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Permanent Scarring from Car Accidents California – Legal Information

A traumatic injury suffered in an accident can break the skin by laceration, burst a puncture or an abrasion. When scarring develops from the wound, it operates as a constant reminder to the victim of the accident. Many accident victims suffer significant emotional distress from scarring, especially if it can’t be covered by clothing or cosmetics. Fortunately, the law in California recognizes scarring or other significant disfigurement as compensable. On that basis, accident victims who develop scarring after an accident that was caused by the carelessness and negligence of somebody else are eligible to pursue compensation for their injuries, scarring and other damages from the person or entity that caused them.

What are Scars?

As per the American Academy of Dermatology, scars are the result of a person’s body healing a wound. In order to form a scar, the wound must injure the inner layer of the skin known as the dermis. When that happens, the body quickly produces collagen which helps to repair the wound. That collagen is thicker and not as flexible as skin. It’s that collagen that causes a scar.

How Do Victims Suffer Scars from Auto Accidents?

Scarring and disfigurement can have several different causes from an auto accident. They might be caused by any of the following:

  • Broken glass.
  • Making contact with objects in the interior of the car.
  • Being thrown through the windshield.
  • Hitting a window.
  • Hitting the steering wheel or dashboard.
  • Being ejected from the vehicle and hitting a foreign object.

A Few Common Types of Scars:

There are many different types of scars. Johns Hopkins Medicine notes three common types of scars that might result from an auto accident. Those follow:

  • Keloid Scars: These form on the skin at the would site and the area surrounding it. They’re rounded and bumpy. Keloid scars form when scar tissue grows excessively. They are known to grow back once they’re reduced.
  • Hypertrophic Scars: This type of scar might appear to be a keloid scar, but its growth is limited to the boundaries of the wound. Hypertrophic scars might improve over time, but some hypertrophic scars also grow back after removal. 
  • Contractures: A contracture scar results from a large area of skin being damaged and lost. When the scar forms, the edges of the wound are pulled together causing skin tightness and reduced movement.

Prevention of Permanent Scarring:

Scars might be minimized or prevented before they even develop. Cocoa butter or lotion promotes cell regeneration, so it can be massaged into the skin at the location of the scar once or twice a day. Vitamin oil or cream also promotes healing, and it has certain anti-oxidant properties. It can also be used at the site of the scar a couple of times a day. If you smoke, you found another reason to quit. Nicotine does nothing to promote healing. In fact, it reduces oxygen levels in a smoker’s blood and substantially reduces the likelihood of minimizing scars.


Scarring and Permanent Disfigurement:

When permanent scarring affects a victim’s appearance, disfigurement results. That’s likely to cause emotional distress because the victim is concerned about looking different than other people. That distress might involve a negative image of one’s one body, insecurity and emotional issues, especially if the scarring is on his or her face, neck, arm, hand or leg.

Scar Revision Surgery:

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) advises that a scar that is completely healed might be reduced by a procedure known as scar revision surgery. The objective of scar revision surgery is to make scarring less conspicuous and blend it in with the surrounding skin tone and texture. Take notice that the ASPS further advises that although scar revision surgery might be more cosmetically pleasing, most if not all scars cannot be removed, even with cryotherapy or laser therapy.

What’s the Value of a Permanent Scarring Case in California?

The value of any permanent scarring case in California pivots on where the scar is located, the extent and severity of the scarring and whether the victim is male or female, single or married. Settlements and verdicts seem to favor female victims over male victims. Here are some other factors that are typically raised in such a case:

  • The Victim’s Age: The younger that the victim is, the higher the value of permanent scarring cases tend to be. 
  • Unsuccessful Reduction: If the scar can’t be significantly reduced by a cosmetic surgeon, the case will have substantially greater value. 
  • Where the Scar is Located: A scar on the center of a victim’s face is generally of greater value than a scar on the side of that person’s face. If the scar can be covered by clothing, its compensatory value diminishes.
  • Its Characteristics: The color and size of the scar also figure into the value equation.
  • Disability: If the victim suffered a contracture scar, any permanent disability involving muscles, nerves and range of motion must also be considered.
  • Psychological: Whether the scarring carries painful reminders of the victim’s accident and present condition.
  • Mitigation: If efforts at reduction have failed, the scarring carries a higher value.

In a Florida case when a hotel shower door shattered and ripped the foot of the guest open, the case settled for $31,500. A forearm scar from an auto accident in Florida netted $20,000. In California, the settlement value of a facial scar can be anywhere between $30,000 and $100,000. In a severe scarring and disfigurement case, the value can exceed $1 million.

Contact Maison Law After Suffering Permanent Scarring

After suffering any injury that’s likely to result in permanent scarring and disfigurement anywhere in California, you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries and damages, including permanent scarring. contact us at Maison Law by phone or online to arrange for a free consultation and case review. You can tell us about how your accident happened and how scarring and other injuries have affected you. We’re going to listen to you carefully, and after that, we’ll answer your questions and advise you on what we believe will be the most effective legal options for you. Contact us right away after being injured in any accident that’s likely to result in permanent scarring. 

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