Page Updated: July 24, 2021
Settlements & Strategy
If you suffered any car accident face injuries, including a broken nose, broken jaw, or suffered an airbag injury, you came to the right place.
In this article, you will learn about:
♦ Permanency of Face Injuries
♦ Likely Treatments for Different Face Injuries
♦ Recoverable Damages for Face Injuries
♦ Case Values for Different Car Accident Face Injuries
This article is not that long, but if you are only looking for specific slices of information, use the Table of Contents below to jump to the exact information you are looking for.
Otherwise, keep scrolling below the table of contents to start learning about different injuries and settlement and verdict values related to those injuries.
Table of Contents
Different Car Accident Face Injuries & Settlements
8 – About the Author
Airbag Injury to Face
Airbags travel at speeds close to 200 miles per hour. That speed can be devastating, especially if you are wearing sunglasses or glasses. Several airbag related injuries and values are discussed below.
Airbags Cause Soft Tissue Injuries
A common face injury from a car accident is damage to the tendons, muscles and ligaments of your face. This can often come from airbag that slaps your face. The high speed can rupture and structurally tear your face muscles.
Although common, and also painful, these injuries are difficult to prove, usually not visible to the naked eye, and therefore do not result in big settlements.
SETTLEMENT EXAMPLE: $85,000. Car accident in Alabama where a minor sitting in the front seat was truck in the face by the airbag, suffering soft tissue bruises and injuries to the face. The accident was serious, as evidence by the defendant driver dying as a result of the accident. The mother of the minor was driving the car and was also hurt. The $85k was for injuries to both plaintiffs.
Airbag Bruise Injuries
If an airbag caused bruising to your face, be sure to take photographs of those bruises! Bruise photographs on your face following an airbag injury to your face can add thousands of dollars to the value of your claim.
SETTLEMENT EXAMPLE: $45,000. One of our lawyers represented client who suffered a black eye from an airbag injury to her face. The case settled for $45,000, despite the fact the client was not a good witness, her car did not show a serious accident, and most of her injuries were soft tissue without any broken bones or surgery recommendation.
Non-Visible Airbag Induced Contusions
Contusions are serious bruises that are caused because of powerful trauma to the face. This impact can cause tissue and muscle to become damaged in a way that is not visible to the naked eye, but nonetheless is painful.
This can happen with the face hitting the windows of the car, or by being hit by the airbag. This impact can cause serious underlying issues.
For this reason alone, after an accident, even if no visible injuries can be seen, seeking out medical attention right away is important both for your physical health as well as any face injury compensation claims you might make later on.
Other Airbag Injuries to the Face
Airbags can cause other serious injuries to your face. A few are discussed below under sub-topics in this page which related to each specific injury.
VERDICT EXAMPLE: $60,000. The plaintiff was rear-ended, which caused his airbag to deploy. He suffered several injuries, including a chemical burn and a fracture. The defendant denied liability. $40k of the verdict was for pain and suffering, and the remainder was for medical bills and lost wages. The defendant was an insurance company because this was an uninsured motorist case. That usually helps increase the value of the case because jurors will pay a more fair verdict when they know the defendant is a rich insurance company that is refusing to be fair.
SETTLEMENT EXAMPLE: $48,000. A senior citizen plaintiff sued an insurance company for uninsured motorist benefits related to a car accident where the defendant pulled out in front of the plaintiff. The airbag deployed, and caused the plaintiff to suffer permanent hearing loss in one ear. I am a little surprised at the low amount of this settlement. I suspect there is something we don’t know that was not disclosed in the case facts which I found. A number of things can explain this low number. For example, if the plaintiff’s hearing was corrected through use of a hearing aid. That is a fairly standard medical device for a senior citizen to use. Thus, the “permanency” argument would lose a lot of teeth if that were the case. If this injury happened to a healthy 30 year old, I would expect a $100k+ result on average, based on what the other intangible facts were for the case.
Glass in Skin After Car Accident
Lacerations are likely to occur if any of the windows break in your car during an accident.
This is very uncommon with head-on or rear-end collisions, as your front windshield is thick glass that is very hard to break.
However, we have seen this happen in a few different side-impact accidents. When those side windows shatter, they splatter glass throughout your car and are likely to scrape and cut your face.
SETTLEMENT EXAMPLE: $50,000. The passenger side window shattered in this accident and the glass struck the plaintiff in the eye. It caused a corneoscleral laceration in his eye. That injury healed without complications, but it left the plaintiff with increased risk for the development of a cataract, glaucoma, and possible retinal detachment.
Glass Laceration Injury Strategy
Broken windows in an accident can help increase the value of your case in two ways.
