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Plastic Surgery After a Car Accident

Insurance companies must pay for necessary surgery – even if they don’t want to

Plastic surgery after a car accident is more common than people may know. More than half of injured car accident victims visiting emergency rooms have facial injuries.

Although it's often dismissed as “cosmetic,” plastic surgery is frequently necessary to repair head and facial injuries after a crash. A person injured in a car accident may also need reconstructive surgery to restore their hand function or repair shoulder, knee or other joints damaged in the crash.

It is estimated that about 40 percent to 75 percent of crash victims with urgent facial injuries get plastic surgery. That’s a lot of surgeries – and a significant price tag for the insurance companies.

Can I get money for plastic surgery after a car accident?

Facial injuries in a crash can have a physical, emotional, and financial impact. Injuries can be painful and require expensive medical treatment drawn out over months or years. Disfigurement can lead to a loss of self-esteem and other emotional difficulties.

In general, car insurance policies cover the cost of plastic surgery that is medically necessary for the restoration of body function and disfigurement so severe it lowers the victim’s self-esteem. Insurance will not pay for cosmetic plastic surgery that is not related to the accident.

Unfortunately for seriously injured car accident victims, insurance companies will frequently categorize important plastic surgery as “nonessential” in order to get out of paying for it.

Making the insurance companies pay

Getting an insurance company to pay for plastic surgery after a car accident is frequently an uphill battle. Insurance adjusters fight hard against claims that include plastic surgery, no matter how necessary the procedure may be to the victim’s health.

An experienced lawyer knows how to prove a medical procedure is critical to a crash victim’s wellbeing. They may use expert testimony, scientific studies, and the injured person’s own story of pain and suffering, among other things, to make their point.

If you were injured in a Houston area car accident and require surgery, you probably have a lot of questions. Get answers you can trust. Contact Smith & Hassler, Attorneys at Law, for a free case consultation with an experienced Houston car accident lawyer or another member of our legal team.

How is plastic surgery used to treat injured car accident victims?

Plastic surgery is an umbrella term for cosmetic and reconstructive operations.

After a car accident, plastic surgery is sometimes necessary to fix disfigurement or reconstruct damaged joints. Without timely plastic surgery, a crash victim could suffer permanent scarring, infections, and unnatural healing that needs to be medically corrected.

What kind of car accident injuries may require surgery to repair or replace?

The most common type of injuries that require plastic surgery after a car accident are to the face. These include:

  • Soft tissue damage.
  • Zygomatic (cheek bone) injuries.
  • Broken mandible (jaw).
  • Nasoethmoidal trauma to the nose and ethmoid bone that separates the nasal cavity from the brain.
  • “Le Fort” fractures, which are complex breaks in the midface region of the skull.
  • Orbital (eye socket) injuries.
  • Dentoalveolar damage that occurs in the hard and soft tissues in the mouth, like gums.
  • Panfacial fractures, which typically include damage to the upper, middle, and lower thirds of the face.

Reconstructive hand surgery is also common for crash victims needing plastic surgery.

How do facial injuries happen in car accidents?

In a car accident, facial injuries may result from blunt force trauma, punctures, and cuts. The midface region is the most frequently injured area, and most people with facial injuries suffer multiple facial injuries.

A person’s face could be damaged if it hits the steering wheel, windshield, dashboard, or another part of the car. Debris from the vehicle – especially shattered glass and twisted metal – can also cause deep cuts and lacerations to the face. People ejected from vehicles also frequently sustain facial injuries, either from going through a window or from hitting the road.

The severity of facial injuries can be affected by road conditions, vehicle type, and the circumstances of the crash. Improvements in vehicle- and seatbelt-design as well as reduced incidents of drunk driving have helped decrease the rate of car accident facial injuries, but they remain common.

An injured car accident victim rarely receives injuries to the face and nowhere else. Head injuries and brain injuries are typically associated with facial injuries. Other injuries likely to coincide with car accident facial injuries include orthopedic, cervical spine, thoracic, and abdominal injuries.

What are common plastic surgeries for car accident victims?

Once admitted to a medical trauma center, a victim who appears to need reconstructive surgery will likely have a CT scan to fully assess the damage.

If facial reconstruction surgery is necessary, a plastic surgeon may use tissues from another area of the victim’s body – skin, bone, muscle – or they may use implants and prosthetic devices to reconstruct new features. Facial plastic surgeries after a crash may include:

  • Palate repair.
  • Otoplasty – cosmetic ear surgery.
  • Facial paralysis surgery.
  • Rhinoplasty.
  • Scar removal.
  • Skull base surgery.
  • Restore facial asymmetry.
  • Reduce spasms.
  • Improve speech.
  • Orthognathic surgery to straighten the jaw.
  • Laceration repair.
  • Tongue reconstruction.

Get maximum compensation for plastic surgery after a Houston car accident

Insurance companies will try a variety of strategies to reduce how much they’ll pay for car accident-related plastic surgery. They challenge even basic medical facts. An adjuster might say that wounds were pre-existing or not severe enough to warrant surgery. They will almost certainly undervalue the cost of medical treatment.

When you need plastic surgery after a car accident, you need an experienced car accident attorney that knows how to win in Houston. Since 1989, Smith & Hassler has taken on insurance companies for injured car accident victims. Our team of Houston car accident attorneys are known for aggressively hammering away at insurers until they offer maximum compensation.

If you were injured in a Houston area car accident and need plastic surgery, find out more about how we can help you. Contact us for a free consultation. At no cost to you, and with no obligation to hire us, a member of our team will answer your crash-related questions, estimate the value of your claim, and help weigh your options for compensation.

Do not delay. A statute of limitations applies to Texas car accidents. Our law firm has several offices in Houston and Channelview. If you can’t come to us, we’ll come to you. We are ready to hear from you anytime. Contact us to schedule your free case consultation right now.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this article, "Plastic Surgery After a Car Accident."

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