Car crashes are among the leading causes of facial injuries. When a car accident occurs, there is often shattered glass, which could cause cuts to the face. Striking the face against surfaces inside the vehicle such as the steering wheel or the door could lead to facial fractures. In some cases, being ejected from the vehicle could leave a person with major scarring and disfigurement.
Injuries to the face have different types of repercussions. While a broken leg or arm can be put in a cast, the face is often exposed even as it heals. Since our faces play such an important role in how we are perceived, suffering facial injuries can be devastating. Much of our communication and interaction with others depends on our facial expressions.
Survivors of car accidents who suffer facial injuries suffer physical pain. But, they also suffer significant emotional distress because of scarring and disfigurement. Fixing these scars may require costly and painful surgery. Even after these procedures, the individual may not return to their pre-accident state, which can be heartbreaking.
If you or a loved one has suffered facial injuries in a car crash, it is crucial that you speak with an experienced California car accident lawyer about your legal rights and options with regard to securing monetary compensation for your losses.
Key Points - Table of Contents
- How Do Facial Injuries Occur in Car Accidents?
- Types of Facial Injuries in Car Accidents
- Scarring from Cuts and Abrasions
- Permanent Deformities
- How Common Are Car Accident Facial Injuries?
- How Do These Injuries Happen?
- Medical Treatment for Facial Injuries
- When Can You Sue for Facial Injuries from a Car Accident?
- Compensation for Car Accident Facial Injuries
- Who Pays for Facial Injuries in a Car Accident?
- How Much is My Injury Claim Worth?
- We Can Help You Get Compensation for Facial Injuries
How Do Facial Injuries Occur in Car Accidents?
Facial injuries could occur in any type of car accident, be it a head-on collision, a rear-end crash or a T-bone crash at a street intersection. You may suffer facial injuries when you are thrown out of a vehicle fully or partially, when you are ejected through the windshield, when you are hit by flying objects, or when there is a vehicle fire as the result of impact. You may also suffer these types of injuries when you strike a surface inside the vehicle or when you are struck by a deploying airbag or shattered glass.
Types of Facial Injuries in Car Accidents
There are a number of facial injuries that could occur in car accidents:
Fractures of the face
There are a number of bones in the face that give it form and structure. These bones could break from the impact of a car accident. Examples of such injuries include a broken nose, a broken jaw or a fractured eye socket. Damage to facial bones could also lead to permanent disfigurement.
Injuries to eyes and teeth
It is also common to suffer broken teeth in a car accident, particularly if you hit your mouth against a surface such as the dashboard or the window. Flying glass could also cause you to suffer eye injuries. In some cases, individuals may lose their vision as a result of these injuries.
Open facial wounds
Victims may suffer abrasions, soft tissue injuries, friction burns and deep cuts to the face during a crash. Deep lacerations could cause lasting damage to nerves, tissues and muscles in the face.
Serious car crashes could also result in fires and explosions. A fire could result in the skin of the face being badly burned. Such injuries could require expensive skin graft surgeries. These injuries also result in scarring and nerve damage.
Facial burn injuries may vary from minor to severe or even debilitating. Facial burns are classified based on the depth and the scale of the skin damage. A facial burn, however, is usually considered severe because of the risk of complications. Here are some of issues that may arise as the result of facial burn injuries:
Voice changes: A burn victim's voice may change following a facial burn injury because the victim might have inhaled substances that caused harm or affected the soft tissues in the respiratory system. Such burn injuries occur in 30% of burn victims. This could cause long-term voice disorders.
Facial structure: Victims of facial burn injuries can also result in swelling, pain and deformity. In some cases, the potential for disfigurement is high and can lead to lifelong impairment even after the wounds heal.
Infections: Facial burn injuries also have the potential to result in infections because burns may cause the presence of microorganisms in the tissues. If the burn victim does not feel pain, the nerves in the deeper layers of the skin tissue may have been destroyed.
Psychological impact: Facial burns don't just affect a person physically, but also psychologically because the wounds could impact a person's self-esteem. This could result in mental health issues including depression, anxiety or even post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.
