CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: What We Are Doing to Protect Our Clients

Recovery for Facial Scarring in Children

sad girl
Personal injury claims for traumatic facial scarring are generally valued differently. Factors such as age, the location of the scar, profession, gender, scar permanence, personality, social environment, and marital status are factors considered when calculating compensation for a facial scarring claim. However, most insurance companies, jurors, and mediators recognize that a visible facial scar will create a significant disruptive impact on the social and psychological development of the injured victim after an accident. Even more so is this the case when considering the life of a still developing and growing young child.

In this article:

Psychological Consequences of Posttraumatic Facial Scarring in Children

Depending on the child's age and circumstances, a Sacramento personal injury lawyer may include the following issues, if applicable to the injured victim’s facial scarring case:

  • Facial scars cannot be covered during daily interactions as scarring on other parts of the body. Therefore, the child may be subjected to scrutiny, stares, unwanted questions, teasing, and name-calling. This is especially true if the minor is attending school. An adolescent may choose a home study program as a result. Such a choice may affect their future educational options and choices regarding universities. A decision to use an alternative education program to avoid social anxiety at a traditional school due to a facial scar may also limit the options available to them for scholarship options available through public schools with music and sports programs.
  • There will be a psychological impact that the visible facial scarring will have on the minor. For instance, an adolescent may feel self-conscious about how they are viewed among peers. The minor may battle with feelings of acceptance and “fitting in.” The child may also struggle with the facial scar being a prominent “descriptive feature” used when described by their classmates and even their teachers at school versus their personality, talents, and achievements. Since our face is the most prominent part of our body in any human interaction, an adolescent will feel that the scars on their face is very much on display to the world and may need counseling to deal with such issues.
  • Some injury attorneys have prepared “A Day in the Life” videos of their client. They may include interviews with the minor’s parents, siblings, or teachers. Humans, in general, have a difficult time acknowledging the feelings and emotions that they have never experienced. This can be challenging for an adolescent as they may not be able to put it in words themselves. The videos can help a jury, mediator, and insurance companies get better acquainted with these issues and in how the minor experiences life after the accident.
  • Posttraumatic facial scarring can distort facial expressions. An adolescent, primarily if still quite young and lacking verbal skills, may communicate to a greater extent through facial expression than with words. Studies indicate that pre-teens and teenagers also express their feelings and emotions to a higher degree through facial expression than verbally. If a minor’s facial expression becomes distorted due to a scar, the scarring will impede their ability to communicate their inner feelings and their needs. This can impact the care they deserve to receive and their ability to function in social situations. Failure to obtain the appropriate emotional attention from their peers, siblings, parents, and teachers can result in further harm.
  • Distorted facial expressions can also prevent the adolescent from having their emotional state being fully understood. Failure to be emotionally understood by others will impact them mentally, both in their present-day to day life and their future emotional growth. Distorted facial expressions can also be misinterpreted by others, creating situations that can escalate. An adolescent may not feel comfortable nor know how to verbally respond, and this may cause the child to become socially isolated.
  • A child with a facial laceration scar may experience anxiety or phobia to be outside of the home. Any evidence or documentation from coaches or photographs demonstrating the social activities the adolescent used to participate in before the traumatic event should be provided to their Sacramento personal injury attorney.
  • Social media has created a culture where youths post photos of themselves regularly. This has become a socially acceptable norm. Most young ones without facial laceration scarring already battle self-esteem issues involving social media. Children with facial scarring may experience amplified consequences with their use of social media due to their posttraumatic facial scars. Parents, counselors, medical providers, and legal counsel should be advised of bullying or shaming on the minor’s social media accounts. Social media may document changes in the minor’s behavior.
Facial Scarring Management for Adolescents

A minor may need to discuss at length with a medical professional regarding the issues surrounding their physical appearance for some time. Perhaps even into adulthood. Facial scarring is a traumatic injury to process emotionally. The initial trauma may have caused swelling and severe damage to the face requiring extensive surgical intervention. This may include stitches, the use of metal plates, and steroid injections to reduce inflammation. The initial medical interventions will temporarily cause swelling, further distorting the face. The trauma of seeing oneself for the first time in the mirror may cause the adolescent to feel extremely distraught.

Quality of Life Impact from Posttraumatic Facial Scars

The child’s loved ones will also be impacted emotionally by the visible facial scarring. The minor will have to process not only their own reaction to seeing themselves for the first time but also the responses of their loved ones, like parents and siblings, seeing them for the first time after the trauma. The child may sense for some time a change in the reaction of their friends and family members towards their new appearance. If parents or siblings of the adolescent seek assistance from a medical professional for issues in processing their emotions, they should advise the lawyer handling their minor child’s personal injury claim. While the initial trauma may heal significantly, and unsightly marks on the face may improve with scar treatment, the childhood emotional trauma remains.

Medical Treatment for Facial Scars in Children

If the healing process for a facial scar requires multiple medical procedures, the minor may have to live in a state of flux for years as they undergo a series of facial scar revision surgeries. As with each operation, it may result in a fluctuation of appearance and increased risk for keloid scars. This type of scarring is caused by trauma resulting from a surgical procedure, car accident, or other injury-related causes. The adolescent will experience a range of emotions as each surgery improves. In other cases, the child may believe that the scar operation has worsened the appearance of their facial scar. This can take a toll on the minor’s sense of identity. Scarred skin on the face can also contribute to feelings of confusion, anxiety, and disassociation due to the adolescent's new appearance. An adolescent will need psychosocial support from a therapist and loved ones to cope with this. Even if the facial scar ultimately improves, the effects of the disassociation that the child went through, will be a permanent trauma on the minor’s life. Even if an adolescent is well adjusted to their facial scarring and disfigurement, the adolescent will still experience a change in normal social life. The reaction of other people to the child's facial scarring must be dealt with each time they must meet a new person, start a new school, or join a new club.

