One of the most common injuries people sustain in auto accidents is facial trauma.
First, there’s the physical nature of a face injury. A head-on crash often causes the windshield to shatter, shooting pieces of glass that can pierce the skin. Side-impact crashes are particularly dangerous, as the side of a vehicle offers little protection. Even a minor shunt can cause a person to bang their head off the side window.
Then, there’s the emotional trauma of a face injury. Our faces impact how others perceive us, and how we feel about our faces affects how we act and present ourselves. It’s no surprise that facial trauma victims with scarring or disfigurement suffer depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and body image issues.
Facial injuries are particularly traumatic, so what can people who sustain such injuries do? We look at some of the most common injuries, and what face injury compensation you could be entitled to.
What Are the Most Common Traumatic Facial Injuries?
Traumatic facial injuries can happen in any car or auto accident, from head-on collisions to rear-end crashes.
The sheer force of being shunted by another vehicle can cause you to:
- Be ejected from your car
- Be hit by debris
- Hit the airbag, causing bruising or breaks
- Hit the steering wheel or dashboard
- Be struck by shattered glass.
This can cause a range of facial injuries, from fractures to burns.
A bone fracture is a common traumatic facial injury, especially if a vehicle is rear-ended, sending the driver or passenger head-first into the steering wheel or dashboard. Often, the nasal bone is fractured, causing a broken nose, although breaks in the jaw and eye socket are also common.
Damage to the bones in the face can result in permanent deformities that you can’t restore without surgery. This can drastically alter a person’s appearance and cause emotional distress.
Deep cuts or lacerations can cause lasting damage to the nerves, muscles, and tissues in the face, in some cases permanently altering the lips and nose. If not promptly treated, the wound may become infected. Large gashes can also result in permanent scarring, impacting a victim’s self-esteem and quality of life.
A serious crash can cause a fire or explosion, where drivers, passengers, and even bystanders risk serious burn injuries. Burn-related injuries are incredibly painful, and they also require ongoing, long-term treatment, such as skin grafts. As a result, burn victims are often left with permanent scars and nerve damage.
The eyes are also particularly vulnerable in an auto accident. A scratched cornea could cause blindness or a visual impairment, but that’s not the only eye injury car accident victims have to worry about. A detached retina can cause ongoing problems with sight, such as blurred vision, and flashes of light, while a seemingly innocent black eye could result in bleeding between the cornea and iris and lead to blindness.
The Long-Term Impact of Face Injuries
Even if the initial wounds heal, accident survivors with traumatic facial injuries often suffer long-term pain and distress.
A face injury can lead to a permanent disability or disfigurement that affects their self-esteem and relationships with others. Beyond initial pain and suffering, an accident victim can experience the following consequences:
- Loss of sight due to eye trauma or a fracture
- Loss of hearing due to an injury to the ear
- Respiratory problems due to nose injuries or a fractured jaw
- Loss of smell due to nose injuries
- Difficulty eating due to a jaw fracture, tongue injuries, or dental injuries
- Difficulty talking due to a jaw fracture, tongue injuries, or dental injuries
- Disfigurement, sometimes due to severe scarring.
Then, there’s also the financial burden. Medical treatment can be costly, and victims will often need painful surgery. If a person is blinded by their injury or requires long-term treatment for burns, they may be unable to work for some time, if ever again.
Fortunately, survivors may be entitled to claim face injury compensation.
Claiming Face Injury Compensation
If you’ve sustained traumatic facial injuries after an accident, you may be entitled to claim face injury compensation.
Can You File a Claim?
To claim compensation in any personal injury case, you must show that another person or party is responsible for your accident.
Even if you were partly responsible for your car accident, you might still be able to claim compensation. In Texas, a modified comparative negligence state, you can claim if you were no more than 50% at fault.
To successfully prove a claim, you must show:
- That another party’s negligence or recklessness caused your traumatic facial injury
- That the party owed you a duty of care
- That this duty was breached (via a negligent or reckless act)
- That you are suffering monetary injury as a result of the accident.
All drivers on the road have a duty of care to each other. They agree to follow the laws and regulations to keep everyone safe. For example, if a driver is speeding, driving while intoxicated, or texting while driving, they breach that duty. If that act results in an accident and causes you to suffer facial injuries, you have a right to pursue compensation.
A manufacturer can be similarly liable if the brakes in a car fail and cause an accident. Whoever is responsible, if someone else’s actions led to your accident, you have a right to claim.
What Damages Can You Receive in a Face Injury Compensation Claim?
Facial injuries can require extensive treatment over a long period, ranging from stitches and damaged tissue removal to cosmetic repairs. If you’ve broken your jaw, you may need it wired shut for weeks to fix it in place while the fracture heals. Throughout, you likely have to take medication to manage the pain.
These are all costs you can recover in a face injury compensation claim.
Called economic damages, these costs are tangible, and include lost earnings from not being able to work.
To prevent the party responsible for your accident from disputing your medical costs, it’s vital to keep your bills somewhere safe. Certain car accident lawyers, like the team at Patino Law Firm, can also arrange medical treatment on your behalf and delay payment until you receive your compensation payout.
You can also claim compensation for your pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, and mental anguish. These are called non-economic damages, and they’re common in face injury compensation claims because of the impact a traumatic facial injury has.
No two cases are the same, so there’s no “average” payout for face injury compensation. However, as a general rule, the more your injury impacts your life, the more compensation you’ll be entitled to. For example, if you suffer permanent scars or disfigurement or become blind, you’ll receive a more significant payout compared to a black eye that heals and leaves no lasting damage.
It can also be helpful to keep a journal of how you’re feeling after your accident and what activities your injuries prevent you from enjoying. For example, if you need cosmetic surgery and can show that your injuries have impacted your mental health to the point that you cannot leave the house, you’ll stand a much better chance of recovering those costs.
If you’ve been injured in an accident and suffered traumatic facial injuries, you don’t have to suffer alone. You could be entitled to a significant payout to help you pay your bills and compensate you for your immense pain and suffering.
To learn more about how much you could be entitled to, contact our dedicated personal injury lawyers in Texas for a free, no-obligation case review. Our McAllen and San Antonio injury attorneys are here to help guide you through the process.