chemical Burn

To properly address a chemical burn, the victim must know they have sustained such a burn or must have a medical professional diagnose them. The most common symptoms of chemical burns after a car accident include:

  • Red eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Itching
  • Blisters
  • Hives
  • Rashes

When a person suffers a chemical burn injury in a car accident, they should seek immediate medical attention. Caring for a chemical burn will require medical knowledge to ensure there is not any further damage to the body. Many times, chemical burn injuries come alongside other serious injuries, so the victim might face a long road to recovery.

Treating a Chemical Burn

To properly treat a chemical burn, it is important to remove as much of the chemical as possible from contact with the body. If car accident victims suspect they are suffering from a chemical burn, they need to tell emergency medical personnel right away so they can start to remove the chemical and treat the problem. This can help increase the likelihood of avoiding a lifetime of chemical burn injuries.

A chemical burn should be washed off with water at room temperature. Lots of water should be used. No other chemicals should be used to treat a chemical burn. To make sure that a victim has the best chance of making a full and complete recovery, they should seek medical attention as soon as possible.

A doctor may provide a victim treatment that includes:

  • Antibiotics
  • Anti-itch medication
  • Removing dead tissue, known as debridement
  • Continuous cleaning of the wound
  • Skin grafting
  • Pain medication

In the most serious cases, victims may need not only a skin graft but, as their wound heals, also cosmetic surgery. A chemical burn victim may also need occupational therapy to help them adjust to their new way of life and redevelop daily life skills. This may also include counseling to help them deal with any bodily deformations that are left after the car accident.

Clearly, it is not just the body that suffers after a car accident chemical burn injury. That is why victims must consider a holistic approach to their recovery, including both the physical and the mental. To help with that, a chemical burn injury lawyer can work to recover maximum compensation for the victim so they can put their focus and energy into their health and wellbeing.

Living with a Chemical Burn

For many victims, they never fully recover. This does not mean they live a diminished life, but rather they learn to live in a new way. The more serious the chemical burn, the more likely it is that the victim will need to adjust their way of life, even slightly. More serious burns will also require more ongoing medical treatment and care.

Some car accident chemical burn victims may experience:

  • Loss of a limb
  • Permanent scarring
  • Disfigurement
  • Recurring infections
  • Muscle damage
  • Tissue damage
  • Depression

Living with both the physical and emotional scars after a car accident presents challenges for some people. Those who only suffer first-degree burns may be able to get back to their regular life within a few weeks and without any scars or permanent reminders of their accident.

Unfortunately, those who suffer second- and third-degree burns may spend lots of time in the hospital and require ongoing medical care at a specialized burn facility. Ultimately, some victims may never be able to return to their pre-accident life. These victims may be unable to work and even do some basic daily tasks, all because of their chemical burn injury. Some victims may also have to live with scars and disfigurement, permanent reminders that they suffered catastrophic injuries in a car accident.

Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Help Chemical Burn Injury Victims Recover

When you suffer chemical burns in a car accident, it can take longer to heal, be more costly, and require a change to your lifestyle. You may be entitled to compensation after your car accident chemical burn injuries. To find out for sure, speak with the experienced Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. We will be your legal advocate, fighting to protect your rights and attempting to collect maximum compensation for your chemical burn injuries. Call us at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

Our offices are conveniently located in BaltimoreColumbiaGlen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, where we represent victims throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel CountyCarroll CountyHarford CountyHoward CountyMontgomery CountyPrince George’s CountyQueen Anne’s CountyMaryland’s Western CountiesSouthern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of CatonsvilleEssexHalethorpeMiddle RiverRosedale, Gwynn OakBrooklandvilleDundalkPikesvilleParkvilleNottinghamWindsor MillLuthervilleTimoniumSparrows PointRidgewood, and Elkridge.