Motorcycle Accident Scars and Disfiguring Injuries
Some say that beauty is only skin deep. But the truth is that physical appearance is very much a part of our identity. And not just for looks — your driver’s license, IDs, and even your phone’s unlock feature all rely on your appearance.
Sadly, facial scars and disfigurement are some of the risks that motorcycle riders face. The lack of an enclosed cockpit can result in injuries that can permanently alter one’s appearance.
Common Scars Caused by Motorcycle Accidents
Scars are damaged skin trying to heal itself after an injury. In general, they are composed of fibrous tissue that try to cover the wound caused by an accident. While most fade or become paler with time, there are some types of scars that never completely disappear without cosmetic intervention.
Keloids are raised scars caused by the overgrowth of scar tissue. They commonly appear in injuries suffered on the cheeks, earlobes, chest and shoulder region. Keloids tend to be larger than the original wound, and appear weeks of even months after the incident. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, an estimated 10% of the population experience keloids at some point in their life, with those with darker skin being more prone.
Hypertrophic scars are raised scars similar to keloids, but do not grow as large. They can be caused by cuts, piercings, or burn injuries. Unlike keloids, hypertrophic scars can form anywhere on the body.
Contracture scars are the result of burned skin, where the new skin thickens and tightens. This can hinder movement, cause discomfort and even pain way after the accident. Majority of second and third-degree burn cases result in these type of scars.
Common Facial Injuries Caused by Motorcycle Accidents
While most scars are considered a cosmetic issue, facial injuries sustained in a crash tend to be more serious. These include:
- Broken facial bones
- Dislocated nose
- Eye injuries, which can be temporary or permanent
- Sensory damage
- Jaw and dental injuries
Of these, broken facial bones account for the majority of cases. Unlike other types of bones where the broken part can be immobilized while the victim is being transported to the hospital, facial bones are harder to contain and require urgent medical care to prevent further dislodging and damage.
Motorcycle Accidents that Result in Facial Injuries
Head-on collisions – These account for 76% of two-vehicle motorcycle crashes. Due to the force involved, riders face high risk of facial damage even when wearing helmets.
High-side accidents – Serious head and facial injuries typically occur whenever a rider is flung from the motorcycle, catapulted from the handlebars, or thrown to the ground.
Open car door collisions – Impact with an open car door usually results in facial damage, especially since modern cars tend to have reinforced doors as part of side impact safety.
Sudden stop crashes – A sudden stop situation where the biker smashes into the vehicle in front, or gets pinned between the front and tailing vehicles, usually results in facial injuries.
In a study by the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine, it was found that riders over the age of 40 are more susceptible to facial damage even when wearing helmets, compared to younger riders.
The High Cost of Facial Scars and Injuries
Because the face is what most people notice first, treatment of facial injuries and scars is paramount after an accident.
The average cost of a single laser treatment for a scar is between $200 and $3,400. If the laser scar treatment is for cosmetic reasons, it’s unlikely that medical insurance will cover the cost, while it depends on the motorcycle accident insurance policy. If the scar is considered debilitating, health insurance may shoulder a portion of the cost.
The cost of facial injury operations are much higher, and depend on the type of injury sustained. Outside of a dislocated nose, most facial injuries are a five or six-figure affair, especially when it comes to reconstructive surgery, dental surgery, and eye operations.
Apart from medical costs, there is also the toll on quality of life. Riders who are disfigured in an accident may suffer depression, trauma, and psychological pain due to the life-changing implications. One New Zealand study of disabled motorcyclists found that 80% had impairments due to disfiguring and scarring.
Those who suffer a facial injury caused by a negligent party can claim damages in the form of:
- Medical expenses and all out-of-pocket costs
- Loss of income and benefits during treatment
- Future costs associated with counseling and rehabilitation
- Pain and suffering
- Disability or loss of quality of life in case of debilitating injuries
- Punitive damages
In cases where the victim suffers facial injuries, it’s best to seek the help of a motorcycle accident lawyer. A law firm that specializes in motorcycle crashes can determine the damages, deal with insurance, and negotiate with the at-fault party. It’s particularly important to determine the right compensation, since facial injuries can incur future costs besides medical expenses and lost wages.
How to Minimize the Chances of Facial Injuries in Case of Accident
- Helmets reduce the risk of head and facial injuries by 69%, and lower the risk of death due to head trauma by 37%.
- Consider wearing a full-face helmet. 35% of all crashes show damage to the chinbar area, which is commonly lacking in half-face helmets.
- Most facial injuries are caused by head-on collisions, open car doors, and sudden stop impacts.
- Slow down when entering intersections, corners, and tight streets with curb parking.
- Avoid intoxicated driving, since alcohol can affect balance and increase the risk of falls and collisions.
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