How much is scar worth in a personal injury case?
I answer this question in this article. I’ll share some of my settlements (with amounts) for scar cases. You’ll get to see how the scar affected the settlement amount.
I won’t stop there.
As an added bonus, I’ll also share some settlements where the injury was discolored skin.
People put a significance on scars because scars tell us a story. Generally speaking, scars on a woman are worth more than on a man. This is because scars on a man can be associated with being tough. Some men consider it an honor to have a scar.
Insurer’s Offer May Be Based on Adjuster’s Background
Adjusters and jurors look at the value of a scar based upon their background.
An adjuster who is more of an outdoorsman (e.g. hiker, hunter, etc.) may assign less of a value to a scar than an adjuster who doesn’t engage in riskier activity.
With females, things are different. People don’t think that a woman will have had a better life if she had a scar. Usually, reporters or politicians do not have scars.
Yet the villains in movies, such as Tony Montana in Scarface or Scar in the Lion King, have scars. Scars can be associated with being evil.
An adjuster may not offer you the full value of the scar if you do not explain the significance of the scar and how it affects you.
If you have a significant scar, an economist can explain that someone without a scar is more likely to get a job than someone with a scar. This is because the interviewer may associate a story with the person with a scar.
Scar May Decrease Your Ability to Make Money in the Future
Thus, you can argue that having a scar can decrease your loss of earning capacity (ability to earn money in the future).
For example, let’s say that you are in a car accident and the shattered glass cuts you and causes you to have scars on both of your wrists.
When people look at you, they may think that you have tried to harm yourself or commit suicide even though this isn’t the case. This negative view by others may decrease your enjoyment of life.
If you have a surgery as a result of an incident, you should explain in your demand letter to the adjuster that the scar is a permanent reminder of the surgery.
Do this even if the outcome of your surgery was great. Do not be embarrassed when speaking with the claims adjuster about your scar.
Send the liability insurer pictures of how the scar first looked after the surgery, and let them know about the things people mentioned to you when they saw the scar.
Your chance to express your unhappiness with the scar is in your demand letter and on phone calls with the adjuster. Some people change the way they position their hair, or the clothes that they wear, if they have a scar.
This should be mentioned to the adjuster if you do this.
If you have other scars that weren’t caused by the accident, be realistic when you are expressing your complaints about the scar that was caused by the incident.
You can find many studies online that talk about the effect of scars on the enjoyment of life. Send these to the adjuster.
Scar on the face is worth more than on other parts of the body
All things equal, if someone’s carelessness caused a facial scar, it is worth more than a scar on another part of the body. This is because people spend more time staring at your face than any part of your body.
When you are dressed up, for example, people may only be able to see your face. Scars on parts of your body that are not even visible while you are wearing a bathing suit are worth more than scars that are visible if you are wearing a skirt, shorts or a short sleeve shirt.
Scar Cases Don’t Increase in Value As the Case Progresses
Most scars become less noticeable as time passes. Shortly after an accident, the injured person may have stitches and thus the cut is noticeable, but when we are ready to settle their case the scar is not even noticeable.
Scars On Kids Are Worth More (Than On Adults)
Since a child has longer life expectancy and is more insecure than an adult, the pain and suffering component of a scar on a child is generally worth more than on an adult if all facts of the case are equal.
$300,000 Settlement for Scar on Leg and Fracture
A man got a $300,000 settlement for a scar on his leg from a car accident. Below is a photo of the scar taken 9 months after the collision.
The scar became less visible as time passed. Below is a photo of the scar taken 13 months after the crash.
The scar continued to improve.
Lady Gets $200,000 for Wrist Fracture and Scar from Car Accident
A woman was driving her car in Miami, Florida. A car ran a red light and hit her.
The injured driver broke her wrist. She had surgery to fix it. The surgery left her with a scar. You can see the scar in the above photo.
Confidential Settlement for Leg Fracture, and Scar from Trip and Fall
A lady tripped over a curb at an apartment complex in Miami Beach. She broke her hip, and had surgery to fix it.
She was left with a scar from the surgery. You can see it in the photo above.
$87,000 Settlement for Scar and Nerve Damage from Dog Bite
A man was employed as a meter reader in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. While at a customer’s house, he was given permission to go into the backyard to read the meter. The owner’s Pit Bull (dog) bit him.
