Does Scarring Affect My Personal Injury Case?
Ohio law allows injury victims to seek monetary damages for permanent and severe scarring. The legal term and standard for severity is “substantial physical deformity,” which is something a judge or jury must decide after hearing testimony and expert’s opinions. Scarring can also be used as grounds for arguing that the court should waive the statutory $250,000 cap on non economic damage awards in civil lawsuits.
This three-sentence answer to the question of how scars affect cases handled by Cleveland personal injury lawyers requires quite a bit of unpacking to make sense to someone who is not an attorney or insurance company representative. In this blog post, we will focus on three key aspects of personal injury claims related to scarring:
- How scarring can occur,
- What kind of scarring can meet the legal standard for being “a permanent and substantial physical deformity,” and
- How a personal injury lawyer in Cleveland can argue that scarring compels a person or company to pay damages to the victim.
Personal Injuries That Leave Scars
Any damage to the skin has the potential to leave a visible reminder. Deep cuts, burns from fires and chemicals, and compound fractures are the most common causes of the types of scars that merit filing personal injury claims. Each of those types of injuries can result from traffic crashes, falls, defective and dangerous products, and botched surgeries/medical malpractice.
Scars as Deformities
Damage to muscles, joints, and organs like lungs are treated separately from visible scars. So, while a scar might limit a victim’s range of movement, impair breathing, or cause pain, those factors are not used when applying the deformity standard.
To merit compensation and damages, a scar generally needs to be large and unsightly. Facial scarring and scarring that prevents wearing shorts, skirts or short-sleeved shirts can provide grounds for filing personal injury claims.
Claims Stemming From Scars
Heavy scarring and scars that cannot be hidden often can cause mental and emotional distress. It can also make it difficult to form new friendships, date, maintain a marriage, or find a job. These problems are very real, but it is impossible to assign an exact dollar figure to the harms imposed by scars left by another person’s negligence or recklessness. Hence, the request for non economic damages.
During a civil trial that involves scarring claims, a Cleveland personal injury lawyer will present testimony from his or her client regarding how the scars make living their life to its fullest difficult or impossible. Statements from family members, co-workers and friends can also help support claims for damages, as can expert opinions from psychologists, doctors, social workers, and therapists.
If scars from an accident, medical error, or malfunctioning product are ruining your life, considering contacting a Cleveland, Ohio personal injury lawyer to discuss ways to hold the responsible party financially accountable. The attorneys with Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman offer free consultations to potential clients, so call us at (800) 678-3318. We also take requests for appointments online through this contact form.