So much of our self-image comes from our appearance. Having a scarred face, jaw damage that changes your smile, or even nerve damage that prevents you from making facial expressions can change your outlook on life. Appearances shouldn’t matter, but they do, and it is especially difficult to look in the mirror after a car accident in which your face was damaged – and no longer see a familiar reflection.
Sadly, it is all too easy for car accident face injuries to occur in motor vehicle accidents. For example, your face is more likely to be burned in an auto fire than other parts of your body because it isn’t protected by clothes. Also, there are many opportunities for projectiles to strike your face (or vice versa) during an impact.
Facial injuries can happen in motor vehicle accidents for various reasons:
- Airbags – Although these safety features reduce driver fatalities by 29% in front-end collisions, they can also do damage of their own. Airbags deploy at an average rate of 200 mph. Also, the gases released by inflating airbags can cause chemical burns. A University of Michigan study found that 32% of drivers suffered airbag injuries to the face as a result of airbags deployed in accidents. Two percent of drivers in this airbag study suffered eye injuries. This may sound discouraging, but the chances of facial fractures are vastly reduced by the use of seatbelts and airbags, according to The Journal of American Medicine (JAMA.)
- Projectiles can be propelled toward the face in an accident. This includes shards of glass or metal that could potentially blind you in one or both eyes.
- Your face can hit the dashboard or a side window.
- Your face can be injured as a result of hitting the ground after being ejected from the vehicle.
Facial injuries can include:
- Bruising and swelling
- Broken teeth
- Bone fractures (eye sockets, cheekbones, jaw)
- Loss of muscle or nerve function
- Lacerations (some severe enough to cause disfiguring scars)
While many scars are small, under a hairline, or easy to disguise with makeup, others require plastic surgery – an expensive process.
Types of traumatic scars:
- Keloid – These are scars that happen when too much collagen is produced as a wound is healing. Keloids are thick, irregular scars that can be soft or firm and rubbery. They are itchy, and uncomfortable, and can extend beyond the actual site of the wound.
- Contracture – These scars occur after an area of skin has been lost, such as in a burn. As the skin heals and joins together, it tightens. This can hamper movement. Contracture scars can even affect muscles and nerves. In some cases, skin grafts are necessary to treat these types of scars.
- Atrophic – These scars are indented lower than the surrounding skin because of damage to collagen, fat, or tissues.
- Hypertrophic – These are raised scars that are red in color.
As you can imagine, facial injuries, particularly those that require plastic surgery, can be expensive. You may struggle wondering how to reduce swelling on your face due to your injury. Not only do you have to contend with extensive medical bills and lost wages from being unable to work, but you may also need therapy for PTSD as you attempt to come to terms with permanent disfigurement. Even a temporary disfigurement and the stress of dermabrasion, injectable fillers, laser resurfacing, or cosmetic surgery can be extremely traumatic.
An experienced Indiana car accident attorney will gather evidence to support your claim to the insurance company. Your lawyer will negotiate for fair compensation from the insurance company. However, if a settlement cannot be reached, your scarring and disfigurement injury lawyers will represent you in court.
You will be able to make a claim for both economic damages (all medical expenses plus lost wages and expected medications and therapy in the future) and noneconomic damages (pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment in life) with the help of your attorney.
What is the average settlement for car accident face injuries?
There is no average settlement because there is no average injury. Your settlement will depend on several factors:
- How serious the injury was and how much medical treatment you needed (or are projected to continue to need)
- How old you are (younger victims tend to receive higher amounts because they will live with their disfiguring scars for longer)
- Your gender and marital status – it may sound sexist, but women (especially unmarried women) tend to receive higher settlements
If you have facial injuries after a car crash caused by a negligent driver, let the experienced Indiana car accident lawyers at Crossen Law Firm fight for you. Filing injury claims for car accidents in Indianapolis can be a complex and confusing process. We have the skills and knowledge necessary to negotiate with insurance companies to obtain maximum compensation for you.