Some of the most common injuries in a motor vehicle crash are disfiguring facial injuries, often resulting from burns and flying projectiles. We all know that car fires can cause burns, but did you know that airbags can also be responsible for facial injuries from the chemicals and shrapnel inside the bag?
Our faces are our identity. If we look in the mirror and do not see the person we recognize as ourselves, the emotional and psychological pain can be staggering.
Steven H. Heisler has a proven track record of providing successful legal representation and guidance for injured clients and their family members. If you or a loved one has suffered a burn injury or facial scarring in a motor vehicle accident due to product defects or another person’s negligence, please give Steve a call.
Facial Injuries Explained
Burns sustained in a car accident can be caused by a fire or by the chemicals that activate inside an airbag. Briefly, burns are classified by degrees:
- A first-degree burn is superficial and contained within the top layer of skin. The skin is red, with no blisters. Scarring is not likely unless complications such as an infection arise.
- A second-degree burn is a partial-thickness burn that affects the top layer of the skin as well as the underlying layer. The damaged area may be red, dry, and blistered. Some scarring is likely.
- A third-degree burn can affect the bones, muscles, tissue, and top two layers of the skin. Extensive scarring and damage occur. Skin grafts and plastic surgery are needed, and functionality may be impaired.
No burn is ever trivial if it occurs on the face or on the extremities (hands and feet). Scarring and the plastic surgery needed to minimize it are common. Pain and suffering for a burn victim can border on the extreme.
Facial injuries can also result from flying glass and from the metal bits (shrapnel) inside an airbag, requiring significant plastic surgery to restore your face to the one you are accustomed to seeing in the mirror. Unfortunately, surgery can only do so much to restore normalcy.
Other facial injuries that can occur in a motor vehicle crash include broken facial bones and damage to soft tissue such as cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and muscles. Defective automotive products can cause all manner of facial injuries.
The High Cost of Burn and Scar Care
Everyone knows that medical care is not cheap, but burn care and scar repair are some of the most expensive medical treatments it’s possible to undergo. Unless you have platinum-level health insurance, a significant portion of the financial burden may end up falling on the family of the loved one. Figures from 2011 for moderate burns list an average cost of $207,000 for the hospital stay alone. For severe burns with complications, the costs mount quickly. Scarring easily adds another $35,000, at minimum, for a moderate burn. Infections and other complications add even more to the bill. Additionally, there are the costs of rehabilitation, medications, and psychological damage that will require counseling.
Plastic surgery to repair scars from deep lacerations and other damage can be extremely expensive, depending on the extent of surgery needed.
The Role of Automotive Defects
When it comes to scarring caused by automotive product defects, Takata airbags often top the list. You can be endangered even if your car supposedly does not have one of the defective airbags. A wrecked 2002 Honda Accord that should have gone to the salvage yard was rebuilt, complete with a recalled Takata airbag. The Las Vegas woman who bought the car had her trachea punctured by the metal shrapnel that exploded from the faulty air bag when she had an accident. The 19-year-old woman nearly died and was left with scars. The family received no recall notice for the airbag that ended up in her rebuilt car.
Many types of automotive defects can be responsible for facial scarring injuries. For example, 38,000 vehicles have been recalled by GM for a defective generator control part that could cause a fire. Crashes that result in facial injuries can be caused by defective tires, defective brakes, or certain parts that cause unexpected accelerations or decelerations. Almost any defective part in a vehicle can cause a wreck that is responsible for facial injuries and scarring.
What’s Your Scar Worth?
Sometimes, surgery can only do so much to correct scars. It is then that we must think about what a scar is worth in a suit. The following factors contribute to what a scar might be judged to be worth:
- The victim’s age
- The victim’s gender and marital status
- The scar’s permanence
- The scar’s location
- The scar’s size and appearance
- The victim’s occupation, if they make a living that’s dependent on their looks (a television reporter, a model, or someone who must routinely deal with the public, such as a salesperson).
Cruel as it might seem, the reality is that facial scars on a 25-year-old female will generate a larger award than on a 75-year-old male. However, each case is different. Expert legal counsel can help guide the process to help you gain the justice you deserve. When another party is responsible for the tremendous amount of pain, suffering, and economic cost involved, it only makes sense to seek out damages from the responsible party.
Motor Vehicle Crash? Turn to Steve Heisler, The Injury Lawyer.
The Law Offices of Steven H. Heisler has been helping injured people in Maryland for more than two decades with all types of automotive product defect cases. Steve Heisler’s thorough investigation can uncover potential defendants in your case and demand from them the compensation you deserve for medical expenses, rehabilitation, loss of income, and pain and suffering. If you have lost a loved one because of another party’s negligence, Steve can help your family recover through a Maryland wrongful death suit.
You’d better believe that the at-fault party will be working hard to protect their interests, so contact Steve Heisler to protect yours. Call us today or use our online contact form for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.