Burn Injuries from Car Accidents

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Doctor Applying Bandage to Patient's HandBurn injuries can cause severe, permanent consequences for car wreck victims. If you or a family member is facing extensive medical care and lifelong expenses after a crash someone else caused, you might qualify for compensation.

At Max Meyers Law, our Washington State auto accident attorney tries to help victims of burn injuries from car accidents. We can determine if someone else’s negligence caused your accident and pursue compensation for your recoverable damages. Call us at 425-399-7000 today for a free case evaluation in Washington.

Common Causes of Vehicle Fires in Washington State

Vehicle fires and the resulting burn injuries commonly occur because of the following malfunctions or situations.

Mechanical Malfunction or Failure

Broken parts, frayed wiring, and leaking seals and gaskets are a few of the ways that mechanical failure can lead to a car fire. Other causes include overheated engines, catalytic converters, worn spark plugs, and spilled or leaking fluids under the hood. If a vehicle has mechanical problems, it might be more likely to go up in flames in a crash.

Electrical Failure or Malfunction

Any electronic system or device can cause an electrical fire. Car batteries can spark and ignite spilled fluids under the hood. Since electrical wiring runs throughout the vehicle, fires can happen anywhere. An electrical fire can cause a wreck and create burn injuries.

Collisions or Overturned Vehicles

When a car crashes into another object or the vehicle flips over, the gas tank can explode. The batteries in hybrid and electric cars can also cause impact-related fires.

Exposure to Other Fires

This type of vehicle fire can happen when a car drives through or too close to a wildfire, for example, or a nearby vehicle explodes.

Types of Burns in Car Crashes

While you might think of a burn from a wreck as coming from a vehicle fire, there are several ways to sustain burn injuries in a collision.


When the car catches on fire or explodes, direct contact with the flames can create burns. Also, hot surfaces or liquids can burn someone in a vehicle accident.


When the wreck involves a truck transporting caustic chemicals or other materials, you do not need a flame or explosion to sustain burns. Exposure to the substances can cause chemical burns on contact, or internally if inhaled. Contact us immediately if you need help filing a lawsuit for burn injuries from a truck collision


The electrical system of the car can malfunction, causing electrical burns to people in contact with the items. If power lines are down or other electrical equipment outside the vehicle fails, a person can suffer electrocution. Electrical burns are particularly deadly, as they damage not only the location of initial contact, but they can travel through the person’s body, damaging tissue all along the way.

Potential Burn Injuries After a Car Accident

A car fire can cause horrific injuries. According to the American Burn Association, burn injuries are still one of the leading causes of accidental injuries and death in America.

Survivors of burn injuries often face:

  • Pain;
  • Extensive scarring;
  • Skin grafts;
  • Disfigurement;
  • Physical impairments;
  • Emotional challenges; and
  • Adjustment difficulty.

The long-term impact of a burn injury depends on the location, extent, and severity of the injury. For example, a less-severe burn on the face or hands might impact a person’s life more than a serious burn in another location. 

Getting Compensation After a Burn Injury

The damages you can recover depend on the total impact your injuries have now and will have in the future. Depending on the category of burn injury, your compensation will vary.

First-Degree Burns

First-degree burns go no deeper than the outer layer of skin. These burns seldom leave scars and usually heal within a few days or so, using standard first aid at home. You would not be likely to recover much compensation for a first-degree burn because it will not cause scarring or other long-term damage.

Second-Degree Burns

Second-degree burns damage both the epidermis and the layer of skin beneath it. These wounds can cause severe pain. They often blister and scar. Your compensation will depend on the location and extent of your second-degree burns.

Third-Degree Burns

Third-degree burns go through both layers of skin and into the fatty layer underneath. You might have nerve damage, resulting in a loss of sensation in some areas of your body, while experiencing excruciating pain in other damaged regions.

These burns leave waxy or leathery-looking scars and deep tissue damage that can prevent you from being able to use parts of your body as you could before. For example, scar tissue from third-degree burns on your hands might mean you will no longer be able to hold a pen or fork correctly, dress yourself, or perform other activities of daily living.

The compensation for this type of burn could be extensive since these effects are often permanent.


Max Meyers
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Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.