All of these impacts should be factored into a car accident claim that involves facial burn injuries.
The face is made up of 14 different bones. Broken bone injuries after a car accident, especially broken bones in the face, can cause significant pain and discomfort. Because facial bones are thinner than a lot of other bones in your body, they are more prone to injury. The most common facial fractures include:
- Nasal fractures (a broken nose)
- Forehead fractures
- Orbital fractures, involving the bones of the eye sockets
- Zygomatic fractures, involving the cheekbones
- Tripod facial fracture, which is serious fracture involving the eye socket, cheekbone and upper jai
- Maxillary or mandibular fracture (broken jaw)
- Mid-face fractures
The most common symptoms of facial fractures include bruising, swelling, pain or tenderness, facial numbness and disfigurement. Facial bone fractures can also cause several other complications. They can distort your appearance and interfere with normal function. For example, if you break your jawbone in a car accident, you will have difficulty eating. A person who has a broken nose may experience trouble breathing properly.
Facial trauma can result in infections, internal bleeding and neurological issues. Facial fractures may also result in long-term issues such as sinus issues, problems breathing, changes in taste or smell, vision issues, headaches and numbness. Getting prompt diagnosis and treatment can be critical to your recovery.
Eye injuries in car accidents are extremely common. During a crash or collision, vehicle occupants may strike their faces against the steering wheel, windshield or sides of the vehicle. Broken glass from windows and the windshield could also enter their eyes. In addition, the powder used by airbag manufacturers could result in chemical burn injuries to a victim's eye and face. While these chemical burns could feel like mild irritation at first, they could lead to vision loss if they are not treated in time.
Broken glass can also cause significant damage in and around the eyes. Damage to the surface of the eye, known as corneal abrasion, could lead to long-term eye damage. Car accident victims can also experience bleeding around the eye. Bleeding in the brain or in the vicinity of the eye can cause optic nerve damage and permanently affect one's vision. When individuals suffer head injuries in a car crash, that could also cause the optic nerve to undergo excessive pressure, which results in loss of vision.
It is important to understand that eye injuries are particularly complicated and challenging to diagnose. They are also dangerous because if left untreated, eye injuries can permanently damage your vision.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissues in the face include ligaments, tendons, muscles and other tissues. A car accident could significantly damage the underlying soft tissues in the face. Such damage could require extensive surgery to repair. However, even after several surgeries, a car accident victim who has suffered such injuries may experience permanent problems with function and/or suffer permanent facial disfigurement.
Examples of soft tissue injuries after a car accident include cuts, abrasions, road rash, gashes and deep bleeding wounds that require stitches. Such injuries often require emergency room treatment and even plastic surgery. These injuries typically occur after facial trauma, burn injuries, cuts caused by glass or metal, or when the face collides with a surface or object. Swelling or infection may occur within hours or even days after a facial soft tissue injury. Scarring is also very common in these situations.
If you have suffered facial soft tissue injuries in a car accident, it is important that you receive prompt medical treatment and care. Also, be sure to document your injuries and the treatment you received for the injuries. An experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyer will be able to guide you through the claim process and help ensure that you receive maximum compensation for all your losses.
Scarring from Cuts and Abrasions
A car accident victim may suffer deep cuts or abrasions after hitting their face or after being struck in the face by an airborne object during a crash. A number of these types of injuries have the potential to cause long-term scarring. If you have suffered scarring and abrasions on your face as the result of a car accident caused by someone else's negligence, you may be able to seek compensation for the injuries, damages and losses you have sustained as a result. These types of injuries from a car accident can leave you not only with scarring or disfigurement that can negatively affect your everyday life, but also how to view yourself and how others view you.
After a car accident, you may also need reconstructive surgery to repair damage during the crash such as a broken jaw, nose or eye socket bone. If a car crash is violent, you may suffer scarring on your face. If you were left with scarring or permanent damage to your face, you may be entitled to damages for your permanent injuries. Here are some steps you can take in such situations that might help you protect your rights:
- Be sure to save all paperwork that can help document the injuries you suffered and treatment you received.
