Santa Barbara Personal Injury Attorney
Some accidents cause disfiguring injuries that the victim may have to live with for the rest of their life. Disfigurement means permanent changes to a person's body that affect his or her appearance. This may include scarring, changes in skin pigmentation, loss of a body part or loss of the use of a body part through paralysis.
Disfigurement can occur due to car accidents, dog attacks, acts of violence, falls, and other accidents that cause severe injuries such as:
- Nerve damage
- Blunt force trauma to the face and head
- Other catastrophic injuries
A disfiguring injury may be treated with reconstructive therapy or prosthetics, but the victim's emotional and psychological scars must also be addressed. In a legal claim against a person or organization whose negligence caused a personal injury, compensation for pain and suffering damages may be sought specifically for the accident victim's disfigurement as well as for the financial costs of a disfiguring injury.
Compensation for Disfiguring Injuries
Financial compensation for disfiguring injuries may vary depending on the impact that the injury has had and will have on the victim's life. Damages for pain and suffering may include compensation for physical, psychological, and emotional injury, which may be due to disfigurement as well as loss of enjoyment of life, grief, and anxiety.
In cases of disfigurement in an accident, the plaintiff suffers significant medical costs as well as pain and suffering. Disfigurement can also lead to ongoing income losses.
A disfiguring injury such as a severe laceration or burn typically requires reconstructive plastic surgery. Sometimes, multiple procedures are required over a long period of time. For example, scar revision surgery is meant to minimize scarring so that the damaged area of the body is more consistent with the surrounding skin tone and texture. Scar tissue may be recessed or raised, different in color or texture from surrounding tissue that is healthy, or particularly noticeable because of the size, shape, or location.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons says scar revision can offer a more pleasing cosmetic result but cannot erase a scar. Some scars can continue to be costly in terms of employment, particularly for those whose jobs require interaction with the public. Disfiguring injuries can be socially isolating, particularly for young, single victims.
The same can be said of other disfiguring injuries, such as paralyzing nerve damage or loss of a limb, and their effect on a working man or woman. Though many amputees lead productive lives with prosthetic limbs, a prosthesis is costly, as is the therapy that goes with learning to live with an artificial limb. Artificial limbs and other prosthetic devices must also be maintained and regularly adjusted and, in many cases, eventually replaced.
In addition to the cost and effort to remove physical scars or mitigate the loss of a body part, the emotional and psychological scars of a disfigured accident victim require attention. The spouse of a disfigured accident victim may need counseling that is costly and should be considered in compensation for the accident victim's family.
In a personal injury claim involving disfigurement, the injured party may be able to seek compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical costs
- Ongoing medical treatment
- Reconstructive surgery
- Plastic surgery
- Physical therapy
- Assistive devices or prosthetics
- Counseling or therapy
- Lost wages, including lost earning capacity
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
Calculating Disfigurement Costs & Losses
Calculating the true and fair value of a disfigurement claim is an important part of the legal counsel you receive when you work with a Santa Barbara personal injury attorney at Andrade Law Offices. A plaintiff's medical expenses can be determined by examining past and present bills and projecting future costs. Similarly, damages sought for income losses must consider past, present, and future losses, as well as losses due to promotions and other career advancements that will now never happen.
In cases of permanent injuries, such as disfigurement, we turn to actuaries and other economic planning specialists to develop a detailed accounting of our clients' projected needs and losses. In cases of full permanent disability, a customized, detailed life care plan can be developed to document medical expenses.
Pain and suffering damages are awarded by a jury or negotiated as part of a settlement. Generally, when a court considers disfigurement damages, jury members take into account the plaintiff's age, the location of the injury, the sex of the individual, and the embarrassment likely to be felt as a direct result of the disfigurement.
In California, a jury will be told that no fixed standard exists for deciding the amount of pain and suffering damages. Jurors will be instructed to use their own judgment to decide a reasonable amount based on the evidence and common sense. Juries differ, and attitudes about scarring, lost limbs, and other types of disfigurement change over time, particularly in a country such as ours that has rallied behind severely injured military servicemen in recent years.
We Pursue Full Compensation for Disfigured Accident Victims
An individual who has suffered a disfiguring injury in an accident faces a difficult and costly recovery, which includes reconciliation with the fact that they will never look the same. A disfiguring injury may cause permanent loss of income and earning ability. Disfiguring injuries have led to the dissolution of marriages and may affect an unmarried victim's ability to attract a mate.
The lasting effects of disfigurement make it crucial for any insurance settlement to take into account all of the expenses and losses associated with the accident victim's disfiguring injury, recovery, and future. It is a mistake to accept an insurance settlement unless all of the costs you face have been fully calculated.
Santa Barbara injury lawyer Steven R. Andrade works with victims of disfiguring accidents and their families to ensure that any insurance settlement agreed to meets all of the accident victim's medical expenses and needs. At Andrade Law Offices, we have helped thousands of people with all types of injuries. If we cannot obtain a settlement that is appropriate and agreeable to you, we will not be afraid to take your case to trial.
Contact Our Santa Barbara Injury Attorneys About a Disfiguring Injury
If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident, dog attack, slip, and fall accident, or other incidents that resulted in permanent scarring, loss of a limb, or some other disfigurement, Andrade Law Offices can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. We can investigate your injuries to develop a claim that accounts for all of your losses and seeks maximum compensation for you, including through third-party claims. You will not be charged for our services until we recover compensation for you.