What Constitutes Disfigurement in an Injury Claim?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Mark Choate with Choate Law Firm LLC.
Disfigurement occurs when part of the body suffers permanent visible damage after a catastrophic injury; disfigurement can be visibly embarrassing and/or may cause emotional distress in addition to limited flexibility in areas where the skin’s width has decreased. Scarring and disfigurement are often accompanied by ongoing short or long-term chronic injuries and disabilities depending on the situation. Some situations are more likely than others to result in disfigurement. If you or a loved one have suffered a catastrophic injury caused by another party’s negligence, you may be eligible to seek compensation for damages including medical bills, pain and suffering, disfigurement, and more.
Common types of disfigurement include but are not limited to:
- Facial fractures
Whenever the body sustains damage resulting in a long-term or permanently visible change, it may qualify as disfigurement.
Common causes of scarring and disfigurement include but are not limited to:
- Semi-truck accidents
- Car wrecks
- Motorcycle accidents
- Construction accidents/injures
- Burn injuries
- Chemical exposure
- Animal attacks
- Struck-by injuries
- Medical malpractice
The above are unfortunately common situations that may result in scarring or disfigurement in the affected victim. Depending on where the disfigurement occurs, a jury may decide the compensation should be valued higher or lower. For example, disfigurement to the face, neck, hands, and other commonly visible areas may be expected to cause more frequent distress than disfigurement to the back, stomach, or another area that is typically not exposed.
A disfigurement lawsuit may compensate both the economic and non-economic damages associated with the injury.
Economic damages typically include those that come with a set price tag. For example, medical bills, plastic surgery, and wages lost during treatment and recovery can be calculated with relative certainty. However, non-economic damages are just as important, particularly in a disfigurement lawsuit. A successful disfigurement lawsuit may include compensation for the cost of mental health services in addition to compensation for the pain and suffering a victim may have endured.
Whenever an accident caused or contributed to by another party’s negligence or intentional conduct results in significant and lasting challenges for the victim, it’s important to explore every option for recovery. While insurance may present a possible method of partial recovery, in injury cases involving disfigurement, insurance typically does not offer compensation sufficient to cover the injured party’s ongoing damages.
If you are suffering from scarring or disfigurement after an accident, make sure your doctor takes note.
Part of proving the viability in a disfigurement claim will be using your medical records to back up your damages. If you are suffering from or suspect you will suffer from long-term or permanent scarring/disfigurement, make sure your doctor notes this in your medical records. This will help prove not only the presence of the disfigurement if it is not in a readily visible area, but may also help the jury determine what level of compensation it deserves. For example, if the doctor notes that the scarring/disfigurement limits the patient’s mobility or otherwise presents physical discomfort, the jury may assign it a higher value.
To learn more about what constitutes disfigurement or for help filing a claim, reach out to a catastrophic injury lawyer near you.