Any truck accident has the potential to cause a catastrophic, even life-altering, injury. While some injuries—like broken bones—may take a lot of time, money, and pain to fix, they are typically still treatable. However, other categories of injuries may linger longer. Burns, in particular, not only demand intensive treatment but also frequently cause permanent disfigurement.
How Burn Injuries Happen
A fully loaded semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. When a semi-truck collides with a passenger vehicle, the sheer force of the collision can spark an explosion with the potential to injure any of the affected motorists and their passengers. While a fire can arise naturally from a crash, some circumstances aggravate the possibility of a burn injury:
- High speeds can increase the force involved in a crash, making it more likely for a fire to occur.
- A truck may be carrying hazardous cargo that is highly flammable and may be ignited by exposure to the environment or the physical forces involved in an accident.
- If a truck is carrying sensitive or otherwise flammable cargo, it may catch fire from an external explosion or combustion source.
The Different Types of Burn Injuries
A truck accident victim may be burned if they are exposed to:
- Toxic chemicals
No matter how a truck accident happens, though, burn injuries can be incredibly difficult for even skilled physicians to treat. Burns range in severity and are typically graded on the following scale:
- First-degree burns are minor and only affect the outer layer of the skin. The symptoms of a first-degree burn may include redness, rash, and pain on contact.
- Second-degree burns affect not only the topmost layer of the skin but the layers underneath it, including muscle. A second-degree burn may be covered by blisters, appear wet or shiny, and be painful to the touch.
- Third-degree burns are the most severe type of burn in that they not only affect the skin’s different layers but have the potential to seriously and permanently damage underlying tissue, including nerves, muscle, and even bone.
How Burns Impact Accident Victims’ Lives
Anyone who’s suffered a second- or third-degree burn knows that the recovery can be as painful as the initial accident. However, burns—like other types of serious truck-accident-related injuries—have the potential to cause short- and long-term health complications, including:
- Permanent tissue damage
Although modern medical technology can save most burn victims who receive prompt treatment, they may still suffer lasting scarring or disfigurement.
What to Do After a Truck Accident Burn Injury
Burns cause not only emotional and physical trauma but financial damage, too. Someone who suffered serious burns in a truck accident may have to pay for the initial emergency treatment as well as subsequent skin grafts, prescription medications, and physical rehabilitation. They may also be unable to work for weeks, months—maybe even years—depriving them of money desperately needed for medical expenses. While the trucking company and their insurer might offer an easy settlement, they are most likely not accounting for an accident victim’s long-term needs.