Fiery car crashes represent one of the most potentially catastrophic types of motor vehicle accidents. Why? Because the burns you receive in them could threaten your life as well as leave you with permanent disfiguring scars.

Regardless of the spaciousness of your vehicle’s interior, it still constitutes a relatively small enclosed space from which you cannot easily escape in the event you become involved in a fiery car crash. Consequently, as the American Burn Association explains, you likely will receive four distinct types of burns as follows:

  1. Scald burns resulting from the excessively hot fluids that touch your body
  2. Thermal burns resulting from the fire’s flames or your vehicle’s excessively hot surfaces touching your body
  3. Chemical burns resulting from your vehicle’s caustic fluids such as antifreeze, steering fluid, etc. touching your body
  4. Electrical burns resulting from your vehicle’s live electrical wires or a downed power line touching your body

Degrees of seriousness

While all burns can have potentially serious consequences, health care professionals separate them into four categories based on the amount of damage they can do. First- and second-degree burns go no deeper than the layers of your skin and generally heal completely, leaving no permanent scars.

Third- and fourth-degree burns, on the other hand, can threaten your life. If you suffer third-degree burns in your car crash, not only will they singe your skin, they also likely will damage the muscles, nerves and tissues underneath your skin. A fourth-degree burn, the most serious of all, can damage even your bones.

One of the most frightening aspects of third- and fourth-degree burns is that you may not even realize how serious your injuries are. This is because you may feel no burning sensations due to the nerve damage you have sustained.