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Recent OK Truck Accident Highlights Dangers of Burn Injuries

Posted on December 29, 2019

Multiple teams of first responders were called to the scene of a truck accident that caused a fast-moving fire to spread through a rural area of Love County in South Central Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported that the collision occurred around 3 p.m. on December 17, 2019 on Interstate 35, when the truck driver lost control of the semi and veered off onto the shoulder near Marietta, OK.

When police and fire department officials arrived on the scene, observed that the cab of the 18-wheeler was already fully engulfed in flames. Crews reported that the fire spread throughout a nearby grassy field quickly, probably burning an acre before they arrived. Upon investigation, a spokesperson from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol stated that the fire was likely caused by an electrical short in the diesel tank. The violent impact of the collision, hot metal of the muffler, and the presence of toxic exhaust combined to ignite the diesel fuel.

Fortunately, the truck operator was able to escape the wreckage before the inferno started.

He suffered minor injuries, but was able to walk away. Charles Bryan Alred, founding partner at Charles Bryan Alred, PC in Tulsa, OK, noted that the situation could have been much worse.

“Burn injuries from truck accidents can be absolutely catastrophic. They’re unique types of bodily harm in that they can result in extreme scarring and disfigurement, so burns are more likely to cause emotional consequences and psychological conditions. Plus, the most severe burn classes are more likely to require multiple cosmetic and corrective surgeries, which puts an enormous amount of strain in the victim.”

 Mr. Alred’s reference to burn classes is based upon the classification system developed by medical experts to identify the severity of burns.

Burns are expressed in terms of degree, therefore:

  • A first-degree burn is typically minor, affecting only the epidermis, which is the outer layer of skin.
  • Second-degree burns involve damage to the epidermis and the dermis that lies below it. This more serious form of burn may lead to swelling, redness, and blisters. The pain can be excruciating, and many victims develop serious scarring.
  • A third-degree burn penetrates both layers of skin, reaching the fat and muscle layers underneath. The trauma can destroy nerve tissue and lead to numbness, which is the reason a victim may not experience significant pain.

Still, Mr. Alred was able to offer some assurances to victims who suffer burn injuries in truck accidents. “If you’re hurt, you can recover monetary damages for your considerable losses. Truck operators carry high insurance coverage levels to compensate people harmed in crashes, so it’s possible to file an injury claim for medical costs, pain, and suffering.”