Car Accident Victims Often Suffer Serious Facial Injuries
Personal injury lawyers serving West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania explain
Some of the most common injuries people sustain in car accidents are facial injuries. One recent study found that 51 percent of injuries involving motor vehicle accidents included some form of facial trauma.
Injuries to the face can be very serious and life-threatening in certain circumstances. This is especially true in cases involving facial fractures or other injuries to the face in which a person’s ability to breathe normally has been compromised.
This is why it’s important for accident victims to receive medical care right away. Without medical attention, victims run the risk of having complications, such as an infection. It’s also important for injury victims to understand their rights and the legal options available to them.
Why are facial injuries common in car accidents?
Surgeons at the Medical College of Pennsylvania conducted a study analyzing facial trauma sustained by individuals in motor vehicle accidents. The study focused on a 15-month period in which 461 people were treated for serious injuries as a result of car accidents. Overall, 51 percent of these people sustained some form of facial trauma.
Facial injuries sustained in car accidents often occur because someone’s face comes into contact with the car during a collision. This includes the steering wheel, windshield or another interior part of the vehicle. Shattered glass and other debris caused by the collision can also cause deep facial cuts or lacerations.
Overall, the study found that 82 percent of accident victims who sustained facial trauma were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash. In addition, 51 percent of accident victims who sustained a facial injury tested positive for drugs or alcohol, according to the study.
What are common facial injuries?
Facial injuries from car accidents generally include two types of injuries. These are soft tissue facial injuries and facial bone fractures.
Soft-tissue facial injuries were the most common injuries identified in the study, accounting for 78 percent of facial injuries in car accidents. Another medical study reached a similar conclusion. That study found that 10 percent of all emergency room visits involved soft tissue facial injuries. Facial bone fractures account for the other 22 percent of facial injuries sustained in car accidents.
Common facial injuries include:
Scrapes to the face, often due to the skin on the face being rubbed or scraped against a rough surface. In the case of car accidents, facial abrasions often occur as a result of someone being ejected from a vehicle and their face scraping against the rough pavement. Facial abrasions need to be treated promptly in order to avoid infections, especially if it’s an open wound.
Cuts to the face are often caused by broken glass or other sharp objects in the car cutting the skin. Many facial lacerations can be deep cuts that require extensive medical treatment. Eyelid lacerations can be especially serious and complicated to treat.
These soft tissue facial injuries are often due to a car fire. Depending on the severity of the injury (burn injuries are generally classified from first-degree burns, the mildest, to fourth-degree burns, which are the most serious), damage caused by burn injuries can be serious, especially if a facial burn involves damage to subcutaneous tissue, which is the innermost layer of skin.
Commonly called a broken nose, nasal fractures often involve the bone over the bridge of the nose breaking. Nasal fractures are one of the most common facial fractures sustained in car accidents. In many cases, victims have trouble breathing and often require immediate medical attention.
Commonly known as a lower jaw fracture, mandible fractures are one of the most common maxillofacial injuries, a medical term for injuries involving the face and jaw.
Commonly known as an upper jaw fracture, maxilla fractures often involve other broken bones in the face, including nasal fractures and broken cheekbones.
Commonly known as a broken cheekbone or quadripod fracture, zygomaticomaxillary fractures often involve compound fractures, meaning more than one broken bone. Compound facial fractures often involve broken bones in the nose or around the eye socket.
Commonly known as an eye socket fracture, orbital fractures include orbital rim fractures (broken bones in the outer part of the eye socket) and orbital blowout fractures (broken bones in the inner part of the eye socket near the nose). Orbital fractures can cause double vision or other visual impairments.
What medical treatments are available?
Medical care for facial injuries can cover a wide range. Some of the most common medical treatments involve:
- Thorough cleaning of facial abrasions in order to prevent infections in cases involving open wounds.
- Stitches for facial lacerations, especially deep cuts to the face.
- Emergency surgery, especially if a facial injury restricts someone’s breathing or if there’s significant blood loss.
- Reconstructive surgery, especially if there are compound fractures or extensive damage to the bone structure of the face.
- Plastic surgery, especially if there’s damage to skin tissue due to extensive facial trauma.
Many facial injuries also require follow-up care, including future doctor’s appointments to monitor someone’s medical condition after an accident and follow-up surgical procedures if there are long-term medical issues.
How can a car accident lawyer help?
Having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side can often make a big difference in the outcome of your case. The at-fault driver who caused your accident might try to claim you're to blame. And even if the other driver admits wrongdoing, don’t be surprised if their auto insurance company does everything they can to reduce or deny your facial injury claim. That’s because insurance companies are financially motivated to pay out as little as possible.
Since 1952, accident victims have relied on the legal services of Recht Law Offices to pursue the compensation they're entitled to. We have extensive experience handling cases in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. As a result, we know how the legal system works in all three states and how to fight for every dollar you deserve.
Discover what our dedicated legal team can do for you. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation with a car accident lawyer you can count on. We have offices conveniently located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Weirton, West Virginia.