First, the image of broken glass all over your car is a scary image. It helps illustrate how serious the accident was, and how traumatic the event was for you. That adds value to the non-economic damages portion of your case.
Second, the thought of broken glass shards stuck in your face is disturbing. A jury hearing that will understand how bad of an accident this was for you. That is an intangible fact that can be used to paint a picture, and theme, for your case that can help increase its value.
However, these facts have to be positioned artistically in the presentation of your case. Otherwise, it will come across as disingenuous attempts to collect attention and fluff up your settlement number.
Glass Laceration Damages
Glass cuts on your face can lead to infections, scarring and many other problems that can last a lifetime. This may occur because of glass stuck in the skin after a car accident. Sometimes, these micro pieces are hard to identify, and may not be discovered until days or weeks after your accident.
All of your medical treatment related to these glass shard induced damages are recoverable in your settlement. For this reason, you should not cut corners in getting treatment for these injuries.
Broken Nose Car Accident
A car accident can lead to a number of bones in the face, the most common being a broken nose.
Nose Fractures With No Airbag Deployment
This can result from the head hitting the steering wheel.
Why would your head hit the steering wheel and not the airbag? Because most airbags will only deploy for a collision at approximately 15 miles per hour.
But at 10 mph, there is a lot of momentum and you are likely to break your nose if it hits the steering wheel at that speed.
Anyone who rides a bicycle understands this. Get on your bicycle and ride 10 mph using a speed app on your phone, and you will appreciate how fast that is in real time and how much damage your body can suffer at 10 mph.
Nose Fractures with Airbag Deployment
Even when the airbag deploys, you can still break your nose. At 15, 20, or 25 mph, your nose is not made of bone, and it is not made to withstand that much raw force smashing at it in such a high speed.
Our lawyers have handled a nose fracture case with no airbag deployment. These cases require special care because the medical bills will often be small, but the pain and injuries high. Specific techniques must be used to get past the insurance company’s tricks and get the full value of these cases.
Permanency of Nose Fractures
Your broken nose settlement amount will be substantially impacted by whether your injury is permanent. Broken nose injuries are considered permanent if:
♦ After recovery, your breathing is negatively impacted
♦ After recovery, your nose looks different
For these reasons, it is important to document your injury and its recovery with photographs. A side-by-side comparison of before and after photographs of your nose can add tens of thousands of dollars to your broken nose accident compensation.
Broken Nose Car Accident Treatments
Treatments for a broken nose are invasive. They also require considerable resources in time and access to the right physicians and specialists. Some of the more common treatments for broken nose injuries are:
♦ Substantive, Reconstructive Surgery
♦ Aesthetic, Plastic Surgery
Both of these surgeries are likely to cost you over $10,000. If you live in a metropolitan city, those prices will be higher, and could cost you over $30,000.
This is assuming the surgeries go well. If they do not, you could be looking at tens of thousands of additional dollars in corrective surgery, follow up appointments, and other treatments.
Broken Nose Settlement & Verdict Examples
VERDICT EXAMPLE: $85,000. This accident happened on the highway when the plaintiff was rear-ended. The plaintiff also sued her insurance company under an underinsured motorist policy. This was a bench trial (meaning a judge decided the case, not a jury). The verdict was for $85,000, with $65,000 of that amount being for pain and suffering. The plaintiff’s injuries were a broken nose and unspecified head injuries.
ARBITRATION EXAMPLE: $0.00. A bicyclist claimed he was hit by a car when passing lawfully through an intersection. That impact caused him to be ejected from the bicycle, which resulted in a broken nose, broken tooth, and head injury. Although the injuries were real, there was a serious dispute as to whether the accident was also real. Third party witnesses cast doubt on the plaintiff’s claim of the accident. The arbitrator concluded the third-party witness testimony demonstrated that the plaintiff was not struck by a car; i.e., that there was no vehicle accident.
VERDICT EXAMPLE. $175,000. This was a Florida car accident with an injured mid-20’s plaintiff. The plaintiff was a female. I mention this because I typically expect higher verdicts for females in broken nose injury cases. Generally, jurors assume, whether true or not, that aesthetics and looks are more important to females than to males, and facial injuries fall into this category. The plaintiff’s injuries included a broken nose which needed two surgical procedures, including an arthroscopic surgery and joint reduction surgery.
