Accidents cause injury, disability, and sometimes disfigurement. If you have suffered disfigurement from an accident, you may be able to pursue legal action against the negligent party for your damages.
However, how much you are owed for disfigurement can be subjective, which makes having an experienced attorney by your side essential. You and your attorney must argue for a fair settlement in light of what you have suffered and what you will continue to endure due to your changed appearance. The more disfigurement affects your life, the higher the amount of damages you can request.
Disfiguring injuries are characterized by their effect on an individual’s appearance. If an injury changes your appearance, then it qualifies as disfigurement. Disfiguring injuries include scars, burns, nerve damage, and amputations.
Disability or disfigurement?
A disfigurement is legally separate from a disability, although some injuries, like amputations, qualify as both. A disability is a loss of bodily function, while a disfigurement is a change in physical appearance. Both can be either permanent or temporary.
Disfigurements can still prevent victims from getting jobs because of prejudice, making it possible for victims to get compensation for “continued economic loss.” Disfigurements can also cause depression, anxiety, social isolation, and other psychosocial problems in individuals, which are common grounds for non-economic damages.
There are many different disfiguring injuries that can result from an accident. Car accidents frequently result in serious lacerations and burns that form facial scars. Heavy machinery, commonly used on construction sites, is frequently responsible for amputation injuries. Disfiguring injuries can include:
- Severe burns from chemicals, fire, and electrocution
- Dog bites resulting in hand and arm scaring and amputation
- Medical procedures that cause significant scarring when patients are not adequately warned about disfiguring effects
- Explosion injuries that require amputation or significant surgery to repair
Three characteristics of disfiguring injuries are used to determine how much compensation the injury is worth. They include victim demographics, disfigurement location, and the disabling effects of the disfigurement.
1. Victim demographics
The reality of disfigurement compensation cases is that, on average, women receive more compensation than men because women with physical deformities often face more social prejudice than men do. Young people often receive more compensation than older victims because young people must live with the deformity longer. Unmarried victims also receive more money than married victims because physical deformities can make it harder for them to find a spouse.
2. Disfigurement location and severity
The location of the disfiguring injury also influences the amount of compensation a victim receives. Injuries that are still fully visible with clothes on, such as the hands, neck, and face, are more likely to result in higher compensation than injuries that can be easily hidden.
The severity of the disfigurement also determines the compensation amount. Often a doctor must evaluate a scar as permanent or disabling to qualify as a legal disfigurement.
3. Disabling effects of the disfigurement
Disfigurements are not automatically considered disabilities, but they can have disabling effects that qualify them as such. Amputations are an example of this, and so is facial damage that negatively affects speech.
Doctors fill out disability ratings based on state guidelines. These ratings are used in cases to help determine compensation qualification and amount.
When a doctor includes permanent disabling effects of disfigurement in a patient evaluation, victims can receive more compensation for their injury.
If you have suffered a disfiguring injury because of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, emotional distress, and lost wages. Take the first step toward recovering your losses and contact our Indianapolis personal injury attorneys to arrange your free case consultation.
● Economic damages
Economic losses refer to the money that the injured person pays due to the accident. Medical bills and lost wages are two examples of these losses that you can attempt to recoup by suing for economic damages. Disfiguring injuries require immediate medical attention and potentially additional cosmetic surgeries as well as medical aids and devices.
● Non-economic damages
Non-economic losses include humiliation, reputational damage, pain, and emotional distress.
Indiana doesn’t have a cap on non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, in accident cases specifically. However, it limits the compensation you can recover if your claim is against the state. In these instances, damages are capped at $700,000.
If you suffered a disfiguring injury due to the carelessness of others, you may qualify for damages. You should not face the economic and emotional consequences of a negligent act alone.
Contact Wagner Reese for a free consultation; we can review your case and advise you on your legal options. Rest assured that our legal team will aggressively advocate on your behalf to negotiate the compensation you deserve for your disfigurement or seek a jury award.