He had some minor nerve damage in his arm along with a scar. He was doing well after he finished his medical treatment.
I told my client that he had the option of seeing a plastic surgeon. The purpose of the visit was for the plastic surgeon to tell him whether a scar revision (surgery) would improve the appearance of his scar.
The plastic surgeon was Dr. Bernabe Vazquez. I paid Dr. Vazquez to write a report which gave the costs of future surgery to revise (fix) the scar.
A believe that this report increased the settlement amount of this case.
State Farm insured the homeowner.
The good news?
State Farm paid $87,000 to settle the case. Throughout my blog, I consistently say that surgery increases the full value of a case. A scar revision is no exception.
If the doctor would’ve done a scar revision surgery, the settlement would’ve been higher.
I’ve said before that surgery increases Learn the average amount of a dog bite settlement.
Hotel Guest Gets $31,500 Settlement for Scar from Shattered Shower Glass
When he opened the shower door, it shattered. It sliced his lower leg, slightly above his ankle.
He did not take pictures of the shattered glass. We argued that the hotel should’ve used tempered glass.
The pictures of his open wound were graphic. It looked like someone hit him in the leg with a small ax.
The scar was still noticeable about 18 months after the accident. However, it became less and less visible.
Liberty Mutual Insurance Company insured the hotel.
Liberty Mutual paid $31,500 to settle. Their first offer was $14,500.
Ace Insurance Company (now Chubb) insured the shower door installation company.
They offered an additional $10,000. ACE’s settlement release required him to hold them harmless from any claims brought by any parties.
My client didn’t want to sign ACE’S release. Thus, he didn’t settle with ACE.
$20K Settlement for Forearm Scar from Miami Car Accident
Lisa (not real name) was a passenger in an SUV. She was heading straight on NW 25 St in Miami, Florida. Jose was driving a Jeep. Jose ran a red light.
The front of Lisa’s SUV hit the right front side of Jose’s Jeep. This occurred in an intersection.
The diagram from the Florida crash report is below:
Police gave Jose got a ticket for running a red light.
The crash caused a scar on Lisa’s forearm. You can see the scar in the photo below.
Lisa also claimed that the accident caused or aggravated a herniated disc in her lower back.
Infinity Insurance company insured the Jeep driver who paid its $10,000 BI liability insurance limits.
I filed a civil remedy notice of insurer violation with the Florida Department of Insurance. Progressive paid the $10K underinsured motorist insurance limits.
Driver Gets $20,000 for Scar on Finger, and Soft Tissue Injuries from Car Crash
Tracy suffered a cut to his finger. He also complained of shoulder pain and bruising to his leg and spine.
The photo above shows a small, permanent scar to his finger, from the avulsion injury. He never regained sensation to the tip of his finger.
Progressive insured the other driver with $10,000 in bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance. Tracy had $10,000 in underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance with Progressive. We settled the UIM claim with Progressive for the $10,000 limits.
$17,000 Settlement for Scar Below Eye from Trip and Fall Accident
A lady ate at a restaurant in South Miami, Florida. While leaving, she tripped over a landscape edging, and fell.
She landed on a parking bumper, which cut the skin below her eye. At the hospital, the doctor gave her stitches to close the gash.
She was left with a small scar, which can be seen in the photo above. When she wears makeup, you can’t see the scar.
Nautilus Insurance Company insured the company who owned the property where the restaurant was. Nautilus settled for $17,000.
They also paid $1,000 in Medpay coverage. I didn’t charge a fee on the Medpay portion of the settlement.
Because we settled without suing.
he injured person should only hire an attorney who doesn’t charge a fee on Medpay benefits recovered. The claimant should ask this question to the attorney before hiring him or her. It can prevent an issue from later arising.
I’m happy to report that I don’t charge attorney’s fees on Medpay unless I sue.
Bicyclist Hit By Car Gets $17,500 Settlement for Scar Below Chin, and on Abdomen
A bicyclist was riding against the flow of traffic, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. A car hit her. (The crash diagram is above.)
Thus, State Farm was only willing to pay 70% of the claim’s full value.