VERDICT EXAMPLE. $13,410.81. In this rear end accident case, the plaintiff suffered a broken nose and bruised face. This was a bench trial, and I strongly disagree with that strategic approach. Unless you had a destroyed, bloody face with pictures to back it up, most judges will not fairly value a broken nose injury, so I am not surprised by this low number. Why? They are desensitized to these injuries due to dealing with them on a regular basis. Also, if there is no surgery, the medical bills in these types of cases will often be tiny. For example, in this case the medical expenses were only about $7,500. You can see how the judge came up with a $13k verdict, right? The judge just doubled the medical bills, which is a typical shortcut judges use. I don’t really fault them for this, they have to deal with dozens, and hundreds, of cases and need an efficient way of deciding case value. I am up until 1:30 a.m. on Saturday nights trying to find creative ways of getting judge’s and jury’s to understand your case value. However, no judge, and not all attorneys, do the same, which results in cases with serious injuries but low verdicts, like this one.
If you are left with any facial deformities due to a broken nose, it will have a major impact on your broken nose accident compensation. Juries, and even insurance adjusters, are very receptive to injuries which can be visualized, and facial deformities fall into that category.
How much these cases are worth will boil down to a variety of case specific factors that cannot be generalized with a range based on just the injury type.
Broken Jaw Car Accident
If you are having jaw pain after a car accident, you may have a viable broken jaw lawsuit.
Broken Jaw Surgery
Resetting Bones. If you broke your jaw in a car accident, you may need surgery to reset the bones in your jaw. These fractures could indicate maxillofacial damage or other serious jaw injuries that need immediate attention.
Surgical Hardware. Depending on the severity of the fracture, you may need what is referred to as surgical hardware. That hardware may include metal pins and even a metal plate to hold the broken bones together while they heal.
Surgical Wires. If the broken jaw is extremely serious with numerous fractures in the jaw, your surgeon may recommend wiring your jaw shut during the recovery process. This could result in you being on a strictly liquid diet during a likely six-plus week recovery.
Jaw Fracture Surgery Recovery
Depending on which surgery you are getting, your recovery could take 2-8 weeks. The more serious surgeries – e.g., getting your jaw wired shut – will often take up to eight weeks. The more simple process of having your jaw-bone reset could take just two weeks for basic ligament recovery surrounding the jaw bone.
Impactful Broken Jaw Settlement Variables
Broken jaw settlements will be higher if you have x-rays that visualize the broken bone(s). That positive impact will be even greater if the fracture is more serious, such as a displaced, or comminuted fracture.
Also, if you have photographs of your recovery showing you sipping disgusting liquid foods for weeks during your recovery, that will help increase your settlement.
These types of pictures take the guesswork out of what you went through, and help illustrate how terrible your damages are and what you suffered.
Sample Broken Jaw Settlement
SETTLEMENT EXAMPLE. $50,000. Car accident where the plaintiff suffered a broken jaw and subdural hematoma. This case is from 2003, so the amount is actually higher looking at it today, if you adjust for inflation. Still, it’s nothing to write home about. The plaintiff was a passenger, which usually means a larger settlement. However, the defendant was the driver of the plaintiff’s car, and that driver was the plaintiff’s parent. These are difficult cases, when the plaintiff is suing a family member. The case is legally valid, but compromised in terms of jury value for a number of reasons.
VERDICT EXAMPLE. $1,250,000. The plaintiff in this accident suffered numerous injuries, including a broken jaw and orbital fracture. A surgery was required with sutures on plaintiff’s chin. The injuries were so substantial because the plaintiff was on a motorcycle, and the defendant ran a stop sign and hit her at what appears to be full speed. $350,000 of the verdict was for pain and suffering. Another whopping $550,000 was for the plaintiff’s husband’s claim for loss of consortium, which is for the damage done to the marital relationship due to the accident. From this, I suspect the husband spent significant time and energy assisting his wife with rehabilitation, and that put a reasonable strain on their marriage.
Car Accident Face Injuries Q&A
How can I treat my facial injury?
A facial injury has many treatment options depending on the type of injury you are facing, including reconstruction surgery, skin grafts, and burn treatments.
What is the average settlement for a facial injury?
Face injury settlements average between $40,000 and $150,000, however, depending on your injuries, especially if they are severe or permanent, this amount can be much higher. It is also worth noting that many nominal face injury settlements stay under the radar, preventing them from being properly calculated in these averages. In other words, our experiences suggests to us that this average may actually be lower.
Will my surgery be covered by a settlement?
Your surgery may or may not be covered by a settlement depending on two factors. First, whether the surgery was related to treatment caused by the accident. Second, whether the treatment was reasonable and necessary. This is where an attorney can come in and ensure that you are getting the best team in your corner so that your injury treatment will have a high likelihood of being covered.
How serious can a facial injury be?
A facial injury from a car accident can be a lifelong and seriously debilitating injury both physically and emotionally, especially if it is an eye injury or another face injury which leaves a permanent scar.
Is facial reconstruction surgery expensive?
Yes, the facial reconstruction surgeries that can help address problems that are caused by car accidents can be both time consuming, painful and very expensive as well. Depending on where you live geographically, and the specifics of the treatment, these surgeries can cost in excess of $25,000.
