Facial injuries are quite common after a car crash. Not only could the damage be severe, but if left untreated, facial trauma could also lead to severe secondary problems, such as a concussion, infection or hemorrhagic shock.
Our law firm discusses facial trauma in more detail below, including the damages you may be able to recover by filing a Harrisburg auto accident lawsuit.
Did you suffer some type of facial injury after a car crash? If so, we recommend speaking with an experienced auto accident lawyer in our Harrisburg office. There is no cost for this initial consultation, but it is an excellent way to find out your potential legal options.
Your initial case review is zero-cost and risk-free. (717) 727-1403
How Do People Sustain Facial Injuries in a Car Crash?
There are a number of ways people may suffer facial trauma in a car crash. During the impact of a collision, the instinctive reaction is to put up your hands to try to protect your face and head. Despite this natural reaction, however, facial injuries may still occur in a crash due to these and other factors:
- Flying crash debris, such as shattered glass or jagged metal cutting into skin, muscle and other soft tissue.
- A full-on hit to the face by an airbag as it deploys
- Striking the windshield and/or being ejected through the windshield if not wearing a seatbelt
- The movement of the crash forcing the victim face-first into the steering wheel or dashboard
- Getting burned by the chemicals in the airbag, or electrical or engine fires in the vehicle
- Foreign objects from outside the car penetrating through a window and striking the face
- The force of the crash causing objects inside the car to slam into the head or face
Are Facial Injuries Considered Serious Medical Conditions?
Not always, but they can be. For instance, some facial injuries may lead to swelling and even cause an obstruction of the airway, making it difficult for the victim to breathe. If the victim hits his or her head hard enough, it could cause a concussion or even a slow brain bleed.
Even if you hit your head and do not think you are hurt, it is important to remember a couple of things. First of all, the adrenalin caused by the crash may mean you do not feel any pain initially. This can lead victims to think they are okay when they may have a more severe injury.
It is vital that you always seek medical care after a car crash. Putting off getting checked out could allow the injury to worsen and, in the case of facial trauma, it could also result in infection, blindness and/or death.
What Are the Most Common Facial Injuries From a Harrisburg Crash?
Airbags and seatbelts prevent many life-threatening injuries, but they cannot do much to protect your face. Even a minor fender bender could cause you to hit your face on the dashboard or steering wheel. That said, the most common facial injuries include:
- Facial burns – A crash victim could suffer chemical burns if an airbag deploys badly or as the result of an electrical fire or engine fire in the vehicle after impact.
- Fractures – Victims may sustain a broken nose or orbital fracture (the bone that surrounds the eye). Depending on how severe these injuries are, surgery may be necessary.
- Dislocated jaw, temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) – This injury may result in severe swelling, jaw and facial pain, tinnitus and other symptoms.
- Retinal detachment – Anytime you hit your face or even get roughly jostled around, it could cause the retina to pull away from its normal position. This is a critical injury that can result in permanent blindness without immediate surgery to reattach it.
- Deep gashes and lacerations – While most soft-tissue cuts and gashes will heal, they may leave behind scarring or disfigurement. If there is also nerve damage, it could take away a victim’s ability to smile. Our faces are the first impression people get of us, so how we look often impacts how we are judged by others. Many crash victims left with scars might also suffer from depression while learning how to deal with their new reality.
- Dental injuries – Getting broken or knocked out teeth replaced is costly and takes time. While dealing with a damaged smile, victims may not want to socialize or spend time with family or friends.
How Are Facial Injuries Treated After a Crash?
Treatment for facial trauma after a car accident may vary, depending on the severity of the injuries sustained. At the ER, doctors will likely order diagnostic testing, such as an MRI and CT-scan to determine what type of injury you may have.
If there are no fractures, a facial injury may only need to be treated with ice, pain management and plenty of rest. Lacerations will need to be properly cleaned and the victim may even need stitches. For facial lacerations, this is typically done by a plastic surgeon in an effort to minimize scarring or disfigurement. Fractures will need to be reset, which may require surgery. In some cases, a crash victim’s facial trauma may be bad enough to require multiple surgeries.
Sometimes a facial injury may be co-existent with severe head trauma. In these cases, victims may also have a traumatic brain injury or a brain bleed. When victims come into the emergency room after a car crash, all of these possibilities will need to be ruled out. This is why it is so critical to get an emergency medical examination and to fully describe your symptoms to the doctor.
Each case is different, but when someone sustains facial trauma in a crash, he or she may need multiple levels of care. Like most crash injuries, it really comes down to the extent of the injuries the victim sustained.
Who Pays for My Damages If I Have a Facial Injury From a Car Crash?
In Pennsylvania, you can seek initial compensation for your medical costs and other damages through your personal injury protection insurance (PIP), regardless of who caused the crash. If you exhaust those benefits, which is very likely, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit. However, it depends on the type of insurance you have and the severity of your injuries.
If you have full tort coverage, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party for your medical costs and other losses. Victims who are also suffering from the psychological trauma of being scarred and disfigured may also be able to seek compensation for additional therapy and emotional counseling.
That said, seeking compensation for facial wounds can be challenging. There are a number of factors that may cause the insurance company to delay paying your claim. For instance, some insurers may try to play down your injuries in an attempt to devalue your claim.
Contact Our Trusted Law Firm After a Car Crash to Discuss Your Situation
Schmidt Kramer has been helping injured victims, including those injured in Pennsylvania car crashes, for decades. We have a long history of proven results, and we are deeply committed to getting you the maximum compensation possible for your injuries.
Our firm does not leave you hanging or wondering about how your case is going. We have a team of legal professionals who will manage your case every step of the way so you can focus on healing.
If after your free initial consultation you choose to hire our firm, there is nothing to pay us up front or while we work on your case. We only receive our fees if we are successful in winning your case through a settlement or courtroom decision.
Contact our law offices for a FREE case review. (717) 727 1403