Skin is a protective organ, and any injury or trauma to it may cause a scar. Sometimes scars are in areas that are easy to conceal with clothes or shoes. However, there are scars that affect the face and cannot be hidden. When scarring and disfigurement happen in a visible place, they may cause embarrassment and suffering to accident victims. These long-term residual injuries may also affect an accident victim’s ability to get a job. Catastrophic injuries, such as burns, amputations, lacerations, and cuts, may result in scarring and disfigurement. Often, scars will never completely disappear, although there are procedures that may reduce their appearance and effect on your life. A Folsom personal injury attorney at Travis Blac Law, may be able to help you recover damages.
Bringing a Claim Based on Scarring and Disfigurement
In California, you may recover special damages (economic) and general damages (noneconomic) arising out of catastrophic injuries. Most of the time, you must establish the defendant’s negligence to recover damages. That is, you will need to prove that it is more likely than not that the defendant owed you a duty of care, failed to meet that duty, and caused your injuries. While scarring is a natural part of the healing process, it may have a significant impact on your life far into the future, long after other injuries from your accident have healed.
If you can establish a defendant’s liability, scarring and disfigurement are a noneconomic form of damages for which you may recover compensation. When a scar or disfigurement is very serious, it may also have economic effects. For example, it might affect your ability to get a job in certain fields or affect your ability to advance in your job. The more that the scar affects your life, the greater the compensation that you may recover.
When scars are large and obvious, they may cause not only social and emotional discomfort but also immobility. Scar tissue tends to make the flesh inflexible, so if it happens at a joint or another area of movement in the skin, it may cause a permanent difficulty with movement. This might affect your enjoyment of certain activities, such as sports or writing by hand, depending on where the scar is located.
Juries tend to follow social stereotypes, including sexist and ageist stereotypes, and are likely to assume that if you are a young woman, you will be more affected by a visible scar than an old man would be. An insurance adjustor is aware of these stereotypes and may present you with a settlement offer accordingly. However, most people are embarrassed to some degree by visible scars on the face, neck, or hands, and these types of residual injuries may result in greater compensation, depending on how your attorney presents your case.
In some cases, it is necessary to retain medical experts, such as expert plastic surgeons, to provide testimony about the cost of having a scar removed or repaired and whether such a procedure is likely to be successful.