Can I Include Scarring and Disfigurement in My Car Accident Claim?

mental health counseling sessionSome car crash injuries will eventually heal, while others could affect you for a long time, even the rest of your life. When people hear about permanent injuries from a car crash, they often think about traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries that cause paralysis.

Scarring and disfigurement can also be permanent, causing tremendous emotional distress and anxiety, making it much harder to move on from the accident. That is why victims may be able to include permanent scarring and disfigurement in a claim for compensation.

If you were scarred or suffered an injury that left you disfigured, the Windsor auto accident lawyers at Greg Monforton and Partners may be able to assist you. We are ready to take your call to learn more about the accident and your injuries.

In a free consultation with a lawyer from our firm, we can determine if we may be able to include scarring/disfigurement in your claim. We have secured hundreds of millions in compensation on behalf of our clients. We know how to document the damages victims have suffered, including damages covering the emotional/psychological toll of an injury.

How a Car Crash Could Cause Scarring or Disfigurement

Scarring could occur in many car crashes, but permanent scarring and disfigurement is probably only going to happen in serious or catastrophic crashes.

There are three main types of scars often associated with car accident injuries:

  • Contracture scars – These scars are the result of burn injuries. The skin can become so tight that the victim’s mobility may be affected. Nerves in the area may also be impacted.
  • Keloid scarring – These scars may also affect the victim’s mobility and can go beyond the area of the injury. These scars are dark and rounded. Sometimes it can take up to a year after the injury for these scars to appear. Even if you treat a keloid, it might reappear.
  • Hypertrophic scars – These are thick, reddish scars that are raised above the skin. Often, these scars respond better to treatment than keloids.

There are many ways a crash could cause scarring or disfigurement. If a driver or passenger’s head strikes the windshield or a window and the window breaks, the victim could suffer a serious laceration that may leave a permanent scar. While scarring of the chest or arms can cause emotional trauma, the trauma from scarring of the face is often worse. Victims can hide scars on their arms or chests, but they cannot hide scarring of the face.

If a bicyclist or pedestrian gets hit by a car, he or she could suffer road rash. In severe cases, victims may need skin grafts because the skin has suffered too much damage.

Disfigurement is often the result of severe burns, which could occur if there is an explosion. Sometimes victims are trapped in their vehicles after the crash, so they may be unable to avoid burn injuries if there is a fire or explosion.

While seat belts can save lives, they can also cause injuries during crashes. The seat belt could chafe the driver’s chest and shoulder while restraining the victim during the collision.

There are times when crash victims’ stomachs become bloated. Doctors need to investigate the cause of this bloating, which means they may need to do abdominal surgery. Despite the doctor’s best efforts to find out what is going on without making a large incision, this might not be possible. The victim may end up with a large scar between his or her belly button and breastbone.

Permanent scarring can also be caused by treatment for a broken bone injury. For example, if doctors need to insert plates and screws to allow a broken bone to heal. Doctors need to make large incisions to insert these things, leaving large scars.

Psychological Effects of Disfiguring Injuries

In some cases, it can be harder to have the same social life as before a disfiguring injury. This may be because the victim has developed so much fear and anxiety about his or her injuries that he or she disengages from social activities and experiences social isolation.

There can also be a lot of sadness and grief about a victim’s new appearance, particularly if the victim’s face has been scarred and disfigured. There is a feeling of loss. Victims can experience declining self-esteem and may avoid intimacy with their partner.

Children who are permanently scarred may be ridiculed by other children at school or during other activities.

Victims may not want to have their pictures taken. They may change the way they dress to cover the scar up. They may avoid wearing clothing they think is too revealing.

Research has shown that people who suffer permanent scarring of their faces are often more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder. They may also develop substance abuse issues to cope. Victims who were already suffering from depression or other mental health issues before the crash could suffer worsening depression.

Compensation for Scarring From a Crash

Non-economic compensation may be available for permanent scarring and disfigurement. The value of such a claim will be dependent on several factors, which may include:

  • Where the scar is located
  • How big the scar is
  • Whether the victim is married
  • Whether the victim is a man or woman
  • How visible the scar is and the color of the scar
  • The age of the victim

While each case is unique, it is generally true that scarring of the face will be worth more than scarring of other body parts. Insurance companies and their lawyers can argue scarring of other body parts can be covered up. The older a victim is, the less compensation he or she may receive for scarring. It can be argued that scarring for someone in their 20s is more damaging to that person’s life than scarring to someone who is 65 or 75 or even older.

Scarring and/or disfigurement can be included in a claim under pain and suffering, as scarring can take a significant psychological toll. Your lawyer may also be able to argue your injuries affect your ability to obtain or retain employment.

One of the challenges with these claims is documenting emotional damages. That is why you need an experienced lawyer to help manage your claim. Your lawyer may explain how to keep a journal in which you document the daily effects of your scarring. If you receive treatment for depression, such as counseling or medication, documentation of this can help to validate your claim.

Have Legal Questions After a Car Crash? Call Today

Greg Monforton and Partners has been advocating for injured victims in Windsor and throughout Ontario for decades. If you suffered an injury in an auto accident, discussing it with a lawyer can be an important step.

If we determine you have a case, we are prepared to take on the insurance company on your behalf at no upfront cost. We have a proven track record with our clients, having obtained millions in compensation.

No upfront costs or fees. Call Greg Monforton and Partners: (866) 320-4770