How long will a skin graft to the face take to heal?
A facial skin graft can take as few as a few days to heal to as long as a few weeks to a month on average.
Will I be able to breathe normally after nasal reconstruction surgery?
Most nasal reconstruction surgeries can help your breathing go fully back to normal after the operation. However, in some cases, the breathing problems can become permanent. This may lead to the need for additional treatments, and additional medical expenses that should be calculated into your settlement.
Can an airbag damage the face?
Yes, the pressure of an airbag can cause serious injuries to your face. These injuries can cause broken bones, as well as deformities which require plastic surgery or reconstructive surgery.
Can your face get burned in a car accident?
Yes, your face can get burned in a car accident even if there is no car on fire. Facial burns due to an accident are more common than many are aware. These burns can become permanent and alter the appearance of an individual’s face and cause chronic pain.
What causes cuts and abrasions to the face in an accident?
In many car accidents, shattered glass is common and this glass can get into the skin and cause cuts and abrasions that are painful, can become infected and can leave permanent lifelong scars. If you wear glasses, it is also possible that the airbag pushing onto your glasses can cause the glasses to cut your face.
Our Los Angeles Attorneys Can Help With Your
Broken Nose, Broken Jaw, Airbag Injury or Other Facial Injury
If you have suffered an injury to your nose, jaw, or an airbag injury from a car accident, our Los Angeles legal team is here to help you, regardless of whether you are in Los Angeles, California, or elsewhere nationwide, you have nothing to lose and something to gain by calling us.
Every new client gets a 30 minute FREE phone call. Call and ask how we can help maximize your settlement.
Supporting Citations, Literature & Resources:
Agnihotri, A., Galfat, D., & Agnihotri, D. (2014). Incidence and pattern of maxillofacial trauma due to road traffic accidents: a prospective study. Journal of maxillofacial and oral surgery, 13(2), 184-188.
Burns, S. T., Gugala, Z., Jimenez, C. J., Mileski, W. J., & Lindsey, R. W. (2015). Epidemiology and patterns of musculoskeletal motorcycle injuries in the USA. F1000Research, 4
Eidlitz-Markus, T., Shuper, A., & Amir, J. (2000). Secondary enuresis: post-traumatic stress disorder in children after car accidents. IMAJ-RAMAT GAN-, 2(2), 135-137.
Singh, R., Singh, H. K., Gupta, S. C., & Kumar, Y. (2014). Pattern, severity and circumtances of injuries sustained in road traffic accidents: a tertiary care hospital-based study. Indian journal of community medicine: official publication of Indian Association of Preventive & Social Medicine, 39(1), 30.
Singh, V., Malkunje, L., Mohammad, S., Singh, N., Dhasmana, S., & Das, S. K. (2012). The maxillofacial injuries: A study. National journal of maxillofacial surgery, 3(2), 166.
Malara, P., Malara, B., & Drugacz, J. (2006). Characteristics of maxillofacial injuries resulting from road traffic accidents–a 5 year review of the case records from Department of Maxillofacial Surgery in Katowice, Poland. Head & face medicine, 2(1), 1-6.
Menon, S., Sham, M. E., Kumar, V., Archana, S., Nath, P., Shivakotee, S., & Hoda, M. (2019). Maxillofacial fracture patterns in road traffic accidents. Annals of maxillofacial surgery, 9(2), 345.
Allsop, D., & Kennett, K. (2002). Skull and facial bone trauma. In Accidental Injury (pp. 254-276). Springer, New York, NY.
Sheridan, R. L., Schaefer, P. W., Whalen, M., Fagan, S., Stoddard Jr, F. J., Schneider, J. C., … & Cancio, L. C. (2012). Case 36-2012: Recovery of a 16-Year-Old Girl from Trauma and Burns after a Car Accident. New England Journal of Medicine, 367(21), 2027-2037.
Brand, S., Otte, D., Stübig, T., Petri, M., Ettinger, M., Mueller, C. W., … & Probst, C. (2013). Mechanisms of motor vehicle crashes related to burns—An analysis of the German In Depth Accident Study (GIDAS) database. Burns, 39(8), 1535-1540.
About the Author
Article Author: This law article was written by attorney Ray Benyamin, Esquire. Mr. Benyamin received his Juris Doctor degree from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, and his license to practice law from the State Bar of California. His law license number is 277263. He has been practicing law for 10 years. Mr. Benyamin is a registered member of the following legal organizations: Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA), the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA), the State Bar of California, the American Bar Association (ABA), and the American Association for Justice (AAJ). Mr. Benyamin has personally helped his clients recover over $10,000,000 in vehicle accident insurance claims in the State of California.
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