Learn how our Great Falls injury lawyers can help with disfigurement
and scarring settlement after a car accident
Whenever a car accident occurs, it’s natural to focus on the short-term impacts. The first priority following a major injury should always be on healing and returning to normalcy. Yet, some injuries are permanent.
Whether you are involved in a car, truck or motorcycle accident (or any other type of collision), permanent scarring may result. Scars can be the result of the injury itself, such as cuts or lacerations—or they can be the result of the healing process, such as surgery scars.
If you are seeking compensation for a personal injury, the value of a scar must be considered.
As a permanent disfigurement, Montana law allows victims to recover compensation for a scar that was sustained in an accident.
Yet, how does one place a value on a scar?
The specifics matter.
How to determine the “value” of a scar claim
The details of any scar will ultimately determine its value. The purpose of a personal injury claim is to provide compensation to someone for the injuries sustained due to another person’s negligence.
Estimating the true value of a personal injury or car accident case is complex. These claims can be heavily disputed. When the injury is primarily cosmetic, such as a scar, these factors can become even more contentious.
However, simply because a scar is cosmetic does not mean that you do not deserve compensation. Permanent marks, especially on one’s face or hands, can have a real and lasting impact. Severe scarring can affect someone’s career, relationships and confidence. Never blow off your injury as “just a scar.”
The value of your scar will always depend on the circumstances. Further, the person or parties responsible for paying the claim (typically an insurance company) might value your injury much lower than you do.
The impact the scar has on your life must also be considered. For example, a facial scar on a young woman might have a greater impact on her life than a scar on the leg of an elderly man. Embarrassment and feelings matter in these cases.
Beyond age and gender, numerous other factors can lead to different outcomes. The permanence of the scar can change its value, as can the marital status of the victim. Even your career can change the perceived value of a scar as well. For an actor, model or public figure, a scar can be career-ending.
What to do after suffering permanent scar injury
Obtaining a medical opinion from a qualified doctor can be a convincing method of communicating the value of a scar to an insurance company. Further, consulting with a plastic surgeon to determine the cost of procedures for removing or minimizing a scar can be an alternative method of placing a dollar figure on something so personal. All of these factors lead to solidifying a price for the damage you have sustained.
If you choose to contest the valuation given by the insurance company, the case will likely have to go to trial. The amount awarded by a jury can be unpredictable and vary widely. Some juries are sympathetic and will quickly award large judgments. This is especially true when the scar itself, the person who sustained the scar, or the method in which the scar was obtained warrants increased sympathy. Facial scarring and vulnerable victims often result in larger verdicts.
Alternatively, juries are often skeptical of so-called “minor” scars, resulting in small or non-existent verdicts.
Don’t allow yourself to be bullied
Insurance adjusters have one primary job: to reduce the amount their company has to pay. This is often accomplished by trying to convince victims that their injuries are “minor” or that they don’t deserve compensation. The insurer hopes that they can convince you to devalue your own injuries and thus stop pursuing a claim.
Don’t fall for these tactics. Scarring is a serious medical condition that can often impact a person’s emotional and mental well-being for the remainder of their life. If you have been injured by the negligence of another person and you have permanent scarring or disfigurement as a result, you deserve to receive compensation.
Hire a lawyer, and never concede to an insurance company
The most important decision you can make when trying to maximize the compensation from scarring is to hire a competent and qualified lawyer. Navigating these claims can be a very difficult and technical process, and the insurance company often tries to trick you into thinking you don’t deserve money. They have lawyers on their side, so it is only fair that you should as well.
Try to limit your statements to an insurance company if at all possible. Although they may try to sound friendly, they are not on your side and will often record your statements and try to use them against you. By getting proper legal counsel, you can be assured that the proper steps are taken to maximize your compensation.
The entire purpose of personal injury claims is to make the person “whole again.” Sadly, this is often impossible when scarring or disfigurement occurs. Scars typically last a lifetime, and even procedures to remove them are rarely perfect. Thus, you deserve the full amount possible for a claim.
If you have been injured in an accident, make sure you have lawyers with permanent scar compensation experience by your side. At Murphy Law Office, we have the tools you need to fight for your rights. Never allow yourself to be convinced that your scarring has no value.