How much should an insurance company pay for my son or daughter’s facial scarring?
The value an insurance company or jury will put on a child’s scars will depend on the quality of the documentation provided by you and your attorney. It is sometimes a good practice to hire a photographer with expertise in injury photography. I have used George Pearl of Atlanta Legal Photo Services with good results.
Some facial scarring is more noticeable when a child is talking, smiling, laughing or blinking. Other scars may cause diminished function of the eyes, eyebrows, mouth, or nose. In these instances still photography will not capture the full impact an injury has had on your child. It may be best to allow the insurance company to meet and interact with your child so they can see the full effect of the scarring. If that is not possible (or desirable), a videographer can be hired to film a “Day-In-The-Life” video. One company that specializes in this type of video is Trial Exhibits.
Another consideration is the timing of photographing or videographing. Scars sometimes fade with time and the insurance companies know this. The best time to photograph or video your child’s scars will be after your plastic surgeon or dermatologist tells you their appearance/function is not going to improve further.
Gender also affects the value of a scarring injury. For better or worse, boys tend to receive less than girls for the same type of scarring.
Consider also what treatment is available for your child’s scar. The appearance of some scars can be improved through procedures such as scar revision, dermabrasion, and laser treatment from a plastic surgeon or dermatologist. The insurance company will want to know if your child is a candidate for any of these procedures.
Another component of the value on your child’s scar claim is the cost of future treatment. It is important that your attorney reach out to the plastic surgeon to secure adequate documentation regarding future medical costs.
One child client I represented suffered a forehead flap avulsion and laceration that left her with asymmetric (lopsided) eyebrows. Her left brow was higher than the right. The plastic surgeon also documented that the scarring caused irregularities in the muscle contraction in her forehead, accompanied by localized headaches. A year after her injury she had persistent paralysis along portions of her forehead with atrophic changes both at rest and even more profound on animation.
I contacted her plastic surgeon and asked him to help me document what these changes would mean for my client and her family in terms of future medical costs. He provided me with a long list, including PhotoDerm pulsed light therapy for discoloration, Microdermabrasion to smooth the texture of the scar, Fat or synthetic grafting to atrophic regions of her forehead, Endoscopic unilateral brow lift for symmetry, and Botox every 4 months for life. Those future medical costs added approximately $50,000.00 of value to my client’s claim.
I took the plastic surgeon’s list of future medical expenses and used it to insist that this child was entitled to the best medical treatment available to repair her appearance and the insurance company was liable for every reasonable cost related thereto. The claim ended very favorably for my client and her family.
If your son or daughter has been injured and scarred as a result, please call me. Helping children and their families is my passion, for me it is a labor of love. It would be an honor to be asked to work to protect the interests of your child.
Attorney Pete Pearson assists families everywhere who need legal help. His experience especially suits him to be an advocate for the cause of injured children. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and six children. Mr. Pearson may be reached directly at Six Seven Eight – 358-2564.