Scar injury compensation claims
This easy-to-follow guide takes you through what you need to know about making a scar injury compensation claim.
Around 23 million adults in the UK have some sort of scar. An estimated 1 in 44 people (over 1 million people nationwide) have a significant scar to their face or body, according to research published by the charity Changing Faces.
A claim should be possible if the scar injury became apparent:
- in the last three years (longer if children were involved) and
- someone else was to blame.
Even if you qualify, however, some solicitors may not take on your claim for other reasons.
Even a significant or obvious scar may not physically affect an individual's ability to work, but the courts do recognise the social and psychological effect a scar can have.
Scar injury compensation claims take into account the whole impact a scar injury has had on your life, and your award or settlement will be calculated accordingly.
Scar injury compensation can be higher for:
- visible scar injuries, and particularly facial scarring
- scars which have had a major or ongoing psychological impact
- scars which have affected your employment (for example if, prior to your injury, you worked as a model or in a customer-facing role)
Calculating compensation for a scar injury
The starting point for assessing damages for a scar is usually the Judicial College Guidelines.
The guidelines set out financial parameters for scar injuries by reference to their severity. For example, the part of the body that is affected and whether surgery is required to reduce the appearance of the scar tissue.
Under the guidelines,
- A single large scar or several small scars to the limbs or torso which are visible but not too noticeable might receive compensation between £1,500 and £5,500.
- A large noticeable scar to the back, chest, legs or arms may result in a payout between £5,500 and £16,000.
Facial scarring is calculated according to a different tariff. See facial scarring below.
General damages will be awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity.
Special damages can also be awarded for any losses or costs incurred as a result of the injury, including:
- loss of earnings
- loss of future earnings if Claimant is disadvantaged when looking for another job
- medical costs
- travel costs
The courts recognise that facial scarring is more visible than scarring to other parts of the body. Compensation awards are typically much higher for facial scarring, regardless of the accident type.
The precise amount of compensation can depend on a number of factors, including:
- The severity of the injury. The more disfiguring the facial scarring, the higher the award.
- Gender (Update). Prior to the most recent Judicial College guidelines, women received more general Damages for a scar than men. This is no longer the case. However, in some circumstances, the courts may still consider that facial appearance is more important to a woman than to a man, depending on employment, psychological and other factors, and may make a higher award.
- Age. Younger claimants tend to receive larger compensation awards than older claimants. This is because younger people have to live with the disfigurement for a longer period and often are more self conscious about their appearance.
Under the Judicial College Guidelines:
- Minor facial scarring may result in a compensation payout between £1,890 and £6,240, regardless of gender.
- Facial scarring which is visible from a short distance may receive damages between £6,240 and £18,120.
- Severe facial scarring with a high degree of disfigurement may receive damages of up to £83,550.
I have a strong claim - why won't a solicitor take it on?
By law, scars are considered to be a 'secondary injury'.
This means that they arise as a consequence of the healing process following a primary injury to the skin. These injuries include:
- A laceration, for example, cuts sustained in a road traffic accident or from work machinery, such as an angle grinder injury.
- A scald or burn injury
- Contact dermatitis, caused by repeated exposure to hazardous substances at work.
- Friction burns, such as the scarring that occurs to knees, elbows, arms and hands after a trip and fall accident onto fibrous material like a carpet.
When calculating damages for facial or bodily scarring, the courts do not take into account the primary injury or the nature of the accident that caused the primary injury.
Compensation awards are calculated solely by reference to the severity of the scarring and the impact it has on the claimant's life.
However, for the purposes of bringing a compensation claim, the cause of the accident does matter. The personal injury solicitor must prove that the Defendant negligently caused the accident, and that the primary injury and subsequent scarring arose as a result of the accident.
It is often difficult to predict whether a primary injury will result in a scar, or how noticeable that scar will be.
The depth of the primary injury will influence the healing process, but other facts, including the age and gender of the patient will also play a part.
As an initial step, the injury lawyer will commission one or more medical reports to ascertain whether permanent scarring is likely. A cosmetic surgeon or other specialist will:
- Examine the claimant's injuries
- Describe how severe those injuries are
- Refer to photographs of the primary injury and the scarring
- Describe the degree of scarring
- Ascertain whether the scars cause pain or discomfort
- Give a prognosis of the future symptoms
- Confirm whether further treatments such as surgery, skin grafts or laser therapy are required to reduce the appearance of the scar tissue.
This report will be used as a basis for the scar injury compensation claim.
It is recognised that scar injuries have a strong psychological component. Many people struggle to come to terms with the change in their appearance, especially where the accident causes permanent changes to the face. In most cases, a psychologist will also conduct an examination.
The report will be used to support a claim for the psychological impact of the scar injuries.
Many different types of accident can cause scarring to the body and/or face. Determining who is legally responsible depends on the nature of the accident and the law that surrounds accidents of the type that caused the injuries.
The claimant's solicitor will gather evidence to establish that:
- The defendant owed the claimant a duty of care
- The defendant did something, or failed to do something, which breached that duty
- The defendant's actions caused the primary injury that led to the scarring.
The party that liable for the accident will be responsible for paying the compensation. Where an employer or a driver is legally responsible for the accident, the compensation will usually be paid by their insurance company.
The no win, no fee agreement, or Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), is a critical part of a the scar compensation claim process.
The CFA sets out the service the lawyer will deliver and a percentage-based success fee . This will be the percentage that will be deducted from the total compensation once the case is won.
By choosing a Quittance personal injury solicitor, you will be able to focus on your recovery, knowing that you will never be out of pocket and there will be nothing whatsoever to pay at the outset.
Scar injuries at work - Claims against your employer
Every year, 600,000* employees are injured in accidents at work. If you have suffered an injury or illness at work, you may able to claim compensation.
Find out if you can claim scar injury compensation from your employer: Read more about work accident claims
*Source: 2016/17 Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report
Scar injury claims after a road traffic accident
Every year almost 200,000* people are injured on UK roads. If you have been injured in a road accident that was not your fault, you can claim compensation.
How can Quittance help?
Quittance is a panel of personal injury solicitors with an excellent track record of winning claims. Our solicitors will fight for the best possible compensation settlement.
Starting a claim is a straightforward process. A short, no obligation phone conversation with one of our expert scar injury solicitors will let you know where you stand and answer any questions you may have.
If you decide that you would like to pursue a claim, the solicitor will send you an information pack. The pack will contain everything you need to know including details of how no win no fee works.
To speak to us about your claim, without obligation, call 0800 612 7456.
Meet our team
The nationwide panel of QLS solicitors handle all types of personal injury claims, from fast track cases to life-changing injuries. Selected for their success rate in winning claims, our solicitors have years of experience.
Guidelines For The Assessment Of General Damages In Personal Injury Cases. Oxford University Press, 2017.
The incidence and prevalence of disfigurement. Changing Faces, Reg. Charity No. 1011222, 2007.
Road Safety Data - Accidents 2016. Department for Transport, 2017.
Health and Safety at Work 2017. Health and Safety Executive, 2017.