A thermal burn is one that occurs because of exposure to a hot object. In a car accident, there is a chance that you can suffer this type of burn if something catches on fire or if you are thrust up against something hot in the crash. Even steam can lead to this type of injury.

Treating a thermal burn starts at the scene of the accident. You need to prevent the burn from worsening more than what it already has. This entails a comprehensive approach to the problem.

First, any charred clothing should be removed if possible. Clothing over the burn can hold the heat in and make the burn worse. If there is cool water available, the area should be immersed. The water shouldn’t be frozen or cold. Tap water is ideal for this purpose.

Some thermal burns can be treated at the emergency room. More serious burns are likely going to need care at a burn center. An ambulance called to the scene might transport patients with thermal burns directly to the burn center if there is one within 30 minutes of the scene. If not, a Level 1 trauma center might be necessary.

Patients who have extensive burns or burns in an easily visible place like the face might suffer from lifelong impacts of the burn. This is a horrible situation to have to deal with. In these cases, the victim might choose to seek compensation from the person who caused the accident that led to the burns. This might help cover the costs of burn treatments and life impacts that were necessary.

Source: Medscape, “Emergent Management of Thermal Burns,” Erik D Schraga, MD, accessed Oct. 19, 2017