West Virginia Scarring and Disfigurement Injury Attorneys
Recovering from a serious accident is a roller coaster ride of sorts for many people. Bad news of trauma is followed by good news of survival. Then come more challenges of medical treatment, therapy and rehabilitation. Many injuries can heal. However, lasting harm caused by a serious accident is a special kind of loss, and this is what happens to scarring and disfigurement injury victims.
The Impact of Scarring and Disfigurement
At Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C., we have worked with many clients who have suffered permanent losses such as scarring and disfigurement. We know that money cannot give a seriously injured person his or her unflawed body back. However, we have helped many clients obtain compensation that would allow them to get plastic surgery. Facial and other types of reconstruction surgery can accomplish wonders in many cases.
Psychological injury and social challenges resulting from scarring or disfigurement are often more difficult to overcome than physical aspects of a burn injury or amputation injury. We know that children are often teased by their peers and young women in particular report difficulties in their social lives after suffering scarring or disfigurement.
We also know that there are many variables that can affect a person’s ability to cope with scarring or disfigurement, such as where on the body you are scarred or disfigured. Naturally the more prominent the scarring — such as on the face or hands — the more difficult it can be to live with. If we represent you after an accident that has left you scarred or disfigured, rest assured that we are prepared to advocate zealously on your behalf.
Common Causes of Scarring and Disfigurement
There are many different types of accidents and incidents that can result in a scarring and/or disfigurement injury:
- Dog Bites and Animal Attacks: Many people do not take proper care of their animals, and when they are allowed to run free, some types of dogs and other animals are prone to attack visitors that come on their property. Some attacks can result in permanent scarring and other severe injuries. When this occurs, the owner of the animal(s) and their insurer may be liable.
- Explosions and Burn Accidents: An explosion accident can cause serious injuries to victims, including scarring and disfigurement. This can happen from the impact of the explosion or from the resulting fire that causes severe burn injuries.
- Exposure to Toxic Chemicals or Materials: Permanent scarring can happen because of a chemical burn that results from a toxic chemical or similar substance penetrating the skin. Toxic chemicals and materials are present in numerous types of consumer products as well as products used in building and construction and many other industries.
- Serious Traffic-Related Accidents: Individuals who are involved in vehicle crashes can end up with permanent scarring, and crush injuries from traffic accidents can result in amputations/loss of limbs. A vehicle explosion at the accident scene could also cause severe burns to those involved. Scarring and disfigurement injuries are particularly common in accidents where victims have less protection, such as motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian crashes as well as collisions between big rig trucks and smaller vehicles.
- Work-Related Accidents: Numerous types of accidents in the workplace can cause permanent injuries including scarring and disfigurement. This can happen because of an explosion, chemical burn, cut or laceration, or any number of other adverse events. Certain work environments are more susceptible to these types of injuries, such as power plants, coal mines, oil and drilling rigs, manufacturing plants, and construction sites.
- Defective Product Accidents: There are countless products on the market that contain defects that make them hazardous during the course of regular use. Some product defects can cause accidents that result in a victim becoming scarred and/or disfigured. When this happens, it may be possible to bring a product liability claim against the designer, manufacturer, or distributor of the defective product.
- Medical Negligence: Various types of errors made by medical professionals can cause a patient to become permanently scarred or disfigured. Surgical errors, incorrect prescriptions, and defective medications are just a few potential causes for this type of injury happening in a medical facility.
Pursuing Compensation for a Scarring and Disfigurement Injury
When someone ends up permanently scarred and disfigured because of someone else’s negligence, they deserve to be fully compensated. Compensatory damages for a personal injury can be divided into two general categories:
- Economic Damages: These are direct monetary costs that the injury victim incurs, such as medical bills (both present and future), lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and property damage.
- Noneconomic Damages: These are damages for intangible losses that are more difficult to quantify. In the case of a scarring and disfigurement injury victim, this may include damages for the physical pain and suffering the victim has to endure as well as the emotional trauma that is associated with a permanent physical injury.
In more limited cases, punitive damages might also be awarded as punishment for the defendant’s wrongdoing and to help discourage similarly egregious acts in the future. To recover punitive damages, you must show clear and convincing evidence that the defendant’s actions were willful, malicious, or grossly negligent. In West Virginia, punitive damages are capped at $500,000 or four times the amount of compensatory damages, whichever is greater.
When someone suffers scarring and disfigurement because of a workplace accident, recovering compensation can be quite a bit more complicated. The first recourse is usually to file a workers’ compensation claim if the employer has insurance, but this only provides coverage for some of the economic losses the employee suffers, and there is nothing available for the pain-and-suffering and psychological trauma.
The good news for injured workers is that there may be other legal avenues available through which to file a personal injury claim for full damages. This may be the case if a party other than the employer is responsible for the injury. For example, the injury could have been caused by a subcontractor who was doing work at the job site, or it could have resulted from a product defect that caused an explosion in the workplace.
There are some rare instances when a West Virginia employer may be held liable for a workplace injury if it can be clearly proven that the injury was caused by their deliberate actions. Deliberate intent claims against employers are very difficult to pursue, however, so be sure to speak with an attorney who has in-depth experience with this area of the law before going forward.
Free Initial Consultation with a Seasoned West Virginia Accident Attorney
Contact Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C. to schedule a free initial consultation with a personal injury attorney. Put our 40+ years of experience to work for you after a scar injury. Our lawyers are here to represent you and help you recover compensation from all negligent parties.
Call our office today at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979 or message us online for a free consultation and case assessment with one of our attorneys.
We work on a contingent fee basis. We do not get paid unless you do.