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What Should I Do if I Have a Chemical Burn From a Car Accident?

Published: Aug 30, 2021 in Auto Accident, Personal Injury
Chemical Burn

Although chemical burns may not come from thermal or electric sources, they have the capability to cause life-threatening injuries. From topical first-degree burns to deep, catastrophic third-degree burns, chemical burns can change life in an instant.

Many people might be surprised to learn that chemical burns can happen in car accidents. A chemical burn happens when any part of the body, such as the skin of the hand, comes in contact with a toxic or corrosive agent. The agent usually consists of a liquid or gas. Some causes of crash-related chemical burns include:

  • Fluids leaking from the car, such as battery acid or gasoline.
  • Fluids spraying or dripping from a leaky airbag that has not safely deployed.
  • Hot chemical gases released or ignited after a collision.
  • Chemicals spilled from another vehicle, such as a commercial truck carrying toxic materials.

You do not have to touch a chemical to get burned. Fluids and gases can land on you very quickly. You may not even realize that you came in contact with a chemical, especially in a car accident. If you believe your severe chemical burn was caused in a car accident, you should seek immediate medical attention. Another important step is to speak to a lawyer to discuss your legal options.

Chemical Burns on the Body

Chemical burns can happen anywhere on the body, including places that might be covered in clothing. Clothes may even prolong exposure to the chemical, as they allow the chemical to soak into the fabric fibers and touch the skin for a long period of time. Some areas of the body are more vulnerable to chemical burns:

  • Face, ears, and neck: Since most drivers and passengers have exposed faces and necks, they are more likely to get chemical burns on those areas.
  • Hands and arms: Unless drivers wear protective gloves and coats, they may have bare skin showing on their hands and arms.
  • Legs: During the warmer months, many drivers wear shorts. This leaves drivers at a risk of getting a chemical burn on the legs.
  • Eyes: Chemicals that make contact with the eyes can cause serious damage.
  • Mouth and nose: It is possible for chemicals to splash into the mouth, burning both the inside of the mouth and the esophagus. Gases can enter the nose and mouth, burning the inside of the throat and lungs.

Are All Chemical Burns Noticeable?

Chemical burns may be apparent right away or may take minutes, hours, or even days to appear. Usually, how obvious a burn will be depends on a number of factors. Factors include the type of chemical, the toxicity of the chemical, the length of exposure, and the location of the chemical burn.

Some common symptoms of chemical burns include:

  • A burning feeling on the skin.
  • Itchy skin, potentially accompanied by hives or rashes.
  • Red splotches on the skin, sometimes related to blistering.
  • Pain at the place of the burn.
  • Swelling of the skin.
  • Peeling of the skin.
  • Blurred vision.
  • A bad taste in the mouth.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Respiratory distress.

Any unusual physical response should be taken seriously after a crash. You should receive immediate medical attention after any type of accident.

What are Lasting Effects of Chemical Burns?

Some chemical burns will clear up with minimal treatment, but others may last a lifetime. Some common effects of chemical burns include:

  • Scarring of the skin at the site of the chemical burn. The scarring may be barely noticeable or quite obvious.
  • Pain where the chemical burn occurred. Pain can be temporary. On the other hand, the discomfort may last for a long period of time and require constant pain management.
  • Itching and burning at the chemical burn injury location.
  • Disfigurement of an area of the body that leads to disability, such as extensive chemical burns on the face, neck, or shoulders.
  • Vision problems that may not be resolved with surgery or other medical interventions.
  • Psychological damage due to chronic pain and lifestyle changes.

What Treatments are Available for Chemical Burns?

After diagnosing a chemical burn, medical providers and specialists may recommend a variety of treatments. These can include anything from rest, pain medications, and salves to repeated surgical skin grafts. If you have a severe chemical burn you may also need therapy to handle the emotional trauma.

How can I Lessen the Damage of a Chemical Burn?

Sometimes, you can limit the damage of a chemical burn by taking a few precautionary measures after the collision. Some steps to take include:

  • Call 911 right after the crash.
  • Wipe off any liquids on the skin.
  • Accept all first aid and medical treatments.
  • Go to the nearest emergency room or urgent care facility to be thoroughly examined.
  • Continue receiving all treatments as prescribed by physicians.
  • Pay attention to new or worsening signs and symptoms, and mention them as soon as possible to a health care provider.

St. Clair County Car Accident Lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC can Help You if You Have a Severe Chemical Burn From a Car Wreck

If you have a chemical burn from a car accident, you may not know what to do next. Our St. Clair County car accident lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC can help you if your severe chemical burn that was caused by a negligent driver. Call us at 618-277-3644 or complete our online form for a free consultation today. Located in Swansea, Illinois, we serve clients in St. Louis, Belleville, East St. Louis, Edwardsville, Granite City, Waterloo, Chester, Carbondale, St. Clair County, Madison County, Monroe County, Randolph County, and other regions throughout Southern Illinois.