When people think of traffic accidents, such as collisions between commercial trucks and passenger cars, sport utility vehicles and motorcycles, or taxi cabs and city buses, it’s easy to envision crumpled wrecks with leaking fluids, some of them one of the flammable. In fact, fires resulting from car, truck or motorcycle accidents are not as infrequent as one might expect; but they are can be even more deadly than the roadway collision that caused the blaze in the first place.
As Maryland injury attorneys, I and my legal staff know very well how a driver and occupants of a motor vehicle can be seriously burned following a bad traffic accident. Gasoline and diesel fuel leaking from a ruptured fuel tank can feed a fire that may quickly engulf a vehicle and its occupants. Burn injuries are some of the worst types of personal injury scenarios, requiring hospitalization and long recuperation times. Many burn victims never make it out of the hospital, as a significant percentage succumb to their injuries despite doctors’ efforts.
Those who do survive severe burns be scarred or disfigurement for life. Other side effects of a bad burn injury may include loss of one or more limbs, nerve damage, and emotional problems such as depression. Burn victims can experience extreme and almost unbearable pain because of many exposed nerves across large expanses of the person’s body. The recovery time for many types of extensive burn injuries can be measured not in days or weeks, but in months or years — sadly, many burn victims end up with some level of permanent disability due to their injuries.
Aside from burns, closed-head injuries can also result from automobile and motorcycle crashes. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), more than 1.5 million people around the country currently suffer from traumatic brain injuries. These individuals and their families must live with the debilitating effects of these kinds of injuries for months or years after a traffic wreck, with side effects ranging from balance problems to impaired memory, inability to speak coherently and reduced physical strength and endurance.
The aforementioned results of bad auto accidents are, typically, first and foremost in many people’s minds when they consider the effects of a car or commercial trucking accident. What rarely comes to mind is the thought of drowning in one’s vehicle. But this is a real possibility depending on the time and place of a car crash. For an example, we heard of one man’s ordeal a while back. Based on police reports, a Harford County man survived a crash that could have had a worse ending had conditions and timing been different.
According to news articles, and Edgewood motorist spent about four hours in his vehicle as it lay in a stream at the bottom of a ravine following a roadway incident. Police did not have an exact cause of the crash, but the 21-year-old driver could have died as a result and may not have been found for days had the occupants of another passing vehicle spotted the victim’s vehicle 40 feet down an embankment from the roadway above.
Based on police reports, the victim was driving along a stretch of Winters Run Rd. when he apparently lost control of his vehicle around 7:30am. The vehicle went off the road and slid down a steep embankment, flipping over onto its roof in a shallow stream. One can only think of what might have happened had the water level been higher. It wasn’t until about four hours later that a passing motorist and his passenger caught sight of the victim’s car and then notified police.
Emergency crews arriving on the scene extracted the driver and then transported him by medevac chopper to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore where doctors treated his injuries. At the time of the news article, police were not certain why the vehicle left the road and hit an adjacent guardrail, but apparently authorities were not ruling out alcohol as one of the factors until the investigation was completed.
Edgewood man rescued four hours after crashing into Joppa ravine, BaltimoreSun.com, December 4, 2012