Serious burns can be very traumatic and can require years of medical treatment. They can cause lifelong chronic pain, can be the source of many long term medical problems, and can also leave serious and visible scars over the entire body. In addition to the physical scars that burns leave, they can also create emotional scars and mental trauma that is not easily overcome. Burns result from car accidents more often than is realized.
One type of burn that is not caused strictly by heat or fire results from a driver or passenger being thrown across the road from inside of a car or motorcycle. These burns are actually cuts and lesions that come from the skin being ground away by the road. When very deep, they can require skin grafts or other treatments, although their primary danger is serious infection.
There are situations where two vehicles can collide and one or both of the vehicles will light on fire. This can be because of gasoline that is released on impact, or it can result from other flammable fluids that are sprayed into the air from the engine. A simple spark that can be trigger by the friction between the cars, or the cars and road, can ignite these liquids and cause a fire. People who are inside of a burning vehicle have a chance to quickly get away from the car with only second degree burns if they are lucky. Sometimes, these burns can be formed just by the heat of the fire itself.
More severe burns can be sustained if the gasoline or other liquid is sprayed on the individual and then ignited by an outside source. This will lead to direct third degree burns that can send a person into immediate shock and destroy the nerves in the body. This type of event can occur if a car has flipped over, in which case the fluids can leak downwards and pool around the driver and passengers. In collisions where cars are partially destroyed, burns can be sustained from contact with the intensely hot parts of a car like the engine. Treating and recovering from burns is a very slow and painful process, but with good medical most people will eventually be able to function normally.