She suffered sustained lacerations (cuts) to her chin, and required several staples in her abdomen. She was left with small scars.
The police officer didn’t give anyone a ticket. He stated that the bike rider, and the other driver were both at fault.
I settled the case with State Farm for $17,500.
$14,300 Settlement for Burns to Hands (Air Bag)
Airbag burns can look nasty. At least initially.
I represented a lady who was driving her car in Venice, Sarasota County, Florida. Another driver crashed into her.
Her airbag deployed. It burned her hands. Initially, the burns looked bad.
AIG insured the careless driver. Shortly after the accident, she hired an attorney (me).
Through time, her hands healed. She saw a dermatologist. However, she didn’t want to have any plastic surgery to her hands.
AIG paid its $10,000 bodily injury liability (BIL) limits to settle. Next, I made a claim with my client’s underinsured motorist insurer, Allstate.
Allstate paid $4,300 to settle the case. (Learn about injury settlements with Allstate.)
The total settlement was for $14,300.
$10K Settlement for Small Scars, and Shoulder Pain, from Truck Accident
Dan (not real name) was driving a pickup truck in Palm Beach County, Florida. Another car ran a red light, and hit the truck that Dan was driving.
State Farm insured the at fault driver. Dan claimed that a crash caused cuts and scars on his body, as seen in the images above.
State Farm paid $10,000 to settle this case. I represented Dan.
$10K Settlement for Small Scar (Car Hit Pedestrian in Miami)
A pedestrian was walking in a crosswalk in Little Havana, Miami-Dade County, Florida. A driver of a car hit him.
An ambulance took him from the accident scene to the hospital. He was diagnosed with a head injury. A doctor gave him stitches to his head. He was left with a small scar.
United Auto Insurance Company insured the at fault driver with a $10,000 BIL insurance policy. United Auto paid us the $10,000 BIL limits to settle his personal injury claim.
Unfortunately, the driver wasn’t driving for Uber or Lyft that would have given him more insurance coverage. Our client didn’t own a car or live with relatives. Thus, he wasn’t entitled to uninsured motorist insurance.
$5,000 Settlement for 2 Small Scars on Knee (Car Accident)
Anthony was driving his car, heading east on SW 24th Street in Miami, Florida. A car ran a red light and hit Anthony.
United Automobile Insurance Company insured the driver who the officer said failed to stop at a flashing red light.
A photo of the damage to Anthony’s car is below.
We settled his personal injury case for $5,000. His scars can be seen above. The scars look much worse in the photo than they do in person.
Why Choosing the Right Plastic Surgeon Matters (in an Injury Cases)
I once heard an attorney say that the injured person’s doctor is more important to the case than his attorney. That may be true in some cases.
A plastic surgeon can have a big influence on the value of a scar case.
It’s important to know which plastic surgeons will be fair to the injured person. For one, it saves the injured person time from calling random plastic surgeons who have no interest in seeing a patient who has an injury claim.
Also, the injured person wants to get treatment from a plastic surgeon who will actually write a report. Insurance companies need documentation to justify settlement offers. When the claimed injury is a scar, documentation comes in three forms. They are: Photos, medical records and bills.
The claimant (or his attorney) should only hire a plastic surgeon who is willing to testify in court.
Fortunately, most cases settle before a lawsuit. However, the injured person wants to pick a doctor who will be willing to cooperate in the case. And by “cooperate”, I just mean testify to the truth.
Some cases wind up going to trial. You want a plastic surgeon who will go to bat for you.
Who Are the Best Plastic Surgeons for Accident Cases?
I recommend Dr. Thomas Zaydon. My office is in Miami so I am most familiar with Florida doctors.
Dr. Zaydon is located in Coconut Grove, Miami-Dade, Florida. Several accident lawyers have gotten good results where Dr. Thomas Zaydon was the plastic surgeon. He can testify in scar or burn cases.
A word of caution. When looking for a plastic surgeon or any doctor, check to make sure that they are actively licensed in the state where they’ll be giving treatment. Also, you may want to see if they have any disciplinary history with the state medical board.
Serious burn cases can have tremendous value.
Check out some of my other personal injury settlements.
Hurt from an Accident in Florida, or on a Cruise?
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