Scarring is a natural and inevitable part of the body’s healing process following physical injury or surgical intervention. Facial scar injuries can be particularly traumatic and can significantly impact your health and well-being long after the wound has healed.
Scars on the face can range from minor blemishes to severe disfigurement of facial features. In the UK, 569,000 children, young people and adults live with significant facial disfigurements according to the charity Changing Faces. A facial scar can cause you to feel self-conscious and embarrassed to go out in public, which can lead to feeling sad, anxious and depressed.
Road traffic accidents, workplace accidents, burns and violent crimes are just some common causes of facial scarring. If your accident was due to the negligent behaviour of another person, it can be even more distressing and hard to cope with and may entitle you to claim facial scar compensation.
Can I make a facial scar compensation claim?
If you believe you could be entitled to facial scarring compensation, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. A personal injury solicitor will ask you a few questions to determine if you could make a facial scar claim, such as:
- Did your injury take place within the last three years?
- Did it cause you to suffer personal and financial losses?
- Was another person responsible for your scar?
- Did they owe you a duty of care?
If you answer yes to these questions, you likely have grounds to claim compensation for the scar on your face and any other injuries you sustained.
You do not have to worry about proving a duty of care, as your solicitor will handle all the legal aspects of your case. They will refer to the relevant legislation to show that another party was responsible for your injury, such as:
- The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 if you believe your employer neglected their duties to protect your safety in the workplace;
- The Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 if you were injured in a public place such as a restaurant, bar or supermarket due to poor maintenance or housekeeping;
- The Road Traffic Act 1988 if you were injured in a car accident, bicycle, motorbike or another road accident due to another road user’s negligence;
- The Highways Act 1980, if your accident was due to a lack of proper maintenance of a street, park or another public place that should have been kept safe by the local authorities.
If your solicitor believes you are entitled to facial scar compensation, they will offer you a no win no fee service. This enables you to make a claim regardless of your financial situation and without the risk of being left out-of-pocket.
To make a successful facial scar claim, you will need relevant evidence about how your accident occurred and how it affected your life, such as:
- Medical records from the hospital that treated you which will show the initial injuries you sustained and any plastic surgery or other treatments you needed;
- Photographs of the accident scene, showing what caused your injuries before anything is moved or repaired;
- Pictures of your injuries and subsequent facial scarring during the recovery process;
- CCTV or dashcam footage of the accident taking place if available;
- If you were injured at work or in a public place, an accident report form would help prove when and where the event took place;
- Witness statements from any bystanders who saw how the accident occurred;
- Your notes about how the accident happened and how it affected your daily life;
- Financial records to show any costs you have incurred as a direct result of your accident.
Your solicitor will contact the other side and negotiate facial scar compensation on your behalf. If the defendant denies liability for your injury, you may have to issue court proceedings, but more than 95% of all personal injury claims settle without a trial.
What are the most common causes of facial scars?
If someone else was responsible for an accident that left you with a permanent scar, you might be entitled to compensation. The most common causes leading to a facial scar claim include the following:
Road traffic accidents
Road traffic accidents may cause severe facial injuries and subsequent scarring. These may be due to coming into contact with the steering wheel or other parts of a vehicle or being ejected from the car. Shattered glass or flying debris may also hit the face, causing lacerations and deep cuts.
Accidents at work
Many work-related accidents may result in facial scarring and a subsequent compensation claim. These include falls from heights, machinery accidents, building site injuries and forklift truck accidents. Employers must take all reasonable measures dictated by health and safety legislation to minimise the risk of injury and ensure a safe working environment.
Accidents in public
Slips, trips and falls and being hit by falling objects are some of the most common accidents that happen in public places. They are often due to preventable hazards such as pavement defects, wet floors, poorly stacked shelves in supermarkets, and objects left in hallways.
Local councils and business owners could be held liable for facial scar compensation if they failed to take all reasonable measures to keep public places safe and well-maintained.