- Take photos of your injuries soon after the crash and also throughout the healing process. This could have a significant impact on you settlement.
- Seek prompt medical attention, care and treatment. You may need reconstructive surgery to repair injuries and scars.
- Contact an experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyer who has had a successful track record of handling cases where a victim has suffered scarring or disfigurement.
When a person suffers facial injuries in a car accident, there is a very real risk of suffering permanent deformities as a result of the trauma. Many injuries sustained in this manner could leave victims with lifelong scars and disfigurement. Some of the most common facial injuries that result in permanent deformities include:
- Lacerations: Any type of deep cut in the face that requires stitches or other treatments could leave victims scarred and disfigured.
- Fractures: There are several bones in the face. When one of these bones break, they may not fuse together properly, leaving the victim disfigured.
- Eye injuries: Flying objects and debris that enter the eyes can cause serious injuries, loss of vision and disfigurement.
- Burn injuries: Severe burns to the face are treated with costly skin graft surgery leaving victims with significant scarring and discoloration.
- Facial deformities: Any damage to facial bones could lead to permanent deformity such as sunken cheekbones.
- Soft tissue injuries: Injuries to soft tissues in the face such as cartilage, muscles, ligaments and tendons could also leave victims with impaired facial function and other deformities that could become permanent.
The value or worth of a car accident claim could significantly increase if a victim has suffered permanent deformities, scarring or disfigurement.
How Common Are Car Accident Facial Injuries?
Facial injuries are probably the most common type of injuries in a car accident. The force of impact in a collision can cause serious damage to different body parts. However, some of the most serious and life-altering injuries are to the head and face. A study published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine found that a little over half (about 51%) of people injured in car accidents suffered some type of facial injury. The study's authors noted that facial trauma was the single most common injury in these patients. A broken nose is the most common type of facial injury sustained in a car crash, studies show.
Those who suffer facial injuries in a car accident often experience excruciating pain and may require costly medical treatments including surgery and reconstructive procedures. Even with the best treatment that is available, those who suffer facial injuries in a car accident may be left with permanent scars that could alter their appearance for the rest of their lives.
Since facial trauma are so common in a car accident, it is important to understand the physical, emotional and financial implications and repercussions of such injuries. An experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyer can offer you more information about your rights in the aftermath of such devastating injuries.
How Do These Injuries Happen?
Facial injuries in a car accident often occur when a driver or passenger's face comes into contact with some part of the vehicle's interior such as the steering wheel, dashboard or the windshield. Because of the crash impact, broken glass from the windows or windshield could scatter and cause cuts to the face. Facial burn injuries also occur when the vehicle catches fire after a collision or crash. These types of injuries can be devastating both physically and emotionally.
Injuries to the face could also occur in the event of a rollover accident. In such accidents where it is likely that victims are partially or fully ejected from the vehicle, the incidence of facial injuries is much higher. Car accidents that result in facial trauma also occur when one vehicle collides with another.
In such cases, the impact causes the vehicle's occupants to slam their faces against the vehicle's interior. Such two-vehicle collisions often occur as the result of drivers operating in a reckless manner such as impaired driving, speeding, running a stop sign or red light and driving while distracted. If you have suffered a facial injury because of someone else's negligence or wrongdoing, it is important that you contact an experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyer to evaluate your options.
Medical Treatment for Facial Injuries
If you have suffered facial trauma in a car accident, you will likely require emergency treatment and care. Surgery is often necessary for facial fractures or tissue damage. Sometimes, several surgical procedures may be needed to correct facial disfigurement and to get the facial muscles functioning correctly.
Some victims may never recover fully even after undergoing surgery and treatment. This could lead to lifelong physical disabilities as well as psychological effects such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The cost of treatments and counseling could become staggering.
When Can You Sue for Facial Injuries from a Car Accident?
There is no question that individuals can suffer devastating facial injuries after a car accident ranging from broken bones in the face to laceration, burns and permanent scarring. If you have suffered any facial injuries that require medical treatment or cause you pain and suffering, you may be able to sue the responsible parties for compensation.