Documenting Visible Facial Scarring in a Personal Injury Case

It is essential to use people who are involved in the daily dealings of the child after a traumatic event. Advise your Sacramento personal injury lawyer of the names of siblings, friends, or teachers that are aware of any name-calling or ridicule. Witness statements can corroborate what the minor is going through and can help document how the adolescent felt and reacted to the accident. A child will not want to relive these events nor bring these accounts up to their parent. Therefore, witness testimony is crucial for a facial scarring claim.

Determining the Value of a Facial Scar Case

Factors to a minor’s personal injury claim can also include the family background or culture of the adolescent, as some cultures or families, place greater emphasis on physical attractiveness. A Sacramento personal injury lawyer would explore these issues and get to know the background of the minor’s family. Each child has a different personality. The psychological effects of visible facial scarring may vary greatly depending on the preexisting personality. Kids with preexisting emotional trauma may need additional care or recover slower. The parent will want to discuss preexisting issues with legal counsel and doctors so that the adolescent can get the best medical care necessary for scar tissue removal and therapy and for the injury lawyer to explain why some minor’s recoveries may follow a different path.

Gender can play a role in the impact and value of a facial scar claim. Females generally strive for greater facial perfective. The thriving beauty and cosmetic industry are just a small glimpse into this concept. This has resulted in even minor facial scarring claims, creating a significant psychological impact on the female victim. However, this generalization does not, in any way, diminish the effect that male victims also experience. For more information on the factors that may affect a personal injury case and its value, watch the video below.

Common Arguments Used by Defense Attorneys for a Facial Scarring Claim

One challenge to a minor’s personal injury claim is if the facial laceration scar occurs when the child is quite young. Defense counsel for insurance companies may argue that the minor does not have a significant psychological component to their facial scarring case. However, the social impact that hypertrophic scarring on the face can have on an adolescent may not become apparent until later in life. The minor’s young age may indeed prevent them from recognizing the impact the facial trauma has had on them. Their age may also prevent them from being able to process their parents' and siblings' before and after reactions to their facial scars. However, the adolescent may later experience trauma when they see pictures of themselves before the facial injury or learn of how their trauma impacted their family. As they become older and attend school, the minor will then have to experience the trauma their scars have imposed on them.

Emotional Effects of Facial Scarring on Children

Facial scarring can move as the child grows older. A scar to the chin or below the chin line may end up becoming very predominant as it moves up the face due to the child’s growth. A Sacramento personal injury attorney may have the child consult with a physician, like a dermatologist or plastic surgeon, who is an expert in treating facial scars in minors. An adolescent may also experience a trigger in emotional instability later in life due to the scarring on their face if they feel that they have prevented their ability to pursue a romantic interest. Supportive relatives may have created a good culture for the child to thrive in and may have raised the child to not place undue attention on the facial scar. After a traumatic accident, the insurance company representing the negligent driver or entity should not benefit from paying less for a settlement on a personal injury case. The parents or legal guardians of the child deserve to be compensated for the additional psychosocial support and work they have provided for their child suffering from the facial scar caused by their insured.

Personal Injury Lawyers in Sacramento

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento personal injury lawyer. Facial scarring from a traumatic accident can be life-changing. Visible scars on the face can be emotionally devastating, especially for young children and teenagers. If your child has suffered a facial injury in an accident caused by the negligence of someone else, please call me at (916) 921-6400 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400 to receive my free, friendly advice.

Browse our client ratings and reviews on the following sites:

I am proud to be listed as a member of the National Association of Distinguished Counsel and the Million Dollar Advocates.

To see how our personal injury law firm has resolved cases for past clients, go to our Verdicts and Settlements page.

Image Attribution: By "rubberduck1951" via Pixabay

:JR ds [cs 2073]


Client Reviews
★★★★★
"Me and my wife; had a car accident. We were amazed how easy, professional, friendly attorney Ed Smith is along with his staff. Everybody is amazing. Thank you so much, we are very impressed!" Alex & Dinah M.
★★★★★
"Ed Smith and his office team took on a difficult personal injury case on my behalf and for the passenger in my car. Ed is a top- notch attorney. His staff couldn't have been more helpful and kind. No need to look elsewhere. I give Ed Smith my highest recommendation." Beverly
★★★★★
"Ed and Robert have been taking great care of my husband and I for the past 5+ years. They are always there when you have a problem and a quick resolution! Even when the issues have nothing to do with them. They are willing to help ease the pain off your shoulders. They are as good as it gets! Thank you again for everything." Annie T.
★★★★★
"Very professional. Great team, staff and service all around. Mr Smith was very honest, straight forward with his advice. He gives the word "attorney" an honest reputation. I will seek his council anytime, and would recommend him at the drop of a dime." Jeremy M.
★★★★★
"I would highly recommend Ed Smith to any friends or family in need of a personal injury attorney. Ed, and his staff, are very caring on top of being very experienced in this field. The staff always keeps you informed of the status of your case and they are always easy to reach by phone." Shannon D.
★★★★★
"Edward Smith law offices provide competent, thorough, and personable help for victims of personal injury. When you first meet the staff you know you contacted the right office. This law office treats clients like people. I recommend this office to anyone seeking representation regarding personal injury." David M.