Violent crimes include attacks with fists, feet, knives or any other weapon, as well as terrorist attacks. Facial scar claims following a violent crime are almost always pursued through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
Mistakes during surgical interventions, negligent cosmetic surgery or poorly treated conditions such as acne or infections may lead to avoidable scars for which you could claim compensation. Your solicitor will consult with medical experts in the field to prove that you received substandard care and are entitled to make a medical negligence claim for your facial scarring.
Sporting injuries happen all the time and are usually nobody’s fault. However, you might be able to claim facial scarring compensation if your injuries were due to faulty equipment or inadequate maintenance of the facilities you were using and could have been prevented by taking proper safety measures.
Dog bites or kicks from a horse can cause severe injuries to the face. Besides facial scarring, an animal attack can also leave you psychologically scarred and entitle you to claim compensation. Based on the circumstances of your accident, you could make a personal injury claim against the person at fault or make a CICA claim if the police have been involved.
Facial burns can be due to flames, hot substances, steam, electrical current or chemicals. They vary from relatively minor superficial burns to severe debilitating injuries with long-term physical, psychological and social consequences. If another person caused your burn injuries deliberately or by acting negligently, you might be able to claim burn injury compensation.
Serving in the military can be a very dangerous job, and injuries in direct combat are mostly unavoidable. Explosions and other blast injuries, gunshots, crush injuries, frostbite and other head trauma can cause extensive and permanent facial scarring. Military personnel can claim facial scar compensation through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS), regardless of liability issues.
If you feel that your facial scarring was due to another person’s negligence, call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back to receive a free consultation with a legal adviser. You may be entitled to facial scar compensation for your pain, suffering and financial losses.
What are the different types of scars?
Scarring is part of the body’s natural healing process after a physical injury. When the skin is wounded, the tissues break, resulting in the release of a protein called collagen. The collagen builds up at the site of injury, helping to heal the wound.
New collagen continues to grow over several months, causing the scar to become raised and lumpy. Although scars are permanent, they gradually become smoother and softer and can fade within two years.
There are different types of scars that depend on the nature and extent of the skin injury:
- Normal fine-line scars are usually caused by minor wounds like a cut, or they form after surgery. They are not usually painful but may be itchy for a while. The scar is pale or beige, elastic, and similar to the surrounding tissue and can be easily removed by laser resurfacing.
- Keloid scars are the most difficult to correct or remove. These are thick and irregular masses of scar tissue that grow beyond the edges of the wound borders. They often appear red or darker compared to the normal surrounding skin and may occur within a year after the injury.
- Hypertrophic scars typically form a month or two after the wound heals. Unlike keloids, they do not spread beyond the wounded area but may also appear red and are thick and raised. Hypertrophic scars may improve on their own within a year or two but never completely flatten out.
- Pitted or sunken scars are usually due to skin conditions such as acne or chickenpox but may also be due to an injury that causes a loss of underlying fat. They are typically small indentations or rounded pits in the skin and may become increasingly prominent as you get older and the skin loses elasticity.
- Scar contractures are often associated with burns and cause the skin to tighten and contract, which may impair your ability to move. They may extend deeper, affecting the muscles, joints and nerves and may be treated with skin grafts and other surgical interventions.
If you developed any type of facial scarring due to someone else’s negligence, you might be entitled to facial scar compensation. The type of scar you have will likely influence how much compensation you will receive if you make a successful claim.
Can I claim for facial scars caused by an attack?
If you were the victim of an unprovoked attack, you might be able to claim facial scar compensation. Besides physical pain and facial scarring, an attack can cause severe psychological trauma that may affect your life for a long time.
Violent crimes that could lead to a claim include stabbing, acid attacks, pub glassing, and gunshot wounds. Most often, the attacker is unidentified or does not have the resources to pay you facial scarring compensation, so it is unlikely you will be able to make a personal injury claim for negligence.