Whether you are able to sue depends on the facts and circumstances of the case. California law states that everyone has a duty of care or responsibility to act in a manner that is reasonably safe and not reckless or negligent. When an individual or entity fails to exercise this duty of care and acts negligently, they may be held liable for injuries and damages that occur as a result of such negligence.
So, you may be able to sue for a facial injury after a car accident if another driver caused your crash. Common forms of negligence that could lead to car accidents include impaired driving, drowsy or distracted driving and violating the rules of the road. If you are partially at fault for an accident, you may still be able to seek compensation for your facial injuries. An experienced California car accident lawyer will be able to evaluate your case and help you understand if you have the basis for a lawsuit to seek compensation for your injuries.
Compensation for Car Accident Facial Injuries
If you have suffered facial injuries in a car accident, you may be able to receive compensation for damages from the at-fault parties including:
Medical expenses: This includes all types of expenses relating to emergency transportation and treatment, doctor's office visits, hospitalizations, surgeries (including cosmetic procedures), ongoing procedures, expenses relating to specialists, medication, medical equipment, etc.
Lost income: You have the right to be compensated for income you lost as a result of the accident and the time you were unable to work because of your injuries. In addition, if the scarring or injuries permanently reduce your earning potential or render you unable to work, you should be compensated for that loss as well.
Loss of life's enjoyment: When you suffer permanent scarring and disfigurement, your life changes. You may not feel like socializing or participating in activities as you did prior to your accident. You have the right to be compensated for this loss of your ability to enjoy and experience life's gifts.
Pain and suffering: This refers to compensation for both the physical pain and the emotional suffering wrought by these types of serious injuries. Your California car accident lawyer will help you determine the value or worth of your case by carefully reviewing what you have endured in the aftermath of the crash.
Who Pays for Facial Injuries in a Car Accident?
Car accident facial injuries could result in significant medical expenses. You may also need reconstructive and/or cosmetic surgery, some of which or most of which, depending on your case, may not be covered by health insurance policies. Who pays for your medical and other expenses related to your car accident injuries will largely depend on who caused the accident or who was at fault for the accident.
You may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit if someone else was negligent. Common forms of negligence that lead to devastating crashes include drunk driving, distracted driving, speeding, running a red light or stop sign, making improper lane changes and breaking traffic laws. It is important to remember that even if you think you may have a slam-dunk case of negligence, there are time limits or deadlines to file your lawsuit. In California, the statute of limitations or deadline to file a personal injury lawsuit is typically two years.
In some cases, a governmental entity or insurance company may also be held liable for your car accident. There are also instances where multiple parties may be held accountable. Car accident cases are often complex. This is why it would be in your best interest to contact an experienced Los Angeles car accident attorney who will explore all potential avenues to help you secure the maximum possible compensation in your case.
How Much is My Injury Claim Worth?
Typically, the value of your claim will depend on the nature and extent of your facial injuries. However, there are a number of other factors that could potentially affect the value or worth of an injury claim:
The Victim's Age
The younger a victim the higher the value of a facial injury claim can be. If a young person has suffered permanent scarring which could affect their life in a profound manner, the worth of the claim could go up significantly.
Is the Scarring Permanent?
If there have been attempts to reduce the scarring through medical procedures and treatments and the victim is still expected to be scarred for life, the compensation may be much higher because of the physical, emotional and financial consequences of such permanent scarring.
Location of the Scar
If the scar is clearly visible rather than being hidden by face or clothing, the victim's compensation is likely to be higher.
While scarring is a physical occurrence, the psychological impact of scars cannot be minimized. Scarring often affects people's self-esteem and the mental health. When the person has been emotionally and psychologically impacted by the scarring, the value or worth of an injury claim is likely to be much higher.
We Can Help You Get Compensation for Facial Injuries
If you or a loved one has suffered facial injuries in a car accident, the experienced Los Angeles car accident attorneys at the Vaziri Law Group, APC are here to help you understand your legal rights and options. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don't pay any fees or costs unless we secure compensation for you. Call us at (310) 777-7540 for a no-cost consultation and case evaluation.