With the advancements in medical technology, it is now possible to treat most injuries that may be caused during an accident. However, some injuries are so grave that they may lead to scarring and disfigurement. While this term generally refers to physical injuries such as burns or amputation, it could also be used to indicate emotional scars left after the accident, which often take far longer to heal.
What Causes Physical Scars?
When you are injured in an accident in New York, the medical treatment you receive will serve to close the wound. As this wound heals, the new skin which grows in that region often has a texture and color that is different from the original skin. Based on several factors such as how severe the injury was, the type of wound, and the treatment that was given, the scar may ultimately fade away and merge with the original skin color and texture or stay unaffected.
Scarring and disfigurement injuries in New York are most commonly caused due to:
In most victims, scars that were initially thick and red do heal with time and leave a very faint or almost no trace of the injury. However, in some people, the collagen of the wounded tissue may grow outside the skin, leading to the formation of keloids. In others, a hypertrophic scar may develop, which appears as a raised, red bump in the skin of the injured area.
Facial scars often have an unsightly appearance and if they get discolored or thicken with time, they often lead to a distortion of the individual’s facial appearance. If the accident involved strong impact with foreign objects, there can be traumatic tattooing – a condition in which the foreign object gets lodged within the victim’s skin.
In persons with severe scarring, especially on the face, the limbs, or the chest, the doctor may recommend laser treatment or dermabrasion or a surgical procedure to modify the appearance. The success of these procedures depends on the nature of the scar.
What is Disfigurement?
When an individual’s appearance is affected due to a burn, a scar, missing body parts, or oddly shaped body parts, it is known as disfigurement. As scar tissue is considerably less flexible compared to normal tissue, a person with severe scarring of the lower extremities may also find their mobility is limited.
Besides the physical discomfort and possible disability that disfigurement could cause, there is also the major issue of psychological suffering that is caused due to the impaired appearance. While this is true for any individual, it could be even more traumatic for persons whose occupations require them to have an attractive appearance.
Examples of Injuries That Cause Scarring and Disfigurement
Scarring and disfigurement are generally the outcomes of the following types of injuries:
Burns: Third-degree and fourth-degree burns are known to cause severe injuries to the muscle and nerves and despite extensive surgery, the victim may be left with permanent scars.
Facial injuries: Vehicle accidents that lead to bruises, cuts, and lacerations on the face or broken facial bones or a broken nose are likely to cause disfigurement and scarring that is a huge source of embarrassment to the victim.
Amputation injuries: Accidents in which there is severe damage to the limbs may leave the doctor with no alternative to amputation to save the patient’s life. Loss of limb is an example of a permanent disfigurement that is likely to cause a severe negative body image despite the fitting of a prosthetic.
Animal bites: Injuries arising from bites of dogs and other animals can damage the soft tissues especially in children, causing severe scarring.
Reconstructive Surgery: Solution to Scarring and Disfigurement
In the more severe cases of scarring and disfigurement, it may be advisable for the affected person to undergo plastic or reconstructive surgery. Scar revision surgery works well with superficial scars that are discolored and thick. Laser technology can be used to address these issues.
However, for the deeper and more disfiguring injuries in which the facial architecture has been greatly damaged, the surgeon may advise an extensive facial restoration. This involves procedures to remove the scars and tissue rearrangement to rebalance the facial appearance.
The more advanced techniques of facial reconstructive surgery also make use of computer imaging to create a new facial framework to replace the damaged facial bones. Any blemishes that remain following a scar revision surgery will have to be concealed using makeup techniques.
Depending on the nature of the issue, these procedures may be able to either completely solve the problem or at least provide some relief from the disfigurement. However, it is important to understand that such surgery involves a huge element of risk besides being quite expensive.
The best way to offset the risk is to make sure you receive monetary compensation for your injuries so that you can consult the best cosmetic surgeons to help you overcome the scarring and disfigurement you have suffered for no fault of your own. Therefore, you should talk to a skilled scarring and disfigurement injury lawyer in New York.
Scarring After Cosmetic Surgery: Medical Malpractice
If the scarring is the result of a cosmetic surgery that went awry, you are entitled to file a medical malpractice case against the surgeon who performed the surgery.
To be able to recover damages in such a case, you will need to prove that the actions of the plastic surgeon were not in accordance with the established norm for such surgeries and that this failure of the surgeon led to your scarring or disfigurement. Generally, it is easier to recover damages in personal injury claims as compared to medical malpractice cases.
How to Build Records of a Scar or Disfigurement?
Documentation of a scar or disfigurement plays an important role in building a strong case to fetch you the compensation you deserve. Soon after you seek medical treatment for your injury, ensure that the scar has been prominently mentioned in the medical records. The records must give details of the nature of the scarring or disfigurement, with a note on whether it will affect your mobility as well as a projection of how it is expected to heal over time.
If you have consulted a doctor about having the scar removed, that must be documented too, with details of the doctor’s opinion and advice.
Most cases of scarring and disfigurement result in a considerable emotional and psychological impact on the victim. Whether the scar is minor or major, it can play havoc with the individual’s self-esteem. In cases where the victim is in an occupation where a presentable appearance is very important, the disfigurement is likely to lead to a loss of employment too.
If you have faced mental health issues such as anxiety or depression or post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the scarring or disfigurement injury, it is important to consult a psychologist or psychiatrist for help in dealing with those issues. Keeping records of these meetings and bills of the expenses incurred for such consultations can be vital to proving the long-term emotional effects of your disfigurement or scarring injury.
What Damages Can Be Claimed for Scarring and Disfigurement in New York City?
If you have sustained scarring or disfigurement after been injured in an accident due to another party’s negligence, you may be entitled to claim for the following damages:
While deciding how much compensation to award, the degree of the scarring or disfigurement will be considered along with the impact of the injury on the victim’s quality of life.
Contact Our Scarring and Disfigurement Personal Injury Claims Lawyers in New York
If you or a loved one has been in an accident that left behind scars or disfigurement, we understand how devastating an experience you have suffered. At Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP, our compassionate and competent personal injury attorneys have several years of experience in handling scarring and disfigurement injury claims in NYC.
We can help you with not just the legal aspects of seeking rightful compensation, but also with the medical aspects by connecting you to expert doctors who can care for your injuries.
Dealing with an injury that causes disfigurement and scarring can be so much more difficult than recovering from an ordinary injury. It is important that you focus your energy on your recovery while our expert personal injury lawyers take care of pursuing your legal rights to receive the compensation you rightfully deserve.
To know more about how we can help you claim damages for your scarring and disfigurement injury in New York, call us today at 1-800-660-2264 or contact us online for a free and confidential case review.
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