Understanding Facial Disfigurement and Scarring Compensation Claims
Though many people aren’t bothered by scars, certain forms of scarring or disfigurement can have an impact on a person’s life. This is why accident victims may be able to claim compensation for their defacements if those resulted from someone else’s negligence.
Car crashes are a common cause of injury scars, but there are numerous other types of accidents that can lead to disfigurement. If you or someone you love has developed a scar from an accident, it is worth exploring if the scar is compensable and how you may claim payment for it.
Types Of Scars And Disfigurements In Accidents
There are various types of scarring that can occur from an injury:
- Hypertrophic scar – a thick, elevated, reddish tissue that forms directly over the original wound; it can naturally fade within months or so
- Atrophic scar – a small dent or depression resulting from skin lesions like acne, chickenpox, surgery, or trauma
- Keloid scar – a darker, elevated skin tissue that can grow beyond the original wound and may require treatments to disappear
- Contracture scar – skin or muscle tissue that has tightened, impairing your ability to move; this is usually from burn injuries and may need advanced treatments.
Aside from scarring, other forms of disfigurement can result from an accident. Examples are bone fractures that affect the shape and function of certain body parts for the long-term. If this occurs in a person’s face, the resulting facial deformities can be significant, such as sunken cheekbones, a misshapen nose, or a broken jaw. Other facial injuries that involve disfigurement are eye injuries, lacerations, and soft tissue damage.
Other body parts can also sustain disfiguring injuries. Burn marks on arms and legs are particularly noticeable, even after skin grafting. Head injuries that leave scars on the scalp may create visible bald patches. Though injuries like these are not necessarily harmful to one’s health, they can have a lasting effect on a person’s financial and emotional state.
Examples of Incidents That May Cause Compensable Scars
Scars from a Motor Vehicle Accident
In a motor vehicle accident, there are plenty of ways a person can sustain disfiguring injuries. A head-on collision or a rear-end crash, for example, may violently throw a car occupant forward, causing them to hit their face on the dashboard or windshield. The risk of disfigurement is even higher when there is broken glass or debris involved, or if the motorist is ejected through a car window.
Traffic crashes are substantially more dangerous for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists. These individuals do not have the protection of seatbelts, crumple zones, or cushions, leaving them more exposed to bodily injuries.
Scars from a Work Injury
Apart from road accidents, work-related injuries are also a common cause of disfigurement. Scarring accidents are virtually inevitable at construction sites, but such accidents may also occur in other workplaces with unsafe working procedures or inadequate safety measures. How much money do you get for a scar from workers compensation? The answer to that varies depending on the nature of the situation you were in when you were injured and how severe the scarring is.
An accident on someone’s property may also entitle a disfigured victim to compensation. Under the legal concept of premises liability, it may be possible to take legal action against a property owner who neglected to fix a hazardous condition on their premises.
Scars from a Defective or Dangerous Product
Another type of disfiguring accident involves the concept of product liability. This holds manufacturers and distributors accountable for dangerous or defective products that cause harm to users. Examples are gadgets that explode, a car design that is prone to rollover, and home appliances that cause electrical injuries.
Impact, Costs, And Compensation For Disfigurement
People usually don’t mind scars, especially those that are small and will naturally fade. But injury scars are not always insignificant. Accident victims often find that these disfigurements affect them not just physically, but also financially and emotionally.
Physical Effect of Disfigurement Due To Scarring
The physical effect of a scar can extend beyond appearances. In some cases, individuals continue to experience physical pain with their injury scars. The presence of a disfiguring mark can also affect a person’s job, such as in the case of performing artists, models, and salespersons.
These are some of the reasons many individuals choose to have their disfigurement treated. Injury scars or deformities often require medical procedures to heal. Depending on the type and severity of the scar, procedures may include skin grafts, laser treatment, bone reconstruction, and other surgeries.
These procedures can be costly. Some dermatology estimates say that the average cost of a scar removal in the US is $2,025, and that amount can be much higher if more extensive treatments are needed. For instance, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons indicates that a facelift (facial surgery) costs an average of $7,448. Meanwhile, skin graft surgery can cost as much as $9,000.
Emotional Impact of Disfigurement Due To Scarring
All these can amplify the emotional impact of disfigurement. An individual with a lasting deformity may suffer a loss of self-esteem and confidence. This can affect their social life, motivation to work, and the motivation to care for themselves. The expenses from the disfigurement can also add stress not just for the injured but for their family as well.
How Much Compensation For a Scar?
Considering these elements, how much compensation can a disfigured individual receive? The amount of compensation varies depending on certain factors.
One factor is the location of the scar – if it is on a body part that is visible to others, it may have a bigger value. Another is the scar’s permanency – how long will the scar last, or how easily can it be removed? The age of the claimant is also a factor, as younger individuals are expected to experience a greater impact from disfigurement. Additionally, as mentioned above, the person’s profession is a factor as well, as jobs involving physical appearance are more affected by scars.
In general, compensation for disfigurement in a personal injury case may cover medical bills (including those that are expected in the future), lost income or reduced earning potential, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. To get a thorough assessment of how much you may collect for your disfigurement, consult a lawyer who is experienced in helping the injured.
Consulting with a Lawyer
In South Carolina, talk to us at Kassel McVey. We are trusted accident lawyers with a proven track record in obtaining maximum compensation for our clients. We’re ready to answer your questions on scarring and disfigurement. Your initial consultation is completely free. Call us today at (803) 256-4242.
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