However, you might be eligible to claim facial scarring compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). The CICA is a government body that was set up to compensate blameless victims of violent crimes and abuse. There are some criteria you must meet to claim compensation through the CICA, including:
- The attack took place in the last two years
- The incident happened in the UK, where you were a resident at the time
- You have reported the incident to the police and have a crime reference number
- Your behaviour must not have contributed to the attack
However, you might not be able to make a facial scar claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority if:
- You did not report the attack to the police or took too long to do it
- You have unspent criminal convictions
- You failed to cooperate with the police or CICA
- You suffered minor or short-lived physical and psychological injuries
There is a fixed tariff scheme the CICA uses to award facial scar compensation, according to which you could receive:
- £2,400 for an injury causing significant facial disfigurement
- £11,000 for severe facial disfigurement
For a free consultation with a legal adviser, enter your details into our online claim form or call 0800 678 1410. They can let you know if you may be eligible to make a facial scar claim and can answer any questions you may have.
How long do I have to claim facial scar compensation?
Under the Limitation Act 1980, you can usually claim compensation for facial scars within three years from the accident that caused your injuries. However, there are several exceptions to the three-year time limit that might apply to your case. For example:
- If the victim is a child, there is no time limit to claim facial scar compensation on their behalf. The three-year countdown only begins once they turn 18 and can handle their case themselves.
- The time limit is suspended if the victim cannot conduct legal proceedings on their own. This could be due to the accident that caused facial scarring or a pre-existing condition such as:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- A neurodegenerative condition such as dementia
- An intellectual disability like Down syndrome
- A stroke or traumatic brain injury
- A mental health condition such as schizophrenia
- If the victim recovers their mental capacity, they will have another three years from this point to make a facial scar claim.
- There is a two-year time limit to claim through the CICA scheme if you were the victim of an assault or another violent crime.
- Military personnel injured in the line of duty can claim facial scarring compensation through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) within seven years after an accident.
- The time limit to make a facial scar claim following an accident abroad differs from country to country and can be as short as six months.
As a general rule, it is always better to seek legal advice as soon as possible after an accident or traumatic event. This will ensure that your solicitor has plenty of time to evaluate your circumstances and gather evidence to support a claim for facial scarring.
How much compensation can I claim for facial scarring?
There is no set compensation award for facial scarring, as it will depend on the extent and severity of your injury and how it impacted various aspects of your life. Your age will also affect the amount of facial scar compensation you can receive, as young people tend to be more affected and self-conscious.
In principle, you should receive compensation for two types of damages:
Special damages are designed to reimburse you for your financial losses and expenses. This could include:
- Medical costs for surgery, prescriptions and hospitalisation
- Cost of private plastic surgery and other treatments
- Travel expenses for medical appointments
- Cost of care and support while you are recovering
- Lost wages and future loss of income if the facial scarring will reduce your earning capacity
General damages are awarded for the injury itself and its consequences and take into account the following:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and psychological trauma
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Impacts on your social life, family and hobbies
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of a unique career
- Loss of consortium
Make sure you retain any receipts, invoices and pay slips that can be used to calculate compensation for special damages. The facial scar compensation for general damages depends very much on the extent of the injury, recovery time and the effects on your future life.
The Judicial College publishes formal guidelines each year that help solicitors and courts to calculate fair facial scar compensation. For example, you could receive:
- £1,225 to £2,810 for minor facial scarring or disfigurement
- £6,500 to £12,850 for significant scarring to the face of a man that is noticeable from a conversational distance
- £12,850 to £21,500 for considerable disfigurement that has not been reduced by plastic surgery and associated psychological issues in a male victim
- Around £21,250 for severe and permanent scarring in males under the age of 30
- £3,150 to £10,960 for one mild scar or several minor scars with overall low impact on a women
- £7,270 to £23,980 for significant scarring improved by cosmetic surgery
- £14,320 to £38,600 for substantial scarring and associated emotional trauma
- £23,740 to £97,580 for severe cases of facial disfigurement with extreme psychological impact in women under 30