How Much Compensation Can You Get for Serious Burn Injuries in an Auto Accident?

Valuing Burn Injuries in Auto Accident Cases

This page will look at the average settlement value of auto accident cases involving major burn injuries. Serious burn injuries sometimes occur in auto accidents involving vehicle fires or explosions. This does not happen all that frequently anymore because of modern safety design features in fuel tanks. Even with fewer vehicle fires, however, hundreds of people still get suffer burn injuries in accidents every year.

Burn injuries are medically classified into 1 of 4 degrees depending on depth of the burn into the skin and tissue. The settlement value of a burn injury will initially depend on what degree the burns are and who much of the body they cover (e.g., 5%, 60%, etc.). The table and chart on the right show the average value range for burn injuries based on degree.

The median jury verdict award in ALL burn injury accident cases is $366,000. In the most severe burn injury cases (3rd degree over more than 60% of the body), however, the median jury verdict nationally is over $5 million.

Burn TypeSettlement Value $
2nd Degree$0 – $10,000
3rd Degree$200,000 – $800,000
4th Degree$900,000 – $1,200,000

Factors Impacting the Settlement Value of Burn Injury Cases:

Severity of Injury
Type of Injury
Age of the Plaintiff
Permanent Impairment

There are at least 4 primary factors that drive the settlement value of burn injuries in auto accident cases. The first 2 of these factors are the severity and type of the burn injury. Type of injury basically means what degree the burns are (2nd degree, 3rd degree, etc.). In the context of burns, severity of the injury means how much of the body do the burn injuries cover. 3rd degree burns over 80% of the body will be worth much more than 3rd degree burns over just 5% of the body.

There are 2 other factors that can also impact the payout value for a burn injuries. The first is the age and gender of the plaintiff. Burn injuries have a much high value when the plaintiff is young and female. This is presumably because the negative cosmetic impact and resulting emotional damage of burn scars is considered to be higher for younger females. The final factor that drives values in burn cases is whether the burn injuries result in permanent scarring or disfigurement. Permanent scarring can easily double or triple the potential value of a burn injury case. Facial scarring on a young plaintiff can have an ever greater impact.