Common Facial Injuries in Car Accidents
Scarring and other facial injuries can have long-lasting effects on crash victims
A car accident can result in many types of injuries that have a significant physical and emotional impact. But facial injuries can be particularly distressing, as they affect not only how we appear to others but also how we think about ourselves.
The face is a complex and delicate area. A crash can result in damage to the skin, bones, eyes, nose, or mouth. Accident victims can suffer cuts, bruises, fractures, and soft tissue injuries. In severe cases, this can result in scarring or disfigurement.
These types of injuries can also have an emotional toll. A change in appearance can lead to depression or anxiety. This can have a negative impact on the daily lives of victims, affecting social interactions and leading to reduced self-esteem.
If you or a loved one suffered facial injuries in a crash, it's important to get immediate medical attention. A doctor can diagnose the injuries and begin appropriate treatment. If a negligent driver caused the accident, you may be able to recover financial compensation for medical expenses and other damages.
How do facial injuries happen in a crash?
A facial injury can occur in any type of car accident, including rear-end crashes, head-on collisions, and T-bone accidents. Drivers and passengers can experience facial trauma due to:
- Airbag deployment – While airbags can help save lives, the rapid inflation during a crash can also cause facial abrasions, bruises, or fractures upon impact.
- Contact with part of the vehicle – During the force of impact, crash victims may strike their faces against the steering wheel, dashboard, or other hard surfaces.
- Broken glass – Shattered windshields or windows can result in flying glass shards, causing lacerations and penetrating injuries to the face.
- Debris and flying objects – Loose objects inside the vehicle, such as mobile phones, sunglasses, or other personal items, can become projectiles during a collision, leading to facial injuries.
- Heat – If a car catches fire or there is an explosion after an accident, victims can suffer severe burns to the face.
- Ejection – If a person is ejected from the vehicle during a crash, they may sustain facial injuries as a result of impact with the ground or other objects.
What are examples of common facial injuries?
Most facial injuries fall into one of two broad categories.
Soft tissue injuries
- Lacerations – These are cuts or tears on the skin of the face. Facial lacerations can range in severity from superficial scrapes and minor cuts to more complex injuries involving damage to deep tissue such as muscles and tendons, nerve damage, or significant bleeding. Lacerations can also vary in appearance. Simple lacerations often have clean, straight edges, while complex ones may involve jagged or V-shaped patterns, making them more difficult to repair.
- Burns – The face may come into contact with hot surfaces or flames if there is a fire or explosion. Also, friction burns can happen when the face scrapes against rough surfaces such as airbags, seatbelts, or pavement during a crash. Burns are typically classified into three main types:
- First-degree burns – These are superficial burns that affect only the outer layer of skin, resulting in redness, pain, and mild swelling. First-degree burns usually heal relatively quickly with minimal scarring.
- Second-degree burns – These burns damage both the outer skin layer and the underlying tissue, causing blistering, severe pain, and a risk of infection. Depending on their depth, second-degree burns may require more extensive medical treatment and can leave lasting scars.
- Third-degree burns – The most severe type, third-degree burns damage all layers of skin and underlying tissue. They often result in charred or discolored skin, nerve damage, and loss of sensation. Treating third-degree facial burns can involve multiple and extensive surgeries may be required.
- Abrasions – The skin of the face is scraped or rubbed against a rough surface during a collision. While usually less severe than other facial injuries, they can still cause pain, swelling, and scarring.
- Broken nose – This can happen when the nose hits a hard surface with great force. The impact can cause fractures or dislocation of the nasal bones, leading to pain, swelling, and difficulty breathing.
- Broken jaw – Upper jaw fractures typically affect the maxilla, while lower jaw fractures involve the mandible. These injuries can cause severe pain, difficulty speaking, and dental misalignment.
- Lefort fractures – These are fractures in the middle of the face. There are three main types. Lefort I fractures affect the maxillary bone. Lefort II fractures involve the maxilla, nasal bone, and part of the orbits. Lefort III fractures are the most severe, affecting the entire facial structure.
- Broken cheekbones – These can occur when a strong impact causes the malar or zygomatic bone to fracture. They can lead to facial deformity and difficulty chewing and speaking without proper treatment.
- Eye socket fractures – These are fractures in the bones surrounding the eye, known as the orbit or eye socket. These fractures can lead to pain, eye movement problems, double vision, and injuries to the eye itself.
What is the treatment for facial injuries?
The type of medical treatment required will depend on the specific type of injury and its severity. Treatment and surgical interventions may include:
- Bone fracture repair – Facial fractures often require surgery. Surgeons may use specialized techniques to realign and stabilize the fractured bones. This may involve the use of plates, screws, or wires to ensure proper healing.
- Facial laceration repair – For deep or complex facial lacerations, surgery may be needed to close the wound and minimize scarring.
- Orbital surgery – Orbital fractures may require surgery to repair the eye socket and restore proper eye alignment and function. This may involve repositioning displaced bones and using implants or plates.
- Burn treatment – This involves cleaning and debriding the burn area, followed by wound dressing and, in severe cases, skin grafts or reconstructive surgery.
- Nasal surgery – Nasal fractures may require rhinoplasty surgery to repair damage to the septum or cartilage and bone in other areas of the nose.
- Maxillofacial surgery – Examples include procedures such as jaw realignment, bone grafts, and facial reconstruction to restore function and appearance.
- Reconstructive surgery – In cases of severe facial trauma or burns, reconstructive surgery may be needed to rebuild damaged facial structures. This can involve tissue grafts, flap procedures, and other advanced techniques.
- Eye surgery – Ophthalmologists may perform surgical procedures such as corneal repair, lens replacement, or retinal surgery.
Who pays for medical treatment for facial injuries in a car accident?
Tennessee follows an "at-fault" or "fault-based" system when it comes to insurance claims. This means that the driver who caused the accident, or their insurance provider, is generally responsible for compensating the injured parties for their medical expenses, including treatment for facial injuries.
However, this is rarely a straightforward process. The negligent driver may deny fault and even blame you for causing the accident. The insurance company may dispute the extent of your injuries or the need for certain types of treatment. They often offer settlements that fall far short of covering all damages suffered.
Navigating the legal and insurance aspects of a car accident can be complex. That's why it's important to consult an experienced car accident attorney soon after your crash.
How can a car accident lawyer help my case?
If you were hurt in Nashville or Middle Tennessee, a car accident attorney can help you understand your rights and provide valuable legal advice and guidance. A lawyer can also review medical records of your facial injuries to help determine how much compensation you may be able to recover.
Attorneys will also have the resources to conduct an investigation into the car accident to gather evidence and determine liability. This may involve collecting witness statements, analyzing accident reports, and consulting accident reconstruction experts. This helps them build a strong case for financial compensation.
At the Law Office of Eric Beasley, we know the impact that facial injuries can have on your life. Attorney Eric Beasley is known for straight talk with clients. He will give you an honest assessment of your case and honest answers to your questions. Our entire legal team is dedicated to putting in the hard work needed to get the results you deserve.
Learn more about how we can help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
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