Facial injuries, also referred to as maxillofacial trauma, is any kind of physical trauma to the face. It can be a soft tissue injury, such as a burn, bruise or laceration, or it could be fracture of the jaw, nasal bone or orbital socket. It would also include eye injuries, as well as dental trauma that could affect one’s ability to communicate and eat.
Car accidents are a leading cause of facial injuries, which are often complex and multi-specialty in their ongoing treatment. Individuals with facial trauma tend to suffer high rates of emotional distress as well, in no small part due to the fact these injuries are highly visible and scars can cause cosmetic damage and impact one’s feelings of self-worth.
Atlanta car accident attorney Stephen M. Ozcomert has extensive experience handling cases for clients who have suffered a range of maxillofacial trauma injuries. In many cases, the injuries are inflicted when one’s head strikes the dashboard, airbag, steering wheel, windshield, side window, car seat or shards of shattered glass.
Proving these injuries affect more than just one’s vanity sometimes requires an experienced attorney. The reality is facial injuries impact both appearance and function. Scarring and disfigurement can have a profound and devastating psychological impact, and it can also impair the function of certain facial muscles. Broken bones may never heal exactly as they should. Surgery and other treatments can be grueling, painful – and expensive. We may need to produce:
- Medical records;
- Expert witness testimony from accident reconstructionists, doctors and specialists;
- Evidence of time lost at work and future work function impairment.
Although such injuries are becoming slightly less common in traffic crashes thanks to rapidly-advancing in-vehicle technology (i.e., better restraints, airbags and other safety features), they still happen every day, and they can be life-altering. Improvements in medical technology may allow for the reduced appearance of scars and other more prominent visible effects, but they are still quite costly. If you are injured due to someone else’s negligence behind the wheel, you should not have to shoulder the financial burden.Types of Crash-Related Facial Injuries
Car accidents are often violent and traumatizing. Facial injuries are among the most visible, and potentially some of the worst. In developed countries, motor vehicle crashes are the second-leading cause of facial injuries.
According to the journal Dental Traumatology, an estimated 22,000 hospitalizations a year are for treatment of facial fractures, and these injuries alone cost $1.06 billion. Other research has established that more than half of maxillofacial injury patients have multi-system trauma, requiring coordinated management between doctors and surgeon specialists in the fields of trauma surgery, opthamology, otolaryngology, oral surgery and plastic surgery. In addition to the concerns about scarring, these medical professionals are working to prevent or limit damage to important sensory systems in the face, including vision, olfactory, gustatory, somatic, auditory and vestibular (inner ear-to-brain).
While a simple cut or bruise may not necessitate a lawsuit, it may be worth filing a claim to insurance if you had to seek medical treatment. Too often, though, many crashes result in facial injuries that have a severe and sometimes permanent impact to one’s health and well-being. Those may include:
Frontal bone fractures. These usually occur when there is a blunt trauma, high-velocity impact to the forehead. More than one third of individuals who suffer from a frontal sinus fracture also have some type of internal head injury.
Nasal fractures. These are the most common facial injury, because noses are prominent centrally located on the face.
Naseothmoidal fractures. This is a complex system of fractures that affects the central upper midface (think the bridge of your nose, up to your forehead and under your eyes). They are typically the result of high-force, high-speed car accidents. They are often co-occurring with injuries to the central nervous system.
Orbital floor fractures. These are typically caused by blunt force trauma to the cheek.
Zygomaticomaxillary complex fractures. These are the second most common type of facial fracture (behind nasal fractures), and involve the bony arch at the outer border of the eye socket and the orbital rim and sinus walls. These injuries are due to direct trauma, and often require surgery and ongoing treatment to preserve function.
Dental injuries. Both direct and indirect dental injuries can result from car accidents when the head or mouth strikes or is struck by an object. These may include fractured teeth, luxated teeth (when a tooth is loosened, but not completely knocked out) or avulsed teeth (tooth is completely knocked out of the socket).
Eye injuries. While many people close their eyes in bracing for the impact of a crash, that doesn’t always mean the eyes are fully protected. Flying debris, airbags, chemicals, burns – these can all cause eye trauma that can impair one’s ability to properly see.
Because any one of these injuries can have a profound and lasting impact on your health and well-being, it’s imperative that you seek consultation from an experienced Atlanta personal injury attorney to learn more about how we may be able to help you obtain compensation. There is typically more than one avenue you can pursue for damages.
If you have been injured in a Georgia car accident, contact Atlanta Car Accident Attorney Stephen M. Ozcomert at (404) 370-1000.